Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mega churches mean Big Business

CNN takes a look at megachurches in this article.

Catholic & Episcopalian Efforts in Haiti

Some of the efforts in Haiti by Catholics and Episcopalians:

Catholic Relief Services has turned a golf course in the neighborhood of Pétionville into a camp for the homeless. Supplies from the Dominican Republic are being shipped to the St. François de SalesHospital, one of the oldest Catholic hospitals in Haiti. Two medical teams from Europe are working there and are now able to perform surgery.

The Episcopal seminary has pitched the tents on the soccer field of a crushed parish school. Around 3000 have been treated there already. Haiti is mostly Catholic with about 83,000 Episcopalians.

Pastor Catches Flack for Haiti Comments

A British Columbia pastor is getting heat for his comments at church this past weekend about the earthquake in Haiti. Justin Dennison told parishioners at Johnston Heights Church in Surrey:

"Haiti is infamous for its voodoo spiritual darkness. I can't help think that maybe God has shaken them, shaken them against the kingdom of darkness."

Dennison says his comments were taken out of context because they came after his church had just raised $65,000 for relief efforts in Haiti. He says he does not think the earthquake was a judgment from God and "I have been linked to Pat Robertson" but "I am not remotely connected to Pat Robertson."

Tebow-Focus Ad Approved

CBS has approved a Super Bowl spot starring Tim Tebow and his mother from Focus on the Family. While many people speculated the commercial would carry an anti-abortion message, but the ministry says it will not - at least, not an explicit one. CBS policy prohibits advocacy ads. Focus only will say the ad would carry a Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life theme.

Dead Sea Scroll Fragments

Some Dead Sea Scroll fragments have been put on display at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary it purchased from a private collector. The school isn't saying how much was paid but is negotiating for more ancient documents. The fragments include passages from the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Daniel. The only other schools with fragments are the University of Chicago and Azusa Pacific University in California, making Southwestern the only evangelical seminary in the nation to have fragments with biblical text.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Driscoll: "I landed in Hell"

Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle says he landed in “hell” when he arrived in Haiti. Driscoll says he witnessed a teenager shot in the head on the first day and later saw a girl sold to an older man. He says the piles of corpses give the impression of an aftermath of a war zone. Driscoll was joined by James MacDonald of Chicago's Harvest Bible Chapel. They delivered 1000 pounds of relief supplies. Relief agencies are also concerned about the some 4,000 criminals that escaped from prisons after the earthquake struck.

Apple App Saves Filmmaker in Haiti

A filmmaker working for Compassion International survived the Haiti quake with the help of his iPhone. Dan Wooley was trapped under the rubble at his hotel for 65 hours before rescuers found him. He used information from an app he had downloaded to look up treatment of excessive bleeding and compound fracture. He then ripped his shirt to make a tourniquet for a gash in his leg and used a sock to stanch the bleeding from his head wound. Wooley also set his phone's alarm to go off every 20 minutes so he wouldn't fall asleep or go into shock. The quake hit shortly after he returned from a day of filming with a colleague who is still missing. In case he didn't make it, Wooley wrote notes to his wife and sons in Colorado Springs telling them, "Don't be upset at God. He always provides for his children, even in hard times. I'm still praying that God will get me out, but He may not. But He will always take care of you."

MAF Efforts in Haiti

Mission Aviation Fellowship has resumed flights to Haiti to bring desperately needed relief supplies to outlying towns. MAF has had a presence in the country since 1986. The missionary group has also set up a communication center at the Port-au-Prince airport in the offices of World Concern, a relief agency operating out of the airport. The center is providing high-bandwidth communications to workers from at least 16 international aid groups including dedicated phone lines and wireless communications through Skype and email. MAF has a hanger at the airport and its missionaries' homes suffered only minor damage. They are now being used to house relief workers from many agencies. Some staff members are sleeping on cots in the ministry's hangar and using cargo shipping containers are serving as offices.

Little Rock Protest

An anti-abortion rally in Little Rock. KLRT reports.

Downfall of an Evangelical Leader

The wife of former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard has written a book. Gayle Haggard writes about her husband's secret life of drug use and homosexual liaisons in Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour. The memoir will be officially on stores shelves next Tuesday.

Haiti Adoption Problem

World Vision is warning of possible scams related to helping Haitian children displaced by last week's massive earthquake. The relief agency says rushing adoptions of children who seem to have been orphaned in the disaster could lead to adoptions that inadvertently separate families or risk a lapse in child protection. In a press release, World Vision says:

"Early in a crisis, it is better for children to be protected while remaining in their home countries until the locations of their family members can be confirmed and adoption possibilities explored within their own communities."

World Vision and other aid agencies are asking the Haitian Government to introduce a temporary moratorium on new adoptions of children.

Portland Rally

KPTV reports on an anti-abortion rally in Portland.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Creationism in the Classroom

A New York Times article on a town divided over a teacher is here.

Church in Haiti

The Shiloh Baptist Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is mostly gone. The earthquake damaged the building, collapsed the church's school and took the lives of four of its leaders including pastor, Bienne Lamerique. Some members who lost their homes are living around what's left of the facility. One member tells Baptist Press that only 100 of the 2000-member congregation have been accounted for.

Verses on Guns

Bible verses found inscribed on weapons made for US military. ABC has the story here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back From Quake

Missionaries return from Haiti to Buffalo, New York. WIVB-TV reports.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Obama Speaks at DC Church

Presient Barack Obama spoke at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church this morning where Martin Luther King once spoke. The church was founded in 1866 by seven freed slaves. Obama told the congregation:
"We gather here on the Sabbath at a time of extreme difficulty for our nation and the world. We are not here just to ask the Lord for his blessing. We're also here to call on the memory of one of his servants, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr... He had faith that God would make a way out of now way…... I have a confession to make here. There are times when I am not so calm… There are times when the words spoken about me hurt. There are times when the barbs hurt… During that time it is faith that brings me calm.''

Tebow Spot in Super Bowl

Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow will appear in a 30-second spot for Focus on the Family which will air during the Super Bowl. The ad may be about abortion. Pam Tebow was adviced by doctors to abort her fifth child. She refused and gave birth to Tim. Thirty-seconds during the Super Bowl is going for more than $2.5 million. The ministry says the money came from private donations and not from the general fund. Tebow is the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, finishing his career with a number of personal records and two national championships.