Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mark Driscoll on TD Jakes and the Trinity

Elephant Room 2 is coming up in January (I went to #1 with my friend Brenton Balvin) and it appears that there might be a face-to-face throw down between Mark Driscoll & TD Jakes regarding the Trinity.

Driscoll shares some of his thoughts as well as an insightful teaching on the Trinity on his new blog.

This could get interesting!

Courageous - Movie Debuts tomorrow!

I think everyone should go see this movie! Take your family and friends with you too!!

Honor Begins at Home

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.
While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?
Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Riveted moviegoers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.
Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.

In Theaters September 30

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fastest Growing and Largest Churches in America

For the fifth consecutive year, Outreach Magazine partnered with LifeWay Research to compile a list of the 100 largest, and the 100 fastest growing churches in America. Researchers contacted more than 25,000 churches for the report, which is based on attendance records, not membership, from February and March of this year. The list of the fastest-growing churches includes churches with attendance greater than 1,000, a numerical gain of 249 or more, and a percentage gain of at least 6.5 percent. Rankings were determined by factoring both numerical gain and percentage growth.
Top Five Largest Churches

  1. Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas, 43,500
  2. North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Ga., 27,429
  3. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill., 24,377
  4. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky., 20,801
  5. Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif., 19,742
Top Five Fastest-Growing Churches

  1. Richmond Outreach Center, Richmond, Va., +2,530 (83%)
  2. Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C., +2,744 (48%)
  3. Real Life Church, Valencia, Calif., +1,763 (111%)
  4. The Potter's House of Denver, Denver, Colo., +1,800 (51%)
  5. Christ's Church of the Valley, Peoria, Ariz., +4,049 (29%)
Analysis of the data also revealed that:
  • Seventeen of the largest churches are in Texas, the most of any state.
  • Texas is also the state with the most fastest-growing churches on the list with eleven.
  • Almost half (47%) of the largest churches are “nondenominational.”
  • Common to many churches on the two lists were such factors as leadership development, the use of multiple sites, a small groups emphasis, and a desire to minister to their local communities.
For more information about the lists, or to order a copy of the special issue, Outreach 100, go to

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Book Outlines Decline of American Religion

The majority of Americans say they believe in God and almost 40 percent claim they attend religious services every week, but a new book that is based on almost 40 years of research shows that actual church attendance is not that high, and what people mean when they tell pollsters that they pray or believe in God is not always clear.

The book, American Religion: Contemporary Trends by Dr. Mark Chaves of Duke University, presents an overview of religious trends in the United States, and is based on the National Congregations Study, and the General Social Survey, research which goes back to 1972. In his book and in a recent article posted on the Association of Religion data Archives Web site, Dr. Chaves concludes that in some ways religious expression in America has been very stable over the years, but in other ways there are significant signs of decline. For example:
  • The percentages of Americans who know that God exists (64%), say they've had a born-again experience (36%), and who pray several times a week (69%) have remained steady since the 1980s.
  • The percentages of individuals who read the Bible at least weekly (31%), watch religious television (28%), feel extremely close to God (31%), consider themselves very or extremely religious (26%), or believe in heaven (86%) or hell (73%) haven't changed much during the 17-year period over which they were measured .
  • In 1957, three percent of Americans said they had no religious affiliation. By 2008, the percentage increased to 17 percent.
  • The weekly church attendance rate is closer to 25 percent than the 35 or 40 percent often reported.
  • The percentage of people who never attend religious services increased from 13 percent in 1990 to 22 percent in 2008.
  • The percentage of people who report growing up with religiously active fathers declined from nearly 70 percent for those born before 1900 to about 45 percent for those born after 1970.
  • Over the last 30 years, the percentage of people who say they believe that the Bible should be taken literally declined from approximately 40 percent to just over 30 percent.
  • The percentage of people who say that they have a great deal of confidence in leaders of religious institutions has declined from about 35 percent in the 1970s to about 25 percent today.
Dr. Mark Chaves, who is a professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University, directs the National Congregations Study and specializes in the sociology of religion. His newest book is, American Religion: Contemporary Trends, and his article mentioned above, “The Decline of American Religion” can be found at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Eagle Brook Church does "Don't Stop Believing

I love creative churches and I love Eagle Brook Church, so the following absolutely ROCKS! EBC covering "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey to introduce their newest (5th!) campus in Woodbury, MN.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Evangelical Millennials and Homosexual Issues

A recent Public Religion Research Institute telephone survey of 3,000 Millennials, conducted between July 14 and 30, indicates that people between the ages of 18 and 29 have more liberal views on same-sex issues than their parents and grandparents — regardless of political affiliations or Christian faith. The survey found that 44 percent of white evangelical Millennials favor same-sex marriage, compared to only 12 percent of evangelical seniors and 19 percent of evangelicals overall.

Dawn McBane, director for Rising Voice for Citizen Link — a year-old outreach to Millennials — said, “It’s important to make sure Christian Millennials understand the importance of a biblical worldview so they can think well about issues of marriage and sexuality,” she said. “Our desire is to encourage Millennials to think deeply about issues from a biblical worldview and then challenge them to live out their beliefs in every-day life.” []

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Being married fights abortions

 Full article here.

"Studies have consistently shown that stable families built upon life-long, committed marriages between a man and a woman are by far the best for protecting life."

That there is a difference is no surprise to me, but the size of difference is astonishing.  I'm obviously pro-marriage.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

National Anthem “Too Violent”

Goshen College, a small Mennonite school in Indiana banned the “The Star Spangled Banner” at all sporting events because Jim Brenneman, the school’s president, considers the National Anthem’s words to be too violent. Last year, the 1,000-student body school banned the words, but the band could still play the music. Brenneman said, “I am committed to retaining the best of what it means to be a Mennonite college, while opening the doors wider to all who share our core values. And, I invite others to join us at Goshen College as we make peace in all of its forms, even with the National Anthem.”  (From The Pastor's Weekly Briefing)

My thoughts:
It strikes me as quite ironic that this is a protest of the very violence that affords them the freedom to ban the National Anthem.  But along with that, I'd fight for their very right to do so.  Fully living out their Mennonite views would (at least to me) logically put them at odds with the language in "The Star Spangled Banner" and I appreciate their willingness to stand for what they believe while not sharing this component of their faith.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Preaching Magazine's 25 Most Influential Pastors of the Past 25 Years

Because the primary focus and audience of Preaching magazine has been the American pulpit, that is the context in which these preachers are recognized. Many gifted and influential preachers have served faithfully around the world and in terms of Kingdom impact may have touched far more than many of those listed below. We may not know them, but God does.
Here, then, are the 25 most influential preachers of the past 25 years:
1.  Billy Graham
2. Chuck Swindoll
3.  Rick Warren
4.  Gardner C. Taylor
5.  John MacArthur
6.  Adrian Rogers
7.  Haddon Robinson
8.  Andy Stanley
9.  John R.W. Stott
10.  W.A. Criswell
11.  John Piper
12.  Charles Stanley

Involved Fathers Produce Better Kids

A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science confirms what many in the Christian community have been saying: Children whose fathers live with them and are actively engaged in their lives have higher IQs and fewer behavioral problems than those in single-parent homes headed by moms.

“This new study supports a wealth of existing data published over the last 30 years, showing that dads bring things that are essential to healthy child-development, and primarily because of the particular ways they tend to play with their children, being more physical and unpredictable,” noted Glenn T. Stanton, director of Global Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family. Mr. Stanton examines the topic in detail in his book Secure Daughters, Confident Sons.

“Father play provides kids with a range of important experiences — many of them building things like a greater sense of confidence as well as empathy toward others — that mom’s way of play is just not as likely to stimulate.” []

(from The Pastor's Weekly Briefing)