God is moving so dramatically in Los Angeles that young people are even paying $5 to park to go to church! My husband Jim and I wanted to know what God is up to in our city and especially in the entertainment industry. After working as professionals and ministering here for the past 30+ years, we felt the desire to visit churches across Los Angeles, to either get updated or visit for the first time. I've heard about how young entertainment industry professionals are going back to church, but I've also heard from parents of grown children that their kids have no interest in going to church. So, we took on the challenge to find out the truth. For 17 weeks in a row, we visited 17 different churches in and around Los Angeles and what we found was mind blowing.
The list of churches we visited came from the list of 85 MEDIA FRIENDLY CHURCHES on my Hollywood Prayer Network website. I put together this list years ago in order to point Christians who are not yet connected to a church, to a growing list of Gospel focused churches across the city. For I believe that every Christian working in Hollywood needs to be committed to a church! Check them out at: http://hollywoodprayernetwork.org/resources/media-friendly-churches/
So, week 1 brought us to a church in the Valley. It was packed. The message was powerful, the worship was beautiful and the attendees were all 30 years old and under. We felt very old in this group of loving young people. But they welcomed us in as if we were their own family and we had a great time. This experience happened over and over again for over 4 months! Each time we walked into a new church, it was packed with young people. One church times their three services more than 3 hours apart because first of all the sermon is an hour and 10 minutes long, and the worship and prayer time book-ending the sermon are long and incredible. We truly were sorry when it was time to leave. more >>
Relating to people on their level and to love them regardless of their lifestyle is a mark of true Christianity. So why are many Christians divided? For example, much of the hate mail I received from this sermon clip was from "Christians":
How can both groups claim to be Christians and yet understand the Bible and God's attributes so differently? The answer is obvious: biblical unity is unity with the Spirit—unity of doctrine and unity of truth—not unity for the sake of unity. The division is over truth. This is why we can't "all just get along."
1) Many err on the side of compassion. Jesus perfectly balanced grace and mercy with confrontation and correction. The Bible was written so that people would know the truth—the truth about God, creation, sin, and redemption. We are not called to make truth tolerable but to make it clear. When we lovingly challenge this lifestyle, we are not attacking, but rather, contending for what is right. We are to detest division within the church and work toward reconciliation whenever we can, but we must not confuse "attacking" with "contending." Compassion without truth is like a vehicle without an engine. It might look nice but its not going anywhere. more >>
As major league baseball season begins this week, a Triple-A pitcher for the Texas Rangers organization has much to celebrate. Jon Edwards underwent surgery to remove testicular cancer in December; one day later, his incredulous doctor had a good report.
Now, defying the odds in a turn the media proclaims a "miracle," Jon and his wife Katelyn Edwards are expecting their first baby this fall.
Briefly on the mound for the Texas Rangers during pre-season, Edwards was reassigned to the Triple-A team this past weekend – though he's not one to be down in the count. They share their story in an exclusive Bound4LIFE interview. more >>
Nick Vujicic, a Christian motivational speaker known worldwide as the "limbless evangelist," has met with the family of Filipino boxing star Manny Pacquiao, who is also a vocal Christian. Vujicic said he is not taking sides ahead of the widely anticipated fight with five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr. but said he will pray for Pacquiao's safety.
"I'm here not to take side but to wish him luck and pray for his safety," Vujicic said about meeting the Filipino boxer at his Los Angeles residence on Monday, according to PhilBoxing.com. He added that he admires Pacquiao's humility, generosity and kindness. more >>
I recently referred to a true story. A young girl, devastated by the choice her father made to leave her family for a younger woman, had a nightmare following his announcement. She dreamt that she, her mother and sister all died in a horrific car accident. When she told her dad about the dream, he sympathetically replied, "I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm glad it was only a dream." Her response was shattering, "Dad, right before we hit, through the window I saw that you were driving the other car."
Fortunately, this man broke. He repented and worked to restore his marriage. Some of you reading this - men and women - wake up. Is this what you are doing to your family? And others reading this, might ask this as well. Perhaps its not an affair but selfish pride that makes you difficult to live with. Sadly, it is this very thing, pride and spiritual blindness, that prevent us from seeing. We are alive but spiritually dead.
Some time ago, we received the following email, "I'm leaving my husband and our two small children. I know what the Bible says, but God knows my heart. He just wants me to be happy." Another woman who was separated recently complained about her marriage but said that she was "seeking God's will" as she headed to Vegas with her boyfriend. We want to shout, "Wake up!" Sin blinds us from the truth and we blame everyone and everything, instead of looking within. more >>
Note: Rob Schwarzwalder co-wrote this column.
Openly gay New York Times columnist Frank Bruni made clear in his Easter Day column that the efforts in Indiana to defeat religious freedom protections provided for individuals and business owners under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was just round one. Bruni is signaling that no sanctuary will be given to those who hold to a biblical view of sexuality and is demanding that the Christian faith jettison its 2,000 year allegiance to the clear teaching of the Bible concerning human sexuality.
Bruni indicts Christians who oppose removing homosexuality from the biblical "sin list" for the following errors (these are the terms he uses): bigotry, bias, the "ossification" of belief, "unthinking obeisance," and prejudice. more >>