Kerry and Chris Shook, New York Times bestselling authors and pastors at Woodlands Church in Houston, Texas, are challenging church leaders across the United States to schedule a national "Be the Message Sunday," during which they will shorten their services and sermons to pack meals for people in Ebola-stricken countries.
"As we watched the death toll continue to rise in West Africa, we asked ourselves, 'What can we do to make a difference in the Ebola-affected areas?'" said Kerry Shook. "Ebola not only affects one's health, but their entire life. Thousands affected by the virus are unable to work or provide food for themselves or their families. That is why Be the Message Sunday is so important. One of the most immediate ways individuals can help is by supplying much-needed food to those living in West Africa."
A number of churches from all over the U.S. have already signed up to join the Shooks and Woodlands Church, and pastors are encouraged to announce their participation in national Be the Message Sunday on Nov. 16, organizers said. Over the coming months, the Shooks anticipate thousands of churches accepting the challenge and cutting their services short on a weekend that works for their congregation. more >>
It's that time of year again when not only are nights getting colder and darker, but so too the atmosphere in many churches and Christian homes. The debate begins at the first sign of the autumn leaves and abruptly comes to a halt on November 1st – after all, Halloween comes to its demise for another year.
By now, you've heard the many origins of this ambiguous holiday from The Catholic Church's claim of it being derived from All Hollow's Eve (the day to commemorate those martyred for their faith), to the many Evangelicals and some pagans who believe it a version of Samhain that was created to allow pagans to continue practicing paganism under the guise of a Christian cover. Most Neo-pagans celebrate Samhain, which falls near the date of Halloween and is considered an in-between time when the veil between worlds is thinnest and the Celtic New Year is celebrated.
Research reveals a lot of speculation when it comes to the actual practices of Halloween. Some say it's rooted in the immigration of the Irish who brought much of their folklore back to the states such as Jack-o-Lanterns, which may have originated in the form of a turnip. They believed by carving frightening faces on them, it would ward off the evil spirits that passed between worlds on Samhain night. more >>
Conservative groups believe there's still much to be done in Houston after Mayor Annise Parker dropped her controversial subpoenas against five pastors who had spoken against homosexuality and the city's Equal Rights Ordinance.
"Mayor Parker claims she withdrew the subpoenas not because she was wrong to issue them in the first place, but because they were not 'serving Houston,'" said the conservative American Family Association, which noted that while Parker's decision was a success, the matter "was far from over."
"In reality, what they were not serving is the foundation of our nation: religious liberty and the right of conscience." more >>
A large Texas congregation that recently decided to disaffiliate from the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States over its increasing acceptance of homosexuality is suing to keep its property.
Windwood Presbyterian Church of Houston has been waging a legal battle to not have to pay to keep their church property after having left Presbyterian Church (USA) earlier this year.
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 >>
On one side of 34-year-old Anthony Dever's stage production company are clients like Guns N' Roses, Alice in Chains, and Dixie Chicks. On the other side of the company, named DPS Inc, are renowned Christian worship music teams such as Jesus Culture and Hillsong.
Dever, a devout Christian, has no problem explaining that his company serves two worlds.
"I call it a 50-50 split. We have our regular company, which is our base company, DPS Inc, and we also have our DPS House of Worship part," Dever told The Christian Post on the eve of providing the staging for a Hillsong event this week in Los Angeles that includes filming for the worship music giant's upcoming movie. more >>