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I felt enormous relief as the implications of Jesus' resurrection rebuked my fearful imagination.

Like the innocent man Pilate sentenced to death, truth has a way of coming back to life.

Matt Chandler reveals what's on his nightstand, books he re-reads, his favorite biographies, and more.

What does Christianity offer to discontented people like us in an unsatisfying world like this? Exactly what we need.

Love for the world motivated by anything other than love for Jesus inevitably fails to offer the kind of love the world needs.

Your people can't have the mindset of, "We are going to minister to the other ethnic groups around us."

I fight to find beauty in the unchanging qualities in which God delights—humility, truth, kindness, self-giving, joy.

It's amazing how many women in our churches have never been taught to study their Bibles. This must end.

If we allow our technologies to use us rather than the other way around, it's no wonder we begin to view them as a difficult taskmaster.

With a little discipline and patience, you can break out of the week-to-week writing pace and give your heart and mind room to breathe.

Ed Stetzer - Lifeway 

Pat Hood explains what it is like to pastor a "sending church."

Tell me about some unique things your church is doing in outreach.

I don't know if we do anything that's really "unique." I would describe our outreach as "simple." I think Jesus' was too. He simply told his disciples, to "Go, make disciples." That's what we teach our people. We challenge them to live sent lives in every domain of their life. We tell our people that we have no marketing campaign. We don't blanket the community with fliers. We don't rent billboards. We tell our people they are the outreach plan.

How did LifePoint transition from a traditional First Baptist to an international, multi-ethnic "sending church?"

In 2004, I felt a clear direction from the Lord to lead our church to a time of prayer, fasting and worship. We would fast for three days and then meet together at night for a time of intense worship: no preaching, just fasting and meeting together to pray and worship.

We had already begun to transition some external things like our music style and dress, and, as a result, had seen lots growth. As a result, we were in the middle of a building program to build a new auditorium. We thought this time of prayer and fasting was to prepare us for what God was going to do when we opened our new auditorium. However, during those three days of prayer & fasting, we realized that God had called us together because He wanted to open our eyes to His heart for the nation. So, our focus changed from bringing more people in to sending more people out.

How did you measure success in the past?

I've always been a pastor who loved people and love seeing their lives transformed by Jesus. But, admittedly, there was a time when I was more ...

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A Conflict of Christian Visions; An Open Letter to Church Planters; Anti-Psychotic Overmedication

If you are not reading Anthony Bradley, you really should be. In this article, he pushes a bit about our view of the creation narrative. Interesting stuff…

A Conflict of Christian Visions: Gen. 1-2 vs. Gen. 3 ChristianityAnthony Bradley

Christine was recently on The Exchange (along with my friend Kathy Ferguson Litton), for an interview regarding her new book, The Church Planting Wife. Here is a related letter that's worth a read.

An Open Letter to Church Planting PastorsChristine Hoover

We've talked a lot about mental illness lately. I've written for CNN, and at my own blog. The Huffington Post, the Blaze, CNN (here and here), and lots of others have reported on our data. In my most recent article, I wrote about the danger of overmedication. Being an evangelical, one of the biggest challenges is to encourage Christians to see mental illness as an actual illness. We have a long way to go, based on our recent research. However, the other extreme is that of overmedication, as this article explains.

Doctors: Anti-psychotic meds overused for dementia, kidsKim Painter

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with evangelist Luis Palau on The Exchange. What regrets does he have in his experience as an international evangelist? Don't forget to join me every Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern for The Exchange.

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Large and fast-growing churches make sacrifices for the kingdom of God.

Outreach Magazine just released their Outreach 100 issue for 2013. LifeWay Research does the research for this issue. I was particularly encouraged to see the list focus especially on fastest growing churches. You can subscribe to the magazine here. Here is my article with a bit of analysis of some of the fastest-growing churches in America.

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Each year at LifeWay Research, we work together with Outreach Magazine to create the Outreach 100 listings of the country's Fastest-Growing and Largest Churches. On one hand, these lists are one of the most anticipated things we do each year. People seem to eagerly await the lists so they can learn from these churches about what God is doing to build his kingdom across the United States. On the other hand, there are those who complain about the lists. They seem to think this is a way of exalting "big churches" in an effort to make them look better than the churches that are not on the list, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Remember folks: facts are our friends.

I love to learn. I have spent a significant portion of my adult life in the classroom, either as a student or as a professor. These lists feed our hunger to learn as we evaluate the temperature of the churches we study in an effort to learn more about the ways God is working. I hope these lists encourage you and challenge you. I hope, like me, you read them and celebrate the ways God is working. I hope they challenge you to think through your own strategy to reach your community with the gospel.

On this year's lists, we noticed many of the same trends we've seen in the past. Among the recent trends, we continue to see multisite churches becoming more and ...

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Evangelicals Wrong on Mental Illness; 4 Public Invitation Tips; Stop Copying

Amy Simpson responds to our research on mental health that has been reported at CNN (here and here), The Huffington Post, the Blaze, and lots of other places.

Evangelicals, You're Wrong about Mental IllnessAmy Simpson

I appreciated Ronnie Floyd's words here. At our church, we don't do a "come forward" invitation-- that does not work in a movie theater-- but we always invite people to Christ at the end of every message. I found his comments helpful.

4 Words to Keep in Mind When You Give a Public InvitationRonnie Floyd

Helpful article on innovation from Justin and Matt.

How to Stop Copying and Start InnovatingJustin Blaney and Matt Carter

A couple of weeks ago I sat down with evangelist Luis Palau on The Exchange. Listen to the advice he had for others who share the Gospel. Don't forget to join me every Tuesday at 3:00 PM Eastern for The Exchange.

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How church partnerships can help foster multiplication.

Denominations and networks of churches were and still are created for the purpose of partnership in mission. At times, these organizations have successfully unified churches around their common goals and accomplished much. But sometimes the very institutions meant to unify and encourage the mission have inadvertently hindered their own ability to multiply efforts through partnership.

Without a clear avenue to foster partnership for multiplication, the need for these organizations becomes less clear. If denominations and networks do not exist-- at least in part-- to multiply churches, then they have lost a big part of their purpose.

Denominations, networks, and other such partnerships (referred to occasionally as simply "partnerships" for sake of space), when functioning correctly, should help foster multiplication.

I regularly work with a variety of denominational leaders to help them chart a course toward unified missional engagement. There are several points of weakness common to many of the organizations I have seen.

Since these blind spots seem to be somewhat universal, it makes sense to give broad consideration to the ways of overcoming them. So, I have taken a talk I gave to the Evangelical Free Church leadership and modified it a bit to share here.

Hopefully this information can serve other groups as well. Here are six key steps toward creating the type of unity among churches in denominations/networks that leads to sustainable multiplication of a movement.

1. Recognize that Multiplication is Part of Health.

First, your partnership must understand that multiplication is a sign of health.

Healthy churches multiply disciples, groups, ministries, and churches-- and healthy partnerships cultivate ...

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Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission 

Dennis Rainey, president and CEO of FamilyLife, and Bob Lepine, senior vice president of FamilyLife, share how important it is for Christian parents to make sure their children hear about practicing godly sexuality from them.

This video is a clip from a larger interview that will be unveiled here on the site very soon.

<p><span class="caps">WASHINGTON</span> D.C, April 17, 2014—Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, is scheduled to appear on <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/">ABC’s “This Week”,</a> Easter Sunday, April 20, for a discussion on religion and politics.</p> <p>Moore will join anchor Martha Raddatz and panelists Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith &amp; Freedom Coalition; and Cokie Roberts, senior news analyst for National Public Radio and political commentator for <span class="caps">ABC</span> News.</p> <p>The program will air at 9 AM <span class="caps">EST</span>. Please check your <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/#map">local listings</a> for accurate showtimes.</p> <p>The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.</p> <p>- <span class="caps">END</span> &#8211; </p> <p>To request an interview with Russell D. Moore<br /> contact Elizabeth Bristow at (615) 782-8409<br /> or by e-mail at <span data-eeEncEmail_oAOOyFVvRy='1'>.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)</span><script type="text/javascript">/*<![CDATA[*/var out = '',el = document.getElementsByTagName('span'),l = ['>','a','/','<',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112','>','\"',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112',':','o','t','l','i','a','m','\"','=','f','e','r','h','a ','<'],i = l.length,j = el.length;while (--i >= 0)out += unescape(l[i].replace(/^\s\s*/, '&#'));while (--j >= 0)if (el[j].getAttribute('data-eeEncEmail_oAOOyFVvRy'))el[j].innerHTML = out;/**/

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<p><span class="caps">NASHVILLE</span>, Tenn., April 8, 2014—The Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, released an e-book Tuesday titled “Questions &amp; Ethics: Applying the Gospel to Tough Situations” by Russell D. Moore, <span class="caps">ERLC</span> president.</p> <p>In the book, Moore answers real-life questions, applying the gospel of the kingdom to cultural issues and the Christian life, just as he does on his <a href="https://erlc.com/questions">Questions &amp; Ethics</a> podcast. Moore addresses important topics, such as family, race, politics and life. </p> <p>The <span class="caps">ERLC</span> launched the book at the Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, Ky., and has made “Questions &amp; Ethics” available for free for a limited time. To obtain a copy, visit <a href="http://erlc.com/freebook">erlc.com/freebook</a> and use the coupon code, “questions.”</p> <p>“We’re excited about releasing ‘Questions &amp; Ethics’ in this e-book format to help followers of Christ live out the gospel in their daily lives,” said Daniel Darling, <span class="caps">ERLC</span>&#8217;s VP for Communications.</p> <p>The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.</p> <p>- <span class="caps">END</span> &#8211; </p> <p>To request an interview with Russell D. Moore<br /> contact Elizabeth Bristow at (615) 782-8409<br /> or by e-mail at <span data-eeEncEmail_XDSxUtRDny='1'>.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)</span><script type="text/javascript">/*<![CDATA[*/var out = '',el = document.getElementsByTagName('span'),l = ['>','a','/','<',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112','>','\"',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112',':','o','t','l','i','a','m','\"','=','f','e','r','h','a ','<'],i = l.length,j = el.length;while (--i >= 0)out += unescape(l[i].replace(/^\s\s*/, '&#'));while (--j >= 0)if (el[j].getAttribute('data-eeEncEmail_XDSxUtRDny'))el[j].innerHTML = out;/**/

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<p><span class="caps">NASHVILLE</span>, Tenn., April 7, 2014—The Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced today a new national conference addressing “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage” to be held at the iconic Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., October 27-29, 2014. </p> <p>The <span class="caps">ERLC</span> National Conference will feature notable speakers such as Rosaria Butterfield, Sherif Girgis, J.D. Greear, Albert Mohler, Russell D. Moore, David Platt and others to equip Christians to apply the gospel to these issues with convictional kindness in their communities, their families and their churches. </p> <p>“A moral revolution surrounding sexuality and marriage is happening across America, creating new and challenging questions for Christians and churches,” said Moore, <span class="caps">ERLC</span> president. “The Bible presents marriage as an unchanging picture of the gospel through the union of one man and one woman. Our desire, at the <span class="caps">ERLC</span>, is to equip faithful Christians on the importance of looking to Scripture, not the ever-changing culture, as our guide.” </p> <p>Conference speakers will seek to answer the following questions:</p> <p>How do we effectively minister to those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender? <br /> How do we create and strengthen a positive marriage culture in our churches? <br /> What does sexual faithfulness look like for a same-sex attracted Christian? <br /> How and when do we talk to our kids about sexuality?<br /> Panel discussions will provide opportunities for speakers to address other practical questions. </p> <p>Complete details can be found at erlc.com/conference. Registration will begin June 1. </p> <p>The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.</p> <p>- <span class="caps">END</span> &#8211; </p> <p>To request an interview with Russell D. Moore<br /> contact Elizabeth Bristow at (615) 782-8409<br /> or by e-mail at <span data-eeEncEmail_imLUAiYKle='1'>.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)</span><script type="text/javascript">/*<![CDATA[*/var out = '',el = document.getElementsByTagName('span'),l = ['>','a','/','<',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112','>','\"',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112',':','o','t','l','i','a','m','\"','=','f','e','r','h','a ','<'],i = l.length,j = el.length;while (--i >= 0)out += unescape(l[i].replace(/^\s\s*/, '&#'));while (--j >= 0)if (el[j].getAttribute('data-eeEncEmail_imLUAiYKle'))el[j].innerHTML = out;/**/

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<p><span class="caps">WASHINGTON</span>, D.C., April 7, 2014 —The U.S. Supreme Court denied cert on Monday in the case of Elane Photography v. Willock, allowing a lower court ruling to stand in New Mexico regarding religious liberty and free speech.</p> <p>Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, of New Mexico, declined to be the official photographer for the 2007 commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple, Vanessa Willock and Misti Collinsworth, stating that photographing the wedding would “require them to create expression conveying messages that conflict with their religious beliefs.”</p> <p>The New Mexico Human Rights Commission found that the Huguenins violated the state’s public accommodations law, the New Mexico Human Rights Act.</p> <p>Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, reacts to the decision of the Supreme Court denying the Huguenins an opportunity to have their case reviewed.</p> <p>“I am disappointed the Supreme Court denied cert in this case. At issue is the fundamental question of whether the state can pretend to be a god over the conscience. No one is seeking to outlaw photographers from working at same-sex marriage or civil union ceremonies. At issue is whether these persons will be forced by the coercive power of the state to participate in something they believe to be sinful. The audacity of the New Mexico Supreme Court in saying that the crucifixion of conscience is the price of citizenship is breathtaking. This ruling is more in the spirit of Nero Caesar than in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson. This is damaging not only to the conscience rights of Christians, but to all citizens. When we decide, as a country, that state power trumps the rights of conscience, we are treading on self-evident, inalienable rights, granted not by government but by God. The Supreme Court did the wrong thing, and our cherished American principle of soul freedom is the victim of their neglect.&#8221; </p> <p>The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics &amp; Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.</p> <p>- <span class="caps">END</span> &#8211; </p> <p>To request an interview with Russell D. Moore<br /> contact Elizabeth Bristow at (615) 782-8409<br /> or by e-mail at <span data-eeEncEmail_KNSxJfKLkO='1'>.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)</span><script type="text/javascript">/*<![CDATA[*/var out = '',el = document.getElementsByTagName('span'),l = ['>','a','/','<',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112','>','\"',' 109',' 111',' 99',' 46',' 99',' 108',' 114',' 101',' 64',' 115',' 115',' 101',' 114',' 112',':','o','t','l','i','a','m','\"','=','f','e','r','h','a ','<'],i = l.length,j = el.length;while (--i >= 0)out += unescape(l[i].replace(/^\s\s*/, '&#'));while (--j >= 0)if (el[j].getAttribute('data-eeEncEmail_KNSxJfKLkO'))el[j].innerHTML = out;/**/

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