Category Archives: Evangelical

BRIEF: Two locations scheduled for National Day of Prayer next week

Prayer Mormon

Boy praying (Photo credit: More Good Foundation and Wikipedia)

The Wilmington citywide observance of The National Day of Prayer will be in two locations at noon on May 3: in downtown Wilmington in the courtyard beside the Main County Library on the corner of Third and Chestnut street, and the second location is Hugh MacRae Park on South College Rd. Each observance will include music and prayer and will last until approximately 1 p.m. There will be prayer for national leaders, local leaders, communities, military, families and many more topics. There will also be opportunities for attendees to pray.

Details: contact Dale Miller at 910-763-2452.

– Amanda Greene

BRIEF: Lifepoint Church celebrates its grand opening this Sunday

Lifepoint Church has been busy converting a former furniture store space off South College Road into its first permanent worship space.

The church will hold a grand opening celebration of its 30,000 square foot building 9-11:15 a.m. Sunday (April 15) at 3534 S. College Road (right next to Food Lion).

The grand opening will include firetrucks, inflatables, free Rita’s ice cream and free hot dogs.

Details: 910-794-3100.

– Amanda Greene

COMMENTARY: Why are conservatives stepping away from science?

By Blogger David Scott
Politics + Religion

Both my wife and I have degrees in science and put a lot of confidence in the scientific method in which conclusions are based on replicable experiments. All responsible scientists would scoff at conclusions drawn from anything less.

In the April 1 issue of “The L.A. Times,” a short article caught my eye entitled, “Conservatives have lost faith in science, new study shows.” A recent study conducted by the American Sociological Review revealed trust in science among conservatives and frequent churchgoers had plummeted since 1974. Before that time, conservatives had the highest level of trust in scientists. Another striking statistic is confidence in science had declined most among the most educated conservatives.

A Gallop poll conducted also in 2012 found just 30 percent of conservatives believe in global warming. Past surveys among conservatives have shown less than half believe in evolution.

I think because so many political conservatives in the U.S. are evangelical Christians, it is fair to assume their beliefs greatly influence this attitude toward science. My question is “Why and how can such a large segment of our population simply disregard scientific research?”

I can only speculate why intelligent and often well-informed people are eager to treat science so cavalierly and hold it in such low regard, especially considering what science has meant to the betterment of the human condition.

If I had to guess, it is this evangelical group’s willingness to take a “leap of faith,” the very requirement their religious faith requires of them. Don’t think, just believe! Do it, even if it defies reason! Don’t ask questions, just do it! Put your faith in wishful thinking in lieu of facts!

The Bible is a lot of things, but good science, it’s not. For these believers, to abdicate their ability to reason in exchange for biblical inerrancy is, at least to me, a bargain, not with an omniscient God, but with an ignorant devil.

If these people could harmlessly think their unenlightened thoughts in a vacuum, no harm done. Unfortunately, these people vote, run for office, and set national and international policy governing our lives, our future, the natural world, and our very survival. In this case, I think it’s fair to say blind faith can kill.

VIEWPOINTS: Does the fear of a higher power interfere with loving that higher power?

Today’s Viewpoints question is a highly theological one, but it got my writers talking. And hopefully you, dear readers, will chime in with a few thoughts, too.

VIEWPOINTS: Does the fear of a higher power interfere with loving that higher power?

Fran Salone-Pelletier

Fran Salone-Pelletier

My response to that question reflects my experience with a “human higher power”—my father. Daddy was an immigrant from Italy and an older parent. I was the first of four children, born when my father was 44 years old in the days when parenting at that age was unusual. He reflected his Victorian-era birthing time and was a strict disciplinarian. We never asked why, we only responded to his demands. This did not mean he was cruel or abusive. It just underscored a limited relationship based on fear of angering him or disappointing him or annoying him. Fear obliterated deep love.

I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church at a time when that kind of fear translated into my understanding of God as a paternal taskmaster who counted all the good deeds but also kept strict score of errors of any sort. Walking on spiritual eggs made a faith journey nearly impossible.

As I grew in wisdom, various experiences caused me to examine my consciousness of love and fear as opposites. I could not love a God I feared. I could not continue to fear a God I wished to love.

So, I took a chance. I decided to believe I could never do anything to make God love me more; nor could I do anything to make God love me less.

The result has been astoundingly freeing. I both love and trust God. Fear has been banished. In its place, there is awesome love, love that impels me into an ever-deepening relationship both with God and all creation.

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Steve Lee

Steve Lee

From a Buddhist perspective, this question is irrelevant. In fact, the questions about the very existence of a higher power are irrelevant. The essence of the Buddhist project is threefold: individual and societal awakening to the true nature of existence, realizing the true nature of existence in everyday life and becoming liberated from the debilitating effects of a false understanding of the true nature of existence. The true nature of existence is summarized in the three Buddhist principles of annica, dukha, and annata: life is impermanent; life includes those things that we typically avoid or fear—such as old age, sickness and death—and there is no permanent, abiding self.

All of the many and varied Buddhist practices are aimed at awakening, realization and liberation. Spending time debating the existence of a higher power or the nature of a relationship to a higher power becomes a diversion from the path of awakening, work that is mostly individual and internal. Nyanaponika Thera, writing in “In Buddhism and the God-Idea”, quotes a passage of scripture that gets at the diversionary quality of questions about a higher power:

“Not far from here do you need to look!
Highest existence — what can it avail?
Here in this present aggregate,
In your own body overcome the world!”

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Victoria Rouch

Victoria Rouch

My mother always told me her image of God kept her from getting close to him. She said she always imagined him as having a long white beard and angry, flashing eyes. I don’t know a lot about her childhood other than her father was less than attentive. Perhaps that is why her image of God the Father was less than welcoming.

My image of a higher power doesn’t engender fear. Witches don’t see god or the gods as most in the mainstream religions do. Our higher power is one that allows us to make mistakes. Any punishment we receive is via karma or through our own doing. We believe what you do will be visited upon you three-fold, not by some faceless entity but through Universal Law. If you send out negative energy, it comes back to you with increased force. It’s like throwing a boomerang. Good or bad, you always get released energy coming back to you.

And because Pagans in general believe in both male and female deities, we also have a balanced perspective. The masculine strength of the father figure is balanced by the nurturing softness of the mother. It’s hard to fear something that guides and comforts you. Perhaps that’s one of the things that attracted me to Paganism in the first place. There is male and female energy in everything, a yin and a yang. But religion in general has exempted itself from that duality and only seems to recognize the male, in most cases. Mary was instrumental in bringing forth Jesus, but once her job was done she was relegated to a minor supporting role. That’s rather sad, because that female energy makes the Divine far less intimidating, and much more approachable to me and others who are attracted to both the Mother and Father aspect.

I guess my short answer is that the question doesn’t apply to me. I don’t fear consequences from a Higher Power. I have more fear of my own weaknesses. And any negative consequences I’ve ever suffered came not through punishment from above, but through my own doing.

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Gabrielle Barone, guest contributor

“The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and to turn from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28.

There are a lot of references to fear of God in the Old and New Testaments. But what does the word fear really mean? In the Old Testament, there are at least four different Hebrew words for fear. Yirah and pachad have to do with fear, terror and dread, whereas yare and kabad are reverence, honor and glorification. The New Testament Greek has four words for fear: timao and eulabeia are honor, veneration and value; phobeo is shocking and paralytic ; and deilia, which is timidity and cowardice. In our relationship with the Divine all of these aspects of fear come into play at one time or another. As an evangelical Christian, I know the fear of God is linked to the revelation of his sovereignty. He is a God who is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender and MINE; a God who frightens me into his strong and powerful arms and whispers three terrifying words, “I love you.” As C.S. Lewis said “Is God good? Yes. But He is not safe.” The presence of the Divine has always brought fear to the heart of sinful man, but the fear that leads to wisdom is acknowledging we can’t go it alone. We need a savior.

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Christine Moughamian

Christine Moughamian

One of the Hindu scriptures answers this question with vivid imagery. In “The Bhagavad Gita,” Prince Arjuna has an inner vision of Lord Krishna’s “terrifying and marvelous cosmic form.” (BG 11:20)

At first, Arjuna falls “in adoration before the Lord” as Creator: “Clothed in mantles of light and garlands of blossoming heavens – the infinite, wondrous and resplendent One – facing everywhere simultaneously,” enhanced with “an indescribable fragrance.” (BG 11:11, 14).

Next, Arjuna prostrates in awe when he meets the Sustainer, whose “body is the entire cosmos… the treasure house of the universe, the refuge of all creatures, the eternal guardian of timeless wisdom.” (BG 11:16, 18).

Then Arjuna sees the Divine as the Destroyer: “When I look into your terrible jaws with fearful tusks, I see the fires of the end of time… Now I understand that all creatures, like moths to a flame, are rushing headlong into your gaping jaws of death.” (BG 11:25, 29).

Fearful, Arjuna begins “trembling uncontrollably” and pleads: “I am terrified by your cosmic form. O God of gods… mercifully show your more familiar form to me.” (BG 11:35, 45).

For Arjuna to love Krishna again, he has to reduce the Divine within to a human form.

I believe, like Arjuna, we are in turn in adoration before the Divine, or prostrated in awe, or pleading in fear. At any time in our lives, ours is the power to choose which aspect of the Divine within we want to activate.

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Andy Lee

Andy Lee

I don’t think anyone can come to know God through fear. Only loves draws us to him, yet he is holy. He is perfect love. Just as we can’t survive in the presence of pure oxygen, we can’t survive in the presence of pure love. But he made a way.

The God I respect and love is the God who died for me. He made a way for me to stand in his perfect presence one day. Until then, his Holy Spirit is my teacher, purifier and friend. His love changes me.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:18, 19).

Steel walls arrive for the new Coastal Christian High School; students embrace site with prayer chain

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By AMANDA GREENE
WilmingtonFAVS

After years of waiting, students, teachers, administrators and church officials connected to Coastal Christian High School saw the steel walls of their new building arrive Wednesday (March 28).

“Spread out arms-length, but leave room for Jesus!” yelled teachers as they positioned students around the plot for the 26,000 square foot facility.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a wide circle around their high school plot behind the Myrtle Grove Post Office, about 200 students joined hands, prayed and sang hymns for the success of the construction project.

CCHS Sophomore Madison Ashcraft said she wasn’t sure before today if the new school would be completed before she graduated. The high school has been meeting in Temple Baptist Activity Center since it began in 2006, and the new building is set for completion in January 2013.

“It’s pretty crazy because for so long we’ve been cramped up in that building. It hasn’t been real until I came out here today,” she said.

Principal Kirk Nielsen gave the first blessing of the morning’s prayer service.

“Each and every one of us are living stones of God’s house, and we need to stand as living stones of Coastal Christian High School,” he said.

Concrete footings for the building were poured last week, and school officials expect the walls to be erected in the next two weeks.

Wilmington Catholic Radio…and it’s not just for Catholics

By Contributor Tracy Bua Smith

With all the misunderstandings, assumptions and confusion so many have about the Catholic Church, our local Wilmington area is blessed with a resource to clarify church teachings and discuss relevant issues in our everyday lives.

No matter your faith background, Wilmington Catholic Radio, 92.7 FM is a guaranteed way to know exactly what the beautiful Catholic Church preaches and teaches.

Recently, I interviewed one of the founders of Wilmington Catholic

Wilmington Catholic Radio's logo. Photo courtesy of Wilmington Catholic Radio.

Radio, Bill Hamilton.  My questions are in bold print with Hamilton’s answers below each question.

What exactly is Wilmington Catholic Radio (WCR)?

WCR is a low power FM radio station. Low power means the Federal Communications Commission limits it’s broadcast power to no more than 100 watts. It is the first and only Catholic radio station in North Carolina and started broadcasting in July 2004.   Its primary mission is to provide an easy way for Catholics to learn and better understand their faith and for non-Catholics to learn the truth about what the Catholic Church teaches. The station also provides up-to-date information about what’s going on in the church and in the culture.

How did WCR get on the air?

If it wasn’t for the blessed Virgin Mary there would not be a Catholic radio station in Wilmington. While attending a wedding in New York, my sister happened to give me an audio tape about the apparitions of Mary. After listening to it, I wanted to learn everything I could about the apparitions. Over time, I developed a deep love for Jesus Christ and his church that I never had before. I had a great desire to help others learn what I had learned, and I was even thinking about trying to get a Catholic program on one of the local Christian radio stations. Then one day, I got an e-mail from the Mary Foundation which said if anyone wanted to start a low power FM station, they needed to contact Relevant Radio. Finally, after a year and nine months, the FCC construction permit was issued. The permit gave us 18 months to get the station up and running. If we did not meet the deadline, the broadcast license would not be granted. We met the deadline with about one month to spare.

How have you seen the Holy Spirit use WCR to change hearts?

WCR has done everything we have envisioned. One woman told us it has helped her learn more about her faith and the importance of going to confession. It has also encouraged her husband to once again go to Sunday Mass.
After listening, one non-Catholic approached a priest and asked him if he would hear his confession. Another non-Catholic said he learned Catholics actually believe in the Bible and Jesus Christ. Another man said he entered the seminary in large part due to listening to WCR.

I notice that as a drive through different sections of Wilmington, WCR does not come through clearly and I hear another station instead.  Why is that and will this problem be resolved in the future?

Being a low power FM station, we are only guaranteed solid local coverage of a 3.5 mile radius from the transmitter location which is near the intersection of Carolina Beach Road and Third Street. Anything beyond that is subject to interference. We have plans to move to a different frequency, hopefully this year.

What is WCR in need of currently?

What we need is intercessory prayers that we can obtain a better transmitting facility.

Here is the link to pictures of the station on our web site:
What does the station look like?

For more information about Wilmington Catholic Radio and for information about their show schedule and topics, please visit their website HERE.

Be sure to tune into Wilmington Catholic Radio, 92.7 FM and be blessed!

A night with The Wilmington Prayer Furnace

Sara Clark

By Photographer Sara Clark

WilmingtonFAVS’ photographer Sara Clark recently spent a night capturing a Friday night worship session called Prophetic Explosion at The Wilmington Prayer Furnace at 101 N. Kerr Ave., which will celebrate its first anniversary in May.

Learn more about The Wilmington Prayer Furnace here.

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Ministry toolbox: A pastor’s reflections on perfecting worship, part 1

Clay Ritter

By Contributor Pastor Clay Ritter

Note: The following is the first of a series of articles I will be writing about the Calvary Chapel Essential Worship Conference, held March 8-10 at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale.

On March 8, 13 members of the Calvary Chapel Wilmington’s worship ministry drove to Ft. Lauderdale for the Calvary Chapel Essential Worship Conference. The conference was a three-day event for worship leaders to be refreshed, inspired and equipped for the ministry.

Speakers included Pastor Bob Coy (Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale), Pastor Tony Evans (Senior Pastor Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship), and Pastor Pedro Garcia (Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Kendall). Well known worship leaders and Christian musicians performing or speaking included Christy & Nathan Nockels (Watermark, Passion City), Phil Wickham, Anthony Evans, Mia Fields (Hillsong), Bernard Harris, Ascend the Hill, along with many others.

In a teaching session on the first day with Pastor Bob Coy, he spoke of the important role the worship leader plays in cultivating the soil of a congregation’s heart to prepare for the planting of the word of God. I felt that was a perfect metaphor, as I often come into church carrying the problems and issues of the prior week.  I find the time I spend in worship is like a fresh rain on the dry and rocky soil of my heart.

In Matthew 13, Jesus spoke a parable about the sower, which illustrates how the condition of our heart can affect how we receive the word of God (Matt 13:3-9).

Pastor Bob also brought out four points I felt were worth sharing.

#1 Character (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

As a worship leader, we should be more concerned with substance, rather than style; with being faithful rather than being famous; with being holy rather than happy. A worship leader with character will be more concerned with bringing glory to God, rather than themselves.

#2 Obedience (Hebrews 13:17)

When God gives a gift to one of his children, like the gift of music, that gift is a tool to be used in obedience to the Lord. We should be focused on using our gifts in line with the call of God in our life.

#3 Skill (1 Chronicles 25)

Skill as a musician or singer is obviously needed, but not everyone has the skill to be on the stage. In 1 Chronicles, we see men who were skilled in music were the ones placed in the ministry of worship. A person may have a heart for worship, but that doesn’t mean they are called to lead the congregation. A good worship leader needs to be able to discern between the two. Being a worship leader also requires skill with people, especially if we have to tell someone we don’t believe they are gifted to be on the stage. We never want to crush someone’s spirit. This is not American Idol!

#4 Sensitivity (Leviticus 10)

A worship leader must be sensitive to the leading of the Lord and the Holy Spirit. In Leviticus 10,  Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, brought “strange fire” to the altar. We aren’t sure what this strange fire was, but we know it wasn’t what God called for, and they weren’t being sensitive to God’s word in the way they worshiped.

The next session I attended dealt with “Raising up the next generation of worship leaders.” Stay tuned!

The banner from the Essential Worship Conference. Courtesy of Pastor Clay Ritter.

Pender prison to break ground on its chapel Wednesday

By AMANDA GREENE
Wilmington Faith and Values

It’s been six years of fundraising with donations coming from 74 area churches and 88 people in Southeastern North Carolina. But this week Pender Correctional Institution in Burgaw will break ground on its freestanding chapel.

PCI will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the 4,200 square foot facility at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Only invited guests can attend.

With labor donated from N.C. Baptist Men, the Pender County prison hopes to complete its new chapel in six months.

For many years, the space used as the chapel in the prison was a 20 foot by 24 foot classroom space, the walls lined with bookshelves full of holy texts and reference material for different faiths.

In the North Carolina prison system, privately-funded chapels are fairly rare. According to N.C. prison system records, as of 2010, out of the state’s 70 prisons with chapels, only nine were built with private money.

The new building’s auditorium will seat 200, where the former room seated 30. There are 768 inmates in the prison, said Pender Correctional Chaplain Jimmy Joseph.

The chapel will also have two classrooms, offices for the chaplaincy staff, restrooms and storage space. A large stained glass window in the gable of the auditorium will capture eastern light in the mornings, “creating a worshipful atmosphere in the building,” Joseph wrote in an email. The building will be a wood framed structure with brick veneer to match the other buildings in the prison.

Stay tuned for more on this story. Wilmington Faith and Values reporters will attend the ceremony on Wednesday.

Rapture pet rescue business wishes Harold Camping would keep predicting

By ADELLE M. BANKS
c. 2012 Religion News Service
Reprinted with permission

(RNS) When doomsday prophet Harold Camping conceded last week that his failed May 21 end-of-the-world prediction was “incorrect and sinful,” the average American probably shrugged, perhaps even snickered.

But for Bart Centre, Camping’s mea culpa could have real impact on his

English: Sign for Family Radio's prediction of...

A billboard from Family Radio's Rapture prediction in 2011. Image via Wikipedia

bottom line.

The co-owner of a business that promises to care for the pets of Christians who are swept up in the Rapture saw a jump in business last year ahead of Camping’s prediction.

Now he’s sorry to see Camping get out of the predictions business.

“It was obviously a mistake,” said Centre, who runs Eternal Earth-Bound Pets from New Hampshire. “I’m just sorry that he’s not going to be doing any more predictions because it’s good for business.”

Camping’s original pronouncement made some Rapture-ready Christians decide it was time to make arrangements for Fido and Fluffy when their owners were swept up into glory.

Standing at the ready was Centre, a retired retail executive who started his business in 2009, unaware of Camping’s existence. He has booked atheist “rescuers” across the country to recover feathered and four-legged friends who got left behind.

By the end of 2010, he had 170 clients. But once people started talking about Camping’s prophecy, “then we started to see an uptick in business,” he said.

With demand on the rise, Centre did what any smart businessman would do — he raised his rates, to $135 per pet for a 10-year coverage plan. If someone had a second pet, the additional fee rose to $20.

In the first quarter of 2011, business jumped 150 percent from the same time in 2010. In April and May — as the end-of-the-world date approached quickly — the jump was 200 percent, he said.

Total clientele rose to 245 by May 21. With the world still spinning after Camping’s original prophecy failed to materialize, Centre’s business only inched up to 267.

“It really died off really quickly after May,” Centre said.

He’s also had to handle buyer’s remorse. Six customers who signed up just weeks before Camping’s failed doomsday asked for their money back. Centre declined, pointing to the contract.

Centre and his co-owner, a Minnesota police officer, share the income from their fees with the 48 other people they’ve deemed to be suitable “rescuers.” Most, he said, are “atheists who are happy to give people peace of mind.”

With Camping saying he’s done with making predictions, the co-owners of Eternal Earth-Bound Pets are banking on other prognosticators.

“Now the next thing we’re gearing up for is this Mayan calendar end times, which we still believe is going to bring us some substantial business,” Centre said, referring to some interpretations of an ancient Mayan calendar that the world will end in late 2012.

“After the Mayan calendar doesn’t happen there will be somebody else who comes up with a prediction.”