The Cooperative Program is a way in which we can
fulfill the biblical mandate. Its a way in which our resourcesregardless of the
sizes of our churchescan accomplish a common goal of going into all the world
and preaching the Good News that God loves all people.
Pastor Horatio Jones of Fremont Bible Fellowship on why he feels its
important for the local church to give to the Cooperative Program.
Source: Baptist Press, March 2, 2004
The reason Jesus is so controversial is because Gods response to us depends
on our response to Jesus.
Anne Graham Lotz speaking at Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild,
February 20, 2004
We might have seen the end of the beginning.
Dr. Anton Koekenoer, on new observations by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Astronomers using the Hubble telescope said they reached far enough out in
space to be within a stones throw of the Big Bang.
Source: New York Times, March 10, 2004
God is looking for people who will be seriously
disturbed by what they see in the world. The problem with HIV/AIDS is bigger
and much more painful than I imagined. The equivalent of the city of Chicago
dies every year of AIDS. If were going to care about God we have to care about
the least of these. I cannot ignore the rest of Gods creation who are going to
bed hungry, being sold into prostitution and those who are dying every day.
This is a call of God.
Kay Warren, advocate for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS and
wife of pastor and author, Rick Warren
Dads can make a difference
In an analysis of nearly 100 studies on
parent-child relationships, father love (measured by childrens perceptions of
paternal acceptance/ rejection, affection/ indifference) was as important as
mother love in predicting the social, emotional and cognitive development and
functioning of children and young adults:
Having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a childs
happiness, well-being and social and academic success as having a loving and
Withdrawal of love by either the father or the mother was equally
influential in predicting a childs emotional instability, lack of self-esteem,
depression, social withdrawal and level of aggression.
In some studies, father love was actually a better predictor than mother
love for certain outcomes, including delinquency and conduct problems,
substance abuse and overall mental health and well-being.
Other studies found that, after controlling for mother love, father love was
the sole significant predictor for certain outcomes, such as psychological
adjustment problems, conduct problems and substance abuse.
Source: Father Facts, fatherhood.org, National Fatherhood Initiative
Youth gambling on the rise
a growing number of young people are gambling, and
millions are becoming addicted. Studies in the U.S. and Canada reveal that
between 9.9 percent and 14.2 percent of adolescents are experiencing some
symptoms of problem gambling, and between 4.4 percent and 7.4 percent meet the
criteria for pathological gamblers. This amounts to about 7.9 million teens who
are either problem or pathological gamblers according to statistics from the
National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Research shows that these teen
gamblers who begin as children tend to start at around age 10 or 11.
Source: Focus on the Family
photo by john swain
illustration by dale glasgow
From pulpits to PowerPoint
Churches moving toward more contemporary worship styles are outpacing those
moving to more traditional styles by an 11-to-1 margin, according to a study by
Ellison Research. Fifty-one percent of the Protestant ministers who
participated in the survey said their churchs worship style has become more
contemporary in the last five years. Just 5 percent said their style has become
more traditional recently, while 44 percent said their worship style has not
The study also found an increase in the use of technology and the arts in
worship. The greatest growth was in:
Video clip usage (up 625 percent from five years ago)
PowerPoint or similar graphic presentations (up 620 percent)
Christian rock, pop or country music (up 178 percent)
Praise and worship choruses (up 95 percent)
Drama sketches or skits (up 83 percent)
Childrens sermons or childrens worship services (up 38 percent)
Even though the greatest growth was in contemporary elements, there was
still growth in some of the most traditional elements of worship. Passing an
offering plate or basket was up 19 percent, using printed worship bulletins was
up 25 percent and using traditional hymns was up 17 percent.
Source: Facts & Trends, March/April 2004
Even Coppertone won't help
in 1965 the U.S. divorce rate was 2.5 per 1,000
people; it reached a high in 1979 and 1981, with 5.3 per 1,000. Today the
figure hovers around 4.0, pretty much where it has been for five years. The
divorce rate of any place in the continental United States can be reliably
predicted by knowing the number of days out of the year that women there can
wear swimsuits. Generally, the more warm weather days suitable for bathing
attire, the higher the divorce rate; the more cold weather days unsuitable for
swimwear, the lower the divorce rate.
To illustrate, draw a line across the midsection of the continental United
States (along the northern borders of North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas,
Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona, and continuing through southern Nevada and
central California). More than 60 percent of the total U.S. population lives
above what might be called the tan line. Yet less than half of all divorces
occur here, and all 10 states with the lowest divorce rates are above the tan
Massachusetts is No.1 in marital stability followed by New York. Conversely,
almost all of the states with the highest divorce rates are found below the tan
line. And four of these statesAlabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennesseeare
located right in the heart of the Bible belt.
In 1998 the divorce rate in Canada was 2.3 per 1000 population. Rates vary
widely from province to province. In the Yukon Territory 55 percent of couples
are expected to divorce within 30 years. In Newfoundland, 23 percent of couples
are expected to divorce within 30 years.
Source: Time, January 19, 2004, Smart Marriages Archive, divorcereform.org and
illustration by scott brooks
Number of Buster pastors is booming
The number of Busters (born 1965-1983) who serve as senior pastors has
doubled in just two years from about 22,000 to more than 45,000 (out of 324,000
Protestant senior pastors). These younger pastors are experimenting with
communication methods, ministry priorities, education and many other aspects of
their church-based work. Compared with older pastors, Buster pastors are more
likely to use drama (32% to 21%); more likely to show movies, videos and DVDs
(30% to 21%); and more likely to tell stories (28% to 13%). These multi-media
and experience-laden forms of communication appeal to younger, often postmodern
people. The study also indicated that young pastors more frequently use art,
music and interactive dialogue as part of their efforts to communicate biblical
Buster pastors are not taking the conventional path of ministry education.
Less than half of Buster pastors (46%) currently have a seminary degree,
compared to two-thirds (62%) of Boomers (born 1946-1964). Part of this gap
stems from the fact that some pastors obtain their seminary degree later in
life. However, many young pastors are avoiding seminary due to their growing
skepticism about its necessity and relevance to their ministry. Studies also
show that a growing number of large churches are training congregants for
full-time ministry from within, rather than sending people off-campus for more
traditional academic training for ministry.
The ministry priorities of young pastors have shifted from those of their
predecessors. Buster pastors (46%) are more likely than are Boomer pastors
(30%) to prioritize ministry to families, youth and children. The study showed
that Buster pastors are also focusing more attention than do their predecessors
on spiritual growth, discipleship and Bible study (37% to 27%). Both groups are
equally likely to prioritize teaching and preaching, evangelism and
Source: Barna Update, February 17, 2004
Need a clever way to share your faith? Cant find the
latest Bebo Norman CD at your local music store? Look no farther than your
Internet browser and CD burner. You can now download and copy Christian music
from lifewaystores.com/getmusic, and its all legal. Downloading music
is a growing trend led nationally by Apples iTunes and Buymusic.com for secular music, but
LifeWay is the first Christian retailer to offer a site dedicated to Christian
music. The new digital music downloading service offers single songs for 99
cents and complete albums for $10 to $12. You can download a variety of artists
from Salvador to George Beverly Shea.
Overseas baptisms passed historic mark
Southern Baptist International
missionaries and their overseas partners baptized 510,357 believers in 2003, a
net increase of 76,838 (17.7 %) and the first time the number of baptisms has
passed a half million. While more than 5,000 people groups still have little or
no access to the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, Southern Baptist
missionaries and their overseas partners also opened work among 192 new people
groups during 2003. Those new works included the engagement of 146 unreached
people groups with a total population of more than 359 million. This is a cause
for tremendous rejoicing, says Avery Willis, the International Mission Boards
senior vice president for overseas operations. God is blessing as we are
proving faithful to the vision of bringing all the peoples of the world to
saving faith in Jesus Christ.
By the numbers
26.5 million Dollar amount brought in on the opening day of
The Passion of the Christ. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers brought in
$26.2 million on its opening day. The Passion is on track to make $400 million
in the U.S.
42,886 Number of visits to www.PassionChrist.org,
NAMBs website dedicated to helping churches go past The Passion of the Christ
to tell the rest of the story
17% Percent of Americans who think its O.K. to cheat on
their income tax, up from 11% five years ago
$300 billionAnnual amount owed by taxpayers for
under-reporting, nonfiling and nonpayment of balances
14.5% Percent of the population over age 50 who had
Internet access in 1998
47.1% Percent of the population over age 50 who had
Internet in 2002
Sources: Movie Web, USAToday.com, Time, March 22, 2004 and AARP Bulletin, March
Do Americans have too many choices?
Modern life has provided a huge array of
products to choose from. But do we have too many? Consider this: at your local
supermarket youre likely to find more than 360 types of shampoo, 40 kinds of
toothpaste and 250 varieties of breakfast cereals? A simple trip to the grocery
store can easily become overwhelming.
One would think that increased choice improves well-being. However, the
opposite is true. People feel overwhelmed by the time it takes to make the best
choice and then later may regret having made the wrong choice. Social
scientists David G. Myers and Robert E. Lane say that increased choice and
increased affluence have been accompanied by decreased well-being. In the last
30 years the proportion of the population describing itself as very happy has
declined by about 5 percent.
This might not seem like much, but 5 percent translates to about 14 million
Americans. More Americans than ever are clinically depressed. By some
estimates, depression in the year 2000 was about 10 times as likely as it was
in 1900. Although this can't be attributed to a single factor, evidence from
psychological research indicates that the explosion of choice plays a
Source: Newsweek, March 22, 2004 and Parade, January 4,
photo by john swain
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