Posts by: Staff Writer

Mendocino Coast and the House on the Rock

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Providing the setting for this episode’s nature reality segments are scenes from a coastal retreat Huda and Dr. Cynthia took together in Northern California. Here they find a beach with an abalone diver. And it turns out that their guest rooms provide a contemporary setting for Jesus’ parable of the house built on the rock (Luke 6:47-49).

There was such a howling noise the first night that Dr. C had difficulty sleeping. Looking across from the next bluff we see that the sea is whirling into a cave beneath their cabin. This reminds us that just as the rock protects the cabin from the sea beneath it, building our life on Jesus and his teaching protects us.

Six Month Discipleship Update

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This real life update on Huda’s discipleship progress was filmed six months after she became a believer. Dr. Cynthia is glad to report that, counter to many Muslims who revert to Islam, Huda has shown no tendency to return. Huda wants to learn more and more, and Dr. C finds this exciting. Besides daily discipleship contact with Dr. C, she is reading and watching much on the internet, and Christian videos, like the Bible on film. Huda exposes the falsehood of Islam, and shares the truth of the gospel with other Middle Easterners.

For goals for Huda going forward from this point, Dr. C would like to see her become more familiar with the Bible itself, and find a church body that she is comfortable in and regularly attends. Due to language and cultural differences, it has not been easy for Huda to find a church. (There is no Arabic-speaking church near where she lives, and it is also not convenient for her to travel to Dr. C’s church every week.)

Being Friends with God by Fouad Masri

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Fouad Masri, the director of Crescent Project, speaks to us in this episode about being friends with God. We learn from him that in contrast to other religions, which teach that we are slaves of God, the Bible tells us that we can be his friends! (John 15:15) Religions all over the world talk about God, but only Christianity has Jesus as the Savior. His blood can cleanse you from your sins. Today, why not take advantage of this great offer of forgiveness and become God’s friend indeed?

Discussing the Great Commission

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In this clip we get a behind the scenes view of a gathering of our ministry supporters. Huda is cooking at her home for them, and will shortly arrive with delicious Middle Eastern food.

Today Dr. Cynthia is discussing the Great Commission. That is what the command Jesus gave to his followers in Matthew 28:18-20 is called. She reminds the Christians gathered there, that although Huda had heard something of Jesus, and believed that the West was better than the Middle East somehow because of him, it was not until Huda came to America that she heard the gospel for the first time. Huda has since implored Christians in America to share the gospel with those who come here, so that they can believe as she did.

Dr. C then asks the group to share about some time they have shared the gospel with immigrants to America. Robin shares how she was in a relationship with some young Pakistani Muslim women and, although she does not know what will yet come of it, she has shared the gospel with them and hopes it will bear fruit in their lives. Just before the group leaves to eat, Dr. C tells them that Balbir and Katrina Subkaram will be sharing about their work bringing the gospel to Indian immigrants in America, especially Sikhs.

Why are Christians Baptized?

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In this segment we observe the actual training that Huda had before her water baptism. There are several important points for anyone to understand before undergoing water baptism. The voice of Egyptian teacher Dr. Girgis explains gives a brief answer to the question Why are Christians Baptized? He explains that water baptism is a way in which believers are symbolically united with Jesus Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.

Huda learns that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus, it was revealed to him that Jesus was the one who would take away the sins of the world. Dr. Cynthia explains to her that by being baptized, we: follow Christ’s example, obey his teaching, signify our unity with him in death, show our birth into new life, and finally, let the world know that we follow him! Huda shares with us that she has learned these things.

Former Muslim Huda’s Baptism

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Former Muslim Huda’s baptism is a reality segment of a rarely filmed event in the life of a former Muslim. Special concerns exist regarding baptism of Muslims. For Christian background believers, baptism is strongly encouraged, but it does not have the black and white connotation that it does for someone from a Muslim background. A Muslim family would not like a member to show interest in Christianity or the Bible. However, since Islamic looks on the external, it is the former Muslim’s baptism which proclaims what they consider is treason to Allah, Mohammed, and the House of Islam.

Huda’s actual baptism is performed by Dr. James Anderson, a pastor. The tradition of baptism at his church includes playing part of the believer’s favorite worship song (Huda’s is in Arabic – you might recognize it from its English version) and reading of their testimony.

In her written testimony, Huda shares a condensed version of her journey to faith in Christ – how she received a Bible as a child, but was not allowed to read it, how after years of travel as an adult she discovered the difference Jesus made in societies, and how she finally heard the gospel in America. She concludes with a plea: since it was in America that she finally heard the gospel, she encourages American Christians to share the gospel with foreigners who come to America. (Subtitles are provided to assist you with understanding what happens in this important reality segment.)

The Ocean and the Great Commission

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Providing the setting for this episode’s reality segments are scenes from a seaside retreat Huda and Dr. Cynthia took together in Northern California. They pray and meditate while walking the beach, and find inspiration to share Jesus with the world.

To explain and encourage forwarding The Great Commission, Dr. Cynthia reads Bible verses from both the Old and New Testaments. With visions from the Pacific Coast for a background, these verses illustrate how it has always been God’s desire that people all over the world should come to know Him and the blessings of following him (Isaiah 51:15 & 42:10-12 & 24:14-16 & 25:7 & 26:3,12 and Habakkuk 2:14).

Five Year Discipleship Update

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This is a real life update on Huda’s discipleship progress in filmed five years after she had become a believer (by now it is actually been closer to 8 years). Dr. Cynthia is glad to report that, counter to many Muslims who revert to Islam, Huda has shown no tendency to return. She exposes the falsehood of Islam, and shares the truth with other Middle Easterners.

Adult Baptism

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Some people who were baptized as babies, as is done in certain branches of Christianity, are baptized again as adults. Dr. Cynthia interviews two women who made this choice. Both Christine and Teresa, a dedicated supporter of our work, were baptized as babies. They were raised in nominally Christian homes. When these women heard the gospel as adults and gave their lives to Jesus, they decided to be baptized again to symbolize this change. Christine had ill health and passed away to heaven about two years after this interview. We are so glad that she decided to follow Jesus and will be resurrected like him, not only symbolically, but in reality!

Lessons from Picking Pomegranates

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In this reality segment, Dr. C and Huda are picking pomegranates. Expected and unexpected things happen during their activity. The way Dr. C and Huda find lessons from the activities and nature around them, reminds us of how Jesus gave object lessons from every day life, and told stories called “parables.” For example, they seek pomegranates as Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Pomegranates need light to ripen, just as we need the light of Jesus and God’s Word to mature (John 8:12).

Jesus’ Teaching – Context

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When interpreting a parable – or anything Jesus taught – we should consider it in the context he was presenting the parable in. If we dig deeply to uncover the setting Jesus was speaking in or about, Jesus’ teaching takes on more power.

We give several examples to illustrate the power of Jesus teaching in context: When Jesus invited the thirsty to come to him, he was in the temple during the Feast of Tabernacles. Water was an important part of this festival, and he was likely standing near the water gate, so that the water reinforced his point (John 7:2,37,38). When he said he was the Light of the World in John 8:12, he was likely near candlesticks in the temple during the Feast of Hanukkah. Jesus’ claim to be the Bread of Life came just after he fed over 5,000 people in John 6.

Jesus’ Parables – Lost Jewelry Coin

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One of the most effective parables to use in sharing God’s love with Muslims, in Dr. C’s opinion, is that of the lost jewelry coin. Since jewelry is still of great importance to Middle Eastern and Asian women, they even now relate to the idea of loosing something special to them. In fact, most people have lost something of value to them. So, the parable of the lost coin/jewelry might hit closer to home than the parable of the lost sheep with adults in today’s culture.

Both parables can also be used with those of a variety of backgrounds to illustrate how God values and searches for us (Luke 15:4-32). There is no similar illustration of God’s persistent love in Islam.

Seeking Coffee

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Seeking Coffee is a short modern parable. While on a driving trip, Dr. C and Huda need a break. They vigorously search for coffee, but have difficulty finding a place open where they are. This reminds them of Luke 19:10, where Jesus seeks and saves the lost.

Jesus’ Parables – Prodigal Son with Bob Siegel

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Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son is discussed in this clip (Luke 15:11-31). This story is of a rebellious young man, a prodigal son, who does not realize what is important until he hits rock bottom. Jewish background believer Bob Siegel retells the story, including background information from his culture.

Through this story we see God as our Heavenly Father, full of hope, waiting for us to come to life’s most important realization: that he loves each of us and wants us in his family. There is nothing like this in Islam.

Jesus’ Parable – Types of Soil

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In Matthew 13:1-23 we see Jesus telling a story based on something people knew from every day life: seeds and types of soil. God’s word is like seed. If we do not understand or accept it, it is as if it fell on packed earth. Perhaps we accept it with joy, but quickly fall away. Many or most of us who claim to believe do see the seed sprout, but we focus on the cares or pleasures of life rather than God’s word and kingdom; so we can not be as fruitful and the best soil, which might produce up to 100 times what was sewn.

Jesus’ Teaching – Neighbors

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Jesus taught us how to treat our neighbors, and who our neighbors are. He also told us to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48). These are some of Jesus’ teachings which so contrast with Islam, and are refreshing and at times startling to people from Muslim background. Former Muslim Huda loves these teachings of Jesus on neighbors and enemies.

Some of this teaching is in the laws of the Old Testament, but with his usual flair, he affirms, expands, and breathes life into the concept. It is part of his teaching on how we should live for God’s kingdom here on earth.

 Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. When he was challenged on this, he told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus teaching on neighbors illustrates that we must love whoever comes across our path, as ourselves, whether they are like us, or dramatically different, as was the Good Samaritan from the injured Jew he rescued.

Other religions have incorporated The Golden Rule into their teachings, without knowing that it was Jesus who taught it in Matthew 7:12,

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.”

Jesus’ Parable – The Vine

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Huda tells us that one of her favorite parables of Jesus is that of the vine and the branches. In this clip we show a reality clip of her and Dr. C looking at vines, and hear Barbie explaining why this is also one of her favorite parables.

In John 15:1-8, Jesus uses the powerful parable of the vine and the branches to illustrate the importance of abiding in him. He spoke these words after his last supper with his disciples on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane, probably as they were walking through a vineyard. (This is another example of where the context of a story helps strengthen its impact.) He takes the metaphors of himself as the vine and his followers as the branches, and expands it into a parable with the heavenly Father as the Gardener. If we stay attached to Christ, and let his word live in us we will bear fruit. Simply trying to do it on our own, in our own way will accomplish nothing worthwhile for the eternal kingdom of God.

The Power of Parables

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This clip opens up with the real life situation of Dr. C having forgotten something important. That reminds her of Jesus’ parable of the young women who were not ready for the wedding feast and missed out (Matthew 25:1-13). We certainly want to be ready when the Lord returns for us, don’t we?

Dr. C tells shares with us the scientific basis for the power of parables.  Modern psychology has discovered that if we can use a fitting word picture to illustrate a point that touches the emotions it give the story more impact. Huda confirms this by telling us that she loves Jesus’ stories, and that the power of Jesus’ parables is such that she will never forget them.

Misuse of Parables

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Beware of the misuse of parables, especially by enemies of the cross. Jesus’ parables were used to illustrate a point, not as a basis for theology. Dr. C has seen parables not only used out of context, but deliberately twisted to make a point by enemies of the cross.

For example, Dr. C cites the parable of the talents in Luke 19:11-27, and the misuse of this parable by an imam. At the end of the parable the king says, “Those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them – bring them here and kill them in front of me.” Dr. C heard this Islamic teacher publicly misattribute this quote to Jesus himself, saying that Jesus told his followers to kill their enemies.

Jesus never told his followers to kill his enemies, nor did he teach the promotion of faith by force, rather the opposite (Matthew 13:24-30). Mohammed however did have his enemies killed in front of him and did teach to promote his faith by force.

Peace and Purpose in the Garden

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Dr. C likes to remind us that her view of the Christian life is Peace and Purpose. The three kinds of peace are with God, ourselves, and other people. We balance that with fulfilling God’s purpose for our individual lives.

Some places and situations make it easier for us to sense God’s peace than others. In this peaceful garden, the way the pond reflects the beautiful trees and pleasing Japanese design illustrates how we should reflect Christ in our lives (II Corinthians 3:18). Such reflection of Christ brings together both peace and purpose.