This week featured a couple of high-profile Christian conferences on opposite ends of the country, plus victories over gambling in 2 states, and more developments surrounding the May 6 National Day of Prayer.
3 - Catalyst West Conference, Exponential Conference expand horizons
This was a strategic week for strengthening Christian leaders and setting the stage for the growth of the church - 2 major conferences were held on separate ends of the nation. The Exponential conference met in Orlando, as church planters gathered to be inspired and instructed on planning for the future. You can get the flavor of the event by going to the Exponential website and reading some of the tweets and blogs.
Also, this week, the leadership-oriented event known as Catalyst West took place. Catalyst has been going strong in Atlanta for a number of years, and has expanded to include a West Coast event, as well, which took place this year in Irvine, California. You might learn quite a bit from visiting the Facebook page for the event.
2 - AL & NH victories over gambling while FL expands tribal gaming
Looking across the landscape of America, state governments are strapped for cash, and some are looking to the uncertain source of revenue known as gambling in order to fill their coffers. The gambling industry in Alabama appealed to the Legislature to legalize casino-style "electronic bingo", or slot machines, and was successful in getting a bill through the Senate, only to die in the House this week. CitizenLink offered this summary.
Unfortunately, in Florida, the lure of new revenue from gambling was appealing to Governor Crist, who negotiated a new compact with the Seminole tribe, resulting in gambling expansion. I found a website, "Casino Watch", that is designed to expose the negative effects of gambling, and it published a story on this most recent Florida development.
1 - Franklin Graham dropped from National Day of Prayer at Pentagon, Obama to appeal NDP court decision
This year, the annual observance of the National Day of Prayer is receiving quite a bit of attention, perhaps more than in past years...and the day has not been cancelled, and it is no less constitutional on a national basis than it has been, despite the ruling of a Federal judge saying that Congress did not have the constitutional right to declare such a Day.
Now, comes the news that Franklin Graham, the Honorary Chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, headed by Shirley Dobson, has been dropped from a planned prayer service at the Pentagon, as the result of the efforts of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which has a long history of challenging the expression of the Christian faith by members of the military, protested Graham's appearance because of comments he had made regarding the religion of Islam. Graham responded swiftly, eloquently, and with the grace you would expect - after all, he has a son in the military and ministers through Samaritan's Purse in a number of predominantly Muslim countries. The Christian Post has an excellent report of the latest developments.
Good news - the Obama administration announced its decision on Thursday to appeal the ruling by the Federal judge. For information on events surrounding the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 6, go to www.nationaldayofprayer.com.
Francis Chan steps away from pastorate
Preparation underway for April 25 Internet Evangelism Day