Perusing celebrity gossip magazines is one of my guilty pleasures. While I'm working to triumph over these seductive temptresses, an unusual story caught my attention. Not for backbiting or sleazy behavior. No, this story was about church and a tangled young man with a lot of friends and even more followers.
News of pop singer Justin Bieber and his girlfriend, Selena Gomez, attending Bible study hasn't garnered as much attention from the Evangelical community as it should. Not because we care about celebrity status or bad-boy behavior, but because we are deeply concerned about souls and spheres of influence.
You might roll your eyes at this topic choice, dismissing Bieber altogether. Or you might be questioning Bieber's faithful sincerity because of his horrifying decision making that includes prostitutes, DUIs, drag-racing, and racial slurs. Despite all his past blunders, don't react to Bieber's church-going too harshly. For if Evangelicals disregard Bieber wholly, then we miss an incredible opportunity for youth ministry. more >>
A Christian pastor's comedic and sincere efforts to minister to Major and Minor League umpires has resulted in 66 baptisms over the past decade.
Dean Esskew, 48, is the leader of a ministry Calling for Christ, which serves the highly itinerant and much criticized population through retreats, conference calls, and peer support.
A former pastor of an Oklahoma congregation, Esskew worked with Major League Baseball umpires Ted Barrett and Rob Drake to organize the inaugural retreat. Twelve men showed up the first year, though numbers have recently grown to nearly 70, reported Baptist Press in 2012. more >>
Last Saturday I attended my 12th "Gay Pride" event--this one in Nashville, Tennessee. I've also gone in Washington, DC and Atlanta, Georgia. A friend of mine went to the festivities in San Francisco a couple years ago, returning with video footage and his impressions. They are basically the same as mine with some exceptions.
"Larry, why do you go to these so-called 'celebrations'? Don't you have a full schedule and better things to do?"
Here's the deal: I go to these gay pride events because I believe it is God's will for me. It's not necessarily for everybody as individuals must be very careful due to some public nudity, drugs and behavior many would deem offensive. There are also levels of maturity in the Christian experience that must be taken into consideration. After some initial comments, let me share with you five reasons why I believe God has me go with the blessing of fellow leaders and the prayer covering of intercessors. more >>
Research has shown over the last few years an increase in the number of atheists as well as an increase in the number of religiously-unaffiliated Americans, a sign to some that Christianity is on the decline. However, others argue that the number of convictional Christians, compared to the number of cultural Christians, remains stable. But how long will that stability last? And how can Christians remain relevant and authentic witnesses in an ever-increasing post-Christian America?
Tony Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative, recently took on this issue in an interview with The Christian Post.
His suggestions? more >>
The desire of a Tennessee pastor's wife to feed the needy, including strippers throughout Nashville nightclubs, has grown into a full blown ministry that's also about spreading the Gospel as well.
Erin Stevens, whose husband Todd leads Friendship Community Church, still believes in showing God's love through practical ways just like she has done since she began her ministry nearly two years ago. Stevens provides meals and gifts with no strings attached as part of her Strip Church Ministry.
In their new book, "How to Pick Up A Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness," the Stevens' urge readers to step out of their comfort zone in order to reach people for Christ, while remaining culturally relevant, without compromising their goal of demonstrating God's love through actions. more >>
The Brazilian Bible Society will distribute four million Bibles in an effort to reach the multitude of soccer fans that will trek to Brazil to attend the FIFA World Cup.
Leaders of the international outreach organization say over half a million fans from around the world will descend upon Brazil to join three million local fans, all of whom they hope to share the Gospel with.
"Brazilians are football-mad and their obsession with football will reach fever pitch over the next few weeks …," said Dr. Rudi Zimmer of the Bible Society of Brazil, reports the United Bible Societies. "We want the Bible to have a prominent presence amid all the excitement. It's an unprecedented opportunity for churches and Christians here to share God's Word with local and foreign fans, and we want to equip and encourage them to do that." more >>