Wilfredo "Choco" De Jesus, pastor of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago, shared Tuesday that he believes the massive growth his Illinois megachurch has experienced during his 13 years of leadership is due to an active and bold outreach to society's outcasts.
De Jesus, whose New Life Covenant Church is the largest Assemblies of God congregation in the U.S., is home to 18,000 global members (4,000 locally) due to its more than 135 outreach ministries that stretch all over the world.
The Chicago pastor, who appeared on "The 700 Club" on Tuesday, attributed the boost in New Life's congregation size, which numbered less than 70 when he and his wife took over leadership in 2000, to its decision to reach out to those in need and those "that nobody wants," such as the homeless, gang bangers, drug addicts. more >>
Dr. Charles Stanley is considered by many to be one of the most influential pastors and Bible teachers in America today. The senior pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta since 1971 and founder of In Touch Ministries in 1977, Stanley's global ministry continues to grow in scope and impact across the U.S. and around the world, with his programs broadcast to over 2,800 radio and television outlets in more than 50 languages.
Stanley turned 80-years-old last September, and a series of celebrations were held honoring his 55 years in ministry and commemorating the 35th anniversary of In Touch Ministries. Hundreds of long-time friends, supporters, and church members attended a weekend of unique and inspiring events in Atlanta that ranged from an old-fashioned barbeque to a black tie gala.
Of all the individuals who offered testimonies and tributes to this giant of the Christian faith, undoubtedly the most memorable and powerful remarks came from those who know him best: his two children. Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church and founder of North Point Ministries, delivered a deeply personal message titled "Life Lessons With Dad," where he recounted his experiences growing up as a pastor's kid and shared how his father's example of faith and obedience still impacts him today. "Those of you who have been at this church for a long time, you have had essentially a weekend seat to listen to my dad, but I've had a ringside seat. You've got to listen, while I've had the opportunity to watch," Andy Stanley told the FBA congregation. "The reason that both of his children are so excited about this celebration and love to be part of it, is because we just don't see a gap between who my dad claims to be and who he really is… and a lot of preacher's kids can't say that." more >>
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Wash., recently spoke on the gift of tongues as described in the New Testament as part of his "Acts: Empowered for Jesus' Mission" sermon series. The conservative Reformed, or New Calvinist, Christian minister laid out his arguments as to why he believes the gift of speaking in tongues did not end with Jesus' apostles in the first century.
Cessationists, such as influential pastor and traditional Calvinist John MacArthur, believe that 1 Corinthians 13:8 and other Biblical passages indicate that the divine ability to speak in other languages or an unknown tongue (glossolalia) ended with the apostles' deaths, as did prophetic revelations and faith-healings through individuals. Some Christians, however, believe that these Holy Spirit-inspired gifts will continue until Christ's return.
In the sermon excerpt shared online this week by Mars Hill Church, Pastor Driscoll tackles three "common questions about the gift of tongues," listed as: "Can every Christian have the gift of tongues? Does Mars Hill Church believe that the gift of tongues is for today? And what happens when the private use of tongues goes public?" more >>
Willow Creek Community Church, founded nearly 40 years ago by Senior Pastor Bill Hybels as an "Acts 2 church," has opened the doors of its new 60,000 square-foot, $10 million Care Center in South Barrington, Ill., to provide thousands of local families continued access to a grocery store-styled food pantry, car repair and donation services, dental and optometry clinics, legal assistance and a whole lot more.
The Care Center, launched on June 3 after 10 years of planning, has been called "a Christian Walmart for the poor" by one publication due to its approach and layout, which resembles more of a high-end shopping mall than a thrift shop or traditional food pantry, according to The Chicago Tribune.
While Willow Creek typically identifies Acts 2:42-47 as its key biblical inspiration, the newly-expanded Care Center points to verse 45 as the foundation for its vision: "They (a community that believed in Jesus as Lord and Messiah) sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need." more >>
YouVersion is asking the millions of people who already use its leading free Bible app to help it achieve 100 million downloads by July 10 to not only mark its five-year anniversary as a major player in the app market for smartphone and tablet users, but in hopes that achieving such a milestone might allow God to take the groundbreaking app even further.
In a live webcast on Tuesday, YouVersion announced its "100 Million Milestone" initiative and a new share screen just added to Android devices (with Apple devices next in line) that might take it across the 100 million installations threshold.
YouVersion.com, online since 2007, launched its Bible app in 2008, the same year Apple Inc. launched its App Store. The application was co-founded by LifeChurch.tv pastor and Innovation Leader Bobby Gruenewald and a team at the church's Edmond, Okla., campus. Both YouVersion.com and the Bible app allow users to engage Scripture (in more than 500 different translations and nearly 300 languages), watch related videos (such as clips from "The Bible" series recently aired on the History Channel), participate in reading groups, and more. more >>
Bishop Jim Bolin, founding pastor of Trinity Chapel Church of God in Powder Springs, Ga., was re-installed this past Sunday as senior pastor of the congregation after being forced to step down in 2008 due to confessed "inappropriate sexual behavior" with an adult woman.
Standing amid applause and hoots and hollers from congregants, Bishop Bolin and his wife and fellow pastor, Robin Bolin, were welcomed after the announcement by guest speaker Dr. Sam Chand, a ministry consultant, author and "dream releaser" who at one point rallied worshippers to declare, "It is well!"
"What's happening at Trinity Chapel this morning might be unusual for some people, but God's plan, if I'm looking at it right, is to [love, accept and forgive]," said Chand with help from church members. "We're not looking at the past, but we're moving into [the future]." more >>