English Ministry

Today celebrates 65 Years

January 22, 2015 | English Ministry
Eighty-one-year-old Colleen has read the Today devotional “for as long as I can remember,” she says. And it’s very possible she’s been using Today for 65 years. Back to God Ministries first produced Today (originally The Family Altar) in 1950. People listening to The Back to God Hour were begging for resources to help them and their families learn more about the Bible. The daily devotional met those needs for new believers…and many CRC families. Within months of the first printing, the subscription list grew to 40,000, and by 1990—the Today’s 40th anniversary—circulation was nearly 300,000. Stories poured in from around the world. Today was blessing families and changing lives of prison inmates in North America, seekers in Asia, and new believers in Africa. Today is even credited with helping launch new churches in West Africa! Shay wrote, “I have been in and out of prison since I was 11…[Read More]

They Whispered the Name “Jesus”

December 3, 2014 | English Ministry
“Have you ever been to a Christmas party before?” Elaine asked the Chinese students in her Spotlight English Club. None of them had. The group of a dozen students, studying in South Asia, met a few hours each week to practice English in a Christian setting. They used Spotlight resources, produced by ReFrame Media (the English outreach of Back to God Ministries International) and our ministry partner Words of Hope. “I asked if any of them had ever decorated a tree in their house. They laughed,” recalled Elaine. “I asked if they had ever put up a string of lights. They shook their heads.” Elaine decided to organize the students’ very first Christmas celebration! She encouraged her students to invite their friends, and made sure to include the Christmas traditions dearest to her. Twenty four people came—a record high for this Spotlight Club! “There are stories of Santa and reindeer, but today I will share…[Read More]

Announcing: The Juicys Winners

November 14, 2014 | English Ministry
ReFrame Media’s Church Juice just revealed the four churches who received the 2014 Juicys grants. This year, both first place awards go to churches in Texas: Harris Creek Baptist Church in McGregor, TX (large church winner) and Resurrection Houston (small church winner). Knox-Met United Church in Regina, SK received the small church runner-up award and Broadway Church in Vancouver, BC the large church runner-up award.    “The Juicys are a way to recognize and reward those churches who’ve worked to improve their church communications during the last year,” explains Church Juice senior producer Jerod Clark. “It includes giving these congregations a grant to jump start their next project For Harris Creek, multimedia experiences aren’t just around because they’re trendy. They are a vital way to reach their congregation through a medium they understand. They reimagined what an annual report could be in helping the congregation of 900 see the true work being done. The church launched…[Read More]

Praying for Others Made the Difference

November 12, 2014 | English Ministry
Inmate Roland Harris felt “stupid and unloved” until he was given an opportunity to pray for people he didn’t even know. The 47-year-old former drug addict spent much of his lifetime in prison, where he received his first copy of the Today devotional. While filling out the order form to receive the booklet each month, Roland noticed a checkbox to sign up for being a prayer partner. “Honestly, I wasn’t sure what that was,” admits Roland, “but I was ‘down’ to pray, so I checked the box.” Then Roland noticed that as he prayed for others, “things started happening,” he says. “I haven’t been a Christian very long. But my faith was growing as my prayer life grew.” As a prayer partner for Back to God Ministries International, Roland receives a list of prayer requests each month. People from around the world who respond to BTGMI outreach send prayer needs,…[Read More]

A Life of Faith, Softly Spoken

October 13, 2014 | English Ministry
At age 6 as a student at The Learning Center for the Deaf, Timothy didn't yet have a language for the hope that he would come to have and the Savior he would come to know. When he unexpectedly died at age 24 early September 2014, those who knew him well testified, that "his faith was in everything he did."  His cousin, Kimberly Davis, recently wrote about Timothy's life and witness in a Think Christian blog.  "Reading this [beautiful tribute] is a great reminder to me that we don't always 'have time' to talk to a loved one before we lost them," commented Steve about the article. Another reader added, "Thank you too for the reminder that opportunities for human connection and community surround us daily. In an increasingly digital world, human touch has become a scarce commodity. Thank you most of all for helping us all understand that God has uniquely…[Read More]

Discussing The Decalogue

October 13, 2014 | English Ministry
Most people have seen or heard of Charlton Heston’s entertaining film The Ten Commandments. Fewer are familiar with the 1989 Polish television drama series The Decalogue. But it’s a series worth watching and discussing. Inspired by the biblical Ten Commandments, The Decalogue consists of ten one-hour films that explore moral or ethical issues faced by characters living in modern Poland. “Krzysztof Kieślowski's Decalogue is one of the most lauded cinematic artworks of all time and one of the most spiritually rich,” says Elijah Davidson, co-director of Reel Spirituality, who is partnering with Think Christian to explore the impact of the films’ messages. Though the series was not widely released outside Europe until the late 1990s, The Decalogue has been said to be the best dramatic work ever done specifically for television and has won numerous international awards. In his Great Movies essay on The Decalogue, Roger Ebert wrote, “At the end you see that the Commandments work not like science but like art; they are instructions for…[Read More]

Escape to the Lake

July 21, 2014 | English Ministry
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Summer, vacation, time away, rest, a lake—escape! Megan and Greg and their children drove from Chicago to the Conference Point Center on the shores of Geneva Lake in Williams Bay, WI, looking forward to a peaceful family vacation. They had no idea what else God had in store for them. “When we looked at the conference center grounds and saw all the musical equipment, we wondered what we had gotten ourselves into!” explains Megan. “We are not musically inclined.” Megan and Greg had “stumbled on” the second annual Escape to the Lake conference. And it is indeed a musical event. But it’s more than just a music event, explains event host and organizer, Dave Trout, who also produces Under the Radar, a one-hour audio program that highlights some of the best undiscovered and under-appreciated music from Christian artists. From July 2-5 around 300 adults, children, Back to God Ministries ReFrame…[Read More]

Kacie’s Testimony

May 1, 2014 | English Ministry
Kids Corner Bible study graduate Kacie Vanderzon says some of her favorite, quiet, undistracted moments with God are when she is riding her horse through the woods. Fifteen-year-old Kacie grew up in a Christian family who loves to travel and experience different cultures. But it wasn’t until a year ago that she publicly committed her life to the Lord, and looked for ways to grow in faith. Kacie celebrated the one-year anniversary of her commitment to Christ by completing the Kids Corner Bible study correspondence course. Kacie shared some of her life journey that led to her commitment to Christ. Living in a remote jungle village of Bolivia has been one of the most interesting experiences of Kacie’s life. When she was 12 her family travelled for 100 days, driving 8,000 miles through 11 countries to experience different cultures, languages, and cities along the way. “I really wanted to go…[Read More]

Firing Up Marriages in New Jersey

April 10, 2014 | English Ministry
Sussex, New Jersey is a hard-working community. Many farmers, tradesmen, and business owners usually see more than just a five-day work week! Yet they know family life takes work too. So Sussex CRC partnered with ReFrame Media’s Family Fire team, Steven and Deb Koster, to organize, promote, and host a marriage conference for the church and its neighbors on March 22, 2014. “Family connections are very important to our church family,” said event coordinator Brandie Vande Werken. “There are a number of 4th generation children worshipping with their great grandparents, and some extended families gather every Sunday for coffee after the morning service.” The Sussex event planning committee wanted to give their congregation an opportunity to enrich those relationships. “We are excited to see how God is working in that community,” reflected Deb following the seminar. “We had tremendous feedback from those who attended the workshop.” One couple noted, “We appreciated…[Read More]

Gang Leader finds Christ in Prison

March 20, 2014 | English Ministry
Cedric hit bottom. Although he grew up in the church, he found himself sitting in a prison cell, paying for his time as a violent gang leader. But Cedric found hope when God reached him through a small booklet, the Today devotional. The words in the Today caught Cedric’s attention. His heart was changed and he gave up the anger he felt in his heart. Cedric prayed for forgiveness and made a new commitment. “I gave up my life to Christ!” Cedric proclaims. When inmates decide to dedicate their lives to the Lord, they end up finding true happiness. “I am paying for my mistakes, but since I’ve been here God has become the head of my life and I couldn’t be happier,” Cedric said. “I use your devotional to help me with my studies and for inspiration.” Now Cedric is out of prison, but before he left he shared…[Read More]