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Commentary: As progressives falsely claim ideological victory, free speech is in peril

Free speech is in peril, with big tech behemoths seemingly treating ideological diversity and free expression as futile social antiques — relics to be discarded at their discretion.

And as these self-coronated arbiters of moral truth seem bent on ensuring that anyone who dares defy their cultural lexicon pay the price via cancellation, social punishment, or a toxic amalgam of fear and uncertainty over what can and cannot be said, we’re at a grim crossroads.

Americans have robust ideological, theological, and conceptual disagreements on a plethora of issues, yet some progressives are behaving as though these complex disputes are settled in their favor — and as though their liberal positions are synchronously sacred and sacrosanct.

Social media giants like Twitter have purportedly taken to punishing those who don’t fall in line with the progressive mantra. Jim Daly, president of Christian ministry Focus on the Family, recently encapsulated this dynamic when he lamented “big tech titans” as the “new emperors of the twenty-first century, wielding an inordinate amount of power by silencing individuals and organizations that don’t comport or cave to their political or social point of view.”

Daly knows the weight of this reality, as his organization’s media arm, the Daily Citizen, recently faced retribution for posting a Jan. 19 tweet describing Rachel Levine, President Joe Biden’s nominee for assistant secretary of health, as “a transgender woman, that is, a man who believes he is a woman.”

Twitter didn’t take too kindly to this characterization, reportedly accusing Daly’s organization of violating Twitter’s rules that prohibit “hateful conduct.” Weeks later, the Daily Citizen’s account remains locked.

“We have appealed the decision, but have been told by Twitter that, unless we remove the tweet that prompted the freezing out account, it will remain locked down,” Daly told me.

He argues that his organization merely “pointed out a biological fact about Rachel Levine,” yet it seems facts have become tricky things in the modern era, particularly when ideals don’t align with progressive proclamations.

A similar fate befell Catholic World Report, an outlet that described Levine in a Jan. 19, tweet as “a biological man who identifies as a transgender woman.” Carl E. Olson, editor of Catholic World Report, told Catholic News Agency that he believes Twitter deemed the description “not just offensive, but even hateful” and, in turn, briefly locked the outlet out of its account.

These events only add to the angst many are feeling in the midst of cancel culture, free speech blunders, and menacing assaults on truth that rival the dystopian malfeasance perpetuated in Oceania of “1984.” As Daly aptly notes, “Twitter’s action has a chilling effect on free speech.”

The issues surrounding these examples are certainly complex and controversial, but understanding what’s at stake doesn’t require agreement with Daly, or anyone else for that matter. It simply demands recognizing our indispensable American values of free speech and expression in the public square — ideals that are actively being violated and diminished.

Sadly, big tech bigwigs now seem interested in suppressing the expression of those with whom they disagree. This exacerbating demand for ideological compliance is perplexing, especially as Biden and other progressives are on loop rhetorically calling for “unity.”

“This call for unity while demanding uniformity is taking deeper root daily in liberal circles, from politics to big tech,” Daly said. “It is not the American way.”

Standing up to this systematic silencing is the responsibility of every American, regardless of his or her ideological tribe. After all, you never know when you — like Daly and others — could find your own sincerely held beliefs on the chopping block.

Reasonable and decent Americans disagree about a great deal of issues, and that’s OK. But social media’s newfound role in marginalizing and suppressing views rather than allowing open discussion is a tragic blight on the values our nation holds dear.

As Daly pertinently proclaimed, “We must continue to engage the culture’s gatekeepers to ensure that the freedoms our founders built into our ‘more perfect union’ remain robustly available to all who hold to and express … truths those founders themselves believed to be self-evident.”

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‘He walked up the wall’: The modern demon possession case that rocked the world

“He walked up the wall, flipped over … and stood there.” And if that’s not strange enough, another eyewitness description proclaimed that a little boy from Indiana “glided backward on the floor, wall and ceiling.”

I remember reading those words in a strange state of shock and wonder. How in the world did a little boy allegedly walk up a wall? I wondered. And why was a mainstream outlet like the Indianapolis Star covering such a bizarre story?

I had a slew of immediate questions about the 2014 story that had come out of Gary, Indiana, about a so-called demon house that was filled with terrifying tales, but the claim about a little boy walking up a wall was the hands-down, most offbeat detail amid the plethora of strange phenomena surrounding Latoya Ammons and her family.

It’s just one of the compelling stories I tell in my new book, “Playing With Fire: A Modern Investigation Into Demons, Exorcisms and Ghosts.”

Former Star journalist Marisa Kwiatkowski opened her now famous 2014 article on the Ammons case titled “The Exorcisms of Latoya Ammons” by reporting that Ammons and her three children “claimed to be possessed by demons.”

The lede was anything but buried, as there were many elements that boldly distinguished the story from other paranormal claims. Among the intriguing facets was the series of prominent people — including a family case manager, a nurse, and veteran police captains — who all seemed to corroborate various pieces of the bizarre puzzle.

So, what exactly unfolded in Ammons’s Gary, Indiana, home? According to her own media account, Ammons said she and her family began experiencing strange phenomena just one month after moving into the rental home.

It was December 2011 when large black flies reportedly started swarming the family’s porch, coming back again and again even after they were killed. Ammons and her mother, Rosa Campbell, told the Star that they also started hearing footsteps coming up from the basement every night — and that it sounded as though the door was repeatedly creaking open.

By March 2012 — just four months after moving into the home — the strangeness kicked up a notch. Campbell told Kwiatkowski about a night when the family found one of Ammons’s children unconscious and levitating. Overwhelmed by the events unfolding in the home, the family sought the help of clairvoyants and local churches.

They purportedly burned sage, drew crosses on the hands and feet of the children using olive oil, and attempted various acts recommended to them in an effort to rid the home of the supernatural forces they believed were infesting it.

None of this worked, though, with the family claiming that their problems only worsened. Ammons and her three kids (at the time aged 7, 9, and 12) all reported experiencing what they described as “possession,” with the purported effects reading like a horror novel.

Ammons and Campbell reportedly told Kwiatkowski that “the kids’ eyes bulged, evil smiles crossed their faces, and their voices deepened every time it happened.” Additionally, the 7-year-old reportedly spoke to another child whom no one else could see.

Ammons soon turned to her children’s doctor for help. Her kids’ bizarre behavior while in the doctor’s office teamed with the family’s claims of paranormal activity led medical professionals to call emergency services. “Twenty years, and I’ve never heard anything like that in my life,” Dr. Geoffrey Onyeukwu, the physician involved in the incident, told the Star. “I was scared myself when I walked into the room.”

An official report details what some medical professionals claimed to have witnessed. The document reads, in part: “Medical staff reported that while the children were at their primary doctor’s office the medical staff reported they observed [one of the children] be lifted and thrown into the wall with nobody touching him.”

Still, not everyone was convinced something supernatural was at play. In the midst of that chaos, a skeptical individual reportedly called the Department of Child Services to file a complaint, which sparked an investigation into Ammons’s mental state (an evaluation by a hospital psychological found “there were no concerns about her mental stability at this time”).

That’s when DCS case manager Valerie Washington entered the picture — and reportedly saw much of the bizarre behavior for herself. Washington’s own account of her interaction with the family included seeing the seven-year-old boy’s eyes roll back in his head and watching him growl. At one point, the boy reportedly said the following to his brother, “speaking in a different deep voice”: “It’s time to die. I will kill you.”

This brings us to that pivotal point in the story: the claim that the boy walked up a wall. Washington’s official DCS report — an account reportedly backed by Willie Lee Walker, a registered nurse who was in the room, says the following about the encounter with the family: “Child became aggressive and walked up the wall as if he was walking on the floor and did a flip over the grandmother. The episode was witnessed by the psych counselor and DCS worker FCM Washington.”

This is a strange line to include in government documentation, but it’s an account Walker later confirmed to Kwiatkowski, telling the reporter that the boy “walked up the wall, flipped over and stood there.” The nurse added, “There’s no way he could’ve done that.”

Washington later indicated that the situation profoundly impacted her. “It’s taken me a while to move past that,” she said of her claim of seeing the boy walk up the wall. “I believe that it was something going on there that was out of the realm of a normal living person.”

As I cover in “Playing With Fire,” other compelling sources have corroborated these elements, among many others.

Despite the fact that some psychologists and skeptics have reportedly felt the story was inauthentic and had more rational roots, the compelling details and unwavering witness testimony had enough legs for mainstream media and the public at large to at least entertain what was claimed, and that’s notable.

Regardless of where you stand on stories like this, there are two essential realities we must remember. The first is found in Ephesians 6:11: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” This means holding close to the Christian faith, which translates into daily prayer and a healthy relationship with God.

There’s one other reality, though, that is found in the subsequent verse (12): “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

It’s easy to forget that there’s a spiritual battle raging — but a failure to acknowledge this reality can prove dangerous. Still, there’s hope. Yes, there’s a spiritual battle, but there’s also a solution that is freely available: Christ. Explore these realities more in “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts.”

Excerpted from PLAYING WITH FIRE: A MODERN INVESTIGATION INTO DEMONS, EXORCISM, AND GHOSTS. Copyright © 2020 by Billy Hallowell. Published by Emanate Books, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

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‘A miracle’: Doctors said actor would live the rest of his life as a vegetable — if he survived at all. Now, he’s starring in a new movie.

Doctors weren’t sure if Luke Benjamin Bernard would make it after a serious car accident in 2013 left him near death. Bernard suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, blood clots on his brain, and an emergency craniotomy and was ailing in the ICU amid a cloud of uncertainty.

Fast-forward to 2020, and Bernard has defied all expectations, telling “The Pure Flix Podcast” about his unlikely story of survival, his harrowing journey to recovery, and his starring role in “The Favorite,” a movie now streaming on Pure Flix.

“Medically, you have almost no chance of survival,” he said of his initial condition. “It would be a miracle if you lived in vegetative state — a miracle.”

Listen to Bernard discuss his miraculous recovery:

Bernard had what medical experts call a GCS (Glasgow Coma Scale) of 3 with dilated and fixed pupils, which generally yields a grim prognosis.

“The doctor … told [my family], ‘I can’t tell you what’s going to happen with him. You just need to get here right away,'” Bernard recalled, noting that it was clear he might not survive.

Despite facing the unthinkable, Bernard’s family refused to give up, turning with fervency to faith and prayer.

“Basically, they did the best thing they could for me … and the only thing they could have done was — they prayed,” he said. “They read scriptures, they sang praise … at my bedside again and again and again.”

The grieving parents firmly believed God would heal their son, and they decided to combat the negative possibilities by intensely appealing to hope.

“[My dad’s] mindset was, ‘This is a fight — I’m in a fight right now for my son’s life and Satan’s trying to take my son and I’m not going to let it happen,'” he said, noting that their prayers weren’t just for survival, but also for “complete healing.”

And the Bernard family got their wish. Against all odds, he fully recovered, and they now attribute it all to God.

“It’s just remarkable with God’s grace and mercy, with his healing power over me,” he said.

And that was only part of the story, as Bernard, who was an actor prior to his accident, later ended up writing and performing in “The Favorite,” a touching new film about two rival brothers who face tragedy — a traumatic event that mirrors what happened to Bernard in real life.

The idea and plot line for “The Favorite” came to Bernard as he was recovering from his accident.

(Read also: 8 classic family TV shows you can stream right now)

“One night I fell into this deep sleep and I had this very vivid dream … a dream that you feel like you’re really there,” he recalled.

Bernard said he saw two brothers in that dream who had a car accident, with one of the men facing the same injuries, recovery, and healing that Bernard faced. The dream was so stirring that Bernard started writing what he saw, turning it into a script, and the rest is cinematic history.

Listen to this phenomenal story in its entirely on “The Pure Flix Podcast,” and be sure to watch Bernard in “The Favorite.” Check out the trailer for the movie below.


This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with woman who was in and out of mental hospitals. Then a stranger performed an exorcism: ‘I could see the demons’

An Arkansas woman with no history of mental illness said she suddenly found herself in deep emotional turmoil in 2006, with doctors unable to diagnose her rapidly deteriorating condition.

Within months, overtaken by suicidal thoughts, Amy plunged from a second-story window, was paralyzed and nearly died.

Now, she’s speaking out, explaining that she believes she experienced a dramatic demonic possession — and healing. Her experience is told in detail in the new book, “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts.”

“I’ve never had any kind of mental problems, never been on medication for anything like that,” Amy said in a recent interview, noting that, within days of her affliction, she went from a successful nurse to a person who couldn’t think clearly.

Listen to Amy share her story on “The Edifi Podcast With Billy Hallowell” at the 42-minute mark:

Amy’s personal drama unfolded one day while she was working at a hospital and dealing with a burn patient who had survived an explosion.

“While I was in the ER giving [a] report, something wasn’t right with me,” she recalled. “I went upstairs to do my chart and it’s like my mind went out the window.”

Amy wondered what was unfolding; the mental duress continued to afflict her when she later went for a run and was unable to jog in a straight line.

“I told my husband, ‘I think I’m having a nervous breakdown. My mind is not right,'” she said.

As “Playing With Fire” explains, doctors put Amy on antidepressants, but she said the drugs did nothing to curb her problems — and the situation further devolved.

“They ended up putting me in a psychiatric hospital,” she said, “And the psychiatrist said, ‘We don’t know what we’re dealing with. We’ve never seen anything like this.'”

As time went on, Amy was in and out of hospitals, with suicidal thoughts suddenly overtaking her mind and heart.

“Nobody knew what was going on. And this happened in April and through the summer,” she said. “I was so messed up. I wanted to kill myself and I just could not think how to do it.”

One day Amy found herself sitting in a second-floor window sill at her home, as thoughts of death once again flooded her mind.

“I was sitting in the window and I thought to myself, ‘If I fall out of this window, I bet I’ll die, because it’s so far down and it’s a brick patio,'” she said. “So, I fell out of the window.”

Amy said she doesn’t remember much of what unfolded next, as she landed on her head on the hard patio two stories below.

“Any person in their right mind — if you’re falling you’re going to brace yourself … that’s a normal reflex,” she said. “My legs and arms were not broken. I did not brace myself.”

The impact of the fall was sweeping, with Amy breaking the majority of her ribs, puncturing her lungs and breaking her back in three places; 14 years later, she is still paralyzed.

“They didn’t think I was going to survive,” she said.

But while Amy lay in her hospital bed recovering, a stranger named Cindy felt compelled to visit. While there, Cindy performed what some Christians call a “deliverance” (similar to an exorcism).

“She felt really led to come see me,” Amy said. “[She] said when they got there I looked at her and I had a male voice come out of my mouth saying, ‘What are you doing here?'”

Amy believes Cindy cast a demon out, and that her life was transformed as a result.

For her part, Cindy has also openly spoken about the experience.

“I could see the demons,” she told KATV-TV last year, noting that she uttered a simple command in that hospital room: “Lord, in the name of Jesus, I command that these demons release her and come out of her and that she comes to her right mind, in Jesus’ name.”

In the end, Amy believes she was healed.

“My family saw a difference and they were thinking, ‘Something’s better,'” she said, noting, though, that there are still mysteries surrounding her story.

Mainly: Amy, who was a churchgoer before the incident, isn’t sure why she was afflicted. Regardless, she is now much closer to God, and is encouraging others to cling to their faith.

“It’s brought me so much closer to God and to know that his love for me. It wasn’t him that did that — of course, it was the enemy,” she said. “God’s love is amazing. Seek the Lord with all of your heart.”

For more stories like Amy’s be sure to read “Playing with Fire: A Modern Investigation into Demons, Exorcism, and Ghosts,” a book that dives deep — through a journalistic and Christian lens — into the cultural discussion about spiritual warfare, demons, exorcism in the Bible and other related topics.

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Nearly 1,000 people flock to California beach to get baptized Saturday

A California church is making headlines after nearly 1,000 people showed up to be baptized on Saturday at Corona Del Mar State Beach in Newport Beach, California.

(Read also: What Is Christian Baptism — and Why Does It Matter?)

Gina Gleason, church director at Calvary Chapel Church in Chino Hills, told CBN News that the event, which was a record showing of baptisms for the church, was absolutely “remarkable.”

“California may be experiencing a spiritual revival,” Gleason said. “It’s remarkable and a significant number.”

Normally, the church — which is led by Pastor Jack Hibbs — sees 300 people show up for baptisms, but Saturday was unique in that nearly 1,000 people sought to express their public profession of faith, CBN noted.

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Images and video from the baptisms are absolutely incredible, with Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills taking to social media afterward to ask for people’s stories.

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

“I was baptized together with my wife, and the heartfelt blessing that Pastor Jack gave us is one that I will carry with my throughout my life,” one man wrote on Instagram. “Such a wonderful day. Praise our Lord and Savior Jesus.”

Image source: Instagram/CalvaryChapelChinoHills video screenshot

Another woman added, “A day full of memories I will always cherish. My two older boys getting baptized!”

(Read also: 3 Lessons From Jesus’ Baptism)

Countless additional comments express people’s joy over the mass baptism.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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‘It’s … graphic’: Abby Johnson unveils preview of ‘provocative’ RNC abortion speech

Pro-life advocate Abby Johnson offered up a preview of her upcoming Republican National Convention speech during a recent interview with “The Church Boys Podcast,” explaining that she’s hoping her five-minute address will be stirring, memorable — and convicting.

“I felt a lot of pressure to make the most provocative, impassioned, memorable pro-life … speech ever made,” she told hosts Chris Field, Lucas Miles, and Billy Hallowell.

(Read also: Ex-Abortion Workers Reveal Why They Became Pro-Life)

Johnson, whose personal story of converting from a Planned Parenthood clinic director to one of America’s most famous pro-life activists was told through the movie “Unplanned,” didn’t go into detail about the specific contents of her speech, which she will deliver Tuesday. But she did note that “it’s pretty graphic.”

Listen to Johnson preview her RNC speech at the 9-minute mark (and unveil details about her new podcast, “Politely Rude”):

“I was talking to my husband and I said, ‘They could have asked a lot of people. There are a lot of great pro-life speakers out there and they asked me,'” Johnson said, noting that her “lived experience” is what differentiates her from many others in the pro-life speaker circuit.

She has been a “part of abortion” in the past and has seen it first-hand — something those who saw “Unplanned” know all too well.

(Read also: 5 Pro-Life Movies You Can Watch Now)

Now, Johnson is hoping to make a profound impact through her speech, leaving the audience with a deeply stirring message about the true nature and impact of abortion.

“I feel like people are going to listen to this 5-minute speech and they’re going to walk away,” she said. “And they’re not going to ever be able to say, ‘Wow, we had no idea that those things happen during abortion.’ They’re going to know.”

Johnson added that she likes “shocking people out of their apathy and into action.”

This article was written by Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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Phil Robertson says he has been baptizing fans of his podcast who are showing up in his town to hear the gospel: ‘They just keep coming’

Phil Robertson hasn’t slowed down since the family’s hit show “Duck Dynasty” went off the air in 2017. He hosts a popular BlazeTV podcast called “Unashamed” and a BlazeTV show titled, “In the Woods with Phil” and pens books like “Jesus Politics: How to Win Back the Soul of America.”

But despite continued success and all that comes along with it, Robertson, 74, hasn’t moved away from his first priority: helping others discover faith.

“All we’re doing is we’re reaching out to our neighbor, and we’re telling them to love their God, repent and turn to God, walk like Jesus did,” Robertson told the “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” podcast. “Love God and love your neighbor … I do not see the downside to that.”

(Read also: ‘Joy’: Actor Chris Pratt Invokes Bible Verses to Reveal Baby’s Birth)

And the impact of Robertson’s work is quite stunning, as he said his “Unashamed” podcast has encouraged groups of people to visit his small town of West Monroe, Louisiana, to be baptized.

“They’re coming from that podcast … about nine or maybe 10 in the last three days — they’ve come all the way down here,” he said. “And I’ve baptized that whole little crew. Well, it’s that way every day or two. They just keep coming.”

Listen to Robertson discuss this powerful reality as well as his take on President Donald Trump’s faith:

Robertson has also taken his Christian message straight to Trump, revealing the details of a conversation he had with the president during a private meeting before the commander in chief’s 2016 election.

“I reached in my pocket and I pulled out a diagram of the gospel, an arrow coming down out of heaven — God becoming flesh — the cross, the tomb, and an arrow coming out of the tomb and the last arrow coming back down to earth,” Robertson said. “I said, ‘Whatever happens, Trump, don’t miss this.'”

Trump, who seemed genuinely interested, asked, “What is this?” And that’s when Robertson dove into the Bible’s message about Jesus and salvation, telling Trump, “He died for Donald Trump’s sins.”

(Read also: ‘Chills’: Justin Bieber & His Wife Get Baptized Side by Side)

Robertson noted that Trump asked if he could keep the gospel diagram, to which Robertson obviously said “yes.” And that wasn’t the last time the two spoke, as Robertson said he later gave Trump some Bible verses and spoke more about the power of scripture.

“I’m convinced he’s put his faith in Jesus and I’m convinced he’s a brother,” Robertson said, adding that the president is a work in progress.

Robertson said life is really all about loving God and loving others, and he lamented the current state of affairs and the “mayhem” that has broken out.

“We’re at a tipping point, and the forces of evil are going up against the forces of good,” he said.

Listen to the full interview with Robertson on “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” and get more of Robertson’s perspective in his new book, “Jesus Politics.”

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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‘Not the America I’ve known’: Pastor John MacArthur doubles down on COVID-19 defiance in California

Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, is defying state orders that his church remain shuttered during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and the move is sparking intense discussion and debate.

The preacher spoke about his decision in a recent episode of the “Edifi With Billy Hallowell” podcast, explaining that Grace Community Church initially complied with California’s restrictions before changing course in recent weeks.

“I’ve been here 50 years; the church is 63 years old, and this church has never had any kind of mandate from the government to close,” MacArthur said. “So, when they came up with this mandate it seemed to be so rare and so unusual that we were listening.”

Upon hearing dire predictions about the death toll, MacArthur said it was “enough to make anybody with common sense” pause and take steps to ensure no one was endangered. The church initially moved to a livestream model and closed down in-person services — but within a few weeks, MacArthur said parishioners started showing up again.

Listen to MacArthur explain why his church is defying orders:

“They were beginning to realize that it wasn’t what they said it was going to be,” he said of the COVID-19 impact, estimating that about .02% of California’s population had died. “There were 8,500 deaths [in California] — half of them were people over 80 with obvious comorbidity issues.”

MacArthur continued, “It just seemed to me that 99.98 is pretty good odds to come to church, and people were crying out to open the church because of the fears — and then of course the church is the center of life for people who love the Lord, and they were cut off from their friends.”

And thousands of people have flooded back to the pews since Grace Community Church reopened, with around 3,000 attending the first weekend and an estimated 6,000 the second. And despite threats of government crackdowns over defiance, MacArthur said he has no plans to change course.

“Grace Church is going to meet … and we’re going to continue to meet and we’re going to always meet because Jesus Christ is the head of the church. Jesus is Lord,” he said. “And government has a certain purview given by God, but it doesn’t cross over into the realm of the kingdom of God, so we’re going to meet.”

MacArthur noted that the church has hired attorneys and that leaders will do everything they can within the court system to defend themselves and to continue meeting.

(Read also: Despite Darkness of This Pandemic, Coronavirus Could Ignite Revival)

“I don’t know what that’s going to look like. … this is not the America that I’ve known for many, many decades,” he said. “It’s just a bizarre reality that we haven’t navigated in the past. I’m not a prophet, so I can’t predict what’s going to happen, but I can say this: Grace Community is going to meet.”

Critics have taken issue with the fact that the church is in violation of government orders and is allowing crowds of people to congregate at a time when social distancing orders are being heralded for helping stop the spread of coronavirus. Still, debate persists surrounding how far these orders should go.

Debate and discussion aside, MacArthur believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) simply doesn’t have the authority to deem churches “nonessential” entities.

“The governor said the church is not essential. Some things were essential — liquor stores were essential, abortion clinics were essential, grocery stores were essential but the church was not essential,” MacArthur said. “Based on the Constitution, the governor doesn’t have the authority to say what is essential … the governor has no constitutional authority to say the church is not.”

In the end, MacArthur believes “intentional discrimination” is unfolding “against biblical Christianity and the church.” And he said there’s no end insight to the restrictions ushered in by COVID-19.

Listen to MacArthur’s entire interview for more.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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Evangelist Josh McDowell warns that COVID will make depression, addiction, and pornography worse

Famed evangelist Josh McDowell is worried about the impact COVID-19 is having on an already beleaguered population, warning that the pandemic wiIl likely worsen a variety of social issues, including pornography addiction, loneliness, and depression.

“The lockdown … it feeds into pornography, loneliness, depression and mental health,” McDowell recently told “The Pure Flix Podcast,” noting that stress, isolation and fear of the unknown are all issues that are increasingly intensifying amid the COVID-19 crisis.

(Find Hope: Watch Thousands of TV Shows and Movies on Pure Flix Today)

And the evangelist, who has spent decades exploring cultural issues and ministering to the masses, added that he believes these issues will be more pronounced once the lockdowns end.

Listen to McDowell’s warnings and solutions on “The Pure Flix Podcast”:

“These things are not under the radar. It’s just that [the] church is not looking at the radar,” McDowell said. “When we come out of this COVID — and we will — you’re going to see a greater in-depth problem with loneliness, depression, anxiety and pornography.”

McDowell also discussed young people in Generation Z and the already increasing mental health and loneliness concerns that were observed among this population prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Among his concerns are the ways in which young people are choosing to communicate with one another. While McDowell said people were designed to relate to one another in interpersonal relationships, technology has transformed the realities of how we interact.

“This generation has learned to communicate with their thumbs, not their tongues,” McDowell said. “They might be connecting with people on the internet, but they’re not relating to people on the internet.”

The evangelist is on a mission to help pastors, Christians and churches meet these needs, though, with his ministry rolling out free resources to help combat loneliness, depression, and other pervasive cultural issues.

(Read Also: Depression in the Bible: How Scripture Heals Us)

“We need to figure out how do we minister to people like that and it doesn’t come easy,” he said. “The church had better address these things or the church will be marginalized — period. If we don’t address loneliness, depression, anxiety, mental health and relationships we will be obsolete.”

McDowell knows how hard pastors work and how much is on the plates of various church staffers, but he’s hoping these resources will help ease some of these burdens while also providing healing. Visit Josh McDowell Ministry for resources and more information on how you can help.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

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Ex-New York City drug lord explains how meeting Christ changed everything for him: ‘I was a walking dead man’

Herman Mendoza was once a New York drug lord with the world at his fingertips. With millions of dollars, women and worldly possessions, Mendoza thought he had it all — until his arrests and detainments led him on a path to discovering God and transforming his life.

Mendoza, author of the new book, “Shifting Shadows: How a New York Drug Lord Found Freedom in the Last Place He Expected,” is now a Christian pastor in New York City.

And he recently
told “The Pure Flix Podcast” about his foray into narcotics, explaining that he started experimenting with drugs as a teenager.

But it wasn’t until Mendoza’s 20s when he couldn’t find employment that he really dove deep into the drug trade, following in the footsteps of his brothers.

“I was married and living with my wife and I was laid off from a job that I was working at,” Mendoza said. “And so I was desperate for money.”

Listen to Mendoza reveal how he went from a New York drug lord to a pastor preaching the gospel across the globe and finding
faith, hope, and encouragement:

So, Mendoza joined his brothers in distributing cocaine. It didn’t take long for him to feel untouchable, as money came flooding in and he began to party and enjoy his newfound riches.

“I thought that, ‘Hey, this is an easy way to make money and get rich,'” he said, noting, though, that his riches and fun were halted when cops found loads of cocaine in the trunk of his car.

Suddenly, Mendoza was facing life in prison — a reality that left him reeling.

“My mind was racing. My heart was like in my throat. It struck a chord with me because the reality of what I was involved in hit home,” he said. “I was facing 25 years to life, and at the time I had one child and I was thinking about my child, ‘What’s going to be of my child?'”

(Watch: See the Powerful Moment Two Agnostic Teens Accept Christ)

Mendoza struck a deal and ended up going to prison before being released and jumping right back into the crime mix.

“I was a fool … and I went right back into what they call in the streets, ‘the game,'” he said.

Once again, Mendoza found himself arrested and behind bars, with his legal conundrum becoming even more complex and troubling. But then something life-altering happened: His brother, who was also behind bars, became a Christian and set off on a mission to bring Mendoza to faith.

Remarkably, Mendoza’s brother saw his
prayers answered.

“I gave my life to the Lord … there was no other recourse,” Mendoza said. “I said, I need to try God, I’ve tried anything else. … I had millions of dollars, but it was never satisfying.”

Despite his legal problems and past mistakes, Mendoza decided to become a Christian — an experience that deeply and profoundly impact his heart and mind.

“I felt this warmth that enveloped me. I felt the presence of God,” he said, noting that he suddenly wanted to heal his past mistakes and relationships. “I realized that Jesus paid the price for my sin … I was a walking dead man and now I’m alive in Christ.”

After Mendoza’s release, he started traveling the globe to share the gospel. And today he’s a pastor who is ministering to people in the New York City area.

For more of his incredible story, read his new book,
“Shifting Shadows: How a New York Drug Lord Found Freedom in the Last Place He Expected.”

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Bible christian Christianity End Times Intelwars ISRAEL Jerusalem

Best-selling Christian author looks for answers about the end times, says ‘Israel being reborn’ is ‘God’s super sign’

Author Jeff Kinley believes the Bible lays out some fascinating circumstances that will unfold as humanity marches toward the biblical end times.

But there’s one sign in particular that Kinley, author of the new book, “Interview with the Antichrist,” believes has already unfolded: the re-emergence of Israel.

He explained the development while telling “The Pure Flix Podcast” why he is so intrigued by eschatology (i.e. the study of the end times).

“Part of it is … the sense of knowing that we are living in the last days, with Israel being reborn as a nation — that’s really God’s super sign,” he said. “There’s so many things that are happening almost daily around the world that it’s almost like you … have to be living under a rock not to notice it.”

Listen to Kinley break down the ins and outs of end times theology:

Kinley also addressed the social and political unrest unfolding across the globe, noting that many “people feel like the world’s in peril.”

Despite these feelings, end times theology is sometimes overlooked, ignored, or downplayed even within Christian circles.

“We know that Jesus is coming back, but no one is talking about what happens in between,” he said. “God actually tells us what’s going to happen, and He tells us how to prepare for it.”

But Kinley was pointed in his warning that Christians must be cautious when it comes to end-times theology, declining to make specific predictions, especially of timetables, as the Bible notably tells Christians to avoid date-setting.

(Read also: 11 Christian movies about the end times)

“We need to be reasoned, we need to be seasoned, we need to be biblical,” Kinley said, urging people not to “make crazy claims.”

The popular author also discussed the rapture — the biblical belief that Christians will be taken up to heaven and spared from the majority of end times events.

The rapture typically sparks debate, as not everyone believes the rapture is seen in scripture. Kinley, who believes the rapture is indeed a biblical construct, said that the issue isn’t a matter of salvation.

“It’s not a salvation issue,” the author said. “But it is an important issue.”

Toward the end of the interview, Kinley discussed the secular cultural changes that are afoot and encouraged Christians to take a cue from the early Christian church. While the church was a small and unpopular cohort, the message grew and resonated.

“Go out there and be the light of Jesus Christ to the world,” Kinley said.

If you’re looking to understand the end times, consider downloading this theology guide, which explains the ins and outs of what the Bible says about the end of days.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith- and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Abby johnson Abortion Babies Intelwars Planned Parenthood Pro-lilfe Unplanned

​’Two large cash bags … just full, I mean overflowing with cash’: Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson exposes the lucrative business of abortion

Abby Johnson’s incredible transformation from Planned Parenthood clinic director to one of the most powerful and prolific voices in the pro-life movement has understandably attracted a lot of attention, with her story being told in the book and movie “Unplanned.”

And now Johnson is sharing additional elements of her stunning journey in Pure Flix’s “Beautiful Lives,” a new TV series that features Johnson speaking with other former clinic workers and abortion industry workers who have found true freedom after leaving their careers behind.

In the first episode of the series, Johnson reveals how she first came to join Planned Parenthood as a volunteer and, over the course of subsequent years, rose through the ranks to become a clinic director.

“I was so good at justifying sin at that point in my life that I could justify just about anything,” she said, noting that she was truly lost and adrift during that time in her life.

Watch a preview of Johnson discussing her journey in “Beautiful Lives”:

Among Johnson’s responsibilities at the clinic was handling money the facility made from its abortion procedures — something she now looks back on with clearer vision.

“It was my job to take the money to the bank and after a full day of committing abortions. … I would have two large cash bags … just full, I mean overflowing with cash,” she said. “It was nothing to have $20, $30,000 in these bags. I didn’t really see it then, but now I recognize how lucrative it really was and that it truly was a cash business.”

Johnson shared that she started having reservations about her role at the clinic when she was told that the organization would build “the largest abortion facility in the western hemisphere.”

The facility was slated to perform abortions later on in pregnancy — and while many people were excited, Johnson said she didn’t quite feel right about it.

But the final straw came when Johnson was asked to assist a doctor during an ultrasound abortion; what she saw changed everything.

“During that abortion on a 13 week old baby … I saw this baby fight for his life against the abortion instruments,” she said. “I had believed that the unborn didn’t have any sensory development, didn’t feel anything.”

Johnson continued, “And so to see this, I was surprised, and then [I] also realized it had been this big lie and then I thought, ‘What else have we been lying about?'”

Watch “Beautiful Lives” to see more of Johnson’s journey and to meet other women just like her.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Abortion Aka jane roe Faith Intelwars Norma mccorvey roe v wade

Preacher who actually knew Norma McCorvey — aka ‘Jane Roe’ — speaks out amid claims that she faked her pro-life stance

Norma McCorvey’s profound influence over American culture is more than evident.

McCorvey, who was the plaintiff in the infamous Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion across the U.S., started off as a pro-choice activist and later shocked the world by becoming a fixture in the pro-life movement.

McCorvey’s change-of-heart came after she had a very public conversion to Christianity and began to openly oppose abortion, an about-face that stunned people on both sides of the aisle.

Though McCorvey died in 2017, she has dominated headlines this week ahead of the release of FX’s “AKA Jane Roe” documentary. The reason? The film has sparked claims that McCorvey’s pro-life inclinations were all an act — something well-known pro-life activists are decrying.

Promos for the documentary seem to indicate that McCorvey made some shocking claims during the filming: Mainly, that she was paid and coached on what to say during her pro-life tenure.

“I was the big fish. I think it was a mutual thing,” she said in “AKA Jane Roe.” “I took their money and they’d put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say.”

Someone who really knew her

She also seemed to say that she was a “good actress” and that it was all some sort of act. While the nation debates McCorvey’s life and legacy, people like Flip Benham, a preacher who knew McCorvey both before and after her public conversion to Christianity, are speaking out.

“Norma and I were wrestling with each other verbally in the streets for a long, long time,” Benham told “The Church Boys” podcast on Thursday.

Listen to Benham speak on McCorvey:

Benham was the director of Operation Rescue, a pro-life organization, when he first met McCorvey in 1994. At the time, she was working at an abortion clinic.

Their paths collided when Operation Rescue moved next door to McCorvey’s clinic. But things really kicked into high gear when Benham showed up at McCorvey’s book signing with a pointed message.

“Norma was having a book signing. When I saw her coming in … I said, ‘Norma McCorvey, as a result of your life and this law, over 35 million boys and girls have been slaughtered in this country,'” Benham recalled. “She turned around and she walked out … I saw that that crushed her and in my heart I knew that I needed to say something to her.”

He later apologized to McCorvey, and the two struck up a friendship. He said she soon started to come by to ask for prayer. Over time, that friendship blossomed, as McCorvey dove deeper and deeper into the pro-life pool.

Despite the documentary’s purported claims, Benham believes McCorvey was truly pro-life, and he revealed a plethora of details about their friendship. While he painted McCorvey as a complex person, he didn’t back away from his belief that her general pro-life inclinations were authentic.

“She loved us. We loved her,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain her other than the fact that God uses broken things.”

Not the only pushback

Benham, who also appears in “AKA Jane Roe,” is not the only person to push back against the claim that McCorvey was simply acting, as other friends have also been outspoken that her conversion was real.

Plus, pro-life advocate Abby Johnson revealed on Facebook that she spoke with McCorvey just days before her death and she believes the former “Roe” plaintiff was sincere in her convictions.

“Her many years as a dedicated pro-life advocate was not a lie. Her tearful conversation (which I will keep private) with me days before her death was not a lie,” Johnson wrote. “The hours she spent praying in front of abortion facilities was not a lie. Her life with Christ was not a lie.”

The story continues to unfold, so stay tuned. And be sure to also watch “Beautiful Lives,” hosted by pro-life advocate Abby Johnson. The series explores the experiences of former abortion industry workers who have survived — and thrived — after abandoning their past work and finding true hope.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Christianity death to America Intelwars Iran Islam Muslim

He was a Muslim who once chanted ‘Death to America!’ Now, he’s working to convert Iranians to Christianity.

Dr. Hormoz Shariat is on a mission to help bring Iranians to the Christian faith — an effort that was birthed from his family’s personal pain and suffering.

Shariat, founder of Iran Alive Ministries, has spent years creatively spreading the gospel in Iran. Through satellite broadcasts, ministry training, and other innovative means, the evangelist is ingeniously delivering the gospel to the Muslim-majority nation.

One of the most remarkable parts of Shariat’s story are the roots from which his ministry emerged. A native of Iran and an ex-Muslim, he once chanted “death to America” in the streets.

But Shariat’s entire life changed when he left Iran during the Islamic Revolution and arrived in America to study. In addition to newfound academics, he also discovered true faith.

“I got saved in America,” he said, noting that his heart and mind profoundly changed. “I love America.”

Shariat said his ministry took root after his 16-year-old brother was arrested and held for two years by Iranian leaders. Rather than release the teen, the government put him to death.

Listen to Shariat’s harrowing story:

“One day they executed him,” Shariat said. “[They said], ‘Come and get his body. We shot him and by the way you have to pay us for killing him.'”

Tragically, Iranian officials demanded that his parents even pay for the bullets. When asked how Shariat managed not to be overcome with hate, he noted that he was a new Christian at the time.

“It wasn’t easy. It was a struggle … I grieved,” he said, noting that he wanted to initially take revenge, but he remembered the gospel message. “During those two to three days of mourning … I felt I heard the voice of God in my heart that those who killed my brothers are not my enemies. There is one enemy, that is Satan. They are captives in the hands of my enemy.”

(Read also: Are Signs Of The Biblical End Times Happening Before Our Eyes?)

So, rather than revenge, Shariat chose mercy and love. And while he already had a passion for evangelism, his brother’s death gave him a true mission to share the gospel with 1 million Muslims.

Years later, he has now shared the Bible with millions.

Shariat has been spreading the gospel through Iran Alive Ministries, noting that his ministry reaches throughout the Middle East, but is particularly pertinent to Farsi speakers.

A resident of the U.S., Shariat said he often receives death threats because of his ministry — but he’s not backing down.

“Jesus changes lives,” he said. “He transforms our lives … our society.”

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Christianity Faith Fox News Intelwars Prayer Shannon Bream

Fox News’ Shannon Bream shares what life is like as a cable news host and reveals why she starts every day with prayer and the Bible

Shannon Bream is a talented journalist who has a penchant for asking insightful questions. The “Fox News @ Night” anchor is also a faithful Christian with a unique worldview that sets her apart from many of her media peers.

Bream, a trained attorney, recently told “The Billy Hallowell Podcast” that she’s a “news junkie” who has been on-air at Fox since 2007. In addition to describing her career path, the popular anchor explained that she finds daily comfort in her faith.

“We’re all a work in progress … I’ve been through wonderful highs and terrible lows like we all do in our life,” Bream said. “Through the toughest things is where my faith has become the most personal and has grown the most.”

She added, “It’s a daily comfort and a strength for me to spend time with the Lord.”

Listen to Bream share her faith and life story:

Bream said she starts every day with Bible reading — something that helps her stay centered.

“I have to get grounded,” she said, noting that she journals and prays every morning before she dives into the chaos of the day. “I am not equipped to handle it myself.”

Bream noted that her faith was rooted early on. Her mother taught at the Christian school she attended, and the family social circle was the local church and school.

But it wasn’t until middle school that Bream said she made a decision for herself.

“Have I ever made this personal?” she recalled asking herself at the time. “Have I really committed my life to Christ and accepted him as my savior?”

Bream accepted Christ at that point and the rest is, well, history. She went on to practice law before transitioning into media.

And she’s now encouraging others to find their passion areas and move forward into them.

“I’ve always been a very curious person … I think we’re all born with different gifts and different passions and different skills,” she said. “We should encourage people whatever their gifts are … to go into that field and be a light.”

Bream also discussed some of the battles she’s faced in her own life, including her now-husband’s brain tumor battle before their marriage — a challenge that she said “put everything into perspective.”

“Thank God he is wonderful and healed,” she said, noting that the couple is grateful to have come out on the other side of that battle.

Listen to Bream tell her story here.

Coronavirus Faith Intelwars MSNBC

‘Totally unscripted’: MSNBC host reveals story behind TD Jakes’ viral on-air prayer on the liberal cable outlet

MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin recently sent a viral shockwave through the cable news and internet realms when he randomly asked the Bishop T.D. Jakes to pray on live TV.

In an interview with “The Pure Flix Podcast,” Melvin revealed that the incredibly viral moment was “totally unscripted” and that he hadn’t told producers beforehand.

(Read also: ‘I’ve Never Done This’: MSNBC Host Asks Pastor T.D. Jakes To Pray On Live TV)

“We got to the end of the segment … in that moment it felt like we could collectively use a little prayer,” the NBC and MSNBC host said. “And he was there and I was there and, without giving my producer or directors a head up, I asked him to bow and pray.”

Listen to Melvin reveal these details:

Melvin said the moment was embraced by many, calling the overall reaction to it as “very positive.”

And he also believes the current COVID-19 crisis has exposed some fascinating realities about the human experience.

(Watch Pure Flix for Thousands of Faith and Family Friendly TV Shows & Movies)

“We are living in the most unusual time of my life, where people … are being asked … to stay away from each other,” Melvin said. “But at the same time, I maintain there is this new connectedness that has emerged from this.”

He added, “I don’t think as many people fully appreciated how much we need to interact with each other face-to-face — that’s who we are as creatures of God.”

(Looking for a Good Podcast? Subscribe to the ‘Pure Flix Podcast’)

Listen to “The Pure Flix Podcast” to hear Melvin explain the prayer segment, his path into media, and his belief in the essentiality of truth.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Coronavirus Donald Trump Faith Greg Laurie Intelwars

California church sees 1.3 million online attendees on Palm Sunday after President Trump tweets he was going to tune in

Pastor Greg Laurie, founder of Harvest Crusade and Harvest America and pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, has revealed some absolutely stunning numbers from his church’s virtual Palm Sunday service.

(Watch: See Pastor Greg Laurie’s Powerful Messages on Pure Flix)

Laurie said on social media that the church saw a whopping 1.3 million people join him online for the service — and that 11,207 people made decisions to accept Christ.

The preacher credited President Donald Trump for the massive numbers, as Trump tweeted a note on Saturday that he would be watching and invited others to do the same.

“Thanks for joining us, @realdonaldtrump,” Laurie wrote, speaking directly to the president via social media. “A lot of new people visited us because of your tweet!”

(Read also: Greg Laurie’s Prayer Challenge: ‘Do This…For God’s Glory’)

The pastor was referring to Trump’s tweet on Saturday that marked the start of Holy Week and noted that the president planned to watch Harvest.

“Palm Sunday is the beginning of a Holy week for many people of Faith and a great day to lift our voices in Prayer,” Trump wrote. “I will be tuning into Pastor @greglaurie at @harvestorg Church in Riverside, California tomorrow at 11:00 A.M. Eastern.”

(Read also: Greg Laurie’s ‘Crazy, Chaotic’ Childhood And His Path To Faith)

It’s certainly noteworthy to see so many people tuning in to Harvest — and making decisions for Christ.

You can watch Harvest’s Palm Sunday service here:

Want to see more of Laurie? Watch “Greg Laurie TV” right now on Pure Flix. You can watch him as well as thousands of inspirational TV shows and movies with a free trial today!

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free, one-month trial here.

Coronavirus Faith Intelwars MSNBC

‘I’ve never actually done this on the air’: MSNBC host asks Bishop T.D. Jakes to pray on live TV

An MSNBC host shocked viewers on Monday when he asked Dallas-area megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes to lead viewers in prayer.

(Sign up for inspiring faith and family friendly movies & TV shows)

The moment unfolded during “MSNBC Live” when host Craig Melvin was speaking with Jakes about the COVID-19 crisis. Melvin abruptly posed a fascinating question.

“For folks who aren’t able to get to church yesterday, I’ve never actually done this on the air,” Melvin proclaimed. “Can you lead us in prayer for 30 seconds?”

Jakes responded affirmatively and proceeded to offer the following invocation:

Our Father and our God, we bow our heads to you in humility, understanding that we are not competent in and of ourselves to handle this kind of global calamity. We look to you, Lord, to be the source, the strength, the help, the light that we need, strengthen our first responders, strengthen even our broadcast people, strengthen all of us whose lives have been devastated and disrupted and give us the peace that passes all understanding. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

(Looking for a good podcast? Subscribe to the ‘Pure Flix Podcast’)

Watch the powerful moment unfold:

If you’re looking for more spiritual inspiration, consider watching sermons and uplifting messages right now on

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free, one-month trial here.

Coronavirus homeschool Intelwars Kevin sorbo Sam sorbo

Actress Sam Sorbo homeschools — and she’s sharing her tips that she hopes will save parents’ sanity while schools are closed

Actors Kevin and Sam Sorbo homeschool their kids, and the two outspoken Christian performers have gained a plethora of wisdom along the way.

Amid rampant school closures plaguing the U.S. right now due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Sam Sorbo, author of the book, “True Faith,” appeared on “The Pure Flix Podcast” to offer advice to anxious parents who find themselves homeschooling for the first time.

(Watch: Get Some Great Homeschool Curriculum and Streaming Titles for Your Kids)

“Your responsibility as a parent is to ignite the natural curiosity in your child,” Sorbo said. “And to encourage them to learn … “You do not need to know everything.”

Listen to Sorbo’s tips for parents struggling with the homeschool chaos that the novel corona-virus has sparked:

Sorbo, who has been homeschooling the couple’s children for years, also encouraged parents not to fear their own knowledge level and to instead “learn alongside” kids.

“It’s actually not rocket science,” she quipped.

One of the other major stresses some parents are experiencing centers on finding a newfound life balance between working from home and homeschooling schedules, as some districts are sending work home throughout the day for parents to do with kids.

(Read also: Discover Entertaining And Inspiring Homeschool And Family Content)

In the end, Sorbo said it all comes down to crafting a vibrant and workable schedule.

“Every family will have its own formula,” she said, noting that she has always started the day with breakfast and Bible study and with instruction beginning at 9 a.m. “You have to figure out what is going to work for you.”

Another tip Sorbo offered centers on the location of instruction; she recommended parents choose a spot and remain consistent.

(Read also: Mom Blogs: 8 Homeschool Blogs That Will Inspire)

“I highly recommend that you have a designated area in your house … that is where your school takes place, at least at the start of every day,” she said, likening this space to an educational “headquarters” of sorts.

Sorbo concluded by encouraging parents to see this as an important “opportunity,” despite the challenges that these newfound homeschooling environments have created.

“We can look at this as a huge tragedy … but you an also change your perspective and look at this as an opportunity,” she said. “If you believe in God, then it’s an opportunity, whether you like it or not … take time out and be with your kids.”

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free, one-month trial here.

Betsy DeVos Education Faith Intelwars

‘My heart is with kids’: US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks out on faith, schools

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who is a key player in the nation’s ongoing discussion about school choice and academic reform, is a devout Christian with a lifetime commitment to her faith.

And in a recent interview with “The Pure Flix Podcast,” DeVos dove deep into her biblical roots, her passion for education and her perspective on potential reforms.

“I was fortunate enough to be born into a family that raised me to make my faith my own,” she said. “I had exposure from my first memories to weekly church services.”

(Watch: Stream Thousands of Faith and Family-Friendly TV Shows and Movies Today!)

While DeVos was brought up in a Christian home, it wasn’t until her teen years that her faith was more firmly rooted.

“My faith really became my own when I was a late teen, early 20s,” she said, adding that she has since had continued challenges that have helped her learn and grow. “I’m grateful to have had that foundation.”

The Trump-appointee went on to note that faith is “foundational to everything” she does, explaining how her views about individual value translate to the educational realm.

“I firmly believe every single child is a uniquely created individual with great potential and there are too many kids that are just not able to develop that full potential, because they are in a place that simply is not cultivating that for whatever reason,” DeVos said.

Listen to DeVos share her faith journey and her passion for education:

She noted that there are many teachers across the U.S. who are doing a wonderful job, but added her belief that the system, as it currently stands, doesn’t meet diverse needs.

“Kids are different,” DeVos said. “They learn differently and a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach does not work.”

(Read also: 15 Christian Religious Documentaries You Should Watch Now)

She spoke to her own experience in K-12 education and expressed her wish that she had been more fervently challenged, and opened up about what led to her personal passion for reforming the contemporary educational system.

DeVos said it all started when she began to volunteer at a local Christian school and saw firsthand some of the “choice” issues at play.

“My passion around education really grew when my oldest son — who’s just about 38 — was starting kindergarten,” she said. “My husband and I knew we were going to be able to send our children wherever we wanted to, but I started getting involved with a small Christian school [and] the more I did … the more I realized that, for every family that had their child there, there were probably 10 or 20 other families in that neighborhood who longed to have their children in a place like that.”

DeVos said she and her family soon started supporting scholarships to help students attend such schools, and that she realized it is a “policy issue,” as many families simply lacked the economic ability to make the same choices.

(Read also: 7 Powerful Ben Carson Quotes About God And Faith)

“[I realized] those families [didn’t] have the economic means to be able to make that choice,” she said. “And yet their children are every bit as special and precious as mine are. So that really spurred my interest in what I refer to as ‘education freedom’ — school choice, very broadly.”

DeVos also spent 15 years as an in-school mentor for at-risk kids, an experience she said was “very formative” and beneficial. She’s still in touch with one of the students — a girl she started working with in the first grade; she is now a college sophomore.

“I’m very proud of her,” DeVos said. “I continue to encourage her to be everything God meant her to be.”

These experiences helped inform DeVos’ educational worldview and her penchant for reform. Her goal, she said, is academic freedom for all.

“We enjoy freedom in almost every other area of our life,” she said. “And yet the K-12 years for almost a century and a half here have been very much a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach and it’s time to change that.”

DeVos added, “When you think about the fact that young people today represent 100 percent of our country’s future … we need to make sure that every single one of them has the opportunity to fully develop their gifts and talents innate in them.”

While she said she never had any expectation that she would become U.S. education secretary, she didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity when it arose.

But DeVos said making change is an uphill battle.

“Big, large complex systems and organizations don’t change easily and they don’t recognize uniqueness and they don’t recognize differences in how you learn,” she said. “It is a system that exists to really serve itself, not do what’s best for individual children.”

(Read also: The History Of Prayer Being Removed From Schools)

DeVos also had a message about teachers who might find that the system they’re working in “isn’t working for them” — that they will be “highly valued in a system of freedom and choices.”

As for the controversy that has surrounded her policy recommendations, she was candid and yet resolute.

“There have been a lot of misconceptions, misperceptions sown about me, but the reality is that my heart is with kids,” DeVos said. “And I’m for them and for their futures and I’m for their parents to have the kind of opportunity to make the choices that I was able to make for my kids.”

Be sure to check out powerful homeschooling resources and educational titles here.

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free trial here.

Bible Faith Intelwars Tennessee Tornado

‘Not a page gone’: Cops find intact family Bible among Tennessee tornado wreckage

As Tennessee residents continued clean-up efforts after tornadoes ravaged the area, first responders found a nearly unscathed Bible among the wreckage.

“I found the holy Bible here. … There’s not a page gone in this Bible,” a Sparta Police Department cop identified as Officer Denton told WVLT-TV. “It’s a family Bible. We’d like to find out whose family Bible it was.”

(Read: The Best and Most Inspiring Bible Verses and Scriptures)

At least two additional Bibles were found in the wreckage, with police looking to return these items to their rightful owners.

Watch Officer Denton show the Bible:

In the midst of such pain, devastation and loss, these personal belongings — especially Bibles — will surely bring solace to families.

“These are treasures,” the TV reporter conducting the interview proclaimed, noting that people will surely want to reclaim such items.

(Read also: 11 Bible Verses About Sadness, Grief And Overcoming The Odds)

“This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” Denton added of the devastation.

Please continue to pray for Tennessee as clean-up continues, and as at least 24 deaths have been reported.

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