“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

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg No Longer an Atheist

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has announced he is no longer an atheist, but in fact sees religion as “very important”.

Over the weekend, Zuckerberg posted a “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah” message from his family to his followers on Facebook, and in the comments sections, answered a question about his personal beliefs.

After he posted the comment, a user asked, “But aren’t you atheist?” In response, the 32-year-old billionaire replied, “No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.” When another user asked, “But why Facebook doesn’t notify that is Jesus birthday today???” Zuckerberg joked, “You’re not friends with Jesus on Facebook?” adding a smiling emoji with a halo.

As of Thursday, Zuckerberg’s response to the comment has garnered over 4,496 likes.

According to The Atlantic, Zuckerberg was raised in a Jewish home but previously identified himself as an atheist on his Facebook page. In the past, he has also expressed interest in Buddhism.

Earlier this year, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, met with Pope Francis to discuss ways that technology could help the poor. Following the visit, Zuckerberg took to social media to shared their admiration for the pontiff’s ability to connect with people of different faiths while remaining true to his own.

“Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he’s found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook message.

“We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don’t have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world,” he added.

“It was a meeting we’ll never forget. You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people.”

Despite their different religious views, Zuckerberg has praised Francis on previous occasions as well.

“No matter what faith you practice, we can all be inspired by Pope Francis’ humility and compassion. I’m looking forward to following the pope – and watching him continue sharing his message of mercy, equality and justice with the world,” Zuckerberg wrote back in March.

Source:
https://www.gospelherald.com

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

Beth Moore Challenges Christian Leaders to Condemn White Nationalism

Following the tragic shootings over the weekend that left nearly 30 people dead, Christian author and speaker Beth Moore took to Twitter to implore pastors to condemn white nationalism.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Moore started off by noting that Christ of the Bible, simply cannot be the same christ who the El Paso shooter reportedly invoked. According to Baptist News, the alleged shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, wrote in his Twitter bio that he was a “proud God loving Christian.”

Moore wrote, “Any “Christ” that can be invoked in support of white nationalism is a false Christ of the highest, most hellish order. An anti-Christ. A wholly-opposite christ. No such christ is the Christ Jesus of Scripture who taught His followers a love that sacrifices life & limb for others.”

The Breaking Free author then issued a challenge to all followers of Christ, asking them to declare the same sentiment. She wrote, “Let it be known, let it be declared by genuine followers of Jesus, that the man who opened fire in El Paso may invoke a christ of some kind but it is NOT our Christ. His christ would be unrecognizable to us. Unrecognizable in Scripture. We claim no christ of white nationalism.”

Moore concluded her statement by speaking directly to Christian Leaders. She wrote, “Christian leaders, LEAD. Do not shrink back in cowardice. Be bold. Be clear. Do not assume people know where you stand. History will prove this to be a most critical hour and our silence to have been our shameful complicity.”

Moore is only one a many influential Christians who have spoken out against racism, white nationalism and white supremacy following the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

As Christian Headlines previously reported, Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center, Ed Stetzer wrote on Sunday, “Racism, white nationalism, and white supremacy all make no sense if you are a Christian. Christians literally worship a dark-skinned, Jewish savior from the Middle East. Not only is racism sinful, it is remarkably stupid for anyone who identifies as a Christian.”

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Adam Greenway echoed these sentiments in a tweet on Sunday writing, “As president of @SWBTS, I want to be clear that we condemn in the strongest possible form any and all ideologies of racial/ethnic superiority/inferiority that fuel the kind of hate evidently motivating the #ElPaso shooter to commit such a horrific act of violence in our state.”

As Christian Headlines Previously reported, on Saturday a gunman opened fire in a local Walmart in El Paso, Texas killing 20 people and injuring 26. In the early morning hours the following day, another shooter took up arms and opened fire on a crowd of people outside of a bar in Dayton, Ohio. He killed 9 people and injured 27 before being shot dead by police.

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https://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/beth-moore-challenges-christian-leaders-to-condemn-white-nationalism.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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article continued….

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

Vice President Mike Pence Is Criticized for Saying He Prays for His Critics

Vice President Mike Pence, who has been routinely criticized for his faith, said he handles such attacks by praying for his critics—which garnered him a few more.

“No. 1 is, spend more time on your knees than on the internet,” Pence said during an Aug. 6 Q & A session with Michael Farris, president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom. The gathering included ADF staff.

The vice president went on to talk about the power of forgiveness.

“As a Christian believer, we’re charged to pray for our loved ones but also pray for our enemies,” Pence said.

“You have lots of opportunities in politics to do that,” he said. “But I would say that forgiveness is a great gift, and my wife and I literally try to work through forgiving people who might speak woefully against us or might mischaracterize who we are and what our family’s all about,” he said.

Since taking office Pence has been targeted numerous times for his biblical approach to living.

As covered by Christian Headlines early in the Trump administration, the vice president was ripped on social media for saying he protects his marriage by avoiding situations where he is alone with a woman.

Earlier this year, 2020 Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who served as mayor of South Bend, Indiana while Pence was governor of the state, challenged the vice president’s biblical view of marriage and mocking his Christian faith, Christian Headlines previously reported.

And in January, Pence’s wife, Karen, was criticized for taking a teaching job at a Christian school in Virginia that has a “moral purity” policy that prohibits LGBT students and faculty.

During his talk with ADF, Pence admitted he and his wife were taken aback by the reaction to her job.

“We honestly didn’t see that one coming,” the vice president said. “Our kids went to the school when I was in Congress.”

Not long after the conversation with ADF, Twitter users began mocking Pence’s comment on prayer, some twisting the intent of spending “more time on your knees.” Comments quickly turned sexual, including an obscene cartoon of Pence with President Trump, and a retort by Monica Lewinsky, the intern who had an affair with President Bill Clinton while he was in office. Others made reference to the NFL players’ protest of taking a knee during the national anthem.

Author Sasha Strachan used the NFL controversy as a backdrop to challenge Pence’s faith and call the president racist.

Another user, calling himself the Tattooed Theologian, also took a swipe at Pence’s faith and integrity, saying: “On your knees…That sounds pretty authoritarian to me. I don’t have to be on my knees to pray.

“@VP should spend some time reading the #Gospels. If he did, he wouldn’t be supporting @realDonaldTrump.”

Comedian and atheist Paula Poundstone dismissed praying outright saying, “I will spend no time on my knees.”

During his conversation with ADF, Pence said that when he’s in the midst of criticism he tries “just focusing on the cause.”

“I really do think it’s important that we stay focused on things that are more important than ourselves, that are more important than any intermittent controversy that might arise,” he told Farris. “And for me, that’s about being a part of an administration, standing next to a president that’s rebuilding our military, who’s revived our economy, who’s appointing a historic number of conservatives to our federal courts, who’s standing, as I said, for our first freedom, for religious liberty, for the right to life. I get up every day and I just… I feel incredibly blessed to be a small part of an administration that is making America great again. So focus on the positive.”

Ironically, a portion of the discussion at the ADF event also included the topic of religious liberty and free speech, especially on America’s colleges and universities.

“Whenever I was governor or vice president… I see somebody waving an unflattering sign, or we… Some people shouting something out. I always look at my kids and I say, ‘That’s what freedom looks like.’
“That’s what freedom sounds like, right? And the ability to disagree, the ability to be critical of people that are in public life, that’s at the very center of what the people that founded this country had in mind and has been preserved through the generations. And we have to make sure it’s preserved on the campuses of America.”

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Source:
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