This edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature in which I highlight 3 stories of relevance to the Christian community includes another chapter in the continuing story of the Manhattan Declaration's effort to be reinstated to the Apple iPhone, the opening of the very popular Passion conference in Atlanta, and the bright promise of a new year, as Christians turn the page on 2010.
3 - Apple rejects Manhattan Declaration app...again
One of the stories I've been following over the past few months has been the relationship of Apple, the makers of the iPhone, and the Manhattan Declaration, a strong affirmation of Biblically-based morality that upholds the sanctity of life, sanctity of marriage, and religious liberty.
This document has been signed by around half a million people, including an impressive cadre of Christian leaders. However, a group far smaller by comparison decided that the Declaration fostered an atmosphere of intolerance and was offensive to those people - subsequently, Apple pulled its Manhattan Declaration app just weeks after approving it with flying colors.
The leadership at the Declaration, including Chuck Colson and others, decided to resubmit the app, eliminating a "quiz" that they thought might be causing some of the problem. This week, it was announced that the Apple braintrust had rejected the app again.
Here is an excellent, thorough piece at Baptist Press which covers the latest rejection and the history of the controversy.
But the Declaration leaders are not sitting still, announcing plans to go before a review board and continuing to gather thousands of petition "signatures" to reinstate the app - you can go to www.manhattandeclaration.org to sign on.
2 - Passion opens in ATL
It's become a movement among college students and young adults, and has developed into a yearly gathering that represents an opportunity to reevaluate, recharge, and recommit their lives to Jesus Christ. Under the leadership of founder Louie Giglio and supported by speakers such as Andy Stanley, Beth Moore, and John Piper and worship leaders Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, the David Crowder Band, and others, Passion events have offered students to take another step in their walk with God.
The Christian Post offers this summary of the latest event, which opened New Year's Day in downtown Atlanta at the Philips Arena and Georgia World Congress Center and continues through Tuesday.
Through the work of Passion in America and internationally, students and young adults have been energized for the mission to which God has called them. This time of spiritual encouragement has been motivational for so many over the years since the first Passion took place in Austin, Texas in 1997.
1 - Christians prepare for new year with prayer, fasting, Bible study
The new year has begun for many Christians on their knees, as many believers are taking stock of their lives and maybe hitting a "reset" button for the year to come. The new year represents a time to put into place new initiatives and perhaps to set spiritual goals.
The Awakening America Alliance is one of those organizations calling for concentrated prayer and fasting during 21 days in January. Here is the website where you can find more information. According to The Christian Post, churches representing over a million members have committed to this effort.
Furthermore, Christians are setting Bible reading goals for the new year. I have been using The One-Year Bible and found its reading plan to be efficient in keeping me on track. There are a number of individuals and churches in my area who are using the E-100 Challenge, developed by Scripture Union in association with the American Bible Society, which involves reading the essential 100 storylines in the Old and New Testament. Both these plans have downloadable outlines available. Also, these are just 2 of a host of plans available through the app available for iPhone and Android called YouVersion - find out more by going to www.youversion.com.
Also, I have found an excellent audio version of the Bible, which just surpassed the one million download milestone - it's found at www.bible.is, and it's even available in a number of different languages!
2011 has the potential to be a dynamic year of spiritual growth. Making God's word a priority in your life is a key element in growing in Christ.