Christians should be encouraged to "come as [they] are" this Easter season, Pastor Rick Warren wrote in a devotional post this week.
Warren, who oversees Saddleback Church in Southern California, wrote on Tuesday that some Christians may have the misconception that they need to "clean up [their] act" before they can present themselves to Jesus.
The megachurch pastor says that while Christians may think they need to do this, in fact the opposite is true. "The truth is, God doesn't expect us to clean up our act before we approach him. The death and Resurrection of Jesus is God's statement on that. Jesus spread out his arms and said, 'I love you this much. Now, just come as you are,'" Warren says, adding that, as Psalm 57:3 notes, God's death on the cross proved his unconditional love for us. more >>
A major Pew Research Center analysis on the gender gap in religious belief around the world has found that Christian women tend to be more religious then men in virtually all criteria, while Muslim men score higher than women on some accounts.
"On all the standard measures of religious commitment examined in the study, Christian women are more religious than Christian men," Pew reports this week.
"By contrast, Muslim women and Muslim men show similar levels of religiousness on all measures of religious commitment except frequency of attendance at worship services. Because of religious norms, Muslim men attend services at a mosque much more often than Muslim women do." more >>
Many Christians have lost their edge — their radical, burning fire for Christ, says preacher and author Francis Chan, a firm believer that while family is important, the mission of the Kingdom of God should come first.
In a video message recently shared by ChurchLeaders.com, Chan says that after many Christians get married they place Christ's mission on the back burner, spending their days in the bubble of relationships, children and the comfort of security. The preacher challenges married Christians to stoke the flames of their passion for Christ and his work, and to step out of their comfort zones to take more risks to further His Kingdom.
Chan, who's been married to his wife, Lisa, for over 20 years and has seven children, asks, "Could I be an example of someone who's married and has kids and is still thinking 'Kingdom first?'" He adds, "Your mission with the Lord doesn't end when you get married," giving examples of how when people date, or get married, or have children their focus tends to shift from standing on the frontlines for Christ to pouring the majority of their time and energy into nurturing and protecting their relationship, family and security. more >>
Whenever I do any type of consultation with a church, I ask to see attendance records. And though it is not a rule without exception, I typically see three to four spikes in attendance.
Most church leaders don't realize the reasons behind these spikes. They, therefore, do not plan strategically and prayerfully.
I understand numbers are not everything in the health of the church. But we would be negligent if we did not see the gospel opportunities in reaching new people who might come during one of the spikes. more >>
Leading Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore is calling on Christians to stop "bashing" the millennial generation as lazy, entitled and self-obsessed, arguing that millennials are actually "far more committed" to sharing the Gospel with people outside of Christian subcultures.
Moore, who is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote an op-ed titled "Are Millennials Selfish and Entitled?" that was posted to his blog last week and to the Baptist Press Monday.
The piece argues that although the millennial generation gets a bad rap from older generations, millennials are not lazier or more selfish than previous generations. more >>
For the first time ever, the majority of Norwegians do not believe in God, a new study has found.
The study, conducted annually by the Norwegian Monitor/Ipsos Norway, found that among 4,000 participants, 39 percent said they do not believe in God, while 37 percent said they do. Twenty-three percent said they were undecided, according to The Local.
In past years, the survey has found that believers outweighed nonbelievers, or the two groups were equal. more >>