Hillsong Church's global success and notoriety is due to lead pastors Brian and Bobby Houston maintaining their focus on God as their shepherd throughout their nearly 30 years in ministry, says Hillsong New York City pastor Carl Lentz.
During the megachurch's annual conference in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday night, Lentz delivered a message about the church's humble beginnings and the importance of remaining close to God through life's highs and lows.
"The story of Hillsong Church has never been about chasing a movie, or chasing the spotlight, it's always been about chasing the Shepherd! Sometimes when you don't know the journey, people can look at certain moments and say that they want that but they don't understand that our pastors, all they've done their whole lives is chase the shepherd," said Lentz. more >>
Americans are celebrating the United States' 238th Independence Day Friday, marking the time in which the Declaration of Independence was propagated to the rest of the world.
The Fourth of July has become a major holiday noted for its parades, barbeques, and numerous fireworks displays. As with other holidays, July 4th has its own mythology and interesting factoids surrounding it.
Here are some random trivia: more >>
A Massachusetts woman who nearly lost her faith over the sudden death of her 25-year-old son received a surprise phone message last week from a Vatican representative, which she believes to be Pope Francis, offering her a big "hug and blessing" in her difficult time.
FoxNews.com reported that the woman, Stephany Nicolo, received the message on her cellphone on Friday from a man who identified himself as a representative from the Vatican, who said that the Roman Catholic Church leader sends her a "big hug and a blessing" and will try to talk to her again.
Nicolo lost her son Eric on May 14 from an epileptic seizure, which left her devastated. The 58-year-old woman, a Roman Catholic, called the Vatican days following her loss. more >>
A South Dakota mother is thanking God after a stranger paid for her son's diapers at a local Walmart. The generous deed was filmed by another customer and has gone viral since it was posted to Facebook.
Katie Kanefke of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was recently in the checkout line at the local Walmart, purchasing four boxes of diapers for her four-month-old son, Marcus. To Kanefke's chagrin, she was told by the Walmart employee that she could only price match one of the boxes, and because Kanefke and her husband are on a tight budget, she was forced to discard the other three boxes to the side.
That's when fellow customer Carol Flynn, a 73-year-old retired March of Dimes director, stepped in to help. more >>
Even as an adult, I love fireworks — the small ones fascinate me, too. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to take in the moving and heart-stirring fireworks display in Washington, D.C. Our nation's capital seems to be the most fitting place for fireworks and all they represent: rocket's red glare, bombs bursting in air, freedom, honor, sacrifice, drama, wonder and celebration. I let my mind drift back to the courageous days of our forefathers. Lights, colors and sounds on the outside and feeling and emotion on the inside.
Throughout America this week, we celebrate our country's birthday and commemorate winning our freedom from England. Freedom is a wonderful feeling, a state (literally and figuratively) of mind and a privilege. I taught overseas in Kenya after the bombing of the U.S. Embassy, in Uganda while a civil war was raging, and in Iraq during the war and U.S. occupation in 2007. Until I visited and lived with people in these oppressed and persecuted areas, I really didn't understand the magnitude and insidious ramifications of persecution or the powerful meaning of freedom.
Freedom has a different meaning for each person, but the universal definition centers on messages such as; "I have no master." "I get to call the shots." "I am in control of my own destiny." Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you. If we look deep in our hearts, we are already aware of this sobering reality—we aren't really free. It's just a trick. We will always serve a master. God designed us—and wired into our DNA—the desire and need to worship Him. Satan knows how God wired us and takes advantage of this ingrained characteristic by putting many inadequate options in front of us. The first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me," is God's warning and instruction regarding Satan's insurgent attack on our hearts and minds. more >>
Imagine being a 23-year-old mother of two, recently divorced and finding yourself holding a resume that is blank under educational background. It was a desperate situation. There was no family or friends to lean on for financial support; she needed to make money fast to feed her two young daughters. So Katie (who asked that her last name not be included for personal reasons) reluctantly resorted to the only asset she felt she had – her body – to make ends meet.
Katie's life took a dramatic turn, however, when her world collided with a Southern Baptist pastor's wife who took it upon herself to bring homemade comfort food to strip clubs throughout Nashville, Tennessee. Erin, the unassuming wife of pastor Todd Steven of Friendship Community Church in Mt. Juliet, visted the young strippers consistently, and genuinely just wanted to give them home cooked meals, thoughtful gifts, and talk about their life outside of work.
"She (Erin) was very happy and sweet, she just wanted to get to know us. She wasn't forward or trying to get in our face so I figured I'd talk to her," recalled Katie to The Christian Post. "I had talked to her for a couple months before I even knew she was from a church. She was just really nice and trying to love on us." more >>