On the surface, Teshuah Tea Company is a small business selling quality tea, coffee, and unique gift items, but there’s something far more serious behind the scenes. Bradley Hopp is the co-founder of Teshuah Tea Company and I recently spoke to him about the reason behind the business on my podcast, Bleeding Daylight.
Teshuah is the Hebrew word for deliverance and together with his business partner, Andrew, Brad works to provide deliverance for girls trapped in sex trafficking.
Andrew and his local team run a rescue house in an Asian country, bringing deliverance to girls as young as 11. The problem of sex trafficking around the world is huge.
Nearly 4 million adults and 1 million children are victims of sex trafficking, and 7 out of 10 of them are exploited in Asia and the Pacific region. It’s a 97 or 99 billion dollar a year industry. – Bradley Hopp
Back in the U.S., Brad sells products made by the rescued girls to fund the rescue work, giving the girls financial security and skills that will empower them and allow them to become independent.
In our discussion, Brad pointed out that the issue of trafficking is not just an issue for people in faraway countries but touches every country around the world.
Men are looking at pornography and they think that the girls are willing, but oftentimes they’re not. I think they said 70% or higher are actually trafficking victims. – Bradley Hopp
You can hear our conversation wherever you listen to podcasts or click the play button on the player below.
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Tyler D. Smith is a pastor, NBA sports writer, basketball coach, and author. He’s also worked in the Christian music industry. He graduated from Lincoln Christian University and has served in ministry since 2005. He lives in Indiana with his wife, Katelyn and their two daughters, Addi and Ellie.
It all stands or falls on this. There’s no middle ground. Jesus’ life isn’t simply an object lesson on living well.
The faith of many millions over centuries hinges on the resurrection that Christians celebrate on Easter Sunday (and throughout the year). If that one moment in history didn’t happen then our faith is a complete farce.
In a letter that he wrote to the church at Corinth a couple of thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul claims that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then the whole Christian faith is useless and all the world’s Christians are poor suckers who should be pitied.
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Paul’s saying that the idea of Jesus being a good teacher who said some interesting things isn’t an option. He’s telling us that the whole Christian belief rests on the crucifixion and resurrection being historical fact.
For many, that’s too much of a stretch to believe. How can it be true that someone could be brutally killed yet return to life three days later?
But imagine for a moment that it is true. That would mean that death doesn’t have to be the end because it has been beaten at its own game.
We’ve all been inspired by the lives of others, even knowing that they have died or will at some stage die. Once they’re gone the story of their life, their trials and triumphs continue to influence and motivate us. Surely the story of someone who even triumphed over death itself should give rise to even greater admiration and inspiration … but of course only if the story of them defeating death is true.
When we look at the evidence, the truth of the resurrection emerges very clearly as the best explanation. There is no other theory that even come close to accounting for the evidence. Therefore, there is solid historical grounds for the truth that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. – Matt Perman
In an article written some years ago titled Historical Evidence for the Resurrection, Matt Perman takes a brief look at some of the reasons that many people over the past two thousand years have believed that Jesus rising from the dead isn’t just a nice story, it’s fact.
I don’t have time for a useless faith.
I’m not prepared to believe fairy tales and so while many will scoff and think I must be crazy, I will say that I believe that death has lost its sting because God raised his son Jesus from the dead.
That’s what I’ll be celebrating today and for all eternity.
I pray that you’ll take time to consider the significance of the Easter story this Resurrection Sunday.
The good news is that God, out of His love, became man in Jesus Christ in order to pay the penalty for sinners. On the cross, Jesus died in the place of those who would come to believe in Him. He took upon Himself the very death that we deserve. The apostle Paul says “He was delivered up because of our sins.” But the apostle Paul goes on to say “He was raised to life because of our justification.” Paul is saying that Christ’s resurrection proves that His mission to conquer sin was successful. His resurrection proves that He is a Savior who is not only willing, but also able, to deliver us from the wrath of God that is coming on the day of judgment. The forgiveness that Jesus died and rose to provide is given to those who trust in Him for salvation and a happy future. – Matt Perman
Yes, you might think it sounds like a fairytale, but what if it’s true? What if death can be conquered?
For over two thousand years, millions of people have placed their faith in Jesus as the one who overcame death and now offers the same to those who would believe. Are you going to dismiss that possibility without even looking at the evidence?
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(This is based on a post that I republish each year around this time.)
While you’re unwrapping your gifts this Christmas I wanted to take a few moments to unwrap the real Christmas story.
We all enjoy giving and receiving gifts on Christmas Day but it’s important that we take time to remember what Christmas is really all about. It’s more than just the gifts and the jolly man in the red suit. It’s more than a ‘feeling’ or ‘spirit’ that makes us feel warm inside. It’s more than time with family enjoying good food and good times.
I find it interesting that any time someone suggests removing the word ‘Christmas’ from our celebrations at this time of year there are cries of ‘political correctness gone mad’ yet we still pay so little attention to what that word actually signifies.
While it’s generally accepted that the 25th of December isn’t the actual date that Jesus was born, it’s the day that has been chosen for celebrating Jesus’ birthday. That means Christmas is really a big birthday party.
So why should we be invited to the birthday party? Jesus was born around 2000 years ago. Why do we still celebrate his birth?
Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, and this is where it gets tricky, according to the Bible, Jesus is actually God in human form so this is no ordinary birthday.
Here’s a little bit of the Christmas story from the Bible. This account is from a book of the Bible written by a guy named Luke.
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no vacancy for them.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.’
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Aha! So that’s where the manger and the shepherds come in.
That’s pretty much the story of Christmas. God living among the people he created. It’s an amazing thought but it’s even more amazing when you thread the whole story of Jesus’ life together. After all, usually when we celebrate someone’s birthday we don’t just remember the day they were born, we celebrate who that person has become and what they’ve brought to the world.
If we’re still celebrating the life of someone born around 2000 years ago, we’ve got to assume that they lived a remarkable life. If you want to find out more about the remarkable life of Jesus, I’d encourage you to grab a Bible in an easy to read translation and then read one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) to find out about Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection.
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The long weekend is almost here. There’ll be chocolate, hot cross buns, time with family and friends. I’ll enjoy it all this Easter.
Easter can be a busy time of eating and catching up with people as well as all the usual things that fill our weekends. Our lives are already crammed so full and long weekends can tend to be overflowing with activities and life’s distractions.
That’s why, amongst the busyness, I’ll also take time over the weekend to block out all the distractions to focus on what Easter is all about – Jesus – who came to earth as fully man, fully God.
I’ll reflect on his cruel execution and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection which defeated death once and for all. The resurrection says our past doesn’t have to determine our future. The past can be over for those who believe. That’s incredibly good news.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
The thing is, it’s not only seasons like Easter that fill up with activity so quickly. That’s why blocking out all the distractions is something I need to do every day. Every day there are more calls on my time and attention.
All year round I need to choose to find moments that allow me to block out a crazy busy world to focus on who Jesus is, what he accomplished on the cross, and what that means for my life every day.
The story of Easter brings hope so powerful that it can change our own story for eternity. It’s a great time to focus on Jesus but each day we must choose to connect with the God who loved us so much that He held nothing back, not even His own son.
I really hope that you can enjoy good food and fun with those close to you this Easter but more than that, I pray that you can find some quiet moments to consider something more.
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