One year after his son's suicide, Rick Warren, author of the Purpose Driven Life and pastor at Saddleback Church in Southern California, said that his sermons during worship services beginning this Thursday evening, will be about how the message of Easter provides the answer to life's most devastating trials.
"Do you ever find yourself discouraged, or depressed or defeated, or even devastated by the circumstances in your life? If so, let me take a minute to encourage you about the pathway to hope and change and transformation that I've found in the Easter story of the resurrection of Jesus," said Warren during a video he released earlier this week (see video below).
"Five days after Easter last year, my 27-year-old son ended his own life. He battled mental illness since a child and despite the best doctors and meds and therapy, and prayers and love, he lost his battle for hope and our family was devastated." more >>
This is always one of the hardest weeks to understand for Christians. We are taken to the scene of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his pathway strewn with palm fronds. His arrival was greeted by happy worshipers singing "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord."
We sing our own hymns of praise on Palm Sunday knowing all the while that this acclaim will not last. We have read in Scripture the events of the coming days. Spy Wednesday it was once called. The middle of the week is a time of betrayal. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve whom Jesus Himself had chosen, will turn against his Lord. Judas will greet Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane with the kiss of death. We proceed through this Holy Week with foreknowledge of the bitter innocent sufferings to come. Jesus the unblemished lamb will be turned over to the High Priest and then to the Roman Governor. He will be tried and convicted of false charges.
He will be scourged and then made to carry His cross to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. He will be numbered among the transgressors, though He was Himself without sin. When He is crucified and takes upon Himself the sins of the world, he feels abandoned. "Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani!" He cries out. "My God, My God, Why have You forsaken me?" Never before in His life has Jesus felt so separated, so cast apart from His own immortal being. But it must be. It is God's own plan to save the world, to save us from our sin. more >>
Astronomical events have been making headlines lately. On April 8, the orbits of Mars, Earth, and the sun fell into a straight line in a rare cosmic alignment called an opposition. Precisely one week later, we will see the first of four extremely unusual total lunar eclipses.
Is there any significance to these extraordinary celestial events? Could it be that God is using the sun, moon, and stars to communicate with us and to announce things to come? The answer is yes!
The Bible is clear that the sun, moon, and stars are connected to Israel and biblical prophecy. Throughout history God has used the science of astronomy (never astrology!) in connection with historical events to write prophetic messages in the heavens. more >>
President Barack Obama hosted religious leaders from various denominations on Monday for the fifth annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House, taking time to reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the "glory of the resurrection."
"We're reminded how He loves us, so deeply, that He gave his only begotten Son so that we might live through Him. And in these Holy Days, we recall all that Jesus endured for us – the scorn of the crowds and the pain of the crucifixion, in our Christian religious tradition we celebrate the glory of the Resurrection – all so that we might be forgiven of our sins and granted everlasting life," Obama said.
His Easter reflection came after he made a few remarks about Sunday's shooting at two Jewish facilities in Kansas. Three people were killed outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and at a Jewish assisted-living facility nearby. The suspect was identified as Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, a white supremacist. Overland Park authorities have classified the shooting as a hate crime. more >>
NEW YORK — Pastor Carl Lentz, who has been leading Hillsong NYC for more than three years, recently said that serving New York City will always be central to the vision and mission of the megachurch.
"The vision of Hillsong Church hasn't changed for 30 years," Lentz told The Christian Post, speaking of the ministry founded in 1983 by Brian and Bobbie Houston in Sydney, Australia.
"If anything, we're trying to continue to encourage people," he added. "The vision of our church is to serve New York City, so that's never gonna change." more >>
For Jews and Christians, the Passover season is a special time for reflection on the rich spiritual truths contained within this remarkable holiday. Indeed, we can all observe the command to "remember" the incredible Israelite deliverance from bondage in Egypt.
For Christians, the events of a momentous Passover some 15 centuries later have given added meaning to this holiday, so that the truths of the first are reinforced in the latter. Deliverance from Pharaoh's taskmasters became freedom from slavery to sin. The blood of a lamb on the doorposts became a typology of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
Yet the parallels between Pesach and Easter were lost for centuries to most Christians when the early Church fathers deliberately severed our faith from its Jewish roots. In time, this hostility to Judaism produced vicious blood libels against Jews at Passover. more >>