“Unplanned” the movie Takes No. 1 Spot on Amazon’s Overall Best Sellers for DVDs List

Pro-life movie Unplanned has nabbed the top spot on Amazon’s Overall Best-Selling DVDs.

The controversial movie tells the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, who left the organization after watching an abortion live. She later became a pro-life advocate and started a nonprofit called And Then There Were None, which supports women who wish to leave the abortion industry. To date, the nonprofit has helped nearly 500 workers exit the industry.

As Christian Headlines previously reported, the movie created waves amongst the abortion industry with nearly 100 workers choosing to leave after watching Johnson’s story.

But the R-rated film has faced serious challenges on its rise to the top. Director Chuck Konzelman accused Google and Twitter of censoring the movie’s ads and even suspending their Twitter feed on the movie’s launch date.

Advertisements for the movie were also banned from major networks such as Lifetime, Hallmark, HGTV, and others, the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

The PureFlix film also faced persecution north of the border, where pro-life advocates fought for distribution in Canada, Worthy News reports.

As Christian Headlines previously wrote, the pro-life film was initially blocked by major film distributors from being played in movie theaters across Canada. Eventually, independent film distributor Cinedicom picked up the 110-minute movie for showings in select theaters throughout the country. Despite owners of movie theaters where the film was shown reportedly receiving death threats from abortion advocates, the film was a box office success. In its opening weekend, Unplanned grossed $353,510 in Canada.

‘Unplanned’ shocked Hollywood, too, with its earnings, pulling in a domestic total gross of over $18 million, according to the Christian Post. The total was over two times its production cost of $6 million.

Amazon’s Best Sellers are updated hourly and the movie pushed ahead of DC’s “Shazam”, “Pokemon Detective Pikachu”, and “Avengers: Endgame.”

Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/mikaela-matthews/unplanned-takes-no-1-spot-on-amazon-s-overall-best-sellers-for-dvds.html

Teen Who Drowned, Came Back to Life After Mother Prayed Reveals His Hope for ‘Breakthrough’ Film

It was a bitterly cold day in January 2015 when 14-year-old John Smith fell through the frozen surface of a lake in St. Charles, Mo., and remained submerged for 15 minutes. He had no pulse when emergency workers pulled him from the freezing water, or for nearly 45 minutes after. His body was a mere 88 degrees.

But his story wasn’t over.

After audible prayers by his mother, Joyce, John’s heart finally started up again, astounding the nurses and doctors around him. Over the next several days, John’s community rallied around him, lifting the young man up in prayer. Less than three weeks after the accident, John made a full, seemingly impossible recovery – and walked out of the hospital.

John’s story is the subject of a new faith-based film, “Breakthrough,” from “Miracles from Heaven” producer DeVon Franklin. Starring Chrissy Metz, Topher Grace, and Marcel Ruiz, the film highlights the power of prayer and proves that miracles still exist today.

During a sit-down interview in Dallas, TX, John, now 18, told The Gospel Herald that his story has changed lives in ways he never could’ve imagined.

“I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘My dad was an atheist for 20 years, but your story sparked curiosity in him again,” he shared. “People have told me, ‘my family was falling apart, but what happened to you changed our family and brought them back to God.'”

Hitting theaters just in time for Easter, “Breakthrough” is based on Joyce’s 2017 book “The Impossible.” In it, she recounts the desperate moment she prayed, “Holy Spirit, please come and give me back my son!”

John told GH it was “surreal” seeing that real-life event play out on the big screen.

“It was interesting; the first time I saw myself fall through the ice, it wasn’t about me,” he shared. “I was more intrigued by my mom and my pastor because I never actually saw them – I only heard about what happened. Seeing their reactions hit me harder than what actually happened to me.”

“Seeing my mom and how she interacted with me, it brings people closer to God than they ever were before,” he added.

“Breakthrough” is a testament to God’s sovereignty and power – but acknowledges the reality that suffering is real and life doesn’t always make sense. After returning to school, John wrestles with the fact that he was spared from death while many others aren’t.

“Life is hard,” John admitted, “and there’s no sugarcoating it. Life is very hard. I think my generation is so easy to look at the wrong thing; they’re very into the supernatural, but not the right supernatural. But they’re hungry for answers. Let’s feed them with the Holy Spirit instead of these horror films. If we feed them the right thing, we’re going to change the world.”

A Guatemala-born teenager adopted by white evangelicals in the suburbs of St. Louis, John also struggles with his identity in the film. He told GH that he’s come to embrace his identity in Christ – and prays his peers will do the same in a social media-saturated age.

“Let’s put down our cell phones, let’s put down Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and instead, let’s serve the Lord because He’s the one that loves us more than anyone,” he exhorted his peers. “We’re not defined by the likes of many. We are defined by the likes of One, and that’s what I really believe.”

Four years after his accident, John says he has one mission: To bring more souls to Jesus Christ. God, he said, kept him here on earth for a reason.

“I really want to be the spark of this generation, I want to help lead it, I want to bring this generation back to God because it is the farthest thing from God right now,” he told GH. “That’s my main goal. As my Pastor Jason Noble says, ‘I only have a short time on this earth, but I want to see how many I can take to Heaven with me.'”

“Breakthrough” is rated PG and is directed by Roxann Dawson. The film also stars Josh Lucas, Dennis Haysbert, Sam Trammell, Rebecca Staab, Mike Colter, Ali Skovbye, Victor Zinck Jr., and Lisa Disrupt.

Source:
https://www.gospelherald.com/articles/71953/20190416/teen-who-drowned-came-back-life-mother-prayed-reveals-hope.htm

Man Donates Liver to Fellow Church Member He Barely Knew

An Ohio woman has a new lease on life thanks to a priceless gift from a fellow church member she barely knew. When Jason Stechschulte sat down and started reading the bulletin before the Sunday service at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Van Wert, Ohio, he read something that arrested his attention and felt God-calling him to make a life-altering decision, CBN News reports.

Stechschulte read that Carole Motycka, a 44-year-old mother with four sons, had stage 4 colorectal cancer and needed a liver transplant to survive. He said, “I just had this feeling come over me that this is going to be me, that I need to do this. I was called to do it. Answering the call was not easy for Stechschulte, who has two pre-teen children of his own. The 41-year-old would have an eight-hour surgery to remove the left lobe of his liver, which comprises about 40 percent of the organ. Another team of Cleveland Clinic surgeons skillfully transplanted the liver into Motycka during a 12-hour procedure that was necessary to save her life.

Motycka did not know she was suffering from cancer until she struggled to complete a 17-mile hike with her family. She dealt with severe pain in her back and shoulder during and after the hike, so she went to the hospital the next day. There Motycka learned the shocking news… she had stage 4 colorectal cancer and it had spread to her liver.

Motycka underwent chemotherapy and it seemed to stop the spread of the cancer. Then, a doctor with the Cleveland Clinic performed an operation in which she removed the colon and liver cancers. However, her liver was severely damaged due to a genetic disorder and her health continued to decline.

Doctors told Motycka that she had one hope to prolong her life, a liver transplant. Not wanting to be one of the 3,000 people a year who die while waiting on a liver transplant, she sought a living donor who would be willing to help her. When Motycka, the church’s youth director, placed a notice in the bulletin, Stechschulte did not hesitate to help.

He said that he remained composed throughout the time leading up to the lengthy surgery. He said, “I was really calm throughout. I wasn’t worried or nervous. Everybody was really professional, really helpful.” He views the surgery in a positive light, noting that his family and the Motyckas have become close through the process. “I gave her a liver, and I received a relationship with Carole and her family in return. That was a pretty good trade off.”

Motycka’s health continues to improve and she has lived to see one of her sons graduate college, two begin college, and another graduate high school.

She remains grateful to Stechschulte and is thankful for his sacrifice. She said, “I can’t ever do or say, or give enough to thank him for what he gave to me: My new life.”

Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/scott-slayton/man-donates-liver-to-fellow-church-member-he-barely-knew.html

School Punishes 6th Grader for Using Wrong Pronoun for Transgender Student

An Ohio public school punished a sixth-grader after he used the wrong pronoun for a transgender student and told friends that the student “is a boy, not a girl,” according to the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel.

The school has since agreed to stop punishing students in similar circumstances, Liberty Counsel says.

At issue is a biological boy who identifies as a girl, according to a letter Liberty Counsel wrote to the school district. Names were redacted.

The incident occurred in art class on May 13, when a group of girls who had “enthusiastically” affirmed the transgender student’s identity began discussing the issue.

“The girls began talking about” the transgender student “taking girl hormones” and “eventually having his ‘male private parts removed,’ and that this would ‘make him a girl,’” according to the letter.

That’s when the sixth-grade student (“John Doe”) who was punished spoke up, saying, “No, he is a boy, and not a girl.” Another male student (Boy B) agreed, saying, “Yes, you are what you’re born with.”

John was not mocking the transgender student but was stating “what he truly believes” after “being subjected to the conversations of the girls all semester,” the letter said.

The art teacher overheard a portion of the conversation and reported the boys to the assistant principal, who allegedly told John, “you can have your own beliefs” but the transgender student “wants to be called a girl.” John was pulled out of PE class on May 14 and forced to sit in the principal’s office.

“[He] felt shame and embarrassment at being pulled out of gym class in front of his friends,” the letter said. “Based on his conversation with [the assistant principal, he] understands that he must refer to” the transgender student “as a girl and with female pronouns, going forward, or that he will be punished.”

The other boys received worse punishments, apparently because the assistant principal believed they were bullying and not being sincere.

Liberty Counsel said John has the right to state his beliefs.

“The First Amendment protects a student’s right to hold his own views,” the letter said, “and to respectfully share them, where the issues of transgenderism, cross-sex hormones, and ‘having male private parts removed’ are raised by others in conversation during school time where students may talk, and are otherwise permissible subjects of discussion. This is especially true where the student shares his views in response to conversations to which he is repeatedly subjected by others against his will.

“Moreover, the government may not take one side in a cultural or scientific debate, and turn classrooms into enclaves of totalitarianism,” the letter said. “… Students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate.”

The school district responded to Liberty Counsel, saying John did not receive “formal disciplinary action” and that the “Board of Education does not discipline students for expressing respectful disagreement on any topic.” The school further said the “Board of Education does not discipline students for using certain pronouns in referring to students or coerce any student to use a particular pronoun” and that “no student would be required to use” false pronouns.

The parents were pleased with the outcome, Liberty Counsel said.

“Students may respectfully share their views without being punished,” Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said. “School administrators were wrong to punish students for expressing their views on something patently obvious. Schools cannot force students to lie about objective reality.”

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Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/school-punishes-6th-grader-for-using-wrong-pronoun-for-transgender-student.html

37 Percent of Public School Teachers Are Evangelical Christians

More than one-third of public school teachers are evangelical Christians, according to a new survey that also found the general public supports Bible classes in school.

The 51st annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools polled teachers, parents and the general public about their opinions on schools.

Thirty-seven percent of all public school teachers are evangelical Christians, according to the poll. That figure mostly matches the percentage of the public (36 percent) that is evangelical Christian.

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But on ideology, public school teachers are slightly more liberal than the general public. Forty percent of teachers call themselves “liberal,” compared to 28 percent of the public. Twenty-eight percent of teachers and 34 percent of the public are conservatives. Thirty-one percent of teachers and 34 percent of the public are moderates.

Politically, public school teachers are a little more likely to be Democrats, too. Thirty-nine percent of teachers but 34 percent of the public consider themselves Democrat. Twenty-five percent of teachers and 26 percent of all adults call themselves Republican.

TEACHERS AND PUBLIC BACK BIBLE CLASSES
Among all adults, a total of 64 percent favor Bible classes in school, with 58 percent saying such classes should be an elective and 6 percent saying the classes should be required. Support for Bible classes in either form is supported by 78 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of Democrats.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans express concern that Bible studies classes “may improperly promote Judeo-Christian religious beliefs,” according to the survey. This concern is shared by a majority of liberals (58 percent) and Democrats (55 percent). Only 28 percent of evangelicals have such a concern.

Among teachers, 58 percent support teaching the Bible either as an elective or as a required class.

The survey was conducted April 12-27 among 2,389 adults. It included interviews with 1,083 parents of school-age children and 556 public school teachers.

Source:
https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/37-percent-of-public-school-teachers-are-evangelical-christians-poll-finds.html

Christian billionaires you should know – Lord They Are Rich!

Here are 5 Christian billionaires you should know:

David Green

While many billionaires will choose to buy real estate, expensive cars, and private jets, David Green has a different thing in mind. Owner and founder of Hobby Lobby, Green is the largest evangelical benefactor in the world. According to Forbes, he has already given more than $500 million to religious causes as of 2012.

Green has always been outspoken about his faith. In an interview with Forbes, he said “So I have learned to say, ‘Look, this is yours, God. It’s all yours. I’m going to give it to you.’ ” In the same interview, he also said that 90 percent of his company will go to the ministry if the company undergoes a sale or dissolution. Further, he also sponsors the YouVersion Bible app, which is free to download.


Jin Sook

Jin Sook is one of the co-founders of Forever 21, the other founder being her husband Do Won Chang. Sook was raised in a born-again Christian family and revealed to The Guardian that when she came to the U.S., she went to the top of a mountain to pray. That’s when God told her to open a fashion retail store. Since then, Forever21 prints the verse John 3:16 on their bags, hoping to spread God’s word and make a statement.

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Bill Gates

A man who needs no introduction, Bill Gates is one of the world’s richest men. The founder of Microsoft has pursued various philanthropic causes under their own non-profit foundation. In an interview with Relevant Magazine, Bill spoke about how important his religious beliefs are to him and his whole family, with them all attending the same church. Further, he also mentioned that “…it makes sense to believe in God.”


Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash is the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs in the U.S. Although she has retired from the business, it is still important to look back on how she was able to find success. Ash started with a $5,000 investment. Her company’s motto is “God first, family second, career third.” This helped her grow her business and provide women with unlimited opportunity for personal and financial success, according to Crosswalk. Mary Kay also applied biblical principles to the workplace, even including Scripture verses in the company’s monthly magazine.


Stefan Persson

H&M, one of the most loved brands in the world is owned by a Christian. Stefan Persson, the wealthiest Swedish in the world, is part of the Lutheran church. His principle behind the clothing line is to keep the designs simple and elegant, which is also what the Lutheran tradition teaches.

Source:
https://www.christiantoday.com/article/5-christian-billionaires-you-should-know/127685.htm