THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn
Tis the season for best-of lists, and several interesting are already floating around the internet:
- Bible Gateway measures the Bible verses, chapters, and terms searched for most often this year, including seasonal trends (like Noah’s position on the top of the list as the feature film was released in March.)
- David Platt’s election to the International Mission Board’s top post, a Supreme Court win for Hobby Lobby, and persecution of religious minorities in Iraq are all included on this Baptist Press list of 2014’s top stories.
- TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs writes why Ebola fighters topped the magazine’s “Person of the Year” list.
- Which Christian books will have the biggest impact in the coming year? Christianity Today released its 2015 Book Awards earlier this month, including book of the year “Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition & the Life of Faith,” by Jen Pollock Michel.
- And if you can forgive us for including this last one, check out the Illinois Baptist‘s list of fives stories and trends from this year, and what they could mean for your church in 2015.
“I’m proud of you,” Rick Warren told Mars Hill Church Dec. 28. Via video, Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Ca., preached the final message members of the multi-site church will hear before Mars Hill disbands and several of the locations become independent congregations. “You know, anybody can follow Jesus when it’s a party,” Warren said. “The real test of spiritual maturity is how you handle the storms of life, the difficulties, and even the changes that you didn’t ask for.” Mars Hill Pastor Marc Driscoll resigned in October amid charges of unbiblical leadership.
“We can support the police and talk about how to make policing better at the same time,” writes Ed Stetzer. “We can seek to insert grace into these difficult moments.” The missiologist and president of LifeWay Research (and native New Yorker) reflected on his blog in the wake of the murders of two New York City police officers.
If the United States’ unchurched population was its own country, it would be the eighth most populous nation in the world, Barna reports in these “10 Facts About America’s Churchless.”
A positive note to end on: Seven NFL players participated in a holiday Bible giveaway, reports The Christian Post. “God placed us here for a reason. Use the time you have on this platform to spread His Word,” Tampa Bay Buccaneer Alterraun Verner told CP.