Isaac Hunter, 36, founder and former pastor of Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., died Tuesday of an apparent suicide, according to local news reports. Hunter is the son of Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of the 15,000-member Northland church in Florida and former member of President Barack Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The Orlando Sentinel, in a story about Hunter's death, published an email sent to Summit Church members Tuesday afternoon.
"We found out today that Isaac took his life," states the email sent by Darling Murray, a coordinator at the church. "We are obviously deeply deeply devastated and saddened beyond words by this news. The tears keep coming and coming as we mourn. We are praying for his family and this congregation as we walk through this together." more >>
Dwight Howard, Houston Rocket forward-center, visited Pastor Kerry Shook's Woodlands Church over the weekend to share his testimony of coming to faith in Jesus Christ, and how an encounter with what he believes was the voice of God solidified his course to the NBA.
Howard, a seven-time All-Star who joined the Houston Rockets in July of this year after a brief stint with the L.A. Lakers and eight years with the Orlando Magic, spoke with Pastor Shook on the issue of divine guidance and honoring God in every area of one's life.
"He's honoring God with his talents in a major way," Shook said while introducing the 28-year-old Atlanta native to those at the Houston-area megachurch and others watching via a live online stream. more >>
Pastor Derwin Gray told Saddleback Church attendees over the weekend that even though he had made it into the NFL as a player he didn't experience "authentic peace" until he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
Gray, who played as a defensive back for the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers, is the lead pastor of Transformation Church in Indian Land, S.C. He spoke at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. this past weekend in the stead of Pastor Rick Warren, who he called his mentor, as part of the church's advent series.
Gray says his mother and father were just teenagers when he was born, and he was raised primarily by his grandmother. He grew up in Texas just a half-mile from some government housing projects and says his childhood was anything but peaceful. more >>
The Potter's House of Denver dedicated their Sunday services to Nelson Mandela's memory as members gathered to praise and worship while they heard an inspiring message on Mandela's legacy.
Led by Dr. Chris Hill, who is considered by many as Bishop T.D. Jake's protégé, the 7,000-member congregation is one of the largest churches in Colorado that brings together members of different multicultural backgrounds each Sunday. Hill preached his encouraging message, "Letters from Robben Island," in reference to Mandela's prison site and to make the point that any man can change a nation.
"We're losing the people that truly inspire…Still, the 11 o'clock hour on Sundays is the most segregated hour in the country so this church is living against that tide," said Hill, reports Denver's KDVR-TV. "To us, Nelson Mandela, his work with desegregation and his work with unifying a country has great significance." more >>
The fallout up to this point from accusations made by syndicated radio talk show host Janet Mefferd that author and megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll plagiarized in at least two of his books includes her pulling the allegations from her website, an apology to the outspoken Christian leader, and most recently, what looks to be the resignation of a dismayed producer from her show.
While the parties involved, including both Driscoll supporters and detractors, have mostly gone mum of late on the subject, Ingrid Schlueter, who describes herself as a part-time, topic producer for Mefferd, did make a scathing accusation against the "evangelical celebrity machine" as reported by several Christian media. Schlueter implies Driscoll was protected by his publishers (most recent book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Future or a Funeral? by Tyndale House Publishers) from any further scrutiny about allegations of plagiarism.
In a comment thread originally found at Spiritual Sounding Board before it was removed, and has since been re-posted by Warren Throckmorton in his blog on Patheos with Schlueter's permission, she writes, "I was a part-time, topic producer for Janet Mefferd until yesterday [Tuesday] when I resigned over this situation. All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex." more >>
Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz and NBA star forward Kevin Durant recently joined Pastor Craig Groeschel at LifeChurch.tv to discuss spiritual growth, encouraging others in their faith and wielding Godly influence. Lentz also revealed how he learned to embrace what sets him apart from other pastors and why he thinks Justin Bieber is just like "any other kid" trying to work out his faith.
LifeChurch.tv's founding pastor Groeschel interviewed Lentz and Durant, baptized over the summer by the NYC pastor, on stage at the Edmond, Okla., megachurch as part of a new teaching series.
"Pastor Carl, you've got a tremendous ministry in NYC and beyond," said Groeschel at the onset their discussion. "But what's interesting about you is God has opened up doors of relationships. You're able to speak into the life of Justin Bieber. You help with the New York Knicks, you're kind of like the pastor to the team. You've impacted other athletes." more >>