A Florida pastor got a tattoo of his church's emblem after promising his congregants he would do so if they broke the church's attendance record on Easter Sunday.
The Rev. Leon Bloder of First Presbyterian Church in Eustis, Fla., agreed to have his church's emblem tattooed on his leg after some 850 people showed up for Easter Sunday services, which was nearly double the church's usual weekend attendance of 450.
The pastor's new tattoo, which he received Thursday, includes a large black cross on his left calf. He told the local WKMG-TV that he chose to uphold his promise of getting the tattoo to show his commitment to God and the gospel. more >>
Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, recently said in a panel discussion broadcast on Easter Sunday that he believes, as an Evangelical Christian, "you can be gay and go to heaven, no question." But importantly, Graham clarified that the reason for this is that all humans are sinners and all must repent before they can be accepted into heaven.
Graham was discussing various subjects, including same-sex marriage, Russia, and the Easter season, with other panel members and ABC's "This Week" host Martha Raddatz for the program's Easter week special focusing on religion. Graham was joined by Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, and "This Week's" own Cokie Roberts.
When the topic of same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption came up on the panel, Graham said: "When we talk about families and we talk about gay people … maybe gays that are watching want to know, 'Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?' Absolutely." more >>
A group of New Jersey churches held a Stations of the Cross procession with each stop being put at a scene of a violent crime.
Last week, the churches held the processional with about 80 people participating in Jersey City on Good Friday.
Grace Church Rector the Rev. Laurie Wurm told The Christian Post that a major reason for the procession was the parallel drawn between the condition of the streets of Jersey City and the passion of Good Friday. more >>
Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently serving eight years in prison in Iran, has written an Easter message to Christians around the world, calling them to die to themselves and to selfish desires in order to experience the resurrection with Jesus Christ.
"Sometimes we want to experience the Glory and resurrection with Jesus without experiencing death with Him. We do not realize that unless we pass through the path of death with Christ, we are not able to experience resurrection with Christ," Abedini wrote in a message shared by the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents his wife, Naghmeh, and two children in the U.S.
"We want to have a good and successful marriage, career, education and family life (which is also God's desire and plan for our life). But we forget that in order to experience the Resurrection and Glory of Christ we first have to experience death with Christ and to die to ourselves and selfish desires." more >>
Christians in the Philippines participated in an annual re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ on Good Friday by nailing themselves on crosses, though the practice is not supported by the Roman Catholic Church.
"It was a great experience between me and God," 48-year-old Danish film director and stunt coordinator Lasse Spang Olsen told Reuters. "It was great. It was fun."
Olsen, who stayed on the cross for more than 10 minutes before being treated for his wounds, participated in the controversial practice with close to 20 Filipinos in San Fernando, which is 50 miles north of the capital, Manila. The event draws thousands of on-lookers each year, both locals and tourists. more >>
The faith-based film "Heaven Is for Real" recorded a highly impressive box-office debut over Easter weekend, taking in $21.5 million domestically and besting Johnny Depp's sci-fi blockbuster "Transcendence," which only earned $11.5 million.
"The film definitely played not only to a faith-based audience but to a mainstream audience as well," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures Entertainment, following the impressive debut, according to Deadline.com. "The title itself provokes dialogue no matter what you believe. It's based on a book and the true story of this family, so it makes it all that more compelling."
The Randall Wallace movie, based on the bestselling 2010 book Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, has earned an estimated $28,500,000 from 2,417 theaters nationwide in the first five days of its release, more than doubling its modest production budget of $12 million. more >>