Thinking Out Loud

December 3, 2012

What if the Biggest Billy Graham Event Ever Doesn’t Need a Stadium?

Filed under: evangelism, media — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:10 am

My Hope With Billy GrahamAlmost a year from now.

And they’re planning it now.

It’s that big.

This went out a few weeks ago:

Earlier this month, Billy Graham celebrated his 94th birthday. Next year at this time, together with our church partners, we will celebrate his 95th birthday by having thousands of specially trained Christian hosts open their homes to non-Christian friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers for a meal and a TV or DVD Gospel message from Billy Graham, plus special music and testimonies.

When the 30-minute program is over, the hosts will explain how Jesus Christ has made a difference in their lives, and invite their guests to commit their lives to Him.

This is the essence of My Hope With Billy Graham, and it’s been tested and proven—with more than 10 million decisions for Christ recorded in over 50 countries.

“As we moved into 2012, it just really moved in the hearts of Billy Graham and Franklin Graham and all of us supporting them in the work of the Gospel, a burden that now was the time to begin implementing this evangelism strategy in North America,” said Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Vice President Preston Parrish. “That’s what’s brought us to this moment.”

We are hosting luncheons in many communities… to explain My Hope With Billy Graham to pastors and church leaders—encouraging them to join us in the largest evangelistic ministry ever carried out in North America by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

In January, we will begin training coordinators… who will then recruit and train church leaders in thousands of congregations.

Billy Graham’s events in various cities were always labelled missions, and this living room strategy is the most missional of all.

December 7, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Hark how the links, sweet silver links, all seem to say, “Throw cares away!”

  • Gonna do something I’ve done here before and make the first link one from this very blog.  I’m getting a ton of hits for a piece I wrote here last year dealing with the burning question, Should Audiences Still Stand for the Hallelujah Chorus?  But with only eleven comments, there’s still room for yours, and it will get viewed many times over the next few days.
  • Just when think you’ve seen all the weird churches in the world, you discover this one, which has major parking problems, not to mention severe access issues.  Check out this mini photo essay from our old friend Abraham Piper at 22 Words.
  • It’s rare in the Christian blogosphere that you see someone give a Christian book a really bad review. Perhaps that’s what makes this review at the blog Supermoms Are Fake, in some ways, so refreshing.
  • Some of you remember Hermant Mehta at the blog, The Friendly Atheist, from his book I Sold My Soul on E-Bay.  Sometimes I check back to see how he’s doing, whereupon I found this one: Why Are This Many Atheist Scientists Taking Their Children To Church?
  • Leaders are readers. So begins a concise, 7-point piece by Dave Kraft at Leadership from the Heart, I Would Love to Read More, But…
  • Music video department: Enjoy a free taste of fourteen updated hymns at Indelible Grace III – For All The Saints.
  • …which got me poking around YouTube where I ended up listening to this updated version of Jesus I Come (which I know as Out of My Bondage) by the Shelly Moore Band.
  • Christianity Today music guy Mark Moring talks to Chris Tomlin aka the “worship song machine.” Tomlin just doesn’t see himself writing any other kind of music. Which I suppose suits us just fine.
  • Philanthropy meets good business sense as a Toronto group puts together winter survival kits for the homeless.
  • Canadian Charismatic Evangelist Todd Bentley is in the UK, but a Member of Parliament is telling Brits to beware the tattoo preacher.   The Sunday Express reports. (HT: Rick and Bene.)
  • The newest blog at Alltop Christian is called Slow Running Honey, another blog which seems to exist for the purpose of promoting a book. That’s fine, I guess, but the Christian blogosphere didn’t start out that way. (Though it got there quickly.)
  • Newest blog at Alltop Church is Nate Fietzer‘s which is a KidMin blog, meaning children’s ministry and leadership.  It’s him we also thank for the Life graphic below. Did you design that, Nate?

  • I think Justin and Tricia attend Pete Wilson’s church; I know Justin filled in for Pete once during the summer. Here’s an article that could revolutionize your marriage, and the concept is so simple, it revolves around one little three-letter word.
  • After a few days in Sick Bay, Rev. Billy Graham is now back home.
  • Okay, so you go to a church where women don’t teach, but they do scripture readings. But isn’t the public reading of scripture a type of teaching ministry? Or is it? What about soloists? Jesse Johnson wades into a thorny topic.
  • Sounds of the season: Drummer Sean Quigley is the latest to offer a fresh take on a classic, in this case The Little Drummer Boy.
  • Lots of videos this week, but you don’t want to miss this one: Bethlehemian Rhapsody, which was actually posted in 2009, but is still being discovered. (The sheep steal their scenes each time!)
  • Like all good link lists, we have another t-shirt for you. This is from Amanda at Faith in The Journey a tumblr blog packed with great graphic ideas. The shirt is from zazzle.com

November 9, 2011

Wednesday Link List

Something seriously messed up in our lynx picture file this week

Introductory paragraph so the links don’t just start cold…

  • Apparently some Christian bookstores are hesitant to stock a title like, When Will My Life Not Suck. Even the intro by Gary Chapman can’t convince them.  
  • Harold Camping is officially out of the end-of-the-world prediction business and will now focus on baseball predictions and NBA final four (assuming they get back to playing).
  • Sunday (Nov 13) is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Here are some verses from the Common English Bible that would fit your Sunday worship planning.
  • Ever wondered what it would be like to be part of a Bible translation committee?  Here’s a 4-minute video.  Wait a minute… they film these things?
  • Christian Week talks to street pastor and Close Enough To Hear God Breathe author Greg Paul.
  • Belated birthday wishes to Billy Graham who turned 93 on Monday and recently reflected at Huffington Post on Nearing Home which is both the title of his new book and the stage in life he considers himself to be in.
  • New research by the Barna Group finds young Christians leave churches they view as judgmental, overprotective, exclusive and unfriendly toward doubters.
  • Have you ever cheated death?  Check out an excellent essay by Tony Woodlief in which he has a meaningful talk with one of his kids.
  • There are Christian groups at secular colleges and universities, so it was just a matter of time before Atheist groups turned up at Christian colleges. But then why would you go there?
  • Last week, White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney made kind of a gutsy move from the podium.  He quoted a verse from the Bible. “God helps those who help themselves.”   If that really was a Bible verse, Matt at The Church of No People speculates on the exegesis.
  • KSZ posts the strangest piece of neo-classical music, or should that be meow-classical?  And how did the kids keep a straight face?
  • And then there’s Kevin Olusola, the guy who’s had 1,000,000 YouTube hits for his beat-box, hip-hop, cello playing video.  According to Brad, he’s also currently touring with Gungor.
  • Kids out at a downtown Halloween party in Loganville, GA received plastic dolls of a 12-week old fetus.
  • Blue Like Jazz – The Movie opens in theaters on April 13th.  I know that for sure because Matt and Ellen told me.
  • Vic the Vicar posts a warning for those who don’t follow e-mail instructions; I link to it partly because I accidentally trashed Vic’s Versatile Blogger nomination.  Sorry, Vic.
  • If you’re anywhere near Toronto, Canada on December 3rd, you won’t want to miss Steve Bell in concert with The Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
  • Sacred Sandwich: The Early Years –

January 28, 2011

Friday Debrief

No this is isn’t a start of a supplement to the Wednesday Link List, it’s just a few things that deserved a larger space committment without creating several individual posts:

  • Darryl Dash highlighted a small section of the CT interview with Billy Graham on Tuesday; the section where Mr. Graham is asked if he would do anything different, and he replies that he would have spent more time family.  But tucked away inside that response is this revelation:
     

    I also would have steered clear of politics. I’m grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn’t do that now.

  • I’ve been checking blogs to see what anticipation there is for the new Rob Bell book, Love Wins, which I mentioned briefly here last Friday; and in the process read (and left a comment at) this post at the UK (Ireland?) blog Supersimbo.  The blog writer views people under 40 as
     

    “Jumping from one book to another, switching from being a fan of Bell to Driscoll and back again as often as the wind changes, treating our faith and beliefs like an app for our iPhone or iPad…..liking his ‘theology’ because of how its packaged and advertised!”

    The conclusion is that readers will miss the importance of the message of Christian universalism that it contains. To clarify this a little further, he responded to me in the comments section with a link to a Margaret Feinberg interview with Scot McKnight, where McKnight describes Christian universalism as “the biggest challenge facing American Evangelicals.”  He goes on to define it:

    Christian universalism if the belief that everyone will eventually be saved because of what Christ has done. Christian universalism differs from raw pluralism. Pluralism is the belief that no religion offers superiority in the process of redemption. With pluralism, all religions lead us to the same god and the same ends. The distinction for Christian universalists is that what God did for humans in Christ will redeem all humans, whether they are Hindus, Muslims, or atheists, all will eventually be saved.

  • Another Bible translation?  Yep!  Steve Webb is single-handedly working on a project called the Lifespring Family One Year Bible which he is releasing in sections online and in a podcast. Who is Steve Webb? That’s a long story.   Here’s a sample from Genesis 9:
     

    9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Reproduce abundantly, and be fruitful and increase in number on the earth.
    9:2 All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the air, all that move on the earth, and all the fish in the sea will fear you. I have placed them in you hand.
    9:3 Every living thing that moves will be your food. As I gave you green plants, now I give you everything.

  • Finally, a court has upheld the right of World Vision to enforce its policy of hiring Christian employees.This story is from EWTN, a Catholic news agency.
     

    In a 2-1 ruling, a panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a petition to re-hear a case which charges that a religious charity illegally fired employees because they no longer agreed with its statement of faith……The organization said it terminated the three employees in 2007 because they “no longer agreed with World Vision U.S.’s statement of faith.” The organization discovered that the employees denied the divinity of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity.

    One employee worked in technology and facility maintenance, one was an administrative assistant, and the third coordinated shipping and facilities needs.

    They later sued, claiming their termination was an act of illegal discrimination. A federal district judge had previously ruled against the plaintiffs, prompting the appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

    World Vision praised the decision to reject the appeal and pledged vigorous defense of its right to hire employees who share its faith. “Our Christian faith has been the foundation of our work since the organization was established in 1950, and our hiring policy is vital to the integrity of our mission to serve the poor as followers of Jesus Christ,” the organization said…

    Similar organizations in Canada have faced this issue before, such as, most recently, Christian Horizons.

November 11, 2009

Link-O-Rama

First Baptist Church Dallas Architectural Rendering

Dallas' First Baptist Church Plans to Spend $130M U.S. on This Downtown Complex

  • The Office‘s Rainn Wilson is not a believer, but he does ask a good question:   Is television an acceptable method of ministry to the masses.  Personally, I like what Billy Graham did — nothing on a weekly basis, but quality crusade coverage once per quarter.   Better yet, I think would be for a church to pour resources into an annual prime time special.   Read the replies at Soul Pancake.
  • If you haven’t already, check out the podcasts featuring debates between A Christian and An Atheist.
  • Brant Hansen at Letters from Kamp Krusty (also linked a few lines below) had a link to seven pictures — be sure to see all seven — in the London Telegraph showing a human fetus (or foetus, as the Brits spell it) developing in the womb.
  • Perry Noble notes 15 signs that a church is in trouble.    #8 – Scripture isn’t central in every decision that is made!  … #10 – The people in the church lose sight of the next generation and refuse to fund ministry simply because they don’t understand “those young people.” Check it out.
  • Speaking of churches in trouble, try to wrap your brain around the plans of First Baptist, Dallas, Texas; in spending 130 million dollars to build a Tower of Babel new sanctuary in the city core.  (See picture, above.)  Be sure to click the links to watch the series of seven or eight videos, especially “The Experience” and “Worship Center.”   To warm up, the insanity begins at Arthur Sido’s blog.
  • TC Robinson blogs at New Leaven and suggests there are Five Deeply De-Christian Doctrines.  (Pastors love alliteration…)
  • The blog, The Word from the Hood features a dramatic narrative of the life of Tina Barry and her attempts to learn her mother’s identity and reconnect with her siblings.    Her story takes about five minutes to read, but is well worth the time.
  • This one is for seminarians and theology junkies, not mathematicians:  Stephen Manskar on understanding the role of Scripture, tradition, reason and experience — Teaching The Wesleyan Quadrilateral.  (See picture below.)
  • If you’re a woman, or even worse (!) a SAHM, you’re going to love the story of what one Methodist pastor did.
  • Here’s some quick wisdom from Chuck Swindoll that will only take 15 seconds, but will stay with you all day.
  • This one is at the other end of the spectrum.  You’d want to allow a good 10 minutes or so to read this Boston Review article on Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and religion.
  • Finally, on the lighter side, Brant Hansen at Letters from Kamp Krusty believes he has found what is truly The Best Christian T-Shirt Ever.
Wesley's Quadrilateral

You'll want a degree in Theology, not Mathematics, to understand the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

How To Build a Link List on Your Blog:

It’s fun!  It’s easy!  It’s really time consuming!

1) Each time you visit a link you want to share with other people, bookmark it to a short-list used just for this purpose.  Make sure you get the permalink for that particular post, not the blog in general, unless you think the whole blog is noteworthy.   This takes no time at all because you were already visiting those pages anyway.

2) Create a post and list the links and insert the actual URL in a keyword or phrase.   This takes a bit longer, especially when you’ve got 10 or 12 of them.

3) After you’re 100% sure that you’ve got all the right URLs in all the right places, you can delete the short-list and start building it again.

4) Don’t read your stats for that day’s post.  Sadly, a lot of people are interested in reading about various places you’ve been, but not interested enough to click the links.   So, if you believe in the quality of the links you’re recommending, keep at it, but don’t be disappointed if people are too busy to invest time in your recommendations.

May 24, 2009

Our Visit To The Hare Krishna Temple

Yes, today we went to a Hare Krishna Temple.   No, it wasn’t an accident and there were actually two reasons why we wanted to take off our shoes — which is required — and visit.HK Temple Toronto 1

Reason number one had to do with the event, Doors Open Toronto, where this year about 160 normally off-limits buildings open their doors to the general public for formal or self-guided tours.   This is the tenth year for DOTO, as it’s now known, and our visit two years ago included a number of visits to houses of worship belonging to sects and faiths with which we were decidedly unfamiliar.

Reason number two had to do with the temple itself.   The one in Toronto is actually the former Avenue Road Church — yes, we get lots of jokes out of the redundancy of the street name “Avenue Road” — an Alliance Church where years previously, Charles Templeton preached.

We joined a guided tour already in progress where this connection was being explained.   I later explained to the tour guide — who pointed out that four years after a fire destroyed much of the building, Templeton became a rather outspoken agnostic — that it was Templeton’s unfinished mission that inspired a young American evangelist to pick up the ball and run with it; that young man being Billy Graham.   She wasn’t aware of that part of the story, which some of you know if you’ve read Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Faith (Zondervan).

HK Temple Toronto 2As we snacked over cauliflower deep fried in chick pea flour, she said she would include that bit of trivia in her next tour.    Actually, the tour information was long on establishing the history and architecture of the building and rather light on beliefs and doctrines.    I almost got the impression that they were trying to downplay their doctrine to establish more of a common bond between themselves and members of the public taking the tour.  Even our last stop, the bookstore and restaurant area, was described as “the former Sunday School part of the building.” Perhaps the DOTO organizers insited on, or strongly suggested that emphasis.

But in fairness, as with the tours we did two years ago, I was impressed with how normal and “nice” our tour guide seemed.   She could be your next door neighbour, or someone who works at the office cubicle next to you.   Not some zealot for a fringe religion. (And she did, when asked, discuss their beliefs by way of comparison with Hinduism which is polytheistic, whereas their faith is monotheistic.)

As with our previous visits to other places, I put on my sandals and considered how positive, warm and inviting it all seemed and wondered how our churches appear by comparison to people like them.    I also wondered how many people touring Doors Open Toronto this weekend would find the visit causing them to want to know more about this faith, or consider attending their Sunday night service.   And so it seems fit to ask questions similar to those the other blog post ended with:  (a) Are you open to visiting houses of worship of other faiths?  (b) What would people who had never previously set foot in a Christian Church think of your house of worship as you guided them through and told them what the different rooms are used for?

Pictured:  The front of the former Avenue Road Christian and Missionary Alliance Church as it now appears as a Hare Krishna Temple.


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