Tag Archives: Prayer

Q&A with Abuse Survivor Shannon Deitz

Abuse survivors are not fragile individuals. They are strong; worthy individuals who have overcome tremendous suffering whether it was physical, sexual, or verbal. Every form of abuse affects the person emotionally, lowering their self-esteem and sense of worth. The best way for a survivor to heal is to give a voice to what has been done or said to them; to be heard and to know they are supported and loved. – Shannon M. Deitz

  • What has inspired you to reach out to others?

I am a survivor of rape and incest. The years I kept the facts of these traumas within me led me down some
dark paths that were filled with bad decisions based on my lack of worth and self-esteem. I want to educate and reach out to other survivors before they get entangled in that dark path and make decisions that can affect them for the rest of their life, adding to the trauma of what has been done or said to them in the past.

  • You recently spoke at a women’s prison, tell us how that came about. How did the women respond to you and your story?

After speaking at a Women’s Conference in Texas City, TX, I was approached by a deacon who was a part of a prison ministry and felt many of the women would relate to my testimony and offer a sense of hope, even if they were not going to end their term in their lifetime. I have spoken at other prisons where many of the women were in for drug possession, prostitution, aggravated assault, etc. who would be released in 3-5 years.
In this particular prison the women in the room with me were in for murder, or attempted murder.

When I prayed about what I felt God wanted them to hear, it was Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” The only thing that kept me from being in their shoes, in that prison, was the simple grace of God. These women had suffered many of the same abuses as I, incest, rape, domestic violence, but most especially emotional abuse. What put them in that prison was the biggest lie we are left with “I am not worthy”. They made choices that
will remain with them forever and now that lie seems cemented into their soul.

But God’s grace prevails, even in prison, no matter how long the sentence they serve, they are God’s beloved, He knew them before he created them. He gave them a purpose and that purpose can be carried out no matter the surroundings they live in. It’s never too late. They can turn their sights on the Lord every day and reconnect with the gifts and talents He has given them and He will open the doors for their purpose to be fulfilled.

This is what saved me and I prayed in some way it would give them the same hope. Paul was in prison for much of the end of his life, chained to guards too! And yet he still fulfilled his purpose of ministering and spreading the good news. It was what God had planned for him before he was born and no matter his circumstance, because Paul acknowledged every door God opened, he fulfilled it to the end.

After visiting with these women I knew I immediately wanted to go back again. They were welcoming, receiving, and genuinely amazing women. The only difference between us was the civilian clothes I wore. I was invited to speak at the Angela House not long after, a halfway house for women coming out of prison. Once again I witnessed the lie of ‘I’m not worthy’ threaten their true purpose and freedom. I shared the same testimony and the same verse because they no longer have to be bound by what was done to them – and what that shame, anger, guilt, and rage caused them to do.

  • How has sharing your story with others helped you in your journey to healing?

The more you share the truth about your experience the easier it is to accept it and move passed it in order to embrace your present and future. By sharing my story through both REDEEMED and EXPOSED, speaking to groups and leading retreats, I find that it gives me strength and fortifies the healing process. What has been ‘done’ to me is a part of who I am, but it doesn’t define who I am. In fact, I’ve come to the place where I can thank God for every aspect of my life, the dark and ugly moments, along with the joyous times, because He has brought good from it all and allowed me to recognize that I am stronger because of it.

  • Low self-esteem, especially among teens, has become a national epidemic. What do you want someone struggling with feelings of low self-worth to understand?

You are worthy! You are unique and there is no one else in this world just like you and this world needs you and the skills and talents YOU have because each one of us has been given a specific purpose to use these talents and gifts and no one can replace you.

But I also have been in a place that I have felt extreme unworthiness and insecurity. I know that if I heard someone say that I’d doubt what those talents or gifts were, because I wasn’t like everyone else. To that I say, “Would being like everyone else make you happy? Would going against who you are, what sparks interest and joy inside of you just to get others attention bring you joy? Most likely not.”

  • The Hopeful Hearts Ministry offices were affected by Hurricane Harvey with flooded offices. You and your son were also recused from your home by boat. Tell us how your ministry is moving forward despite catastrophic damage and loss.

We are dedicated to helping survivors of all forms of abuse. I have found in these past few weeks how that the trauma of water rushing in and overtaking your home, giving you no preparation only to steal any sense of comfort or security elicits the same fear, anxiety, and betrayal as any other form of abuse. Physical boarders do not define Hopeful Hearts Ministry. We have continued to move forward with God’s grace and held our programs in homes hosted by donor’s .We continue to meet with men and women, peer to peer, to discuss the traumatic experiences they’ve been through whether it is from the flood or from abuse done in their past.

Hopeful Hearts Ministry is a faith-based 501 c3 non-profits which supports the long-term recovery of survivors of all forms of abuse through peer support sessions, counseling, programs that empower, and public awareness services.

This may be used with permission and credit given to Shannon M. Deitz 2017.

Movement Day 2015 Offers New Interactive Tracks Emphasizing Reconciliation, Replication and Kingdom Impact

MD Logo_Vertical_CMYK Red (™)For the past five years, Movement Day, a leadership initiative from The New York City Leadership Center (The NYCLC), has convened over 6,500 leaders in order to serve the world’s largest cities more effectively by advancing high-level, city-changing collaborative partnerships. On October 29, 2015, leaders will once again gather at the New York Hilton Midtown to further advance Gospel Movements in cities across the globe. By promoting unity and fostering collaboration among a diverse spectrum of Christian leaders, the event will address some of today’s most urgent urban issues.
With a unique approach compared to many conferences, attendees will not only hear from a diverse panel of leading experts in the morning plenary, but they will also have the opportunity to share best practices in various interactive learning tracks that will be held during the afternoon. The topics covered focus on current urban issues or population groups and are led by experts and practitioners in that field. While The NYCLC has always been intentional in reflecting the diversity of the world’s constituency, this year’s event underscores even further its intent on bridging the spiritual, economic and racial divides in our cities as well as the role of Millennials in accomplishing that task.
According to Director of Movement Day & Events, Ebony Small, “The issues of racial unity and kingdom impact on our cities have never been greater. We have brought together a faculty that represents racial, gender and generational diversity in order to insure a representative perspective on matters of unity and kingdom impact. I am particularly excited about the new additions to our interactive tracks and to hear from the millennial leaders we have enlisted for this year’s event.”
Five new tracks are being conducted this year that particularly address the matter of racial reconciliation, replicating Gospel Movements in other major cities and maximizing the impact that the kingdom of God can have on our cities.
This year’s new additions are:
Racial Reconciliation
Racial harmony remains one of the most challenging issues for church and marketplace leaders in the 21st century. The complexities of race, class, and culture often lead to superficial, short-term, programmatic solutions rather than transformational change. This session will offer practical tools and recommendations to enable leaders, both in church and the marketplace, to use their influence to serve as reconcilers.

Movement Day Replication Cities
Movement Day Greater Dallas represents the first successful replication of Movement Day in another major urban center. Since January 2014, it has convened 3,400 leaders with 525 agencies working together on city-wide efforts. Leaders in Pretoria (South Africa), London (United Kingdom), Chennai (India), Columbus (Ohio), Toronto (Canada) and a number of other cities have since communicated interest in hosting their own Movement Day expression within the next 12-24 months. Key success factors of Movement Day in New York and Dallas will be shared during this session and leaders will investigate the path toward launching a Movement Day in their own city – all in an effort to expand Gospel Movements to other major cities in the U.S. and around the world

Old forms of evangelism can create obstacles to the Gospel. An increasing number of leaders have seen the need to bring good and effective evangelism tools and motivation to citywide Gospel Movements. This track is designed to develop Kingdom citizens who are skilled in the theology and practice of winsomely sharing the Gospel and grounding others in their faith and to encourage the pursuit of evangelism and personal discipleship along with addressing social well-being issues.

Crossing Campus Lines
Engage or consume? In this track, college students will wrestle with the perception challenge of viewing the city as a place to consume or a place to engage. This track is more than preparing for post-college life. Rather, track participants will explore how to weave their college experience together now, with gospel engagement in a city near campus. The goal is a lifetime of engaging cities for Kingdom impact.

Leadership Development
Bringing leadership development opportunities to a city is vital in raising the effectiveness of thousands of Christian leaders to the level of a citywide movement. But where do you start? This track will look at New York City as a case study, to see how the city hosts large scale inspirational leadership training (The Global Leadership Summit at 13 Host Sites) and small scale practical leadership training (The Leadership Fellows Program) benefitting thousands of leaders each year. New York has created pathways of first-class training opportunities for leaders – while also making them logistically and financially accessible.

Other interactive tracks continuing from previous years include:

• Authentic Communities
• Church Planting
• Global Poverty
• Gospel Movements
• Mobilizing Prayer
• Professional & Marketplace Leaders
• Urban Campus Ministries
• Young Missional Leaders

Dr. Mac Pier, founder and CEO of The New York City Leadership Center comments, “The history and theory of missions tell us that whole cities or cultures can be reached with the Gospel. ‘Reached’ doesn’t mean that everyone becomes a Christian, but that a ‘tipping point’ can be achieved where Christianity begins to have a disproportionate effect on the population’s values and beliefs, and their faith grows spontaneously, without external control. We believe that Movement Day will play a vital role in seeing that come to fruition.”
For a complete description of all of this year’s interactive learning tracks, go to Track Overview.
Join the Movement
Early Bird Registration Ends September 14
October 29, 2015
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
New York Hilton Midtown, 1335 Avenue of the Americas NY, NY

Q&A with Bill Myers about The Jesus Experience PART 2

indexIn chapter four of The Jesus Experience you lay out three cornerstones that changed your life. Can you briefly touch on them and how they impacted your life?

First up was Romans 8:28. We throw that verse around like a Frisbee, but what if it really was true? What if all things did work together for the good to those how love Him? Not some things, not most things, but ALL things.

Next came James 1:2-4. “Count it all joy when you face trials . . . knowing that they will make you whole and mature not lacking in anything.” Again, there’s that superlative — not some joy, not most joy, but ALL joy. (And James had the gall to write this when Christians were being tortured and their children set on fire as human torches).

Finally there was 1 Thess. 5:16-18, a real killer. “Rejoice always . . . in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Rejoice when? ALWAYS. In how many things do we give thanks? EVERYTHING.

So with those three verses, I had to make a choice:

Door A: God is a liar. Or Door B: God is faithful.

I chose Door B and that’s made all the difference in the world.

You shared many stories of being abroad working on films and how other cultures experience more persecution for their faith. Which experience impacted you the most?

I think it was when I was in the Soviet Union (now Russia) secretly interviewing persecuted Christians for a film we were preparing to shoot. At the end of our meeting I rattled off some platitude like, “I’ll be praying for you.” The man just shook his head and said, “No, my brother. We’re praying for you. Our persecution is making us strong. You in the West are the ones growing weak and are in danger.”

Of all the characters in the Bible, you have chosen Balaam’s donkey as your role model. How does a donkey encourage/inspire you?

If God can use a donkey to accomplish His purposes, He can use an unqualified, sinful, failure like myself. It has very little to do with my skills and everything to do with my trust and willingness.

Bill Myers is an award winning author and filmmaker, whose work in Christian media has impacted millions across the world. Through a casual, friendly tone and humor peppered throughout, The Jesus Experience is an enjoyable roadmap to a deeper relationship with God through freedom found in Christ. Myers has created the perfect crossroad between approachable and attainable that all believers can appreciate.





Finding Peace in India

Trevor with group at HBII am in India this week. My husband, Terry, is teaching pastors and their wives. I am supporting with video, pictures, prayer, and the like. I like my support role. I find it peaceful to record the stories as I listen to the people talk. I love watching their faces as they connect through the translator with Terry’s American stories.

Yesterday, we listened to them tell us their stories. I have done this in the past when meeting new pastors. Many of them are heartbreaking…almost beaten to death, rejected by their families and cast out to live on the streets by their own parents because of their faith in Christ, being sold into prostitution, alcoholism, drug addiction, attempts at suicide and much more. I have found a single thread that runs almost every story. They just wanted peace.

Life is pretty simple here. You work to get your food and clothing for each day. Your expectations, if you have any, are low and simply based on improving your life. You don’t have many other possessions. Although they drive like maniacs, it is a much slower pace of life in some sense. But many of the people don’t experience any rest or peace.

Perhaps their lack of peace is due to the fact that 3.2 million people live in the same land area as my hometown of Corsicana – population 25,000. The city literally never sleeps. Or could it be because they have no assurance of what tomorrow will bring and no way to plan for it? The day before we arrived they had an unseasonable amount of rainfall accompanied by a hailstorm. Now their crops are ruined and the cost of food has gone up 100%. Their lack of peace might also be due to their religion that offers the impossible task of appeasing a variety of gods that are “unpleasable”. They have a deterministic outlook on life, because that same religion teaches that everyone will get another chance in their next life.

Another common thread in their stories is the sense of instantaneous peace they find when they meet Jesus. The look on their entire face as they share that experience is both breathtaking and overwhelming. The local pastor, Trevor, says that people can recognize a believer just by looking at their face. He says it is because they see peace and light.

In the midst of this newly found peace, their life circumstances still do not change. They still work every day for the food they need. Some days they go without. They wear the same clothes every day. They travel hundreds of miles for 2-3 days just to hear someone teach God’s word, always in very rough conditions and sometimes experiencing persecution. But they are at peace.

Maybe that is why I like coming here so much. I sense God’s peace in a very dark place. I wish I could bottle it and bring it home with me. When I return home, I always find myself starting to rush and be anxious about the things I need to get done. And I am supposed to know better! I am praying that God will give me peace as I return, and remind me to bring my anxious thoughts to him like my brothers and sisters here in India.

So as I am finishing up, I’m thinking, “Do people who are in darkness around us see peace and light when they look at our faces?

John 14:27 My peace I leave with you….

Tina Jacobson is founder and CEO of The Barnabas Agency.

Prayer, Pursuing God’s Imaginably More

Prayer frequently receives positive medical and media exposure for its benefit to the human soul. From lowering blood pressure to aiding in recovery from surgery, prayer is recognized as a valuable practice even in the secular world. Dr. Mac Pier was instrumental in the formation of the New York City united prayer movement, Concerts of Prayer Greater New York in 1988, and is the current founder of The New York City Leadership Center and their annual Movement Day congress. He has witnessed first-hand what prayer can do for the individual, as well as for cities. Pier’s mission is to see the great global cities of the world transformed by the Gospel of Christ, and he believes that prayer is a fundamental pre-requisite if that mission is to be realized.

In a recent article on the blog Collaborations, Pier reflects on a few key events of the past year that all point to the possibilities that exist when we pray. He issues a challenge to Christian leaders in cities everywhere to pursue God’s “imaginably more” through prayer.

“This past September, I had the opportunity to witness the power of prayer in a Pentecostal Church in Gothenburg, Sweden. Much of the country is greatly under churched. Yet, in this one congregation, some 450 Iranians have been baptized in the past two years. This is a great example of God rearranging people in the world to accomplish a greater purpose. More Muslims have converted to Christianity in the past 15 years than in the past 1500 years combined. Christians have been praying.
In watching the emerging interest from diverse cities around the world in Movement Day we are witnessing many “immeasurably more” moments unfold. These moments are the results of a twenty-five year old concert of united prayer (Concerts of Prayer) in New York City.

• In Columbus, Ohio, more than 1000 leaders gathered to pray on a Sunday night this past September. Being evenly represented by African-Americans and Anglos, it was a great sign of hope for a globally influential city with a world-class university, state capital, and thriving business community.
• Early in 2015, more than three hundred pastors and leaders gathered for the 24th annual Pastor’s Prayer Summit of Greater New York.
• February 1, 2015 will mark the 20th anniversary of The Lord’s Watch – a daily prayer vigil that has knit churches together for Greater New York.
• In Dallas, TX, A Prayed 4 City, was launched in January 2013. One year later over 1400 leaders gathered for the first Movement Day Greater Dallas event, described by many as the most diverse gathering of its type in memory.
God’s greatest passion for our cities is to see His people come together in visible unity. The most effective way to do this is to pray together. Prayer accelerates trust geometrically and more quickly than any other initiative in a city. It grounds us in a true sense of proportion to who God is and who we are.
What gives prayer real power, imaginably more power, is the simplicity of agreement on what we believe God wants to do in our cities. As we love our cities, love the church in all of its expression, and pray together, God will do immeasurably more.”

You can read more about the leadership initiatives of The New York City Leadership Center by visiting www.nycleadership.com as well as by subscribing to their blog Collaborations.

// INITIATIVE:: FROG, Tattoos, and Prayer

FROG, Tattoos, and Prayer

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Written by: Mallory Bingaman

I like to think back to the really ridiculous stickers that said, “F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely on God)”. I genuinely thought they were so cool, but I also like frogs. So, honestly, I am not sure if I really grasped the phrase, or just enjoyed frog stickers. Now, I am in college. I have tattoos representing Jesus and we just love crosses on jewelry and t-shirts these days. I question a lot if I really rely on God as much as I present myself to. We can post millions of pictures of us having a quiet time on Instagram, but until we are truly connecting with Christ, it is useless. I am not sure if we grasp the idea of fully relying on God or if we just like the idea of it all.

Fully relying on God in our mission, your mission is pointless without Him. First off, acknowledge the fact that he gave you this mission. Your passion, the thing that fuels you, it was given to you by the creator. God is the only one who can carry out miracles to see this world change for the for his glory. To think that we can accomplish things on our own is..um. Look at it this way: us accomplishing world change for the kingdom without God is like an infant understanding rocket science. If you remember, back in Genesis, Adam and Eve thought they could be like Him and in their pride committed the first sin. I am in constant struggle with being self-reliant. I once heard someone say,

“the things you don’t pray about are the things you don’t think God can handle; the things you can do on your own.”

Uh, ouch. That hit me in the face. Prayer is our constant communication with God. I text my friends more than I talk to God, and it’s easier and faster to just talk with God. So, it’s not like it is inconvenient. I am just wearing God as a cool sticker on my arm.

We need to stop pretending our belief in Christ is an accessory. We have the opportunity to be in constant contact with our father, creator, God. He is all powerful and all knowing. So, why is it that I am googling, “great jobs for a person with a bachelors in psychology” instead of praying and having God direct me? Why is it that when I see a world that needs Jesus I don’t go to Him first? God is our fuel. He is what keeps us going. He is the solution to the world of hurt. He is the one who will bring change. Being prayerful is living moment to moment in full dependence on the Lord. Let’s do this more. He will fulfill through us, but first, we must remember that is the only way to fulfill.

Be silent. Be prayerful, continually.