The answer? 2003.
In the eighth grade, after my Bible teacher explained his Baptist theology for how Jesus’s death and resurrection conquered the gates of Hell, I raised my hand and asked “then why do Baptists believe Hell still exists if Jesus conquered it”?
Did he just conquer part of it? Why didn’t he take care of the whole thing? Didn’t he technically create it?
My questions didn’t go over so well. But as far as I was concerned, inside my mind, my teacher’s answers didn’t go over well, either. Usually they only brought more questions.
Back then—at least among my spiritual kin—those who asked questions were considered troublemakers, trifling, and disruptive.
And perhaps I was all those things at times. But raising hell wasn’t my intent. I would have done just about anything to fit in, to be among the majority who simply believed our church’s doctrine without ever feeling the need to question it.
Today, those of us who ask faith questions are more welcomed among God’s family. Sometimes, depending on what kind of questions we ask and the spiritual environment we exist inside, we’re even accepted as an important part of the faith process. And for that, I am grateful.
But it’s still not easy. For many reasons. Read More
It probably doesn’t offend you. However, it’s offending old people in Lubbock, Texas. That’s partly because the ad showcases Jesus laced with tattoos, but it also might be because there’s nearly sixty of these enormous ads placed all over their city.
You can learn more about the Jesus Tattoo campaign here.
Or watch the Jesus Tattoo video below.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox is releasing Son of God in February 2014, a film based entirely on “The Bible.”
Not the book. But rather The History Channel’s hit miniseries “The Bible” based loosely on the book.
Son Of God will include scenes shown on the series as well as new footage that did not make it to our TV screens. (Source.)
In light of this news, do you have a favorite Jesus movie?
Do you follow Jesus on Facebook? There are many Jesuses on Facebook. But only one of them has a goal of reaching 1 Billion souls for Jesus Christ. Sounds incredible, but that’s just what the man behind JESUS DAILY® is planning to do.
And it seems to be working. At last count, 23,500,000 people like Jesus on Facebook.
The brain behind this popular Jesus is Dr. Aaron Tabor, a graduate of John Hopkins School of Medicine who became wealthy because of the “natural” dietary supplements and “breakthrough” skincare products he sells online.
But undeniably, Dr. Tabor seems most proud of the work he’s accomplished for Jesus on Facebook. Since 2009, when the doctor hasn’t been whipping up new wrinkle creams or introducing fat people to his weight loss pills, the Diet and Alternative Medicine editor for The Journal of Medicine has been growing Jesus’s following online.
As the creator of the JESUS DAILY® Facebook page, Dr. Tabor has managed to congregate millions of Facebook disciples who, not only “like” and “share” the daily the words and memes of Christ, they’ve helped JESUS DAILY® become the Greatest Page Ever Trolled (on Facebook).
Dr. Tabor grew up in church. His father traveled and preached at churches across Alabama and North Carolina, sharing the Good News with anybody who would listen. Though Dr. Tabor didn’t become a preacher, you might be surprised just how seriously this well-educated preacher’s boy takes his job as Facebook Jesus.
And in fact, the seriousness of this calling has grown with the page’s popularity.
For instance, in a 2011 interview with the New York Times, when asked why he started JESUS DAILY®, Dr. Tabor said, “I wanted to provide people with encouragement.”
But millions of followers later, what started as a doctor’s hobby, a way to offer people Christ-focused daily encouragement and homely memes on Facebook, has been born again into an all-out mission to save the world.
What does that mean exactly?
“Our goal is 100,000 salvations per week,” he writes in the about section of his Facebook page.
That’s a lofty goal, even for somebody who administrates God’s most engaged page on Facebook. But in an email to me, Dr. Tabor writes, “we have been reaching that goal almost every week.”
While that might sound unbelievable (and perhaps, for some, satirical), it’s also impressive, considering that the majority of the posts on JESUS DAILY® are sappy and often poorly designed memes, Jesus-approved links to cash-making affiliate programs, or copy and pasted Bible verses with requests from Dr. Tabor to “like” if you agree with the sentiment.
But amid all of the “like this if you love Jesus”-laced posts, Dr. Tabor says, “we post 2 to 3 requests for people to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior a week.”
For instance, one of the “calls to salvation” posted at JESUS DAILY® looked like this:
According to Dr. Tabor, that one post generated tens of thousands of salvations.How does he count salvations? This is what he told me. “We measure it by public indications for Christ compared to other web based ministries that only require an anonymous click of a link to indicate a new salvation.” I’m not sure what that means. But that’s how they do it. It sounds very scientific.
And he has huge expectations goal, too. His goal is to “help 1,000,000,000 humans ask Jesus to save them. Yes, 1 billion.” And according Dr. Tabor, all of us can help: “Your Likes, Comments and Share can help YOU can reach millions each day.” He even offers a 5-Step easy daily plan for Facebook evangelism. Dr. Tabor also writes: “Start immediately because our time is limited. God will bless you for helping obey His command to preach the Gospel to everyone!”
When talking about all the evangelism success at JESUS DAILY®, Dr. Tabor praises Almighty Facebook for offering an online environment where people feel safe to become vulnerable and talk about religion. “[On Facebook] it’s not in your face,” he says, “[I’m] not standing on a street corner and preaching. It’s just a simple click of a button.”
And with every click, Dr. Tabor is singlehandedly making heaven more crowded. With that kind of power, no wonder he’s convinced that his hobby is Christianity’s largest opportunity in all of history to share the message of Jesus with the world. That’s a mouthful, yes, but perhaps his cockiness, though ungodly, is somewhat warranted. On average, JESUS DAILY® is reaching one million new Facebook users per month, making it by far the social network’s largest and church/ministry page on the site.
On Facebook, Dr. Tabor is bigger than the combined presences of God, Jesus, and Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston. And his page often out-engages the much more popular pages of celebrities like Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Beyonce. In fact, JESUS DAILY® “is the #1 most active Facebook Page in history…” Those are his words, not mine.
The secret to JESUS DAILY®’s popularity, Dr. Tabor believes, is in the balancing of God’s message with the cuteness of puppies. “I don’t evangelize on every post because you’ll otherwise burn out your base,” he said, “which is why I often put up photos of babies, animals, and puppies and add the gospel message to that.”
And even if you don’t like Jesus, can any of us say no to cute babies and puppies?
Mark Driscoll says the church is dying. Ed Stetzer says it’s not dying but rather transitioning. Recent statistics seem to favor both opinions, yet stats never tell a complete story.
According to Steve McSwain, author of The Enoch Factor, “between the years 2010 and 2012, more than half of all churches in America added not one new member. Each year, nearly 3 million more previous churchgoers enter the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated.”
McSwain’s conclusion is that while the church will never fully die, “churches are going through more than a mere transition.”
And he’s right, the Church is experiencing more than a transition and yet it’s nowhere close to dying. At least, not quite yet. But since everybody seems to be offering the Church advice on what ails it or offering ideas to fix it or giving long lists as to why nobody wants to come to church anymore, I thought I’d throw my own thoughts (in no particular order) on how to “save America’s Church” if that’s what you want to do. (And these are just ideas. And may not apply to every church.) Read More
On most nights, I rock Adeline (she turned 2 in June) to sleep singing either Amy Grant’s “Baby Baby” or “Wheels on the Bus.” The other night, as I pushed the play button on her CD player, she decided she wanted to sing “Baby Baby” to me. The above clip is a recording of what happened…
Yuck. If I wasn’t editing my book, I’d write more. But for now, yuck is about all I know to say.