Ten years after church denominations and emergency agencies were first on the scene in response to the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina, help still trickles in to rebuild communities affected along the Gulf Coast.
On Saturday, church and ministry leaders in the region will be reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of the day when a Category 5 hurricane hit Mississippi and killed over 1,000 people and caused more than $100 billion in property damage in the Gulf states.
Rev. Fred Luter, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, wrote in the Baptist Press that the hurricane "was a test of our faith. It was a test of our belief. It also was a test of our willingness to come back and rebuild." more >>
With the rise of Christian persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party over the past year, Chinese Christians are starting to speak out after many have been arrested for defending church crosses from forceful government removal.
"At least nine people I know have been taken away by the police and that figure is still rising," an unnamed church leader in the eastern province of Zhejiang told The Guardian on Thursday.
"We think it is a campaign targeting church leaders across the province. It can only be a co-ordinated action initiated by the provincial government." more >>
It's test time. I want to give you a quick, three-question quiz.
Question 1: A guy at the office fudges the numbers on his sales reports and his reimbursement forms. He's stealing from the company. Two coworkers know about it. One loves that he's found a way to make more money and stick it to "the man." The other believes his behavior is ethically wrong. So … which of these two coworkers will love the guy more?
Question 2: A lady in the neighborhood strips every night in a sleazy club down by the airport. Two neighbors know about it. One thinks it's great that she can make money off her body and give guys a good time while she's doing it. The other disapproves of her career choice. So … which of these two coworkers will love this lady more? more >>
For generations it's been easy to live as a Christian in America. We have lived in a culture that largely assumed and supported Christianity or at least Christian moral principles. Even the deists among our Founding Fathers operated within the structural framework and assumptions that undergird Christianity. Over the past few decades, we have seen those assumptions questioned, derided, and mocked by our pop culture, media, and even our courts. What's next for the American Christian?
While American culture is increasingly hostile towards traditional Christians, it is not quite correct yet to call ourselves a post-Christian society. The vast majority of Americans consider themselves at least nominally (in name) Christian, but it is safe to say that America as a whole has largely abandoned a traditional, convicted Christianity.
Consider Justice Kennedy's take on identity in the recent Obergefell decision: "The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity." more >>
One of the lead actresses in the soon-to-be-released film "War Room," has written an accompanying book, Fervent: A Woman's Battle Plan to Serious, Specific and Strategic Prayer, guiding readers how to use prayer as a weapon to fight against ungodly spiritual attacks in every area of their life.
"Fervent will uncover the enemy who is lurking behind the scenes of some of your life's most pressing problems. Then, it will equip you with the tools you need to craft your own strategy of prayers so that you can stand firm against his (devil's) schemes," explains Shirer, a New York Times best-selling author and co-founder of Going Beyond Ministries, to The Christian Post.
Using the outline of a military strategy to highlight the power of prayer, the book accompanies brother writers and producer Alex and Stephen Kendrick's film "War Room," hitting theaters Aug. 28. Shirer makes her acting debut in the upcoming Christian drama about prayer being a powerful weapon. more >>
Prayer and conviction are inseparable, as seen in the life of Christ. Theologians have rightly identified Christ's role as prophet, priest, and king, but prophet is often the most controversial. A prophet would encourage and build, but they would also warn, compel, challenge, and convict — they were not necessarily popular; they were often controversial. Pastors and preachers must balance the prophetic (convicting) with the pastoral (shepherding).
I recently spent a few days alone in a cabin to slow down, reflect, and pray — to renew my mind. The importance of time alone with God is invaluable. Renewal begins and ends with prayer.
"When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live" (E.M. Bounds). more >>