While the Easter holiday traditionally has brought the biggest boost in attendance for many U.S. churches, a new survey from LifeWay Research has found that one in five Americans are unsure if they will even find themselves in a pew this year come Resurrection Sunday – and many Christians are among that number.
Easter, which reportedly leads Christmas and Mother's Day in drawing big numbers to church, is arguably the most important Christian holiday, as it marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by crucifixion, as described in the New Testament of the Bible.
However, LifeWay indicated that among the sample of 1,060 adult Americans surveyed who identified themselves as Christians, only 58 percent of Protestants and 57 percent of Catholics said they planned on attending Easter services. The research group found that 45 percent of nondenominational Christians said the same. more >>
To the modern mind, the resurrection is utterly implausible.
One in five Americans don't believe in a deity. The "none" category in religious polls has doubled over the past ten years, and less than half of the population attends religious services on a regular basis. As statistics rise on the decline of Christian faith in America, you may find yourself wondering if Christianity is really worth believing. After all, the Christian faith makes some audacious claims.
Question your faith. Doubt your doubts. more >>
With Easter Sunday just a few days away, the message of the cross of Jesus Christ is, or soon will be, on the minds of Christians everywhere. In the video-based study "Seven-Mile Miracle: Experience the Last Words of Christ As Never Before," North Carolina megachurch pastor Steven Furtick teaches on location from some of the most recognizable sites from the passion narrative.
Furtick, lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C., begins with a teaching about forgiveness based on Jesus' words in Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
"I've always been gripped by the power of that statement," said Furtick, speaking from Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified. "I know that I wouldn't be able to find it in my heart to ask God to forgive the enemies that were responsible for my murderous, scandalous death. Yet the very first thing that Jesus did, which was the very thing he came to do, was to issue forgiveness in the face of his betrayers." more >>
This Holy Week will be special at Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington, Ill., one of the largest churches in America, as it helps members and others walk alongside Jesus from Palm Sunday through Easter with on-site and online meditations.
"At Willow we are all committed to honoring Christ to the fullest extent possible over the next eight days, beginning with our Palm Sunday services," says Willow Creek Senior Pastor Bill Hybels. "By concentrating on His activities and priorities during Holy Week, we can reflect on our own choices and in doing so, we can learn a ton."
On Palm Sunday, Pastor Hybels has invited Dr. Gary Burge, who teaches New Testament at Wheaton College, to deliver a Palm Sunday message examining Jesus' final week in Jerusalem leading up to His crucifixion. more >>
Pastor John Piper launched a new, free devotional eBook, titled Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week, today. The devotional focuses on the self-giving love of Jesus Christ leading up to his death, burial and resurrection.
In preparation for the Easter holiday, the new devotional was compiled from past teachings and writings of Piper for use in personal devotions or family and group settings. There are eight devotionals, beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday. Piper chronicles the steps and words of Jesus as he prepares for his own sacrificial death. He takes the devotional reader on a journey of Christ's love for them through his suffering and sacrifice.
The significance of the term uttermost is explained in the devotional. When used in relation to Jesus' willing death for the world, it means he endured "unimaginable degrees" of suffering to do so. "To love to the uttermost is to love freely, without reserve or limit, and without flaw or failure," it reads. "As we watch his arrest and trial and death unfold for eight days, we gaze on a God-man who begrudges no pain or reproach on his pathway to redeem lost sinners. This is the man who humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" – Philippians 2:8," it concludes in the introduction. more >>
A continuing congregation of The Episcopal Church held its first Easter service in a Virginia church since the majority of the members voted to break away from the denomination.
The Falls Church, a piece of ecclesiastical property that traces its origins back to the 18th century, was one of seven church properties that The Episcopal Church won in a court battle back in January.
Henry Burt, secretary of the Diocese of Virginia who grew up as a member of The Falls Church, told The Christian Post that the Episcopal service at The Falls Church last Sunday was well attended. more >>