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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

Benji creator Joe Camp: Moral movies, personal cost (12/26/04)

Gloria Gaither: A Gaither family Christmas(12/19/04)

Allyson Feliz: Olympic medalist  shares passion for following Christ (12/12/04)

Dan Dean: Walking by faith (11/28/04)

J. Don George: Every church can touch the poor (11/21/04)

Brock Gill: Jesus is no illusion (11/14/04)

Ted Dekker: Good, evil and the battle for souls (10/31/04)

Bob Kilpatrick: CCM: Growing and changing (10/17/04)

Eugene H. Peterson: Man with a message (10/10/04)

Caz McCaslin: Fixing kids sports (9/26/04)

Jerry B. Jenkins: A novel approach to evangelism (9/19/04)

Natalie Grant: Living the dream (9/12/04)

Sharon Ellard: A life-changing education (8/29/04)

Steven Curtis Chapman: All things new (8/22/04)

Jim Ryun: Running to Jesus (8/15/04)

George Barna: Today’s church: By the numbers (8/8/04)

Randy Singer: Made to count (7/25/04)

Holly McClure: Morality and the media (7/18/04)

Don Miller and Richard Flory:Taking the Church to today's culture (7/11/04)

Cecil Richardson: Pastoring the Air Force’s 'Pastors' (6/27/04)

Barry Meguiar: Driven by faith (6/20/04)

Thomas E. Trask: Concerned for America (6/13/04)

Dr. David Yonggi Cho: The work of the Holy Spirit (5/30/04)

Tom Greene: High school: A great mission field (5/16/04)

Jennifer Rothschild: Walk by faith, not by sight (5/9/04)

Chaplain Alex Taylor: Forgiveness and restoration (4/25/04)

Joshua Harris: Not even a hint (4/18/04)

Nicky Cruz: Changing America (4/11/04)

Jason Schmidt: Lessons learned on life’s field (3/28/04)

Scott Temple: One church, many colors (3/21/04)

Michael W. Smith: Called to worship (3/14/04)

Representative Jo Ann Davis: Christians in politics (2/29/04)

Darlene Zschech: Sing, shout … just shout the praise the Lord (2/22/04)

Surgeon James W Long: For your heart’s sake, get fit (2/15/04)

Jerry R. Kirk: Battling pornography (2/8/04)

Dr Michael Ferris: A choice to heal (1/18/04)

Chaplain Al Worthley: Outside the four walls of the church (1/11/04)

2003 Conversations

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations

Changing America

Nicky Cruz came from a dysfunctional family that engaged in witchcraft. As a 16-year-old gang leader in Brooklyn, the Puerto Rican-born Cruz led followers in robberies and violence. But at age 19, after an encounter with street preacher David Wilkerson, Cruz made Jesus Christ his Savior. Cruz went on to become director of Wilkerson’s first Teen Challenge program. Their story was made into a 1972 film, The Cross and the Switchblade, starring Pat Boone and Erik Estrada. Cruz’s 1968 book Run Baby Run has sold more than 12 million copies and has been translated into 43 languages. For the past decade he has led an anti-gang ministry called TRUCE — To Reach Urban Communities Everywhere, based in Colorado Springs. Cruz, 64, has preached to an estimated 35 million people. He recently spoke with News Editor John W. Kennedy.

PE: How did your salvation experience change your life?

CRUZ: I was on a journey of pain and rejection. Then the miracle happened. God was looking for me through David Wilkerson, who came to the streets and parked himself a few inches from hell. David was fishing for fish like me.

PE: Is it more difficult to reach people with the gospel today than when you came to know the Lord?

CRUZ: Yes. My biggest concern is that the church has turned too much to technology. Technology can never replace the heart of God. The battle is in the field, where people experience loneliness, insecurity, rejection and sickness. There is nothing wrong with technology, but it shouldn’t replace the simplicity of the gospel.

PE: Have changes in American society made evangelism more difficult?

CRUZ: When I was in the gang people still had a respect for God, family and authority. There was a fear of God. Now there is a great disrespect for God in society. It’s a tremendous disgrace. Still, I believe in evangelism. Jesus didn’t die in vain. He gave us the Holy Spirit to lead us in the right way.

PE: How are you able to relate to the young generation?

CRUZ: I have so much gratitude for what God did for me and I can communicate with young people. I know their music. I know the way they think, even more now than when I had 25,000 to 30,000 coming to stadiums. I have to be vulnerable because I’m dealing with a vulnerable society looking for answers.

PE: Are a lot of parents clueless about what their kids do for entertainment?

CRUZ: There are a lot of things parents take for granted. Fellowship in the family is imperative if parents don’t want to be detached from their children and surprised by their activities. Parents have the responsibility to supervise. They can never compete with the television channels. Internet filth can be devastating. Little by little we’re losing holiness.

PE: Tell me a little more about your ministry now.

CRUZ: TRUCE is about aggressive evangelism. It is an approach to evangelism that we have developed to reach the inner city, and we see hundreds saved each time. It’s a great sadness that some churches don’t want the people we draw to our outreaches. These are the people Jesus spent His time with while on earth. Inner cities are a wide-open evangelism field.

PE: Gang violence is no longer confined to the inner city.

CRUZ: Exactly. The ghetto has changed middle- and upper-class communities for the worse through hip-hop and rap music messages. We failed to reach the inner city and now the inner city is reaching — and changing — our middle-class culture. It has affected the way we think. And Christians should be unchangeable.

PE: You’ve been an ordained Assemblies of God evangelist for 40 years. Do you have any plans to slow down?

CRUZ: I want to take the most beautiful thing that has happened to me — Jesus — everywhere. Talking about Jesus is what makes me happy. I want to die with that passion.

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