Rick Warren, Jon Meacham and Tim Russert: History, Christianity, and the United States Wednesday, Apr 18 2007 

Here is a great interview with Rick Warren and Jon Meacham done by Tim Russert on Meet the Press. It addresses Christianity in America, in history and in the world today.

MTP Transcript for Dec. 24
Rick Warren, Jon Meacham
Updated: 1:17 p.m. CT Dec 24, 2006
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Christmas Eve morning: faith in America. Can religion unite the country for the greater good? And what role will God and values play in the 2008 presidential election? With us, the pastor of one of America’s largest churches and author of the best-selling hard-cover book in U.S. history, “The Purpose Driven Life,” Dr. Rick Warren; and the editor of Newsweek magazine and author of “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers and the Making of a Nation,” Jon Meacham. Then, two MEET THE PRESS holiday traditions, our MEET THE PRESS MINUTE from Christmas Day 51 years ago with poet Robert Frost and a special performance by the U.S. Navy Band Brass Quartet.
But first, we are joined by Pastor Rick Warren and Jon Meacham. Welcome both, Merry Christmas.
DR. RICK WARREN: Thank you, Tim. Merry Christmas to you.
MR. RUSSERT: Jon Meacham, let me start with you. Ninety-five percent of Americans say they believe in God. (more…)

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Who? The lack of recognition of Christian leaders explored Saturday, Apr 14 2007 

I was reading through the Willow Creek Association magazine the other day and found an article titled Major Christian Leaders Are Widely Unknown, Even Among Christians. Quickly running down the list of facts I found the following appalling statistics:

57% of Americans have never heard of James Dobson
67% of Americans have never heard of Joel Osteen
68% of Americans have never hears of T.D. Jakes
72% of Americans have never heard of Rick Warren
73% of Americans have never heard of Tim LaHaye

It is amazing to me that even if you are the author of the best selling non-fiction hard cover book in American history (Rick Warren) or the co-author of the best selling fiction series of all time (Time LaHaye), or pastor of a church that is larger than most athletic stadiums most people still do not even recognize your name. Even among Christians the only name that the majority of people had heard of was James Dobson. Aren’t these statistics amazing?

*The research for this was done by The Barna Group (www.barna.org). The results of much of their other research is available at their website also.

Christianity and Atheism; Rick Warren and Sam Harris in Newsweek Tuesday, Apr 10 2007 

I was sitting in class today when I noticed a Newsweek sitting on the empty chair beside me. I quickly flipped through it seeing if there was anything that caught my eye when I saw Rick Warren’s name. it seems like every time I open Newsweek they have some article on Rick Warren, his books The Purpose Driven Life / Church, or his church. This article was an interview between Rick Warren and Sam Harris, the well known atheist who has written many books on the subject. I started reading and couldn’t stop. This was a great interview that I encourage you to read, especially if you have questions about Rick Warren and his Christian faith or atheism and its worldview.

God Debate: Sam Harris vs. Rick Warren
At the Summit: On a cloudy California day, the atheist Sam Harris sat down with the Christian pastor Rick Warren to hash out Life’s Biggest Question—Is God real? A NEWSWEEK exclusive.
Newsweek
April 9, 2007 issue – Rick Warren is as big as a bear, with a booming voice and easygoing charm. Sam Harris is compact, reserved and, despite the polemical tone of his books, friendly and mild. Warren, one of the best-known pastors in the world, started Saddleback in 1980; now 25,000 people attend the church each Sunday. Harris is softer-spoken; paragraphs pour out of him, complex and fact-filled—as befits a Ph.D. student in neuroscience. At NEWSWEEK’s invitation, they met in Warren’s office recently and chatted, mostly amiably, for four hours. Jon Meacham moderated. Excerpts follow.
JON MEACHAM: Rick, since you’re the home team, we’ll start with Sam. Sam, is there a God in the sense that most Americans think of him? 
SAM HARRIS: There’s no evidence for such a God (more…)

A Church Service Like None Other Wednesday, Apr 4 2007 

Well maybe not “like none other” but on Sunday I attended a church service that was unlike anything I had ever been to. Pastor Bryan Wilkerson, of Grace Chapel, came out onto the stage, clothed in old Roman dress as the character of Pontius Pilate. He proceded to share the personal testimony of Pontius Pilate, telling of his life from his military leadership to his appointment to governor of Judea from a first person perspective. Then from the text of Matthew 27:17-26, Pastor Bryan continued to share a monologue from Pilate of how that one day had changed his life forever, the day he met Jesus. Pilate knew that Jesus did not break any law and he did not deserve death, but the people wanted him dead so badly. He knew it was wrong and tried to offer up another option, even putting Jesus through intense and completely undeserved torture, but the crowd only got more rowdy. They wanted Jesus, and they wanted him crucified. Rather than let the riot grow, Pilate decided to give Jesus over to the crowd and let him be crucified. When said this, Pilate washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” Pilate knew Jesus was not a normal man, he wasn’t even a great man, Jesus was more. Although the history is not known, it is widely believed that Pilate spent much of the rest of his life in the desert, alone. This is the perspective that Pastor Bryan shared from and it was very powerful. After sharing the testimony of Pilate and the day that changed his life forever Pastor Bryan walked off stage. The worship leader, Peter Dupre, came on and shared that just as Pilate met Jesus and had to make a decision as to who he was, we, too, have to make that same decision. The same Jesus who stood literally in front of Pilate stands in front of us today waiting for our decision to be made. Will we honor him as God or will we reject him and miss the opportunity to receive our Savior?

post modern evangelism with Ed Stetzer Wednesday, Mar 28 2007 

if_i_were_to_die1.jpgEd Stetzer, Missiologist and Research Team Director at the North American Mission Board, has just posted an article on The Resurgence about the interplay between evangelism and postmodern culture. As someone with a heart for evangelism and exploring how to best present the Gospel to people in our postmodern culture this article has been very insightful. Ed Stetzer does the research and presents the facts, even the surprising ones, behind culture today then tracks back to how we can use the facts to reach people there they are at. I remember seeing Dr. Stetzer speak at the Reform and Resurge Conference last year where he said something to the effect of, “As Christians we need to seek out the questions that our culture is asking to which Jesus is the correct answer.” What he meant by this is that by examining culture we can gain insight into where people’s hearts and minds are. Then, once we find out what people care about we can show them how Jesus answers their deepest and most important questions. One example of this are the results of the surveys he has done (which are presented in his article) which show that while people do wonder about eternity, even more people wonder about meaning and purpose. As a result we can do street evangelism by asking people, “Do you long for a deeper purpose in life?” rather than, “If you were to die today…” This is not to say that asking about death and eternity is wrong but that it is not as important to people as finding more meaning.

Church, Technology and Goodmanson Friday, Mar 23 2007 

I met Drew Goodmanson last spring at the Reform and Resurge Conference at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. He is a great guy with an awesome heart for missions and the furthering of the Gospel. Drew went to Mars Hill Church years ago when it was just a small church. Since then he has moved to San Diego to help plant Kaleo Church, a growing movement where he is now is a pastor and elder. Drew’s specialty is with technology, especially the Internet. He has done a huge amount of work for churches through leading a company called Monk Development. This company has created “several church apps such as Ekklesia 360, a web-based Church CMS and Sermon Cloud a web 2.0 sermon site,” as well as creating websites for numerous churches. For anyone interested in the church, technology, and how to use one (technology) to serve the other (the church) check out Drew’s blog where there is enough information to keep you busy for weeks (at least.) And if your church needs a website, give him a call and I am sure he will be helpful in creating a site far beyond what you could imagine.

Matt Chander, pastor of the Village Church – Family Traits 2.0 Monday, Mar 19 2007 

Matt Chandler, the pastor (who I love) of the Village Church in Highland, Texas is preaching through what their church has called Family Traits. They did this series a couple of years ago and have come back to it a second time to solidify their church once again around those things which they are closest and most important to their church as a family. Matt is an amazing preacher with depth that I have heard in very few others, never mind the fact that he is so young. He exalts Jesus, condemns sin, and encourages true life. I would encourage everyone to subscribe to this podcast, it is available at www.thevillagechurch.net.

Some quotes from Pastor Chandler from the third sermon in this series, Christian Spirituality:

“The church begins to boast in what is not ours to boast in. The truth of the Gospel, if it is anything else is this it is not about you…If it was a movie we have a seven second role in it…we are not they story, the story is the redemption and restoration of the world.”

“My call as a believer in Christ is not to built a coffee house in the church and tell everyone they should come to it, but rather to walk outside of these walls and be in coffee houses around town.”

National New Church Conference – Interview with Mark Driscoll Friday, Mar 9 2007 

Even better! I just found a very recent interview with Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, done by none other than Ed Stetzer, Director of the Center for Missional Research at the North American Mission Board. This interview covers everything you could imagine and is sure to be a help to everyone who takes the time to listen to it. You can get it as part of the 2007 National New Church Conference podcast which is available at http://exponentialconference.org/podcasting/. In addition to this interview there are mp3 available from Dave Ferguson, Ron Sylvia, Dan Smith, Bob Roberts, John Burke and many more. This is sure to be an amazing conference April 23-26 in Orlando, Florida.

Mark Driscoll Interview Tuesday, Mar 6 2007 

It is amazing to me how many people attack men of God because they take a stance on issues and contend for the Gospel. One of these men who I greatly respect is Mark Driscoll, pastor and founder of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I first came across Pastor Mark about two years ago as a student at Maryland Bible College and Seminary. I downloaded a few of his sermons and have been hooked since. He teaches the Bible in a practical, honest, relevant way that holds to the truth of the scripture while reaching out to the lost culture we all live in. Through his ministry thousands of people have come to know the Lord as his church has grown from just a few people to over six thousand just ten years later. In addition to this he has founded the Acts 29 Church Planting Network and has been crucial in helping to plant churches across America and the world. Below is an interview (done April 2, 2006) I came across between Adrian Warnock and Mark Driscoll. I hope it will work to clear up some of the questions people have about Pastor Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church. (more…)

matt chandler. the village church. gospel. Thursday, Mar 1 2007 

Pastor Matt Chandler gave the Gospel on Sunday. He spoke on how he is sick of people buying the lie that they need to get right before they can get God. He talked about 1 Corinthians 6 where Paul wrote the sexually immoral, thieves, greedy, drunkards, and revilers will not inheriting the kingdom of God then follows up in verse 11 with, “and such were some of you.” Such were some of you, the church isn’t made up of saints who have lived perfect lives. All have sinned, all. The Gospel is hope to the lost, the dirty and down beaten. The Gospel is for sinners. Do not buy the lie that you need to do anything before coming to God, even better, do nothing but come. Only then does the transformation begin.