From the orthodox to the charismatic, from small chapels to megachurches, from brick and mortar to digital, pastors nationwide are leading believers and seekers in Easter worship services with the central Christian message – Jesus Christ, God's only begotten son, died on the cross and rose on the third day for the salvation of those who believe in Him.
Lee Strobel, teaching pastor and author of The Case For Easter and many other books, told The Christian Post, "My focus will be on 1 Cor 15:17 – 'And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.' I'll be talking about the historical evidence that convinced me as an atheist that Jesus did rise from the dead and thus back up his claim to being the Son of God. The resurrection is the linchpin of the Christian faith – no resurrection, no Christianity."
Strobel, who is also a professor of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University, will be preaching during eight Easter services within 24 hours at Mission Community Church in Gilbert, Ariz. His message is one that pastors hope will help bring those attending church or watching online during Easter into a relationship with Jesus. more >>
Easter is a time when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, fulfilling centuries of prophecy about the Messiah. It is a holiday known for also featuring secular components like Easter eggs, candy, egg hunts, and the Easter bunny. Some of these traditions derive from pagan observances dating back to the Roman Empire, which some find troubling.
Thomas Burke, dean of Humanities at Hillsdale College and a professor of philosophy and religion, however, believes that it is acceptable for Christians to partake in rituals during Easter that may have pagan roots.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Burke explained that given that these secular Easter traditions "no longer have those pagan associations and meanings," they are "perfectly legitimate for Christians." more >>
A Tennessee church has experienced both a financial and attendance boost that began when construction started for a mosque next door.
Dan Watts, the interim pastor at Grace Baptist Church, told The Daily News Journal that since 2011 the numbers for worship and Sunday school attendance have tripled and total giving has doubled, coinciding with the start of construction for the controversial Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, which opened in 2012.
Watts, 42, who previously pastored in Mississippi before joining Grace Baptist three years ago, said that his church has found ways to reach out to the city's Muslim and Christian Arab populations. more >>
Participants at Pastor Ed Young's Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, attempted a world-record 17,000 square foot chalk portrait of Jesus on Wednesday as part of Easter activities.
"Easter is always a time of celebration, reflection, and renewal. This giant chalk drawing on our church's parking lot is just a great way to connect with so many people and to remind us what this week is all about," Young, who leads the 20,000-member congregation, said before the event.
"The message is clear - it's all about JESUS!! #ArtOfEaster," Young wrote on his Facebook page. "The portrait is done. History has been made. And now it's time to tell HIS STORY this Easter." more >>
Heaven is for Real tells the story of the small town Nebraskan Burpo family whose 4-year-old son Colton has a near-death experience where he visits heaven and meets Jesus.
The unraveling of this majestic vision is documented in the film, but it doesn't seem to be the main focus. Instead, the movie makers chose to deviate from stressing the vision, and decided rather to show the day-to-day life of the Burpo family and how they balanced church, work and bills with their son's experience.
Greg Kinnear does a fantastic job as Todd Burpo, a jack-of-all-trades that pastors a church, repairs things and fights fires. He becomes skeptical of God's actions once his son is laid up on the operating table for a ruptured appendix. He wrestles with the actual experience and this struggle continues well into the boy's recovery and his explanation of his visit to heaven. more >>
Mormons will share the stage with atheists Wednesday as part of a joint panel held in Salt Lake City, Utah, to discuss and dispel the myths and stereotypes that are believed about the two groups.
In a statement released last week, American Atheists President David Silverman explained that the panel will "challenge how atheists and religious people think of each other."
He continued: "It's true that many atheist Utahans are ex-Mormons, but many atheists around the country have very little direct experience with Mormons. And many Mormons have very little real-world experience with or knowledge of atheists. We want to fix that because a better understanding of where we're all coming from is needed to share political and social space." more >>