Ice Bucket Challenge Kills Babies?

By John UpChurch

If you’re like me, you can’t escape the #IceBucketChallenge. My social media feeds have exploded with shivering men and women, each trying to outdo each other with the creativity of their dunk (never mind that many of them did the “cold water challenge” last year). Seems like purple lips are in. Read more...

Mark Driscoll to Step Down while Mars Hill Reviews Charges

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Controversial Seattle megachurch founder Mark Driscoll will step down for at least six weeks while church leaders review formal charges lodged by a group of pastors that he abused his power.
The 43-year-old pastor has been under fire in recent months for plagiarism, inappropriate use of church funds and improper behavior toward subordinates.
Returning from vacation Sunday (Aug. 24), Driscoll addressed Mars Hill worship services through a pre-recorded message.
“I want to say to my Mars Hill family, past and present, I’m very sorry. I genuinely mean it,” Driscoll said in his address. “I’m very sorry for the times I’ve been angry, short or insensitive. I’m very sorry for anything I’ve done to distract from our mission by inviting criticism, controversy or negative media attention.”
Driscoll said he will not do any outside speaking for the foreseeable future and postpone the publication of his next book.
“I have begun meeting with a professional team of mature Christians who provide wise counsel to help further my personal development and maturity before God and men,” Driscoll told the congregation.
Mark DeMoss, an Atlanta public relations consultant and former adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, has been brought in to work with the congregation.
DeMoss, who represented the late Jerry Falwell Sr. and now Franklin Graham, said he attended the services in Seattle today on his own expense as Driscoll’s friend.
“I think he’s a gifted, biblical communicator who has done effective church work in an unchurched part of the country,” DeMoss said. “I like him, I believe in him, and if I only worked with ministry leaders who were faultless, I would be out of business tonight.”
Warren Throckmorton, a Grove City College psychology professor who has been blogging details of the events surrounding the church’s turmoil, first posted an audio clip of Driscoll’s 13-minute message. Throckmorton said he is aware of other elders planning to resign or considering it.
“Storm clouds seem to be swirling around me more than ever in recent month, and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it,” Driscoll said. “Some have challenged various aspects of my personality and leadership style, and while some of these challenges seem unfair, I have no problem admitting I am deserving of some of these criticisms based my own past actions that I am genuinely sorry for.”
Respected preacher and author John Piper, who received some backlash for inviting Driscoll to his 2006 Desiring God conference, tweeted his reaction to this news.
Though he has long been controversial but popular for his unapologetic chauvinism, Driscoll faced increasing turmoil this past year within evangelical circles. A front-page story in The New York Times Saturday (Aug. 23),  suggested that Driscoll’s empire was “imploding.”
“He was really important — in the Internet age, Mark Driscoll definitely built up the evangelical movement enormously,” Timothy Keller, the senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York, told the Times. “But the brashness and the arrogance and the rudeness in personal relationships &mda Read more...

School is Back in Session

By Brent Rinehart

Dear Daughter,

Christian Humanitarian Group Says Iraq Future Looks Grim

By Carrie Dedrick

Humanitarian group Christian Aid, partnered with REACH, is supplying tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees with needed food, clothing and hygiene items. The organization has now reported that the situation is currently overwhelming and the future looks grim. 
Anne Ward, Christians Aid’s consultant to Iraq said, "The numbers of people are overwhelming the government here as well as the aid agencies and local Kurdish agencies. The people need everything from clothes and shoes to basics such as food and babies' diapers."
Many refugees have lost all personal possessions. Many families have seen family members killed, raped or kidnapped at the hands of Islamic State. 
Ward said, "There are great psychological effects of displacement. Long-term it looks terrible. IS is so well mobilised, so entrenched. We don't anticipate them going anywhere quickly. IS have planted bombs. Before anyone goes home, their villages will have to be cleared of unexploded ordinances."
Christian Aid has reached out to Yazidis, Shia Shabak and Shia Turkmen, in addition to Christians in Iraq.

Hillsong Says Secret of Church's Success is Lifting Up the Name of Jesus

By Carrie Dedrick

Hillsong Church, an Australian-based megachurch with 12 campuses arranged all over the world, has seen constant and solid growth since it was founded 31 years ago. Autumn Hardman, a music ministry leader for the Australian campuses, says that the secret to the church’s success is glorifying Jesus’ name. 
“Our aim as a church is simple – to lift up the name of Jesus,” Hardman said in an interview with The Christian Post. “It's as simple as that. The worship music of our House has always been an expression of that. Over the years, the genre and the sound (have) evolved, but the message has stayed the same. We always have been, and always will be about lifting up the name of Jesus.”
The church is the root of praise songs that are sung in churches worldwide, including “Mighty to Save” and “Awesome God.” Hardman says that the music is meant to be a reflection of their love of God.
“Our motivation as a worship team is first and foremost our love for Jesus, and our desire to make His name great, and our desire to see the Gospel spread and shared throughout the earth with the tools of creativity that have been placed in our hands. Our hope would be that we would serve Jesus and others with every breath we take, and that we would be good stewards of the responsibility and gifts placed within our hands,” Hardman said. 
Hillsong Church is a pentecostal denomination affiliated with the Australian Christian Churches, the Australian equivalent of the Assemblies of God.

By Faith, Not by Sight

By Dena Johnson

For we live by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Read more...

The Truth about Depression

By Debra Fileta

“True believers don’t suffer from depression.”

Iraqi-American Christians Fear for Lives of Family and Friends in Home Country

By Carrie Dedrick

Americans of Iraqi descent are speaking out about the crisis in Iraq, as friends and family members remaining in the nation are at risk of persecution. Islamic State (IS) militants have wreaked havoc across Iraq; reports say that the terrorist organization is systematically killing Christians in a mass genocide. 
"There's no future for Christians in Iraq anymore," said Bashar Bakoz, an immigrant who now resides in Detroit. 
Michigan is home to 64,000 Iraqi-Americans, most of which are Christians. Many of those who have immigrated have friends and family in danger. 
Michigan immigrant Auday Arabo said, "It's like the modern-day holocaust...It's Christian genocide. It's ethnic cleansing."
Rev. Manuel Boji, an Iraqi-American pastor fears that Christianity will be wiped out altogether at the hands of IS. "They're picking on the most vulnerable. You can see the extinction of Christianity in the region on the horizon,” he said.
A group of eight Americans of Iraqi descent met with Ben Rhodes, an aide of President Obama to discuss the situation. After the meeting the White House released a statement saying “The United States remains committed to helping all of Iraq's diverse communities, including Christians, Sabean-Mandaeans, Shabak and Yezidis.” 
Despite the statement, IS militants continue to terrorize Christians, as well as other religious minorities in the region. 
“The evil is spreading,” Arabo said.

Created Vegetarian

By Dr. Roger Barrier

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at roger@preachitteachit.org. Read more...