At the close of each Sunday morning sermon we extended the invitation to come forward to repent, confess, and be baptized. If it was cold weather we had to arrange with one of the churches in Franklin (Tenn.) that had a baptistery. Consequently, we only baptized during protracted meetings in July. Actually we were all baptized around twelve years old. It was the Church of Christ rite of passage, with little thought about repentance.
It is difficult to excite a twelve-year-old boy with the idea of Salvation, or convince him of the wonders of Heaven, or the fire and brimstone of Hell. The Church, the family, the extended congregation gave me a sense of belonging. We were Christians.
The agony of the Crucifixion is overshadowed by the Resurrection. This was God's will from before the creation, to give his only begotten son for mankind for the atonement of their sins. Christ was the Son of God, born of a virgin, crucified, arose, walked among the disciples, ascended into Heaven, sits on the right hand of God, and will return to redeem his disciples. more >>
Prison Fellowship, the world's largest Christian outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families, is partnering with the producers of "Unconditional," and plans to show screenings of the inspirational movie inside two Florida correctional facilities during Easter weekend.
The events also feature Prison Fellowship CEO Jim Liske and "Papa Joe" Bradford, a former maximum security inmate now working to improve the lives of Nashville's at-risk kids. His life is the inspiration behind the film.
"To help 'Papa Joe' share his message of God's life-changing, unconditional love is an honor," Liske said. "And this Easter weekend screening is just the beginning, as Prison Fellowship programs have the potential to connect or reconnect inmates in 1,200 prisons across the country to God's love and their purpose in life through this inspiring film." more >>
LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Pastor Rick Warren highlighted parts of his sermon on how the resurrection of Jesus Christ "changed everything" with scenes from the popular docudrama series "The Bible" during a lunchtime worship service at Saddleback Church on Good Friday. The message will be given again several more times before the weekend ends.
"How did 12 peasant fishermen, tax collectors, farmers – how in the world did they multiply – 12 followers of Jesus to one out of every three people on the planet [identifying as Christian]? The answer is the Resurrection," said Warren to about 2,000 people in attendance and an online viewing audience. "The resurrection of Jesus changed everything. It split our calendar to the A.D. and the B.C.
"No other event has impacted the world so much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ," he said. more >>
As Christians gather this Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, many churches are pulling out elaborate props and Easter presentations in an effort to grow membership and make converts out of those "Chreasters," their friends, coworkers, family members and neighbors who attend service only on Christmas and Easter. But, according to experts, some congregations are woefully unprepared when it comes to connecting and keeping contact with their biannual guests.
Easter 2012 saw Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, use a live lion and a lamb on stage during his open-air Sunday service, which drew a bit of criticism from local animal rights activists. This year, Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., plans to hold a record 42 services across his 14 campuses in four states and expects a huge number of converts to come to faith in Jesus Christ.
As an electrified Driscoll explains in a recent video announcement about Easter 2013, "Easter's coming. It's our biggest Sunday of the year! We get so excited for Easter Sunday. It's where we see the most people meet Jesus, the most people attend the church, the most people get baptized. So it is the day we are the most excited." more >>
In an age when a declining commitment to faith seems to be the national news, a tony resort town on the northwest coast of Florida is experiencing an Easter phenomenon that is just the opposite. An increasing number of vacationing and local Christians in the extremely affluent community have been showing up by the hundreds in flip-flops and bonnets for an informal Easter Sunday service just steps away from the beach.
The tradition, which began with a motley crew of vacationing Christians in 2005, evolved into a church in 2006 called Chapel on the Beach, which meets weekly in the Rosemary Beach Town Hall. But the real news is the exponential growth for the Easter resurrection service on the beach, which seems to be spontaneous.
"Most people when they come down on vacation are not thinking about attending Easter services but I truly believe a big majority of people that do come to our community for vacation, especially during this time of year want the Easter services," said Jon Laplante, Rosemary Beach resident and member of Chapel at the Beach for the last five years. "I think [it] is a huge testament to what's going on over here at the beach." more >>
An Alabama elementary school is banning the word Easter from campus activities because the principal said that even secular symbols such as the Easter bunny relate too closely to religion and would not only offend someone but do something even more serious.
"Kids love the bunny and we just try to make sure that we don't say the 'Easter' bunny so that we don't infringe upon the rights of others because people relate the Easter bunny to religion," said Principal Lydia Davenport of Heritage Elementary School in Madison, Ala.
Davenport informed teachers on Monday (March 25) that the school's plans to have an "academic egg hunt" for kindergarten and second grade students would have to be cancelled. Instead, teachers are being asked to use something else besides eggs and to not mention the word "Easter," according to local news reports. more >>