King Leonidas (the famous Spartan leader of the "300" who defended Greece against the Persian invasion at Thermopylae) has got nothing on Abram who was called on by God to face an overwhelming and daunting assault by evil upon his family and region. This story sizzles. It reads like a Hollywood script but its biblical history is recorded for our benefit if we have the courage to apply it as a model and pattern of leadership put there by God. Without delay, let's roll the film and deconstruct some lessons that are powerful for us as pastors as we battle against evil in our cities.
The four evil kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his own household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and other people." Genesis 14:14-16 NIV
Impressive. more >>
Although his physical appearance denied that he once played in the NFL, Pastor Ken Hutcherson, reduced by the ravages of the cancer he fought for more than a decade, looked at me as I entered the room for his men's discipleship meeting on a Monday night in early November with the eyes of his former linebacker self – he read me like he was gauging a quarterback about to take a snap.
"Hutch," sitting at the table with about two dozen men, was disarmingly gentle in his demeanor. However, one thing was certain, the leader of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, Wash., had the cutting edge sharpness of a sword when it came time to studying and diving deep into the word of God with his men.
Without doubt, the mightiest thought the mind can entertain is the thought of God, and the weightiest word in any language is its word for God. Thought and speech are God's gifts to creatures made in His image; these are intimately associated with Him and impossible apart from Him. It is highly significant that the first word was the Word: "And the Word was with God, and the Word was God." We may speak because God spoke. In Him word and idea are indivisible. more >>
The megachurch movement in the United States is not dying or slowing down, according to a recent, end-of-year report that shows a growing number of attendance, averaging 2,000 people in 46 states.
"With each passing year, megachurches are more in both number and size and the ones at the top of the list are larger than the ones at the top of the list in previous years," Warren Bird, director of research and intellectual capital development for Leadership Network, told The Christian Post.
Megachurches tend to be more protestant in nature and, by definition, hold services for 2,000 members or more. In the U.S., several congregations surpass that figure by large numbers, including Rick Warren's Saddleback Church based in Lake Forest, Calif., and Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, among others. According to Bird, there are currently 1,650 established megachurches in the country, many of which draw a sizeable percentage of young adults. more >>
For the majority of American Christians, women's voices from the pulpit are a rarity.
According to a Faith Communities Today 2010 survey, roughly 24 percent of Mainline Protestant congregations had female leadership. For Evangelical congregations, only 9% had women on the pastoral staff.
Without endorsing a position on female ordination, Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith seeks to bring more female Christian voices to the mainstream, by offering 40 women under the age of 40 a platform to share a myriad of opinions on ordination, sexuality, divorce, doubt, breast feeding, and gender roles. more >>
On Wednesday, Dr. Ken Hutcherson, founding pastor of Antioch Bible Church in Kirkland, WA, passed through the gates of glory after a more than ten year battle with cancer. What you may not know is that Ken played a major role in the formation of the vision, and ultimately the church that Linda and I planted in 2001: the Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas.
Here's just part of the story, excerpted from my book, Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church.
It was the spring of 1993, and I had two options. After ten years of full-time ministry as a youth pastor, two dynamic churches had each invited me to join their staff teams to oversee student ministries. more >>
Global membership in the United Methodist Church passed the 12.5 million mark in 2012, reaching a record number for the denomination, according to recently released statistics.
Despite continuing its decline in the United States, the UMC maintained a trend of growth in developing countries, which greatly contributed to reaching the record number.
A UMC spokesperson provided The Christian Post with a statement from Scott Brewer, associate general secretary of the UMC General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA). "In 2012, The United Methodist Church continued to see its greatest growth centered in Africa and the Philippines," said Brewer. "Although there are also conferences in the United States and Europe that also reported increases…the greatest growth is found in what's often referred to as the Global South." more >>