Posts by: Staff Writer

Finding Rest for Your Soul, with Fouad Masri

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Fouad Masri, the director of Crescent Project was born in the Middle East and loves Muslims. Today he shares with us that Jesus is the ultimate source of rest for the weary.

Jesus invited us, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest… learn from me … and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28

Perhaps there is a problem, financial burden, or sin that is weighing you down. Come to God in your heart, with or without words. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins. Give him the situation.

Psalm 23 of the Bible gives us an idea of how God can exchange our burdens for rest. It presents humans like sheep and God like a shepherd. Yes, God, the creator of heaven, earth and everyone is our shepherd! He wants to take care of us as if we were his sheep. He wants to bring us to green grass and clear water that refresh our souls.

We live in a time of violence, hatred and anger. People kill each other because they are from another religion or sect. Our souls yearn for peace. God provides that. The beauty of this psalm is that it promises that not only will God protect and care for us on earth, but we will be with him in heaven as well.

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

Credits: “Ana Mosh Hashok” and incidental music by Joseph Nassrallah, used with permission.

Causes of Suffering

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The PROBLEM of SUFFERING is one of the oldest and biggest challenges ever faced philosophically, as well as by every living person. In this short video, Dr. Cynthia reviews some of the reasons for suffering.

The first thing to remember is that earth is not heaven. Somehow, we keep expecting everything to work out well for us – yet that will never happen. It helps to recall that Adam and Eve were sent out of the Garden of Eden for disobeying God. People have faced big problems ever since. This is commonly called “The Curse.” Men would primarily be affected by the difficulty of work, bringing forth food from soil filled with rocks and weeds. Women would primarily face challenges in relationships that they care about, especially with their husband, childbirth, and children raising. As we look around the world today, we see how this is true.

Some suffering we bring upon ourselves. Our choices bring consequences. If we drink too much alcohol we face physical diseases, relationship problems, and possible arrest. If we break laws, we may be punished. If we are unkind, we may end up alone.

Still, there are some kinds of suffering that do not seem to be our fault – perhaps a car accident or a fatal disease. As Ecclesiastes 9:11 says in the Bible, “time and chance” happen to all of us.

In Eastern Religions, what happens to you is your own fault. It is part of your “bad karma.” Suffering is a way of paying for this karma or sin. Praise God, we do not have that in the Christian faith! Yes, we do reap what we sow, but time and chance happen too. Jesus made this clear to his disciples when they asked who sinned that a man was born blind. He said neither, but that the power of God could be shown in him. When you are facing unmerited suffering, ask God to use it to show his power in your life!

Credits: “Ana Mosh Hashok” and incidental music by Joseph Nassrallah, used with permission

Thanksgiving: Holiday and Habit

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In this short video Dr. Cynthia tells us about the importance of giving thanks. Science now agrees with what the Bible has told us for millennia: being thankful makes us happier and more content in difficult situations.
Sometimes we find trouble in every direction – from work, family, school, or ministry. We get discouraged. Dr. C shares with us the secret of what helps her on days like that,

“When the big things go wrong, give thanks for the little things;
When the little things go wrong, give thanks for the big things.”

Little things that encourage us could be looking intently at something beautiful in nature or our homes. Or perhaps savoring coffee or chocolate. And of course, those of us who know God can always be thankful for the very big things: that he loves us, walks with us, and through the grace of the cross will take us to be with him in heaven forever.

The Thanksgiving holiday is unique to America. Dr. C loves it because of its deep religious and historical meaning – and because some of her ancestors were Pilgrims at that first Thanksgiving celebration.

After a long time of suffering during which half of the settlers died, the Pilgrims had a good harvest in 1621 A.D. In the tradition of their faith, they decided to have a great feast to thank God and celebrate his goodness. The Pilgrims cooked many dishes and hunted fowl. They invited their new friends, the Native Americans, who in turn hunted and brought 5 deer to the feast. With all of this food and good will, feasting and games went on for 3 days.

Not everyone who settled in America was godly, or kind to Native Americans. The pilgrims of the first Thanksgiving however were both. They knew and practiced what the Bible taught, especially about loving and treating foreigners as themselves (Leviticus 19:34). In their law, natives were to be treated equally. In fact, they executed white men for killing a native. This bold move, and their loving influence, brought the Pilgrims respect with the natives. In addition, their presence brought new peace between native tribes themselves.

Besides their daily hardships the Pilgrims had a fear: that other settlers would come after them and mistreat the natives. They dreaded that the bad deeds of others would be blamed on them. Sadly, that is exactly what happened. Today false accusations and unhappy thoughts cast shadows over the Thanksgiving holiday. But friends, if you read “Of Plymouth Plantation,” by Governor Bradford, the colony’s leader, you might be surprised. Contrary to the accusations, racial and religious tolerance, which America treasures today, began in Plymouth colony.

Digital Juice Back Traxx 2, New American Classics, “Looking Back,” used with permission by Force 4 Digital
“Ana Mosh Hashok” by Joseph Nassrallah, used with permission

Fear of the Foreign

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In this short video, Teresa shares with us that she is naturally afraid to step out of her comfort zone. Yet, God called her to go to Nicaragua on a health and education mission there. Through prayer, Bible study and meditating on God’s presence, she had the courage to place her trust in him. Because Teresa did that, she not only brought God’s love to a needy land, but she also expanded her envelope, learned to trust God more, and had a more meaningful life. In fact, the video concludes with photos of her meaningful ministry there.

Is there some way that you too could step out in faith to serve God in a way that you never have before? Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

The Fruit of the Spirit

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Live from a California orchard, this video teaches Christians from Muslim background, like Huda here, and any other Christian, about bearing fruit in their lives.

Hope: in the early spring we see pink buds beginning to appear on the peach trees. We believe that these buds will flower and turn into peaches. This reminds us that when our lives seem bleak, in faith we can hope for the good that will come later. (Hebrews 11:1)

Next, travel in the orchard through spring’s blossom-laden pink haze until full summer and an abundant peach harvest. Surrounded by ripe peaches, Dr. Cynthia reminds us that the Bible has much to say about fruit.

For example:

  • “The fruit of the righteous are a tree of life.” Proverbs 11:30
  • “The fruit of righteousness will be peace.” (Isaiah 32:17)
  • “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22,23)
  • Jesus said if we remain in him and his words remain in us, we will bear fruit – and that fruit will glorify our Heavenly Father. (John 5:5,16)

“Peace and Purpose” is Dr. C’s Christian worldview (see other videos.) Jesus left Christians here for a purpose – to bear fruit in our character and in serving him by serving others.

Now we are in the orchard during harvest, and we see in real-time the actual activities of harvesting peaches. Peaches must be carefully, yet quickly harvested to get to market or cannery before they rot. You can see how fast the harvesters are working Jesus told us to bear fruit that will last, and he told us to love others. By loving we bear fruit that lasts.

In I Corinthians 13, we learn that love hopes all things and endures all things. With this kind of love, we will bear fruit that makes a difference on earth and gains us a welcome into heaven. (Matthew 25:21)

Do you desire to see more fruit in your life of the beautiful kind described here? If so, ask Jesus into your heart and let his Holy Spirit work through you.

For more information, see our full video lesson on this topic, and read the detailed study guide with Scripture references and stories.


Muslim Outreach: PALM Project

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PALM Project is what we use to win Muslims to Christ. PALM stands for Pursuing And Loving Muslims. It also is a good symbol for loving Muslims because many live where palm trees grow – the Middle East, North Africa, and tropical regions like Indonesia. It is also an ancient symbol for Victory!

Dr Cynthia tells us in this video that some Christians think that they can be so good that Muslims will just come to them wanting to be Christians. Yes, Jesus said that we are to be lights. But he also said that he came to “seek and save the lost.” And his disciple John said that if we follow Jesus we walk as Jesus did.

Pursue means to go after. This doesn’t exactly mean that we chase them. But we do keep an attitude of awareness to them and try to connect.

PALM Project teaches that any time a Christian is with a Muslim – actually anyone – they should do one of these three things:

  1. Build Bridges
  2. Share Truth
  3. Challenge Falsehood

Our videos teach you specifically how to BUILD BRIDGES that connect with Muslims and lead them to the gospel. There are many bridges. We hope you find some that seem natural to you.

SHARE TRUTH: The most important Truth we need to share is the gospel. For that we use “The Path of the Prophets,” because it uses Bible characters and events that they know, so that it finally makes sense to them why God became a man to suffer for their sins. On the Resources page of our website, you can download these booklets/tracts in multiple languages, with more coming. We also have an English video with the words of the tract, on our website and YouTube, and a full video lesson with study guide Lesson on the topic.

Part of Sharing Truth is to sprinkle Bible truth into everyday experiences that you share with Muslims, and of course everyone else you know. Our videos teach how to do that.

CHALLENGING ISLAM: We are not primarily about Challenging Islam. Plenty of other channels do that. Although Christians are used to being challenged in everything they believe, that is not the case for Muslims. They are not used to it and so are very sensitive to it. We take that into account.

But we understand that unless Muslims know that Islam is not true, they will not have the strength to walk away from it: very much is at stake for them. So, our videos and study guides include essential Apologetics and Polemics (meaning defending our faith and challenging others). We do this in some short videos, but also in our full lessons as they apply. Challenging needs to be done in the right way for the setting one is in.

Christian friends, thank you for listening to our vision to bring Muslims to Christ. We hope that you join PALM Project, learn about Muslims, and start reaching Muslims for Christ.

And Muslim friends, you are most welcome to watch our videos, because they are especially aimed at your way of understanding. We even disciple a former Muslim in real time, so that you can see and hear Muslim questions and responses which resemble yours.

The Meaning of Eid al Adha

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Eid al AdHa means “the feast of the sacrifice.” It is the greatest holy day of the year for Muslims. All across the Muslim world, sacrifices of animals are made in honor of how Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son – but God/Allah provided a sacrifice in his place.

In some areas, on this day the streets run red with the blood of animals sacrificed by the fathers of each family. A portion of the sacrifice is given to the hungry. In the West, often a donation is made to a Muslim organization which does the sacrifice on behalf of the family, then gives meat to the poor.

Remembering Abraham’s total submission, and the day when he almost sacrificed his son is a good thing. Giving food to the poor is a very good thing. But Muslims miss the greatest meaning of Eid al AdHa – God’s provision of a substitute sacrifice, and its picture of what was to come.

Although Muslims know the story of Abraham and his “tremendous sacrifice,” they are largely unaware that animal sacrifice for sin was done by all the prophets. Noah sacrificed clean animals when he got off the ark. The Law of Moses included blood sacrifices for sin. It tells us that blood is what makes atonement.

Later prophets told us that God himself would become the final sacrifice for sin. This was Jesus Christ on the cross. The Bible tells us, “God shows his love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

How did the son of Abraham receive the mercy of God?
Through the sacrifice God provided.
What would happen if they refused the sacrifice?
The son would die.

How do we receive the mercy of God?
Through the sacrifice God provides.
What will happen if we refuse the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ?
We too will die…eternally.

References: Quran 37:107, Leviticus 17:11, Romans 5:8

Outreach – Go it Alone!

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Mostly, Christians think outreach needs a team or group. They may refer to Jesus sending out his disciples two by two. But that is only part of the story.

Dr. Cynthia now shares with us something you will rarely hear: Christians should consider doing outreach alone. Here you learn reasons for that.

First, remember that Jesus sent his disciples two by two at a certain time for specified reasons. This was before Jesus’ death and resurrection, before the Great Commission, and before the empowerment by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was not given as an everlasting procedural command.

By way of contrast, the Old Testament prophets often served alone. In her several decades of experience doing outreach, Dr. C has found that insisting on a group dramatically slows down outreach activities. It inhibits rapid spread of the gospel to the immigrants flooding the West from regions which have never heard it. And it gives an excuse for staying home.

Dr. C does love to have an outreach partner. They pray together before and after outreach and share their experiences for mutual encouragement. But in our busy lives it is very difficult to arrange, even if we can find other interested Christians. So, should we forsake outreach, or limit it to once or twice a year?

Our master Jesus commands us to share. God sent people from remote and restricted regions to live near us in the West so that they could hear and experience the gospel (Acts 17). He gave us the Holy Spirit to empower us, and to convict us to share the gospel of love with them. Yet we find many reasons not to.

In this video, Dr. C presents three big benefits of doing outreach alone:

   * Flexibility – it takes a lot of time and effort to coordinate a schedule with a team, or a single other outreach partner. Even then, cancellations complicate the plans and can shut them down. Going alone avoids this frustrating waste.

   * Short Notice – if we bear in mind the idea of outreach as a part of our lives and are prepared to go alone spiritually and physically (with materials), when time unexpectedly opens up in our day we can easily fit in an hour or more of outreach.

   * Approachability – when we go up to someone alone and with a smile, we are less intimidating. It is easy for our smile to be seen as well-meaning, and easier for our materials to be received. The connection is more immediate. Conversations are congenial. Word and Esther Bridges are more easily formed. (More on these bridges in other videos)

Path of the Prophets Play Highlights – French / Arabic

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Le Chemin Des Prophetes/ طريق الأنبياء/ The Path of the Prophets Spectacle/Drama in Bilingual Francais/French et Arabe/Arabic/اَلْعَرَبِيَّةُ

This video gives highlights from our French/Arabic performance of The Path of the Prophets/ Le Chemin des Prophetes. This amazing bilingual drama has been performed in six states and France, in combinations of these languages: English, Arabic, French, and Dari.

Live performance of this drama has a great impact on Muslims. We have seen it. Usually in conversations it is difficult to get the full concept across; but in a performance they have the opportunity to see the idea of sacrifice developed from Adam through Jesus. They hear the same thing in two languages, which reinforces the message. Plus, we use actors who can bring the message across in a convincing way.

Currently we have outstanding invitations to perform in Muslim countries and Europe, but we have delayed because of Covid. We hope to do more performances the future. Let us know if you would like your group, refugee zone, country or language to be on our list!

We love to share the gospel with Muslims using the “Path of the Prophets.” This is because it uses Bible characters that they already know to explain God’s plan of salvation through blood sacrifice and substitution. All the patriarchs and prophets in the Bible did blood sacrifice for sin. Jesus Christ was the prophesied last sacrifice for sin – which was to be God himself.

After learning this, Muslims no longer find it crazy that Christians think that Jesus was God, dying on the cross for our sins. They usually don’t immediately believe, but they say things like, “You are the only Christian that makes sense.”

Booklets on this topic in several languages are available free on the “Resources” page of our website. There you will also find instructions on how to make a bracelet to tell the story of the Path of the Prophets.

See also The Gospel Video Tract for Muslims in English:

A Former Muslim Advises How to Leave Islam

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Leaving Islam is one of the biggest decisions a person could ever make. It will change their lifestyle, culture, family and support system. It could even mean their death. Christina knows. She made that decision years ago, and it has cost her greatly.

In this brief video, Dr. Cynthia asked Christina what advice she would give anyone who is considering leaving Islam. The first and most important thing Christina suggests is to pray thoroughly. Pray for God to show you the truth, for him to direct you in the best way to go. Pray for wisdom and safety.

Although Christina cautions Muslims about making this move, she also cautions them against not making it. “Don’t stay Muslim to please your family or to please someone in your life,” she says. That way you will lose your own soul. But if you come to the Lord Jesus Christ, not only will you be saved but you can bring others to salvation as well.

Outreach – the More the Longer

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The MORE the LONGER: The more Christians are open about their faith, and the more Christians that share it, the less we can be marginalized and silenced. We will have the right longer.

Jesus told us to go everywhere and share his teachings. Regions that do not allow the open exchange of ideas create a dilemma for Christians. In Muslim and communist countries, Christians are very restricted in where, when, what they can say about the Bible, the gospel, and their faith.

Traditionally America and parts of Europe have been bastions of the Freedom of Speech. Although constitutionally protected by the First Amendment in America, more and more topics are being forbidden as “hate speech.” As the West becomes increasingly post-Christian, restrictions come our way. Take for example, pastors. For expressing Biblical opinions, they face accusations: some are actually arrested, as in Finland.

Average Christians are being characterized as unkind, extreme, unloving and intolerant. Sadly, you can often guess the criminal in a show by looking for who wears a cross or goes to church. Some televangelists and street preachers do come across as judgmental. This taints all Christians.

In this video, Dr. Cynthia points out a way that we can fight against negative Christian stereotypes: if Christians bear the fruit of the Spirit and are openly share their faith, it will be more difficult to marginalize us. Let’s let the Holy Spirit fill us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 6:22). And let’s take the “good news” wherever we go.

Outreach – Take it Easy!

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Do you have reluctance or anxiety about reaching out to Muslims – or anyone? If so, Dr. Cynthia tells you in this video, “Take it Easy!”

Let’s face it, no one wants to reach out. The mere thought is intimidating! It’s much easier to keep going on our way, fulfilling the duties of the day. If we do have some free time, we take what enjoyment we can.

Getting started in outreach can be really hard. But to truly follow Jesus we do need to share his words and gospel with others – even though we don’t feel like it. Are you surprised that Dr. C never feels like going on outreach? When the time arrives, she’s tired or ill, or just doesn’t want to do it. She expects it now. That expectation helps overcome it.

Maybe you are the same. We’re not saying to spread a contagious disease. What we are saying is that our own natures, and our invisible enemy, will try many things to discourage us from reaching out.

How can we confront this reluctance? Here’s Dr. C’s way:

  • calm yourself with reassuring thoughts
  • remember, it is God’s work, not yours
  • make baby steps
  • tell yourself “take it easy” – that you won’t push too hard, or stay longer than you can handle
  • think, “I will simply show up. If God wants to bring me someone, or empower me distribute or speak, I will.”
  • just step out in faith and let God do the rest

And do you know what? If you do step out in faith like this, you will gain strength, increase your faith, and experience minor miracles.

For example:

  • feeling tired or ill immediately vanishes when you arrive
  • people connect and want to talk to you
  • you learn
  • at times you make long-lasting connections that lead to salvation and discipleship
  • you may hear back years later, as we have, of the impact that you made in one moment

As Psalm 126:6 says,

“Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

Pedophilia in the Middle East – with Former Muslim Christina

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Pedophilia is so common in Islamic countries that we don’t even have a word for it. It’s normal,” says former Muslim Christina. She should know. Not only has she read the Arabic fatawa allowing it, but has a ministry counseling hundreds who have lived through it. In boys it can lead to homosexuality or phobias, and in girls promiscuity, prostitution, lesbianism and dislike/hate of men. (See also our post with her on Gender Identity Sexuality and Gender Identity in Islam – with Former Muslim Christina.)