GOD is DOING a NEW THING

July 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News

2020

The Holy Ghost within us cries for holiness and we shall not be oppressed, depressed, repressed, regressed, transgressed by this dead and dying world. For there’s a standard of heaven and a judgment of God; a rule of holiness and a road of righteousness which must begin nowhere else but with the household of God; where God is doing a NEW thing and speaking for a SEASON of:

– Re-covery
– Re-claiming
– Re-versal
– Re-juvenation
– Re-imbursement

– Re-cuperation
– Re-organization
– Re-volution
– Re-envisioning
– Re-freshing

and re-telling the old, old story that a King has left His glory and died on cross on Calvary to save a wretch like me…

Gateway Cities

July 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Recent analysis of migrant churches in the United States reveals the predominant majority of them are located in cities which have a high influxation and concentration of immigrants. Such localities are called “gateway cities”. Immigrants typically enter the United States through one of these cities and settle there. These areas contain over half of the foreign-born population in the United States as follows

1. New York, NY Foreign born population 18.7%

2. Los Angeles, CA Foreign born population 27.1%

3. Houston, TX Foreign born population 12.3%

4. Washington, DC Foreign born population 8.6%

5. Miami, FL Foreign born population 33.6%

6. Chicago, IL Foreign born population 11.1%

7. San Francisco, CA Foreign born population 20.0%

Compelled by the love of Christ

July 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News

When David Livingstone was asked why he became a missionary to Africa, he replied, “I was compelled by the love of Christ.” It leaves us in wonder, can one truly show the love of God without obey to send, be sent and go. This is not meant to be critical, but it certainly bids the question, what type of Christians attend church two-three times weekly and call it done. Should we truly expect people to simply attend church because we want them to come to our program or should we be the ones to send, be sent and go to the periphery of society where the disenfranchised, marginalized and outcasts live. Jesus did!

America Is Becoming Less Christian, Less Religious

July 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News

America is still a predominantly Christian nation, but it’s becoming both less Christian and less religious, according to the results of the new American Religious Identification Survey. According to the poll, which came out today, the percentage of Americans who define themselves as Christian has dropped from 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2008. In one of the most dramatic shifts, 15 percent of Americans now say they have no religion — a figure that’s almost doubled in 18 years. Americans with no religious preference are now larger than all other major religious groups except Catholics and Baptists.

“What seems to be happening is there is a decline in what we might call traditional brand loyalty to the old denominations, specific churches,” said Barry Kosmin, a principle investigator for the American Religious Identification Survey. In the last 18 years, despite population growth and immigration, almost all religious denominations have lost ground. Mainline Protestants are down the most. Methodists, for example, have gone from 8 to 5 percent. Baptists are down from 19.3 to 15.8. And Jews are down from 1.8 to 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of atheists, while still small, has nearly doubled from 900,000 to 1.6 million. Kosmin says that people may feel more comfortable admitting their lack of faith at a time when atheist books, like Christopher Hitchens’ “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” and movies are getting a lot of attention. Comedian Bill Maher took aim at religion in his documentary film “Religulous,” saying that he preaches “the gospel of ‘I Don’t Know.'”

But researchers point out that just because people are dropping out of organized religion, that doesn’t mean they’re abandoning faith. In an informal poll on Twitter today, we heard similar sentiments.

“I no longer attend church, but still pray to Jesus,” said Sean Whitney.

Dramatic Shift in Way Americans Worship

“I dropped out of the Catholic faith years ago. However, it doesn’t mean I have stopped believing in God,” said Carmen Rivera.

The study finds that more people are exploring spiritual frontiers. Some 2.8 million Americans now say they identify with new religious movements like Wicca, paganism or spiritualists. Catholic strongholds in New England and the Midwest have faded as people have moved toward the Sunbelt.

“We are becoming a nation of spiritually anchored people who are not traditionally religious,” said Serene Jones, president of the Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.

While Americans may be leaving established denominations, the one major growth area in American Christianity is among evangelicals. Megachurches are booming, rising from 5 to 11.8 percent of the population.

And with the economy in free fall, many megachurches say they’re seeing increased attendance. They’re praying that perhaps hard times will draw Americans back to their faith.

Is Religion In America in Decline?

June 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Duke University sociologist Mark Chaves’ working title for his new book on trends in U.S. religion was “Continuity and Change in American Religion.”

But the folks on the Princeton University Press marketing team suggested he could attract more attention with the bolder title: The Decline of American Religion.

Chaves, director of the National Congregations Study, took another look at research showing indicators of traditional beliefs and practices are either stable or falling in a nation that is a symbol of the staying power of religion in the West.

His conclusion: “The burden of proof has shifted to those who want to claim that American religiosity is not declining.”

Chaves shared his perspective in a paper on “The Decline of American Religion?” for the Association of Religion Data Archives. His work is a significant addition to the discussion of the future of faith in the U.S.

The argument that religion is declining has gained more attention in recent years with major surveys pointing to the existence of a substantial group of Americans who state no preference for organized religion.

Fifteen percent of respondents to the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey did not identify with a religious group, up from 8 percent in 1990. The 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey found 16 percent of respondents said they were unaffiliated with any particular faith today, more than double the number who said they were not affiliated with any particular religion as children.

But researchers also point out strong signs of stability, even steady growth over the long term, in American religious life.

“The single most significant trend in American religion from 1900 to the present has been the steady and spectacular decline in the percentage of religiously unaffiliated people in the American population,” J. Gordon Melton, founding director of the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, Calif., wrote in a recent ARDA paper on “American Religion’s Mega-Trends.” “In 1900, the religiously unaffiliated included some 65 percent of the population. That figure has now dropped to around 15 percent.”

Signs of decline

Chaves does not doubt the central role of religion in the lives of Americans.

“By world standards, Americans remain remarkably religious in both belief and practice. Americans are more pious than people in any Western country, with the possible exception of Ireland,” he said in the ARDA paper.

However, he noted, whether it is a major change such as a drop in the rates of religious affiliation or a small change such as the number of Americans who say they believe in God declining from 99 percent in the 1950s to 92 percent in 2008, no indicator of traditional religious belief or practice is going up.

“On the contrary, every indicator of traditional religiosity is either stable or declining. This is why I think it is reasonable to conclude that American religion has in fact declined in recent decades — slowly, but unmistakably,” Chaves said.

Those indicators of decline, taken from General Social Survey data, include:

  • From 1990 to 2008, the percent of people who never attend religious services rose from 13 percent to 22 percent.
  • Just 45 percent of adult respondents born after 1970 reported growing up with religiously active fathers.
  • In the 1960s, about 1 percent of college freshmen expected to become clergy. Now, about three-tenths of a percent have the same expectation.
  • The percentage of people saying they have a great deal of confidence in leaders of religious institutions has declined from about 35 percent in the 1970s to about 25 percent today.

An uncertain future

So what is the final verdict on the status of religion in America?

There may not be one.

Baylor University sociologist Paul Froese said the research seems to indicate a lot of stability in religion in America. In practical terms, Froese said, he does not see any trends that religion is declining in social or political influence in the United States.

When one considers major cultural changes in the United States on issues such as racial attitudes, “these religion indicators by comparison seem really stable,” he said.

Chaves said there is plenty of room for interpretation.

“Reasonable people can disagree on whether the master narrative is fundamentally decline or fundamentally stability,” he said in an interview.

What decline is evident has been gradual: “American religion remains very vibrant and will for your lifetime and my lifetime,” Chaves said.

Looking to the future, the aging of the U.S. population should be a positive influence on religion since religious beliefs and practices tend to increase with age, researchers say. But the declining participation by younger generations of parents is a significant negative predictor. In the National Study of Youth and Religion, having highly religious parents was one of the strongest variables associated with youth being highly religious as emerging adults.

So what is Chaves going to call his new book on religion in America when it comes out this summer?

“Bland or not,” Chaves says in the ARDA paper, “it will be called, “American Religion: Contemporary Trends.”

The Religious and Social Crises and Political Consequences

June 20, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News

The opening long decade of the 21st century (2000-2012) has been a period of repeated and profound economic and social crises, of serial and prolonged wars and declining living standards for the vast majority of Americans. How have people responded to this crisis? No large scale, long term, socio-political movements have emerged to challenge the bi-partisan dominent classes. For a brief moment the “Occupy Wall Street” movement provided a platform to denounce the 1% super-rich but then faded into memory.

Questions arose whether in the midst of prolonged hardship people would turn to religion for solace, escape into spiritual pietism. The question this essay addresses is whether religion has become the ‘opium of the people’ as Karl Marx suggested or whether religious beliefs and institutions are themselves in crisis, losing their spiritual attraction in the face of their inability to resolve the everyday material needs of a growing army of impoverished, low paid, unemployed and contingent workers and a downwardly mobile middle class. In other words are major religions growing and prospering in our time of permanent economic crise and perpetual wars or are they on the downslope part and parcel of the decline of the US Empire?

According to the latest data as of 2008 the biggest religious group is Christianity with 173.402 million members representing 76% of adult population followed by Judaism with 2.680 million representing 1.2% of the adult population; followed by Eastern religions 1.961 million and representing .9% Muslims 1.349 million representing .6% of adults. The second most populous group after the Christians are those adults who state they have ‘no religion’ 34.169 million or 15%.

Adult Population and Religious Affiliation 1990-2008 (in millions and percentages)

 

1990
Adults
2008
Adults
Numerical
Change
1990 % of
Adults
2008 % of Adults Change in % of Total
Adults 1990-2008
Adult Population 175,440 228,182 30.1%
(All) Christian 151,225 173,402 14.7% 86.2% 76% -10.2%
(All) Jewish 3,137 2,680 -14.6% 1.8% 1.2% -.6%
(All) Eastern 687 1,961 185.4% .4% .9% .5%
(All) Muslim 527 1,349 156% .3% .6% .3%
No Religion 14,331 34,169 138.l4% 8.2% 15% 6.8%

The dynamic trends over time show a declining percentage of adults who are Christians: between 1990-2008 they dropped from 86.2% to 76%; Jews have declined from 1.8% of adult population in 1990 to 1.2% in 2008 and Eastern religion is growing from .4% of adult population to .97% of population. Likewise, the percentage of Muslims in the adult population has grown from .3% in 1990 to .6% in 2008. The percentage of non-religious adult population has increased from 8.2% in 1990 to 15% in 2008.

While both practioners of Christianity and Judaism, as a percentage of the adult population, have declined, there is a sharp divergence in terms of numerical change; between 1990 and 2008 the number of Christians has increased by 2,218 million while the number of Jews has declined by 457 thousand. Judaism is the only one of the major and minor religions to decline in absolute numbers.

The combined number of Eastern and Muslim religious affiliates now exceeds Judaism by 630,000 believers about 30%. Jews today represent only 1.2% of the adult US population compared to 1.5% for Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus. The gap between Christians and non-religious US adults has narrowed over the past 20 years: from 86.2% to 8.2% in 1990 to 76% to 15% in 2008. Among Christians the biggest decline is among ‘mainline protestant churches’ (Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopalian/ Anglican and United Church of Christ) from 32.8 million in 1998 to 29.4 million in 2008; and among “unspecified Protestants” from 17 million to 5.2 million. The biggest increases are among “non-denominational Christians” rising from 194,000 to 8.03 million believers in 1990-2008, unspecified Christians from 8.1 million to16.4 million and Pentecostals up from 5.7 million in 1990 to 7.9 million in 2008. Catholic and Baptists grew in numbers but barely held their own as a percentage of the adult population.

Analysis of Religious Trends in Political-Economic Context

Contrary to most observers and pundits, the economic crisis has not led to an upsurge in religious memberships or identification – the search for ‘spiritual consolation’ in a time of economic despair. The mainline churches and synagogues do not attract or even keep membership because they have little to offer in material solutions to their members in time of need (mortgage foreclosure, bankruptcies, unemployment, losses of savings, pensions or stocks). Contrary to some pundits even the more otherworldly, apocalyptic, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Born Again Churches while increasing their number have failed to attract a larger percentage of the adult population over the past 20 years; in 1990 they had 3.5% of adults and in 2008 4.4% an increase of .9%.

The crises decade has had several major impacts – it severely weakened religious identity with any specific denomination, it increased religious uncertainty and vastly increased the number and percentage of adult Americans who are no longer religious. Between 1998 and 2008, the percentage of adults in both categories doubled from 10.5% to 20.2%; the numbers increased from 18.34 million to 46 million. It would appear that most of the ‘non-religious’ are drawn from former mainline Christians and Jews.

The rise of non-religious adults between 1990-2008 cannot be related to greater education, urbanization and exposure to rationalist thought which has more or less remained the same over the two decades. What has changed is the rising discontent over declining income among wage and salaried workers, the vast increases in inequality, the perpetual wars and the public discredit of the principle political and economic institutions – Congress is viewed as negatively by 78% of Americans, as are banks, especially Wall Street. The religious institutions and religious faith is increasingly seen as irrelevant at best and complicit in the decay of American living standards and workplace standards. Despite the dramatic increase in ‘non-religious’ Americans close to 75% still claim to be believers of one or another version of Christianity.

The crisis in Judaism is far more severe than even the ‘mainline Christian’ churches. Over the past 20 years the number of adult Jews has declined by about 15%, over 450,000 former Jews ceased to identify as such. Some of the political economic causes for the flight from Judaism may be similar to the Christians. Others may be more specific to Jews: over 50% of Jews marry outside of the synagogue with non-Jews, cause and consequence of ‘defection’. Others may convert to other religions – Oriental or Christian. Some Jewish neo-conservative rabbis and ideologies rant about the threat of ‘assimilation’ being the equivalent of ‘genocide’. Most likely most former Jews have become ‘non-religious’ or secular and some of the reasons may vary. For some, Old Testament bloody tales and Talmudic rulings do not resonate with modern rational thought. Political considerations may also contribute to the sharp decline in self-identifying Jews: the ever tighter links and identity of Israel with Jewish religious institutions, the Israeli flag waiving and unconditional support of Israeli war crimes has repelled many former parishioners, who quietly retire rather than engage in a personally costly spiritual struggle against the formidable pro-Israel apparatus embedded in the inter-locking religious-Zionist networks.

Conclusion

The religious crises, the decline in belief and institutional affiliation, is intimately related to the moral decay in US public institutions and the precipitous decline of living standards. Among Christians the decline is incremental but steady;among Jews it is deeper and more rapid. No ‘alternative religious’ revival is in the horizon. The more fundamentalist Christian groups have responded by becoming more politically involved in extremist movements like the Tea Party demonizing public spending to ameliorate social inequities or have joined Islamophobic pro Israeli movements – precisely as increasing number of ex-Jews depart!

The secular or non-religious adult population has yet to organize and articulate a program in contrast to the fundamentalists, perhaps because they are too disparate a social category – in terms of socio-economic and class interests. ‘Not religious’ tells us little about what is the alternative. The shrinking percentage of religious believers can have several outcomes: in some cases it can lead to a hardening of doctrine and organizational structures ‘to keep the faithful in line’. In others it has led to increasing politicization, mostly on the extreme right. Among Christians it means insisting on literal readings of the Bible and anti- evolutionism; among Jews, the shrinking numbers are intensifying tribal loyalties and more aggressive fundraising, lobbying, and unconditional support for a “Jewish State”, purged of Palestinians, and more punitive witch-hunts against critics of Israel and Zionism.

What needs to be done is a movement that links the growing mass of rational non-religious people with the vast majority of American wage and salaried workers, experiencing declining living standards and the rising costs (material and spiritual) of imperial wars. Some religious individuals and even denominations will be attracted to such a movement others will attack it for sectarian and political reasons. But as a non-religious morality links individual and political crises to social action, so can the political community create the bases for a new society built on secular needs and public ethics.

20 Things to Fix on the Old Missionary Car

June 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

20 things to fix on the old missionary car so you go again:

1. Better tires and front alignment
2. Replace old leaking radiator and refill with new antifreeze
3. Engine oil and filter change
4. Touch up rusted rear fenders
5. Fix non-working horn
6. Air condition recharge
7. Cracked rear bumper fix
8. New spark plugs and tune up
9. New air filter and box cover replacement
10. New propane filter and evaporator cleanup
11. Mono-injection tune up for propane fuel line
12. New windshield wipers
13. Leaking wipers fluid tank fix
14. Engine temperature gauge fix
15. Replace 20 year old gas pump filter
16. Trunk and leaks fix
17. High beam bulbs replace
18. Rewire all electric plugs and chargers
19. Replace driver side window mechanism
20. Don’t forget to anoint it like Wesley did his horse. It works!

 

The Great Decline of religion in 60 years

June 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Great Decline in religion graph

Religiosity index shows the changes in religious activity in the United States.

Religiosity in the United States is in the midst of what might be called ‘The Great Decline.’ Previous declines in religion pale in comparison. Over the past fifteen years, the drop in religiosity has been twice as great as the decline of the 1960s and 1970s.

How do we track this massive change in American religion? We start with information from rigorous, scientific surveys on worship service attendance, membership in congregations, prayer, and feelings toward religion. We then use a computer algorithm to track over 400 survey results over the past 60 years. The result is one measure that charts changes to religiosity through the years. (You can see all the details here).

The graph of this index tells the story of the rise and fall of religious activity. During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. The resulting decline in religion stopped by the end of the 1970s, when religiosity remained steady. Over the past fifteen years, however, religion has once again declined. But this decline is much sharper than the decline of 1960s and 1970s. Church attendance and prayer is less frequent. The number of people with no religion is growing. Fewer people say that religion is an important part of their lives. All measures point to the same drop in religion: If the 1950s were another Great Awakening, this is the Great Decline.

New Controversial Law on Religion to be Voted in Bulgaria

June 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

church-stateThe Patriotic Front, a newly established political formation in Bulgaria, filed changes to the 2002 Religious Dominations Act last Thursday. The new measure bans all foreign citizens from preaching on the territory of Bulgaria, as well as preaching in any other language than Bulgarian.

The draft amendments also foresee banning foreign organizations, companies and citizens from providing funding or donating to Bulgarian religious denominations. All the religious denominations in Bulgaria will be obliged to perform their sermons, rituals and statements only in Bulgaria. One year’s time will be given to translate religious books into Bulgarian.

Financially, the draft laws would ban not only foreign physical and legal entities from funding Bulgarian religious institutions, but also companies with foreign ownership that are legally registered in Bulgaria. Using state funding for “illegal activities” by religious denominations will be sanctioned with prison terms of three to six years. With these sanctions in mind, the new legal measure embodies the following rationale:

  1. Churches and ministers must declare all foreign currency money flow and foreign bank accounts
  2. Participation of foreign persons in the administration of any denomination is strictly forbidden
  3. Foreign parsons shall not be allowed to speak at religious meetings in any way shape or form especially religious sermons
  4. Anonymous donations and donorship to religious organization is not permitted
  5. Bulgarian flag shall be present in every temple of worship
  6. The new measure will block all foreign interference in the faith confessions and denominations in Bulgaria

June 2018 Update: Churches across Bulgaria have petitioned against the new changes in the Law of Religion as they constitute:

  • Limitations on freedom of religion and speech
  • Merge church and state
  • Establish goverment control over preaching
  • Ban any missionary work and preaching in a foreign language
  • Halt international support for religious organizations
  • Removes meeting form rented closed properties
  • Legalizes discrimination on basis of religion and faith convictions

The Harvest is Plentiful…

June 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

Revival Harvest Campaign 2018:

  • Nehemiah: Set the Foundations
  • Nehemiah: Rebuild the Walls
  • Nehemiah: Post Watchmen on the Towers

Revival must go on…

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