Several large Bible ministry groups are calling for the first International Day of the Bible and are encouraging groups of any size to read or articulate Scripture in creative ways publicly or online without any commentary at noon local time on November 24.
"This is a very simple act of faithfulness and honor to God about His word," Richard Glickstein, president of the National Bible Association, told The Christian Post. "God's word is meant to encourage us and bring us personal hope, but it is also meant to bring us together to realize that this is such a great gift ... and trust that He can change our world through it. The words of God changed my life and continues to. It's not our event, we hope it's an event for the body of Christ and those who love God, come together and thank Him."
Organizers ask in their announcement: "Have a favorite Psalm? Or, a special passage that has helped you through tough times? Want to share with the world how much the Bible means in your life? Or ask Him to bless your nation?" People of all ages are being invited to participate in International Day of the Bible by taking pause for a few minutes to read or even sing Scripture or otherwise creatively express their love of The Good Book. more >>
Reaction to the dissolving of Mars Hill Church called for by its elders two weeks after the resignation of its founding pastor, Mark Driscoll, has been varied, including high praise for the controversial pastor's impact on the lives of people who attended his church, a letter of repentance to two former pastors signed by 18 former elders, and fond memories of an edgy congregation meeting in the Seattle area and taking on the world around them.
"Eleven years ago, I walked into a dimly lit former warehouse with crazy art hung up everywhere, tattooed and pierced guys and girls handing out pamphlets, hard rock reverberating through the dark-painted walls, and a short, kinda thick guy up on stage yelling at everyone," wrote Seth MacGillivray, a former long-time member and deacon at Mars Hill, in a post on his Facebook page Friday evening.
"The place was called Mars Hill Church. I was a new Christian, and had a view of most Jesus-followers as a cross between Ned Flanders and high school girls who listened to DC Talk. Here was something new: an ultra-orthodox view of the bible combined with a liberal view of the world," he continued. more >>
Update: Oct. 5, 2014, 12:15 p.m.
The Republican Party gained the seats it needed in Tuesday's midterm elections to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, giving the party a majority in both chambers of Congress. The Republican Party might gain another Senate seat, for an eight-seat gain, if Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan is declared the winner over Democrat Sen. Mark Begich on Wednesday. And, if Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy wins the Louisiana runoff election against incumbent Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu on Dec. 6, the Republican majority will increase by nine seats in the Senate.
The Republican Party has successfully gained the necessary number of wins to take control of the US Senate from Democrats, giving them majorities in both houses of Congress. more >>
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York plans to merge more than 112 parishes into 55 new parishes this year, leading to the closure of as many as 33 churches.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, made the announcement of the mergers on All Saints Sunday.
"This time of transition in the history of the archdiocese will undoubtedly be difficult for people who live in parishes that will merge," stated Dolan. "There will be many who are hurt and upset as they experience what will be a change in their spiritual lives, and I will be one of them." more >>
Authors of the recently released Next: Pastoral Succession That Works say the book was written after discovering that Christian leaders and churches are often looking for resources to help them with the process of finding a successor for the lead pastor, and that most pastors do not have a plan in place.
"The culture has recently shifted. Pastors are both willing to think about their own succession and also are looking for resources to help them, their families, and their boards to wisely handle their preparation," Warren Bird, research director for the Leadership Network, told The Christian Post.
"We tried to balance the book with a brief biblical foundation that affirms ways good leaders plan ahead, with numerous real-life specific stories, and with solid research." more >>
Thirteen regional congregations, primarily in the western region of the U.S., met for the first time at their churches on Sunday after learning on Friday that by the end of the year, they would no longer be under the umbrella of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, once led by founder Mark Driscoll. For one local lead pastor at the Portland campus, who has been with the megachurch since 1999, the process and decision to dissolve made by its elders has been a difficult but exhilarating time.
"As we have made the decision to spread out in local churches I am sad to see Mars Hill go," Tim Smith, lead pastor at Mars Hill Portland and who sits on the board of elders, told The Christian Post on Monday. "God has used both Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in incredible ways, in thousands of people's lives and for sure in my own life in significant ways. And so it's hard to see that go, but it's also exciting and hopeful in that it results in planting more churches which has always been something that's important to us."
While Mars Hill communications director Justin Dean confided to CP that it's too early to know each church's plans, he said, "The majority of our churches are choosing to continue as autonomous independent churches, rather than completely close down, which is exciting for us as it's our desire to see as many of these churches continue as possible." more >>