Take a few minutes to check out the highlights from our recent mission trip to El Salvador. In these few minutes you will hear a brief history of Compassion International and see video and photo highlights from the trip.
The National Day of Prayer is a vital part of our heritage. Since the first call to prayer in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation, the call to prayer has continued through our history, including President Lincoln’s proclamation of a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer” in 1863. In 1952, a joint resolution by Congress, signed by President Truman, declared an annual national day of prayer. In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Reagan, permanently setting the day as the first Thursday of every May. Each year, the president signs a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. Last year, all 50 state governors plus the governors of several U.S. territories signed similar proclamations.
The National Day of Prayer belongs to all Americans. It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds. Mrs. Shirley Dobson, NDP chairman, reminds us: “We have lost many of our freedoms in America because we have been asleep. I feel if we do not become involved and support the annual National Day of Prayer, we could end up forfeiting this freedom, too.”
Like Thanksgiving or Christmas, this day has become a national observance placed on all Hallmark calendars and observed annually across the nation and in Washington, D.C. Every year, local, state, and federal observances are held from sunrise in Maine to sunset in Hawaii, uniting Americans from all socio-economic, political and ethnic backgrounds in prayer for our nation. It is estimated that over two million people have attended more than 30,000 observances – organized by approximately 40,000 volunteers. At state capitols, county court houses, on the steps of city halls, and in schools, businesses, churches and homes, people stop their activities and gather for prayer.
For the May 5th, 2016 observances, Dr. Tony Evans, the 2016 Honorary Chairman, wrote a special prayer to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon (ET). This recitation will create a huge wave of prayer, flowing from one coast to the other, illustrating the unity of God’s people and acknowledging His dominion over the circumstances facing us.
“The Church should be the conscience of the culture, and it has never been needed more than it is today, with our land facing a myriad of problems ranging from family breakdowns to the immigration crisis to the abiding racial divide. Tragically, as the fabric of our country unravels, we fail to see the spiritual problems that are at the root of our national malaise.”
“God is trying to get our attention. Many people want “God bless America,” but they don’t want “One Nation under God.” The problem is you can’t have one without the other.”
Dr. Tony Evans – honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer
Ministry Brands and Shelby Systems have just returned from a Vision Trip to El Salvador where we visited a Child Development Center that we are helping to sponsor. El Salvador is one of the most dangerous nations on Earth, and unfortunately the children seem to be suffering the most. Gang warfare, natural disasters, violent crime and extreme poverty are experienced daily. Jeanne Wilkinson of Compassion International joins us in the mountainous village of Caserio El Tablón to talk about what the team accomplished. Together we’ll discover what can be done and how you can help. Don’t miss our May Shelby Podcast for this life-changing interview, and make sure you watch the end of the video for some fun music with Mike and the Compassion
The original God’s Not Dead film was the surprise hit of 2014 earning over $60m with a buget of only $2m and winning KLOVE’s TV/Film Impact Award. The Impact award is voted on by KLOVE audiences nationwide. According to the movie producrers, an estimated 7+ million souls have been impacted, stretched and emboldened by experiencing the powerful message of God’s Not Dead. The sequel (which features an entirely new cast) debuts in theathers nationally today.
Here is the film review from PluggedIn:
Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) is neither a troublemaker nor a crusader. But when this conscientious Christian and public high school history teacher answers some honest questions about Jesus posed to her by a struggling, seeking student, she soon finds herself in trouble and at the forefront of a crusade … to prove that God is still not dead.
It’s high school junior Brooke Thawley (Hayley Orrantia) who asks one innocent question. She’s struggling to make sense of her brother’s tragic death.
Brooke wants to know how Gandhi’s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitments to nonviolent protest compared to Jesus’ teachings, Grace replies, “The writer of the gospel of Matthew records Jesus as saying, ‘You have heard it said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you will be children of your father in heaven.”‘ Then she quotes Dr. King: “Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method.'”
The ensuing courtroom conflict revolves around the question of whether Grace’s quotation of Jesus involves a violation of “division of church and state.” Eventually, Grace and Tom (her lawyer) settle on a legal strategy in which they try to prove that because Jesus was a real historical figure, His quoted words are as acceptable to talk about in a history class as those of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.
Real life expert witnesses Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ, and James Warner Wallace, a former homicide detective who wrote Cold Case Christianity are called to the stand to offer evidence.
Brooke, meanwhile, applies what she’s learned in class about nonviolent protests to organize pro-God picketing at school and the courthouse.
“Cases where the religious freedoms of everyday men and women are being restricted by courts and government agencies are sadly quite common today,” says Michael Scott, producer and founding partner of the Christian film distribution company Pure Flix. “Our hope is that we can start a conversation in the country with this movie about how critical the right to believe—and to talk about that belief in public—is to our nation.”
A list of over 20 real-life legal challenges to religious freedom can be seen scrolling during the credits.
Inquoris “Inky” Johnson was a star football player at the University of Tennessee with just eight games to go before achieving his life-long dream of being drafted into the National Football League. He had overcome incredible odds (including extreme poverty and gangs in the neighborhood) to get to this point in his life. He was the first person in his family to attend college, and it was all just about to pay off when September 9, 2006 changed everything forever. Find out what happened on that day, and get to know our ISC 2016 keynote speaker a little better before the conference this summer in Orlando, FL. Watch the end of the video to learn how you can pick up a signed copy of his book. Be inspired by the faith and perseverance of Inky Johnson!
1976 was an awesome year! Here is a peek back at some things that were going on that year.
Gallon of gas: $0.59
Gallon of milk: $1.65
Dozen of eggs: $0.84
First-Class Stamp: $0.13
New Home Price: $48,000
Median Household Income: $12,686
Major events of the year:
January – March
“The Bionic Woman” debuts on NBC
Super Bowl X
ABC-TV broadcast premiere of 1965 hit “The Sound of Music”
Walt Disney logs its 50 millionth guest
First female cadet accepted to West Point
Peyton Manning Born
April – June
Apple Computer Company founded by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs
NBA and ABA agree on merger
July – September
United States celebrates bicentennial
“Family Feud” game show premieres
Son of Sam strikes in New York
“Alice” debuts on CBS
October – December
Red Dye No.4 is banned by the USFDA
Jimmy Carter elected president
“Rocky”, starring Sylvester Stallone, premieres in New York
Tony Dorsett wins Heisman trophy
This is also the year that Shelby Systems was born!
We have had an awesome first 40 years. We met some great people and worked with amazing ministries along the way. We are positioning ourselves and our products to effectively handle the next 40 as we continue to help ministries and organizations thrive. We are looking forward to more awesome years ahead!
San Salvador is a beautiful yet extremely impoverished city in the nation of El Salvador in Central America. Shelby Systems will be sending four employees – Mark White, Steve Pruitt, Rachel Bomar, Don Alsup – to San Salvador on April 3-7, 2016 to help reach out to a part of the world that desperately needs assistance. Joining the Shelby team will be additional members from Ministry Brands plus several Compassion International workers. The goal of the trip is to visit a just completed Child Development Center that Ministry Brands helped to establish, meet with some of the sponsored children and their families (everyone going on the trip is sponsoring a child) and to take the kids to a water park for some much needed fun.We would like to request prayer for all of the Vision team members, but especially between the dates of April 3rd and 7th when they will be in San Salvador. Please pray for their safety, their endurance and their ability to get the most out of their limited time and that souls might be won when the Gospel is presented.
Matthew 25: 40 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers, you did for me.”
When the team returns, they will have lots of pictures, video and stories to share. Please check back here regularly over the next few weeks for updates and reports of the things that were seen and accomplished. Shelby Systems is attempting to make the world a better place through the love of Christ. When you purchase Shelby products, you become a part of that process.
Thank you for your continued support, and thank you for remembering to pray for our San Salvador Vision team.
For the months before Easter, the primary focus of many churches is on how to get the most people possible to the Easter service. With a tremendous amount of work and effort, Easter is often a fantastic success in terms of numbers of people attending. However, for most churches the following Sunday is often a big disappointment, with few of the new people from Easter coming back the following week. Here are 5 tips that will help you make sure this doesn’t happen at your church.
1. Use a connection card at the Easter service – few visitors will come back without follow-up / make sure you take prayer requests on the card.
2. Tell people what you regularly do – many churches forget to share basic information such as the time the church regularly meets.
3. Tell them what your church can do for them – be sure to tell them in your bulletin, on your website, or with an additional, upbeat publication, what you offer for their children every week.
4. Follow-up immediately – A follow-up email, postcard, or social media connection within the week after Easter makes a powerful impact.
5. Invite visitors to interact outside of church – One suggestion for this tip came from a church that hosted a “latte with the Pastor.” They would send visitors a follow-up with two free coupons for lattes along with a note that said they could be used to join the Pastor at the local coffee shop any Thursday from 3-5 pm. The visitor was invited to come and ask “any question they wanted to about the Christian faith.” The response was tremendous.
The tips here do take effort, but they make certain that the tremendous amount of work you do to prepare for Easter results not only in a fantastic Easter service, but in continuing contact with your guests and a much greater possibility of them coming to know Jesus.
Click the Image above to see the most viewed movie trailer in film history (over 200 million hits).
In Theaters Now!
Sony and Affirm’s Miracles From Heaven grossed $1.9M in its opening day (3/16/2016) at 3,047 theaters, ranking as the No. 2 film Wednesday behind Disney’s Zootopia. It is on pace to generate $10 million over its first five days of release. Audiences gave Miracles a rare A+ CinemaScore throughout all demos. Sixty eight-percent came out for the pic’s subject matter (per CinemaScore), while 20% were Jennifer Garner fans and 10% Eugenio Derbez fans. Faith Driven Consumer has bestowed four out of five stars to Miracles From Heaven, and the film has earned a 64% fresh grade on Rotten Tomatoes. The Affirm label also produced the popular faith-based films: War Room and Heaven is for Real.
Anna Beam (Kylie Rogers) lives with a rare, incurable disorder that leaves her unable to digest food. Despite the dire diagnosis, devoted mom Christy (Jennifer Garner) relentlessly searches for a way to save her beloved daughter. Everything changes in an instant when Anna tells an amazing story of a visit to heaven after surviving a headlong tumble into a tree. Her family and doctors become even more baffled when the young girl begins to show signs of recovering from her fatal condition.
To those who doubt her story, Annabel has a few words.
“What I want to say is this,” she says. “Believe in it if you want to. We put this out so you could have a stronger faith and probably a better life. But we’re not trying to force it down your throat. So you can believe as you want, but we put this out there to help you, not hurt you.”
Christy, who is working on a children’s version of her book, has more free time these days, now that Annabel’s recurring hospital stays are a thing of the past.
“Sometimes, it’s nice to just sit back and laugh,” she says of her family’s life now. “It’s nice to absorb it and just be grateful.”
Shelby Systems would like to encourage everyone to attend this high-quality, faith-based, Christian film.
You may want to consider inviting a friend, neighbor or family member to go along with you to experience this true, present-day miracle.
It seems appropriate that this film arrives just a few days before Easter.
Easter is, after all, a celebration of the greatest miracle of the ages.
Annabel with her parents and sisters standing in front of the tree from which she fell.