Saddleback Community Church pastor Rick Warren received an outpouring of support from Christians around the world on Easter Sunday, which marked the second anniversary of his youngest son's death.
Believers took to social networking sites last week to share heartfelt messages of love and hope for Warren, who requested prayer on April 1 via his Facebook page as he prepared to preach at Easter services for four days straight. The post garnered more than 39,000 likes and hundreds of comments.
Warren's son, Matthew, who was 27 when he died, took his own life on April 5, 2013, after a long battle with depression. In an emotional prayer request to his 1 million Facebook followers, the Purpose Driven Life author recalled his son's passing as being "the worst day of my life." more >>
Evangelical preacher the Rev. Franklin Graham said in an Easter Sunday message that Christians around the world continue facing higher levels of persecution and violence, and warned that "ugly, anti-Christian bias and intolerance" is changing America.
"Today, untold millions of Christians around the world are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And millions in many countries risk their freedom and — their very lives — to worship Him and claim His Name. Even under the threat of imprisonment, they faithfully follow, like pastor Saeed Abidini and scores of others," Graham said, referring to the imprisoned Christian pastor and U.S. citizen in Iran.
"Despite the ever extending reach of the murderous hand of Islamist terror groups like ISIS, they continue to gather to pray as we saw in Kenya this week with 148 brutally killed in cold blood," Graham's message continued. more >>
President Barack Obama and his family attended the prominent Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia, on Easter Sunday. The pastor, Rev. Howard-John Wesley, touched on a number of social issues in his sermon, including same-sex marriage, healthcare, and the resurrection of Christ.
"Today in our political landscape, a line in the sand is drawn forcing you to make a decision on where you stand," Wesley told the congregation at the 212 year old church, according to The Washington Post.
"Where do you stand with rights for same-sex couples … where do you stand on gun reform, where do you stand with police body cameras?" he asked. "Where do you stand on affordable health care? Life has a way of making you make a decision. Where you stand on the resurrection of Jesus Christ: You either believe it or you reject it." more >>
Easter Sunday is sort of like the Super Bowl for preachers.
It's all but guaranteed the pews will be packed and that presented a challenge to Roderick Richardson, the pastor of The Word Center Church in Jackson, Miss.
The non-denominational church has a membership of about 1,200 people – but only 275 can fit in the sanctuary. And the preacher estimated they could have as many as 1,500 people show up for Easter Sunday. more >>
Kenyan Christian leaders mourned and offered prayers on Easter Sunday for the 148 people, mostly Christian students, slaughtered last week at Garissa University College. The Kenyan government has meanwhile responded by bombing bases belonging to terror group al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the attack.
"We join the sufferings of the relatives and the victims with the sufferings of Jesus," said Bishop Joseph Alessandro of Our Lady of Consolation Church. "The victims will rise again with Christ."
The Associated Press reported that several hundred Christians marked Easter at the Catholic church in Garissa, and many more around the country and across the world remembered the students during the religious holiday. more >>
In a bold move outside the norm for most congregations, Santa Monica pastor Steve Snook plans to set aside his own preaching as he did last year and give the keys, so to say, to the Easter late morning service to those sitting on the grass at Temescal Canyon Park.
I took part and witnessed this amazing work of the Holy Spirit last year.
Instead of a tightly wrapped "boxed" Easter sermon, Snook explained at the beginning of this remarkable gathering that God had told him, "This service is on me." more >>