Archives For Super Bowl

The BriefingTrump relying on God now more than ever
President Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network becoming President of the United States has made him rely on God more than ever. “I would say that the office is so powerful that you need God even more,” Trump told The Brody File. “There’s almost not a decision that you make when you’re sitting in this position that isn’t a really life-altering position. So, God comes in even more so.”

Trump to announce Supreme Court pick Jan. 31
Setting up a high-stakes legal and political battle, President Trump said Monday he will announce his Supreme Court choice in a prime-time address Tuesday night, two days earlier than initially scheduled. He did not disclose the identity of his nominee, but told reporters that his pick is “unbelievably highly respected” and people will be “very impressed” by the selection.

ERLC deploys online effort for PPFA defunding
The ERLC announced an online advertising campaign to rally support for the congressional drive to cut federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, the country’s No. 1 abortion provider. The effort is the first of its kind by the ERLC and includes a digital petition that makes it possible for the commission to deliver the list of signers to congressional leaders.

Tornado damages William Carey University
An EF3 tornado that ripped through southern Mississippi Jan. 21 in the wee hours of the morning damaged nearly all the 30 buildings on William Carey University’s Hattiesburg campus and left seven students injured. William Carey is affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention and has campuses in Hattiesburg and Biloxi.

Super Bowl won’t stop church services
For churches that have Sunday night activities, most pastors say it’s still “game on” despite the big game next weekend. According to a new study from LifeWay Research, 68% of Protestant pastors say their church typically has some activity on Sunday night. And among those pastors, almost 6 in 10 (59%) say they will continue as normal on the night of the Super Bowl.

 Sources: CBN, USA Today, Baptist Press, Facts & Trends, Baptist Press (2)

Six Illinois volunteers, arriving in the Philippines this week, will help rebuild this school on Gibitngil Island.

Six Illinois volunteers, arriving in the Philippines this week, will help rebuild this school on Gibitngil Island. Photo is from the project’s Facebook page.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

A team of six Illinois Disaster Relief volunteers will travel to the Philippines this week to help rebuild after last fall’s Typhoon Haiyan.

The group, composed of “blue cap” leaders from around the state, is part of a multi-week, multi-crew project to rebuild a school on Gibitngil Island. The team is the first from Illinois to join the long-term relief effort in the Philippines coordinated by Baptist Global Response. Keep up with their project here.

Other news:

Forum to focus on biblical sexuality
“The Gospel and Human Sexuality” is the theme of a Nashville summit planned for pastors and leaders this spring. The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will host the April 21-23 meeting on marriage, family, purity, morality and culture.

“So many of the questions pastors grapple with today deal with situations that would not even have been possible a generation ago,” said ERLC President Russell Moore. “…We’ll talk about these questions, and how we can be faithful in ministry, Gospel-focused in engagement and Christ-shaped spiritual warriors in the ways we seek to wrestle with the principalities and powers of this age.” Read more at ERLC.com.

Blessed are the … athletic?
Just before the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics took over our TV screens, Americans weighed in on whether God rewards faithful athletes with health and success. Opinion is evenly split, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, with 48% saying yes and 47% disagreeing. But among white evangelicals, 62% believe God rewards faithful athletes. Read more at ChristianityToday.com.

Military’s religious climate questioned
The U.S. military has long been serious about protecting the religious freedom of its troops, said retired Gen. Doug Carver in submitted testimony before a House subcommittee last month. But Carver, who directs the North American Mission Board’s chaplaincy ministry, noted a climate within the military that could restrict religious liberty. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R.-Ohio) summarized the prevailing concern: “There is a fine line between accommodation and respecting all religions and restricting religious freedom and that’s the line we are walking on here.”

Subcommittee chairman Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.) called for another hearing on the issue in the next 60 days. Read more at BPNews.net.

Bible-themed movies coming soon
2014 may well be the “Year of the Bible,” says culture writer Jonathan Merritt. At the movies, at least. Merritt lists five movies that will have the Bible front and center in the country’s consciousness, beginning with this month’s “Son of God.” Biblical biopics “Noah” and “Mary, Mother of Christ” are due late this year, along with “Exodus.” And although “Heaven is for Real” (April) isn’t based on the Bible, Merritt includes it on his list because “it will likely riff on popular Bible themes such as heaven, Jesus, and salvation.” Read more at JonathanMerritt.com.

SPE_034HEARTLAND | Nate Adams

Recently our neighbors invited us to a Super Bowl Party at their home. This isn’t the first year they have invited us, but it is the first time we said yes. I have to admit, though, that there were several reasons I wanted to say no.

First, of course it was on a Sunday. The afternoon game time meant I could easily get home from the church where I was speaking. But Sunday afternoon is usually a time when I can relax a little, have some personal time, and maybe even take a nap. I kind of wanted the option of falling asleep in front of the game, rather than socializing through it.

Second, the people that were inviting us aren’t very much like us, and we both knew that. Before offering the invitation, our neighbor asked, “Do you mind being around people who are drinking?” The invitation itself then came with assurances that there would be soft drinks available as well. I guess we’re known as “the Baptists on the block,” and most of our neighbors know I’m in full-time ministry.

Third, I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of position we might find ourselves in at this party. Who else would be there? Would we even find we had much in common to talk about? Would others wonder why we were there, especially after not coming in previous years, and would they be watching us for ways we might not fit in?

Finally, I wondered what kinds of other commitments might be asked of us as a result of this party. Did they need new workers for the neighborhood workday or workday? Would we now be asked to buy more wrapping paper or Girl Scout cookies from their kids?

I know, all those suspicions and phobias don’t sound very trusting, or even mature, do they? And yet as I reflected on all the reasons I wanted to tell our neighbors no once again, I realized that many of those same thoughts probably run through the mind of anyone who is invited to church by his or her neighbor.

When we invite our neighbors to church, we may feel like we are inviting them to a wonderful place where we have the richest worship experiences and deepest friendships of our lives. But in their minds we may be asking them to take a big slice of their most personal time and spend it with people they suspect are not very much like them, and who may press them for changes they’re not ready to make.

So instead of saying no to the Super Bowl party this year, we said yes. It wasn’t just because we empathized with how hard it is to invite someone to something. It was because our neighbor taught us something about the art of a sincere invitation.

First, she has gradually but consistently built a closer and more trusting relationship with us. I now believe she wouldn’t intentionally put us in an awkward or compromising position. She obviously knows we’re different than many of those who will be at the party, but she respects our values and looks for ways to accommodate them. She seems interested in us personally, and not with whether we will conform to others. And she has persistently and warmly invited us, even when we’ve always said no. Her invitation came from her heart.

There was one more thing. In saying yes this time, we also knew there would be at least three couples present for whom we’ve been praying, and looking for opportunities to share Christ. In fact one of those couples is our host. And in an ironic way, God has used the very neighbors for whom we’ve been praying to show us the art, and the heart, of a good invitation.