Today’s Sunday Faith News/Views features two deeply inspiring stories of triumph: Billy Rivers, a biker and his uplifting story of leaving behind drugs and robbery after eleven years in prison (see the compelling video below) and 12-year-old Nicholas Vossler, severly injured by a shark attack who quickly reminds his mother to pray. Take a look at Hebrews 10:26 and ‘leaving Jesus behind.’ In News, atheists organizing and getting their message out thorough bus shelters, and a Christian Protestant pastor in China imprisoned for co-ordinating house churches.
The Witness of Billy Rivers: A Hardened Biker Switches Gears
I’ve seldom (maybe never) heard a testimony this powerful emerging from prison after release. Billy Rivers was a hardcore biker doing drugs and thieving. Sent to prison for 11 years, he encountered several chaplains, and one turned his life around after Rivers was a free man, through simple acts of kindness. This isn’t the stale old story of prison conversions that often fall by the wayside once the story moves outside of prison walls.
If you are an addict or immersed in any behavior that you know is not the right or honorable behavior, and you have no assurance of your own worth, or the possibility of worth, Billy’s story will inspire you.
If you don’t need the inspiration from Billy Rivers, you might know someone who does. Pass this video along to anyone living without hope.
If you are biker and need to change your life, while you keep on riding, check out the Christian Motorcyclists Association. Here is a portion of their ministry:
To inspire our leaders and members to be the most organized, advanced, equipped, financially stable organization, full of integrity in the motorcycling industry and the Kingdom of God.
Billy Rivers on His Life of Riding Bikes and Finding Christ (video)
I Knew I Was In God’s Hands
Nicholas Vossler, a sixth grader, is an amazing fisherman according to his Dad, Cecil. Here is his story of a shark bite and how he knew immediately what he needed, and ask his Mother to start praying…now:
Dad stayed back with a 10-year-old daughter while Constien [a friend] took the older kids onto a sandbar for a little body surfing.
“The surf was pretty calm” so they weren’t getting much wave action when Nicholas was grabbed by the shark. A large bull shark hit Nicholas and almost dragged him under as it attempted to tear the boy’s foot from his leg.
“I knew something was wrong when he yelled out and I saw the panic in his face,” says Cecil. ”I saw he was being yanked.”
Speaking to MSNBC from his hospital bed in Houston, the boy described the attack: ‘We were swimming in the surf just having a good time, waist deep in water and a shark came up and bit my foot.”
Constien grabbed Nicholas. ”He saw what was going on and pulled him away from the shark,” says the boy’s father.
“Mark headed to shore with him, all 150 lbs, in his arms,” recalls Dad. “I turned around to see all the commotion and to my horror saw my son’s severed foot” with the bone exposed, skin and muscle hanging. The foot itself was detached, hanging by a few pieces of muscle.
On the shore, his mother, Alisha Vossler, said when she saw the boy in Constein’s arms, she “knew it was serious.”…
A passing speedboat boat took the family to a landing where an emergency life flight helicopter delivered Nicholas to a Houston hospital:
She [Mother] told the British newspaper The Daily Mail, “Once we were in the boat, Nicholas looked up at me and said, ‘Mom, we need to pray.’
He stayed conscious throughout the trip to the hospital. His foot will be saved according to doctors. Nicolas said he was in shock but never afraid because he knew he “was in God’s hands.” Read the entire story at BeliefNet.
If you sin, When you sin, does a believer leave Jesus behind? Is it possible for the sinner to come back to a state of Grace?
Hebrews 10:26 … “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins …”
What? If I get a wild hair and go off and willfully commit a sinknowing I shouldn’t, and I just let my flesh have it’s own way … does that mean … “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” … for me? Does God erase my name from the Book of Life?
I think it is safe to say most of us have pondered this question, and this verse in Hebrews, although many of us may not see our sin as “leaving Jesus behind.” Because as Carl indicates, we don’t want to mess with this scripture, I won’t. I’ll leave it to Carl, because we certainly need to know the full intent within these words in Hebrews. I hope you will read the article, and if you feel comfortable doing so, leave a comment for Carl.
Backyard Skeptics Encourage Neighborhoods to Doubt God
California atheists organized as Backyard Skeptics, have put up ads in 30 Orange County, California bus shelters encouraging readers to doubt the Bible and God. The group says the goal is to let other non-believers know they are not alone in their unbelief.
[Bruce]Gleason [Backyard Skeptic director], a Villa Park resident, says his group “supports the atheist, agnostic, skeptic and humanist community with local meetings, potluck parties, food drives for the homeless and other events” and has about 400 members.
The ads are offending commuter, the newspaper noted. “If they don’t want to believe in God then they should just be quiet about it,” an Anaheim resident, Melinda Holt, was quoted as saying. “Why do they have to buy a poster and put it in public view? I’m a Christian and to see the Holy Bible in an ad that questions its worth – that’s just not OK.”
Gleason has his own way to defend his group. “If we put one up that said something about Muslims or Mormons, they would be offended, too,” he told the newspaper. “We are against any supernatural belief that harms the world. And that’s what we believe religion does.”…
[From the Backyard Skeptic website] “We enjoy spreading the word that skeptics and non-believers are good and moral people, and we cherish humanistic values over any supernatural superstitions. We encourage others to look at their world view with critical thinking skills so they too can feel they can be good without God,”…
Similar ads are planned for Newport Beach, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, and Mission Viejo. From Christian Post
Christian Protestant Pastor Imprisoned in China
Pastor Shi Enhao, 55, has been sentenced to two years in prison for organizing “illegal” church gatherings.
China’s officially atheistic ruling Communist Party claims to protect freedom of worship and authorities usually refuse to comment on prosecutions against religious figures.
Shi is a deputy chairman of the Chinese House Church Alliance, a national group of underground congregations established to provide mutual support and intercede with authorities who routinely threaten and harass unofficial churches…
In an example of the growing boldness of religious organizations in China, underground Protestant church leaders issued a petition to the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp legislature, in May that called for an end to persecution of a Beijing church. The Shouwang Church and its 1,000 members have been blocked from their worship place for weeks and members detained at home to prevent them protesting.
The crackdown on underground Protestant churches comes amid faltering relations with the Vaticanover Beijing’s refusal to recognize the Holy See’s exclusive right to name bishops.
Can anyone explain what the Vatican has to do with Protestant churches? Asking for prayers for the Pastor Enhao. Source: Yahoo News Read more about China’s house church movement here and here, and remember, this abhorrent behavior toward Christians is Communism’s head of the snake.
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead, and the grace not to complain too terribly much about triple-digit temperatures (as I have done all too often).