Friday, January 29, 2010

Faith Healing Trial Of An Oregon Father Continues

*Here's more concerning the trial of a father who's son died after receiving no medical treatment for his condition. I am curious to hear more facts come out on this case.

Teen's father on the stand, denies knowing severity of son's condition
By Matthew Graham,The Oregon City News

Jeff Beagley told an Oregon City jury Wednesday that despite staying home from work the June 2008 day his 16-year-old son died, spending the whole night before awake talking to Neil, carrying his ill son to the bathroom and family members coming to pray over Neil, he didn’t think Neil’s condition was bad enough that his life was in danger.

“(Neil) didn’t act like he was in pain or say anything about it,” Jeff Beagley said of his son’s condition on the day he died.

“He stops breathing, what happened?” asked attorney Wayne Mackeson.

“I thought about that a lot; I don’t know what I did,” Jeff Beagley said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was such a shock because he didn’t seem like he was that bad that he would die; it was just a total shock.

“Was there any talk about calling 9-1-1,” Mackeson asked.

“Not that I know of,” Jeff Beagley said. “I don’t remember.”

Jeff and Marci Beagley face criminally negligent homicide charges in the faith-healing death of their teenage son, who died June 17, 2008, from complications due to an inflammation in his urinary tract, according to the county medical examiner’s office.

Just the flu

Jeff Beagley testified during most of the day in Clackamas County Circuit Court that he had no idea why Neil died. He said he thought Neil just had the flu.

He also called into question previous testimony. Referring to a food journal the family kept in the week leading to Neil’s death, he said it didn’t account for everything Neil ate.

“I know there was more fed to him than was on that, it wasn’t 100 percent of what he ate,” he said. “It was more to keep track for (his mother) so she knew what she fed him.”

Jeff Beagley said he helped Neil get around the house and get to the bathroom, even sitting in the bathroom with him while Neil used the bathroom on the evening before Neil died. He said he did it more because he was worried about his son falling, not because Neil said he was too weak or light-headed.

Jeff Beagley cried while testifying about the death of his 15-month-old granddaughter, Ava Worthington, three months before Neil died. He cried again, as did Marci Beagley, when reviewing a school assignment Neil had done explaining why he looked up to his father.

God's will?

Prosecutors grilled Beagley, who claimed he hadn’t made statements reported by Oregon City Police Lt. Jim Band. Prosecutors also pressed Beagley on his religious beliefs and whether he ever would have taken Neil to a hospital.

“Your son is fighting just a common flu and then just out of the blue just stops breathing and you didn’t do anything?” asked Deputy District Attorney Greg Horner.

“I can’t tell you what I did,” Beagley said.

“Did you make any effort to get his heart going again?” Horner asked.

“I didn’t know how to do that at that point,” replied Beagley.

“Did you try to get the people there who did know what to do?” Horner asked.

Beagley said he didn’t.

“Nobody did anything because that’s part of your belief, isn’t it, it’s just the will of God,” Horner pressed.

“I guess it is,” Beagley said.

Pressing on the notion that the Beagleys knew heir son was in serious condition and needed medical help, Horner asked about the seemingly unprecedented events preceding Neil’s death.

Horner asked about why he didn’t go to work on Tuesday, the day Neil died.

“I was up all night talking to Neil,” Jeff Beagley said. “Pretty much he wasn’t tired so I stayed up and talked to him about things, cars, we might even have had the TV on.”

“And that’s just a coincidence that you happened to stay up all night with him the night before he died,” Horner asked. “That’s just a coincidence?”

“I guess,” Beagley responded.

Later, after Beagley said he’d carried Neil to the bathroom Monday night, Horner asked about that incidents relation to Neil’s condition.

“Was that also just a coincidence, the night before he died you felt compelled to carry him to the bathroom,” Horner asked later.

“Yeah, I guess so,” Beagley said.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mega Churches-CNN

Mega Churches Mean Big Business

(CNN) -- Mega churches across the United States are becoming increasingly popular which is not only bringing thousands of worshippers together, but also billions of dollars in profit.

From self-help books to CDs and DVDs, mega churches are becoming big money makers for the pastors and ministries they are a part of.

Mega churches are extra-large churches that can accommodate upwards of 15,000 people and are common among members of the evangelical Christian faith.

Scott Thumma, professor of sociology and religion at Hartford Seminary told CNN that "the mega church on average has about $6.5 million in income a year."

"If you put together all the mega churches in the United States, that's easily several billion dollars."

Many ministers in the evangelical faith have become superstars in their own right -- Joel Osteen is one in particular.

Osteen is a pastor at the Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas and his televised service reaches over seven million people each week across the United States and around the world.

The Lakewood Church which Osteen is in charge of has a yearly budget of more than $80 million, but church officials deny that it's about money.

"We hear the criticism a bit, but we don't hear it as much as you think we would," Donald Iloff Junior, advisor for Lakewood Church said.

"One thing you find very absent is the asking of money and never once have we asked for money or donations on television."

However, some critics argue that it's hard to be both a pastor and someone in charge of a yearly budget in the tens of millions.

"When you have pastors thinking of themselves as CEOs, it's hard to tell the difference between a pastor and P-Diddy," Jonathan Walton, Assistant Professor of religious studies at the University of California Riverside told CNN.

The way the sermon is told at these mega churches has also completely changed.

"The plasma screen TVs have replaced crosses, Power Point-like presentations of the words of songs and liturgical practices have replaced the hymnals," Walton said.

"This really resonates with a younger generation."

The average age of a mega church worshipper is 40 years old -- 13 years younger than at a traditional church.

Mega church worshippers tend to not only be younger, but also more diverse.

"One thinks of them as a homogeneous group of white suburban American, but in fact when you go to most of the mega churches, you're going to find diversity of age, income and education levels," Thumma said.

"You can also find racial diversity because in almost 30 percent of these mega churches across the country, you have 20 percent or more integration of ethnic groups so it really is quite staggering."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Limbaugh Comments On Haiti

I know some of you may never visit this blog again after I say this. Sorry, I have to say this. Rush Limbaugh does NOT represent me as a Christian, nor should he represent anyone then his egocentric, narcissistic self. Larger than life and true to form, he will never miss an opportunity to offend as to boost his ratings and his following. His comments concerning aid to Haiti is downright far-fetched as it is incredulous; and I seriously doubt he even believes himself. The unbelieving world see his antics, and unfortunately lumps us all into the same category. Yuk and double yuk--this man is offensive, repulsively belligerent for a buck, and would be at home at the planet Pluto. A brief article on his comments about the earthquake aid relief efforts follow directly below:


Rush Limbaugh Haiti earthquake comments are 'really stupid...

In the wake of the Haitian earthquake, Rush Limbaugh has created a tremor of his own.

The ever-controversial radio talk host is taking fire for advising people not to donate to Haitian relief through the fund set up by the White House.

If you do that, said Limbaugh, you’ll probably just end up on an Obama campaign mailing list – and a big chunk of your donation will get siphoned off by government bureaucrats.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called Limbaugh’s assertions "really stupid"

But the heaviest flak has come from Limbaugh’s other comment that "You already give to Haitian relief – it’s called the income tax."

Relief groups and Limbaugh critics like the watchdog group Media Matters immediately accused him of sending the message that there was no need or point to sending private donations.

Limbaugh then posted a lengthy reply on his Web site, saying he had never discouraged donations. His point, he said, was that they should go through private channels like the Red Cross.

Limbaugh, who relishes this sort of controversy, did not back down from his suggestion that the Haitian crisis is "playing right into the hands of" the Obama administration, and that’s likely to come up again on his radio show today (heard in New York, noon-3 p.m., on WABC, 770 AM)…

*Click on the title to read entire article.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Warning To The Saints!

I saw this post recently on Sola Dei Gloria, and it has been reported by Andrew Strom that "revival" has erupted under Todd Bentley's ministry. The revival meetings are in colusion with the MorningStar ministry of Rick Joyner. Videos are also presented in the post, click on the title below to go directly to the site to see them along with the post:


-by Andrew Strom

I just saw the video of Rick Joyner announcing that Todd Bentley is back ministering every night at Morningstar in North Carolina and now they have so-called “revival” manifestations eerily similar to Lakeland.

They also announced that they are streaming these big meetings every night on their new TV channel – and they are greatly promoting the whole thing.

Now I am a tongues-speaking Pentecostal myself – but can I ask a simple question here please?

What kind of “spirit” was it operating in the Lakeland revival – when the leader and main focal-point of the meetings (Todd Bentley) was having an adulterous affair behind the scenes? Was it truly the “Holy” Spirit that was anointing something so sensual and unholy?

And now that Todd divorced his wife and married his mistress – are we supposed to welcome him back and this “anointing” with him? What is going on here?

Rick Joyner has been warned very specifically by high-level ministries not to do what he is doing now -bringing Todd Bentley back into the limelight. And yet it seems he does not care.

Apparently the “manifestations” are all that matter.

So what exactly are these ‘manifestations’ if they are seemingly at home in such an unholy environment? Are they from God at all? (I am talking here about the violent “jerking”, uncontrollable laughter, bodily contortions, drunkenness, ‘portals’, strange “angel” encounters, etc.)

Why do we not see such an ‘anointing’ in the Bible? Why aren’t Jesus or the apostles promoting these manifestations if they really are true Revival? Why instead do we see these things all the way through New Age and Hinduism, etc?

Do we not realize that many false religions have their own version of “laying on of hands” that results in these very types of manifestations?

This ’spirit’ is not in the Bible – but it is (found) all the way through Kundalini-type Hinduism. Don’t you think this should alarm us?


If you search for Kundalini and Shakti on the Internet, you will find that multitudes of people in the New Age and Eastern religions still experience these powerful manifestations. Often this is with the help of a Guru, who touches them on the forehead so that they can experience a “Kundalini Awakening”.

As researcher Robert Walker wrote in 1995:

“The meetings which mystic Hindu gurus hold are called ‘Darshan’. At these meetings devotees go forward to receive spiritual experience from a touch by the open palm of the hand, often to the forehead, by the guru in what is known as the Shakti Pat or divine touch.

The raising of the spiritual experience is called raising Kundalini…

After a period when the devotee has reached a certain spiritual elevation they begin to shake, jerk, or hop or squirm uncontrollably, sometimes breaking into uncontrolled animal noises or laughter as they reach an ecstatic high. These manifestations are called ‘Kriyas’. Devotees sometimes roar like lions and show all kinds of physical signs during this period.

Often devotees move on to higher states of spiritual consciousness and become inert physically and appear to slip into an unconsciousness…”

And as guru Shri Yogãnandji Mahãrãja wrote:

“When Your body begins trembling, hair stands on roots, you laugh or begin to weep without your wishing, your tongue begins to utter deformed sounds, you are filled with fear or see frightening visions…the Kundalini Shakti has become active.”

In China there is a popular Kundalini-type movement called ‘Qigong’.

When a Chinese Qigong spiritual master spoke in the USA in 1991, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that many in the crowd began to experience “spontaneous movements”. The master told his audience,

“Those who are sensitive might start having some strong physical sensations – or start laughing or crying. Don’t worry. This is quite normal.”

When you see videos of these “kriyas” or other Kundalini-type manifestations, you would often swear that you are watching a modern “Impartation”-type church meeting. (And I say this as someone who believes strongly in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I just don’t believe in “alien” anointings infiltrating the Body of Christ! There is a big difference between Kundalini and the real Holy Spirit).

Since 1993-4, I believe a foreign spirit has been allowed to invade the church – first through Rodney Howard-Browne’s ministry – then Toronto, then the Prophetic movement (which I was part of at the time) and on into Lakeland and many other ministries and movements.

I urge people now to “test the spirits” just as we are commanded to in Scripture. Do not let just anyone lay hands on you. This is a powerful spirit and it has the backing of a lot of big-name ministries. In fact, these men and women are the very ones responsible for allowing it to spread through the body of Christ.

And one day they will be answerable to God for doing so.

We are specifically warned in the Bible that the Last Days will be a time of “seducing spirits,” false prophets, ‘lying signs and wonders,’ and that we always need to watch for “angels of light” masquerading as the real thing.

Why does the modern church not take these warnings seriously? Aren’t we living in the very days that the Bible warns about?

Right now I need to do something that I have never done in such a way before.

I have never before published a list of ministries or movements to watch out for. But this time I have to.

This sickness has gone on long enough. I urge you to cut yourself off from the following ministries and their tainted “anointings” my friends.

Even though some of these people say “good things” at times, it is simply not worth having any involvement with them due to the tainted anointing that they endorse or minister in themselves.

Here is the list-

* (1) Todd Bentley.

* (2) Rodney Howard Browne – the so-called “Holy Ghost Bartender.”

* (2) Rick Joyner or anyone connected with Morningstar Ministries.

* (3) John Arnott & any connected with TACF (The “Toronto Blessing”).

* (4) Peter Wagner of the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’ who claims to be head of a worldwide network of ‘apostles’ – who publicly endorsed Lakeland and will soon preach at Toronto TACF alongside other “false anointing” advocates.

* (5) Mike Bickle and IHOP Kansas City (-I lived nearby for over two years – and know how much they are into all this stuff. Mike Bickle promotes it in his book).

* (6) Bob Jones – the Kansas City prophet whose ministry is utterly tainted by it all.

* (7) Patricia King and anyone else from ‘Extreme Prophetic.’

* (8) John Crowder & anyone connected with “Sloshfest.”

* (9) Bill Johnson of Bethel church, Redding – who says some good things but publicly endorsed Lakeland and promotes the “false anointing” very strongly behind the scenes.

* (10) Heidi & Rolland Baker of IRIS Ministries – who do good work amongst the poor in Mozambique – but who have also carried and promoted this tainted anointing for years.

* (11) Randy Clark, Wes & Stacey Campbell, and other key figures from the “Toronto blessing.”

* (12) The Elijah List – and almost anyone featured on it.

Of course there are a huge number of lesser-known preachers and ministries who carry or endorse this Kundalini-type “anointing” around the world. But I have concentrated here on the most influential that I know of.

It really is an enormous issue in the church. I urge anyone who is a supporter of any of the above ministries to really check them out thoroughly. If you find (as I have) that they carry or endorse this false Kundalini spirit, then please stop supporting them in any way – and whatever you do, don’t let them “lay hands” on you!

I am putting everything on the line to be “naming names” like this. But I believe it is that serious. How on earth did we get to the point where “kriyas” just like Hinduism are spreading through the church?

Please forward this email to everyone you know, blogs and boards, etc. These people are trying to “relaunch” this whole thing right now. Help us get this warning out.

To see a video showing “kriyas” and other Kundalini-type manifestations, please click on the Youtube links below-
God bless you all
Andrew Strom.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Trial--Parents Did Not Seek Medical Care For Son

Trial Raises New Questions In Faith-healing Debate

When an Oregon City couple go on trial this week in the faith-healing death of their son, the case will raise a new wrinkle in Oregon’s debate over religious freedom:

Can a juvenile’s right to obtain medical treatment absolve parents of responsibility for providing health care to a sick child?

Jeff and Marci Beagley are charged with criminally negligent homicide for failing to provide adequate medical care for their 16-year-old son, Neil, who died in June 2008 of an untreated urinary tract blockage.

The Beagleys are also the grandparents of Ava Worthington, whose 2008 death prompted last year’s high-profile trial of Ava’s parents, Raylene and Carl Brent Worthington. Raylene Worthington, who is the Beagleys’ daughter and Neil’s sister, was acquitted in that case. Her husband was convicted of criminal mistreatment.

The entire family belongs to Oregon City’s Followers of Christ Church, which shuns medical care in favor of prayer, anointing with oil and laying on of hands.

Oregon law once allowed parents to avoid homicide charges if they relied solely on spiritual treatment and their child died. The law changed in 1999, mainly due to the church’s long history of children dying from untreated medical conditions.

The Beagley trial will cover some of the same ground as the Worthington case, such as the clash between a parental rights and child-protection laws. But Neil Beagley’s age presents a new challenge for prosecutors.

Under Oregon law, children 15 and older are allowed to obtain medical treatment without parental permission. That fact raises compelling questions for jurors in the Beagley case.

How can teenage children make informed decisions if they’ve never been to a doctor, have no understanding of their condition and have been raised to reject medical treatment? Do children have the right to refuse medical care? How much responsibility do parents have for the health of teenage children?

Church members offer a circular argument that prosecutors must crack.

Since Followers rarely go to doctors, most have no medical records, which makes it hard to document the progression of an illness. Their lack of medical experience, they argue, also leaves them unaware of symptoms that may indicate a medical emergency.

The Worthingtons, for example, said they thought their daughter had a bad cold rather than a life-threatening blood infection. The 15-month-old child also had a growth on her neck that would swell to softball-size lump, but it was never evaluated by a doctor.

If the Beagleys contend that Neil also showed no signs that he was nearing death, prosecutors will be challenged to show otherwise.

An autopsy determined that Neil had a constriction where his bladder empties into his urethra, a typically painful condition that caused his kidneys to stop extracting urea from his bloodstream and triggered heart failure.

Dr. Cliff Nelson, Oregon deputy state medical examiner, said the condition may have been congenital and that Beagley had suffered repeated episodes of blockage and pain, probably throughout his life. The condition was treatable, Nelson said, but there was no apparent medical intervention.

Yet no one outside the tight Followers of Christ circle got close enough to assess Neil's condition during the weeks before he died.

Neil was home-schooled. His world and personal relationships revolved around the church. There were no teachers, Boy Scout leaders, sports coaches or outsiders who would have routinely observed him.

It will be left to the prosecutions medical experts in pediatric urology and kidney disease to describe the symptoms a reasonable person would have noted as the boy's condition deteriorated in his final months.

The Beagleys also are expected to say they relied on statements from an Oregon Department of Human Services worker who met with the family more than two months before Neil died.

The state's child welfare hot line received two calls about the Beagleys' children in March 2008. The callers reported that Kathryn Beagley, then 14, had serious health problems, including a kidney infection and that Neil had been ill with a possibly life-threatening condition.

Jeff Lewis, a DHS worker, met with the family twice and determined no intervention was necessary. Neil said he was getting over a cold and did not want to see a doctor, Lewis testified at hearing last month.

After talking to Lewis, the Beagleys said they believed they were providing adequate care for their son and not violating the law, the Beagley's attorneys said last month.

It is unfair to penalize the couple for following the advice of a government employee and, in fact, it is entrapment, said the lawyers, who asked Clackamas County Presiding Judge Steven L. Maurer to dismiss the charges.

Maurer denied the motion and said the question should be posed to jurors.

That process starts Monday when jury selection begins.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

An Appeal For Haiti

*Read a letter via email from this morning detailing an appeal by David Servant, who operates a ministry in Haiti. To your right, you will see an excellent article he wrote which was posted some time ago "Three Lessons From Lakeland". I feel he will use the money wisely as postulated in his appeal. And another thing we all can do without cost concerning this catasthrophe; that is pray.

The artile below as receive via emal:


NOTE: Our good friend David Servant runs Orphan's Tear and is one of the most reliable ministries helping the poor that I know of. Please consider donating through his charity if you are looking for ways to help Christian ministries or orphans in Haiti after the earthquake.

-by David Servant.

You've probably heard the news of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the Caribbean island nation of Haiti late yesterday afternoon. The epicenter was not far from Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, home to about three million people. We have two orphanages in Haiti. The one in Port-au-Prince cares for twelve children. We have not been able to establish communication with them or with any of our other dear friends in Haiti. As soon as we hear something substantial, I'll let you know.

Homes and other buildings in Port-au-Prince are generally poorly constructed, made of concrete or concrete blocks, and the early news is that there is massive destruction and loss of life. Haiti has very little infrastructure or emergency/disaster services. It is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. In the best of times,life is very difficult for those who live in the hillside shanty towns
that surround Port-au-Prince. Food insecurity already affects more than a quarter of Haiti's population---almost two million people. Please join us in prayer for every survivor.

Yesterday afternoon, just a few hours before the earthquake struck, a few of our staff members were purchasing air tickets to travel to Haiti in a few weeks to visit the two orphanages that we assist through our Orphan's Tear division. While they must wait until early March, a dear friend, James Jones, who is a former army medic and who lives on the same island as Haiti in the Dominican Republic, is on his way towards Port-au-Prince. He and his team are carrying food, water and medicines. We hope to send funds to James to help him and his team provide relief to survivors in the earthquake region. Currently, however, our Disaster Relief Fund is empty, as we have expended everything we've received into that fund in 2009 to rebuild the lives of believers affected by Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar.

If you would like to help us with relief efforts in Haiti by contributing to Heaven's Family's Disaster Relief Fund, you can give securely by credit card through our website (below), or by calling our office during regular business hours (8:30AM - 5PM EST in the USA) at-(412) 833-5826. To contribute by check or on the Net, see the instructions below.

100% of what is given will be sent to Haiti, as is always our policy. I also ask that you forward this email to your compassionate friends along with your recommendation of Heaven's Family, as that might also be a means to meet urgent needs and answer prayers in Haiti.

To contribute securely using David's website, click the link below-

(This is a registered charity).

To contribute by check in the U.S. or from any country other than the U.K., please write "Disaster Relief" in the memo line and mail it to

Heaven's Family,
P.O. Box 12854,
Pittsburgh, PA, 15241, USA.

To contribute by cheque in the U.K., please write "Disaster Relief" in the memo line and mail it to
Heaven's Family,
P.O. Box 3736,
Ascot, Berkshire, SL57WR.

To call our office during regular business hours (8:30AM - 5PM EST
in the USA) call (412) 833-5826.

God bless you all.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Great Testimony

*Below you will find a great testimony of how an educated woman of the Bahai faith came to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior. Folks, never give up on the ones who seem like a lost cause. Continue to pray for family and others who do not believe in Him. I was a hard core atheist for many years--the comfortable kind. With God, all things are possible.

Daughter of Baha’i minister fled Iran, found new hope in America

By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

DANA POINT, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- She was a math whiz who defied female stereotypes in Iran by becoming a civil engineer. But after Iran’s 1979 revolution, this daughter of a Baha’i minister was forced to run for her life.

“As a child, I always thought there was something wrong with the world,” says Maheen Vardakostas. Even at five-years-old, she asked her parents “Who is God?” When her mother tried to buy her nice clothes she protested, saying, “I want something that lasts, something eternal.”

She grew up within the strict confines of the Baha’i religion, with prayers three times a day in Arabic.

The Bahai faith teaches the spiritual unity of all mankind, with Jesus portrayed as one of a number of divine messengers who included Abraham, Buddha and Mohammad. Founded by Bahaullah in Persia, its adherents represent themselves as seekers of truth, but Maheen disagrees.

“Baha’is become Baha’is because they were born to Baha’i families, they don’t seek the truth,” she maintains.

Despite the strong spiritual influences of Maheen’s home, God’s love always seemed remote to her. “There was always a distance,” she says. “I wanted to know him, but there was no possibility of an intimate relationship.”

Maheen was unusually gifted with numbers, and became a national champion in a math competition. At 15, with few prospects for rigorous study in her small town, she talked her father into sending her to Tehran to pursue her academic interests.

“Dad raised me as a tomboy,” Maheen recalls. “In high school and college, I wore men’s clothing. I was tough, not very gentle.”

Maheen decided to become a civil engineer, and entered a program with only two women enrolled among 300 men. After her graduation, she landed a high-paying job and seemed to have a bright future ahead of herself, until the onset of the Iranian revolution.

“While the Shah was alive, he protected the Baha’is, because his personal physician was a Baha’i,” Maheen notes. “After the revolution, the Muslims started burning the houses of Baha’is, and they killed some of our relatives.”

Beginning in the early 1900s, Baha’is faced continual persecution in Iran. After the revolution of 1979, Baha’is were banned from attending universities, holding government jobs, and many were sent to prison for their beliefs.

“They started looking for my dad to kill him,” Maheen recalls. “All my family ran for their lives.” In addition to the increase in persecution, the revolution also brought economic calamity.

“The Americans left; there was no money, no one left to run the economy,” she says. Food shortages were rampant, with long lines for basic commodities. “In the winter, I stood in line for seven days to get petrol (heating oil) to burn. I could see my breath in my apartment.”

A small cottage industry developed in Tehran – selling admission papers for U.S. colleges to Iranians desperate to leave. Maheen managed to obtain admission papers to study at a small private college in Los Angeles, but she had idea how she might get there.

The U.S. Embassy had been closed, but Maheen’s attention was riveted one day by a rumor that it might reopen. She joined a long line in the street outside the embassy that began to form. “I slept on the street for one week to apply for a visa,” she says.

Maheen considers it a miracle that she and her sister got visas to leave. “I told them we were persecuted as Baha’is and the Lord gave us favor,” she says. In her excitement and jubilation, she ran all the way from the embassy to her apartment after she got the good news.

In the summer of 1979, Maheen and her sister arrived in Los Angeles. “We were traumatized,” she recalls. “We lost everything and we didn’t know if we would see my parents again. If we returned, we didn’t know if they would kill us.”

To stay in the U.S., Maheen needed to fund her education. “Every month my dad was supposed to send us $1000, but he was running for his life.” As she tried to adjust to life in the U.S, the reality of her strange existence brought on a depression. “I didn’t know the Lord, and it seemed like a nightmare… I hoped a car would hit me.”

Unexpectedly, her desperation began to ease. A friend helped her win asylum, get a work permit, and eventually a green card. She found work at a restaurant in Dana Point, California. “The owner respected me because I was a hard worker,” she says. “Because of my math background, I added all the numbers in my mind.”

Customers and fellow-workers marveled at her numerical ability. Someone said, “There’s a girl there who has wires in her brain.”

Despite her success, Maheen planned to leave the restaurant and resume her career path and earn a PhD. One day she told the owner, Angelo Vardakostas, of her plans to leave.

“I’m going to have to leave in two months,” she told him.

Angelo studied her carefully, then told her, “You will never leave this place.”

Immediately, something touched Maheen in the depths of her soul. “There was a gentleness and a love in his voice that touched my spirit,” she recalls.

Maheen married Angelo and they had two sons together. She continued to attend a Baha’i church occasionally, but still felt empty in her soul. “The Baha’is were not satisfying me.” She began to study self-improvement and other philosophies.

One day, one of her friends asked her, “What’s wrong with you? You’re always thinking.”

“There is something wrong with this world,” Maheen retorted. “Something is missing. I’m looking for that…”

“All the philosophers have looked for that and you’re not going to find it,” her friend said.

Angelo and Maheen placed their first son in St. Margaret’s Episcopal School, an elite private school in San Juan Capistrano, California. When the school invited them to an academic award ceremony where their son would receive an award, Maheen was dismayed because the ceremony would take place in a chapel.

She stood outside nervously, thinking it would violate her Baha’i faith to go inside. Then she thought, ‘This is stupid,’ and stepped into the back of the building. Immediately she noticed the students kneeling and reciting a prayer, “I believe in God the Father who created the world. I believe in God the Son who loved me and died for me…”

When Maheen heard the prayer, she broke into tears. Their God seemed so intimate, she thought. “A God who loves me and died for me? – I never heard of this.”

As Maheen drove away from the school, she kept repeating one line of the prayer: “God the Son who loved me and died for me, God the Son who loved me and died for me…” Could this be the missing piece of life she had been searching for?

Angelo and Maheen enrolled their second son at Capistrano Valley Christian School – only a short distance away, because there was no room for him at St. Margarets.

Every day when she picked her son up at school she asked, “What did you do today?”

“We learned about the Bible,” he replied. Day after day, he repeated the same thing, until Maheen became exasperated.

“We’re paying $6000 a year and all they’re teaching you is the Bible?” she exclaimed.

Soon they moved their second son to Capistrano Valley Christian School, and one of the boys’ teachers, Mrs. Mulligan, invited Maheen to visit the Life Church in Mission Viejo, California.

When Maheen arrived at the church, she noticed many were praying with their eyes closed, so Maheen decided to do the same. When she opened her eyes she was shocked to see the guest speaker standing in front of her. He invited her to come up on the stage with him.

She felt compelled to go with him, but suddenly embarrassed as all eyes in the room fell on her.

“Where do you go to church?” he asked.

“I don’t go to church,” Maheen replied. In her discomfiture, she couldn’t help but ask, “What do you want me to do?”

The pastor looked intently into her eyes and said, “I want you to repeat after me,” and he began to lead Maheen in the Sinner’s Prayer.

“I said I was a sinner and I accepted Jesus as my Savior,” Maheen recalls. “But after I said this I felt like my body was a piece of paper.” She tried to control herself so she would not fall down, but she fell backward.

“I was so happy, so excited, I think I entered the Lord’s presence. I got up and he said another prayer and I fell down one more time.”

After the service, Maheen went to a prayer room where several women prayed for her. They showed her where to begin reading the New Testament.

When she got home, she picked up the Bible and began devouring the pages. She read until 4 a.m.

In the next few days and weeks, Jesus entered her dreams at night. “At that time, my husband and I were very close,” she recalls. “We had a good relationship.”

“But my intimacy with Jesus Christ was much greater.” In one of her dreams, Jesus looked at all the books she collected in the Baha’i faith, then he compared those with the truth found in the Bible. “Make sure they give you the real Jesus,” he said to her.

“He was never condemning with me,” Maheen extols. “It was the compelling love of Jesus Christ that led me to repentance,” she says. “His humility knocked me down. I once was very tough, but now, I’m much more gentle.”

Maheen still works at the same restaurant, which she owns with her husband. She believes God has seen her perseverance and is training her for ministry. “I meditate on Him while I’m working on the grill,” she says.

“I took action and sought after the truth. I knocked on every door and found none completely fulfilling. Finally, when I was not seeking, the Lord found me.”

Computer Woes

Well, I got another virus attack on my computer yesterday evening. Actually saw the rotten "thug" come in, and attempt to take over the system files. This virus would not let me restore my computer to an earlier date, or use my backup disk. I went into safe mode, ran my antivirus, and then it let me restore the computer in safe mode. Hopefully the intruder is gone; my firewall is no longer flagging it. This virus had some kind a pdf. extension, although I was not on Adobe. Anyway, I just want to post this in case the computer crashes and I cannot post for a while. It appears to be ok for now. ..Sigh.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hate Crimes Against An Israeli Christian

Jewish Christian in Israel Seeks Protection from Repeated Attacks
Police unresponsive to U.S.-born activist assaulted for his faith

JERUSALEM, December 28 (Compass Direct News) – A Christian of Jewish origin who has been attacked on the streets here four times because of his faith in Christ is seeking police protection.

Jerusalem resident Yossi Yomtov said police have been slow to investigate hate crimes against him by youths wearing kippahs, cloth skullcaps typically worn by observant Jews. In two of the attacks a youth plied him with pepper spray and stun gun shocks, he said.

“This young man cursed me for my belief in Christ,” Yomtov told Compass. “He used ugly curses and spoke in highly abusive language.”

Yomtov, who founded social activist group Lemallah (“Upward”) after moving to Israel from the United States in 1999, said he was last attacked on Dec. 19. On that occasion his group was holding a demonstration in downtown Jerusalem, he said, when a man chanting anti-Christian slogans and using foul language approached him and begin striking him. Police never showed up in spite of many calls to the police station, he said.

Yomtov said he received Christ in 1984, while still living in the United States. He said he became a Christian after he “hit the bottom” – taking drugs and engaging in “in illegal activity.” He regards himself as a Jewish Christian belonging to no one church; he does not belong to the highly organized movement of Messianic Jews.

“I’m not secretive about my belief like some other people, and I often talk about it,” he told Compass. “That’s how many people are aware of me believing in Jesus Christ.”

In previous attacks in the last few months, the assailants appeared to be teenaged or young men of French origin, he said.

“When they approached, one of them started cursing me – I ignored him, as I figured he wasn’t about to attack me, but he did,” Yomtov said. “I received a punch in the face and had to defend myself.”

Police arrived and caught one of the attackers but refused his request to press charges, he said. Yomtov said he asked police why they didn’t secure any witnesses.

“I was told to shut up,” he said. “It was clear that they were not going to press any charges.”

A month later, he said, he was attacked again. The same teenaged youth approached him on King George street in downtown Jerusalem.

“He sprayed my eyes with a pepper spray, and I stood there, blind, for at least 15 minutes,” Yomtov said. “People at a nearby bus stop started calling the police, but they never showed up.”

Late at night on Oct. 12, the harrasment continued.

“I was walking in the city center, in close proximity to a very central Ben-Yehuda street sometime after midnight, and a group of youths with stun guns attacked me brutally,” he said. “I rushed to the police station, but the police officer again was reluctant to take up this complaint, and it took quite a few times and a lot of me convincing them to take this matter seriously.”

Yomtov said he managed to take a photo with his cell phone of the youth who seemed to be the gang leader.

“Finally they agreed to start investigating this issue, yet so far there is no progress in the investigation, and I have totally lost a sense of personal security,” he said. “I don’t know when they’ll come up to me next.”

Police in Jerusalem declined to comment on Yomtov’s case in spite of repeated requests by Compass.

On one street, Yomtov pointed to a morass of hatefull grafitti. Written with Hebrew characters, some of it employed foul language in referring to Christianity and Islam; other messages proclaimed threats such as, “Death to Arabs” and “Death to the left.”

“It seems as if they don’t want to stop the hate crimes, the hate graffities, until it’s too late,” Yomtov said. “If they were serious about enforcing laws against violence they would have at least identified the perpetrator and submitted that information in the complaint file for the prosecutor. Instead they threatened me with arrest, when all I wanted was to investigate the violent crime against me.”

He referred to the recent indictment of ultra-orthodox Jewish extremist Jacob Teitel, an immigrant from the United States charged with multiple hate crimes, including the murder of an Arab shepherd and taxi driver in 1997 and the planting of an explosive device at the front door of a family of Messianic Jews in Ariel that seriously injured 15-year-old Ami Ortiz.

“I wonder whether the Israeli police could prevent the crimes Jacob Teitel performed, had they been taking him seriously from the beginning,” said Yomtov. “It seems that the Israeli police only care to investigate hate crimes when someone is killed or seriously injured

Friday, January 1, 2010

I Have Prayed For Thee

*Below, I have posted an excerpt from a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon off of I thought it a fitting reminder of how Jesus ever makes intercession for us as we head into this new year.

I have prayed for thee
C.H. Spurgeon

How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer's never- ceasing intercession for us. When we pray, He pleads for us; and then we are not praying, He is advocating our cause, and by His supplications shielding us from unseen dangers. Notice the word of comfort addressed to Peter--"Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat; but"--what? "But go and pray for yourself." That would be good advice, but it is not so written. Neither does he say, "But I will keep you watchful, and so you shall be preserved." That were a great blessing. No, it is, "But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." We little know what we owe to our Saviour's prayers. When we reach the hill-tops of heaven, and look back upon all the way whereby the Lord our God hath led us, how we shall praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth. How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace, but day and night pointed to the wounds upon His hands, and carried our names upon His breastplate! Even before Satan had begun to tempt, Jesus had forestalled him and entered a plea in heaven. Mercy outruns malice. Mark, He does not say, "Satan hath desired to have you." He checks Satan even in his very desire, and nips it in the bud. He does not say, "But I have desired to pray for you." No, but "I have prayed for you: I have done it already; I have gone to court and entered a counterplea even before an accusation is made." O Jesus, what a comfort it is that thou hast pleaded our cause against our unseen enemies; countermined their mines, and unmasked their ambushes. Here is a matter for joy, gratitude, hope, and confidence.