Actor Shia LaBeouf recently adopted Christianity as his religion, even though he was raised Jewish and frequently spoke of his upbringing.
LaBeouf was raised by a Jewish mother and a Pentecostal father, which he was proud of. He also had a bar mitzvah when he was 13, which symbolized his coming into full manhood in the Jewish tradition. LaBeouf identified as Jewish before converting to Christianity while working on the upcoming film "Fury" with Brad Pitt and director David Ayers.
"I have a cool lineage, a good group of people," the actor previously said of his faith. "I'm Jewish so I was named after my grandfather. Shia means 'gift from God,'" he told IndieLondon.co.uk several years ago. more >>
It seems like only yesterday that the Goth craze sent many teenagers out partying in graveyards – decked out like Monster High dolls, resurrecting their own version of the "Night of the Living Dead."
Over time, it seemed this fad had been put to rest but as we learned last week, some Christians have made the grave choice to participate in a similar tomb-side practice known as grave-sucking. They are not the first with such a morbid fascination, as we read in scripture we learn of a possessed man who actually lived amongst the tombs… unable to be confined by physical chains and shackles, yet a legion of demons bound his spirit.
Ironically, he knew exactly who Jesus was as he ran towards the Son of the most High God. I'd imagine we'd be no different than the swine owners, not only being in shock for having just witnessed 2,000 demon-possessed pigs run to their death, but even more astonishing would be seeing such a dramatic and spontaneous change in this once demonic man. more >>
LOS ANGELES – Having personally attended more than 200 concerts and seen about 150 performers and performing groups, the Hillsong United event was the best I've ever witnessed. From the spectacular sound, lighting and staging, to the crowd participation – the experience was powerfully moving, and a time of corporate worship beyond words. Let's just say it was the largest and loudest "choir" I've ever heard.
More than 17,000 Hillsong fans sang, danced, and worshiped as one during a dynamic concert Thursday in which they were not only treated to one of the best Christian music-producing groups on the planet, but had the opportunity to be a part of a potentially historic film planned for release early next year.
As 12 cameras captured the worship concert, Pastor Brian Houston of the Sydney-based Hillsong Church, stood for much of the time with arms in the air, smiling ear-to-ear just above the floor-level seating from his front row seat. more >>
The altar call is an appeal in which the speaker invites attendees to come forward as a way of acknowledging their decision to follow Christ. Many consider Charles Finney (1792-1875) to be the founder of the altar call even though early Methodist used a similar approach known as the "mourners bench."
I have had the privilege of working on the field at large stadium events where altar calls have been given, and I have also offered many appeals to come forward as well, primarily in the early years of my ministry.
Let me begin by saying that anytime we give an honest appeal for a person to turn to God, it's a good thing. But in our zeal to "get people into the kingdom," we sometimes run the risk of offering false assurance. This is a very real danger in the church today. Many come forward after a sermon, but do they change? Often, it's the "I'll give Jesus a try" attitude, rather than a broken heart desperately seeking a Savior — the American gospel versus the true gospel. more >>
I believe youth ministry is facing mission-drift when it comes to missions work. Far too many of our younger youth leaders view the "missionary" as an ancient relic of a bygone era whose place is as a dimly lit picture in the foyer of a steepled church on a "Go ye into all the world" wall. Missionaries are either ignored, marginalized or viewed as a necessity to pacify older tithers in the church and keep them happy.
But 50 years ago missionaries were considered the risk-takers, revolutionaries and radicals in the church who would go into the highways and byways of foreign countries risking life and limb for the sake of the gospel. That's a far cry from today where they are often relegated to, at best, well-meaning but ineffective peddlers of Christianity and, at worst, an evangelistic brand of white colonialists trying to impose an American way of ministry on a not-so-receptive audience.
Sadly, in years past, this stereo-type had been earned in some quadrants of missions work. Yes, there were (and in some cases still are) those missionaries who've done harm to the Name of Christ by preaching the right message in the wrong way. more >>
Although much has been reported regarding the ethics and legality behind the city of Houston's subpoena of five Houston-area pastors that had asked them to turn over all of their sermons that address homosexuality, gender identity, and the city's first openly-lesbian mayor, little attention has been given to who those five pastors actually are and the ministries they operate.
Although those five pastors, Steve Riggle, David Welch, Hernan Castaño, Khanh Huynh and Magda Hermida, were not technically parties of the lawsuit against the city's new equal rights ordinance that sparked the need for the subpoenas, they all participated in the coalition of 400 Houston area churches that stood in disapproval of the ordinance, which allows transgendered individuals to use public restrooms of the opposite gender.
Steve Riggle more >>