The Latest Christian News Featuring The David Crowder Band, Mark Batterson, Chuck Colson, Britt Merrick, Christy Nockels
MARK BATTERSON Guest Column: How God Answered My Prayer And Turned National Community Church From A 25-Member Struggling Church To Over 3,000 In Attendance
This past Easter I attended the President’s Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House along with a couple hundred religious leaders from across the country. Before breakfast, a 76-year-old African-American preacher who served alongside Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement offered a prayer. I was expecting a perfunctory pre-meal prayer, but it was anything but. He prayed with such a familiarity with the Heavenly Father that I felt like I barely knew God. It was like his words were deep-fried in the faithfulness of God. And he prayed with such authority that my prayers felt like weak sauce by comparison. After he said amen, I turned to the person next to me and said, “I feel like I’ve never prayed before.”
Have you ever been around someone who prayed with such familiarity and authority that you’d be shocked if God didn’t answer their prayer? I wonder if that is how the disciples felt around Jesus. Maybe that’s why they said: “Lord, teach us to pray.” His prayers were so qualitatively different that the disciples felt like they’d never really prayed before. So Jesus taught them a new way to pray. We call it “The Lord’s Prayer.”
I recently released a book on prayer, “The Circle Maker.” While the prayer theology in the book is as ancient as Scripture itself, I do offer readers a new methodology. Drawing prayer circles. There is nothing magical about it. It’s just a practical mechanism to help people pray with more focus, more faith. And I’ll explain where the concept comes from in a moment.
Too often the word “prayer” induces guilt because we don’t do enough of it. After all, I’ve never met anyone who said they pray too much! All of us fall short. And we often feel like our prayers fall flat. But instead of feeling guilt, prayer should induce feelings ofexcitement because nothing is more powerful than kneeling before God Almighty in a posture of prayer. One prayer has the power to change anything, change everything. In fact, I believe you are only one prayer away from a totally different life.
In “The Circle Maker” I share a true legend about a Jewish hero who was famous for praying for rain. During a first century B.C. drought that threatened to destroy his generation, Honi the Circle Maker drew a circle in the sand with his staff, dropped to his knees and offered this prayer:
Sovereign Lord, I swear before your great name that I will not leave this circle until you have mercy upon your children.
Honi was criticized by some who felt like his prayer was too bold, but it’s tough to argue with a miracle! As his prayer ascended to heaven, rain descended to the earth. The Sanhedrin ultimately honored The Circle Maker for “the prayer that saved a generation.”
Never underestimate the power of a single prayer!
In 1996, I was the inexperienced pastor of a struggling church plant. National Community Church only had 25 members and our total monthly income as a church was $2,000. That’s when I felt the Lord prompting me to pray a perimeter around Capitol Hill. I was inspired by the promise in Joshua 1:3: “I will give you every place you set your foot, just as I promised Moses.” So I prayed my first circle around Capitol Hill.
That 4.7-mile prayer walk took three hours, but God has been answering that prayer for 15 years. NCC is now one church with seven locations. We’re influencing thousands of attendees every week. And every piece of property we own is right on that prayer circle! Coincidence? I think not. I walked by a rundown crackhouse at the corner of 2nd and F Street, NE that is now Ebenezers Coffeehouse. I walked right under the marquee of The People’s Church, which became our seventh location in 2011. And I walked right by an $8 million piece of property at 8th and Virginia Avenue, which we own debt-free and where we’ll build a future campus.
Praying circling isn’t just about physically circling pieces of properties. It’s about circling the promises of God in prayer until God delivers. It’s about circling our loved ones in prayer. Many years ago I turned Luke 2:52 into a prayer and I’ve circled my three children with this blessing thousands of times: May you grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and with man.
By circling, I simply mean that you keep asking until God answers. I’m afraid we give up too easily, too quickly. One thing that has helped me stay consistent and persistent in prayer is a prayer journal. It’s the way I document my requests and His answers. It also insures that I give God the glory when He delivers.
Now let me offer one warning. God is not a genie in a bottle and our wish is not His command. His command better be our wish. Prayer isn’t about getting what we want from God. The ultimate objective of prayer is to discern and do the will of God. But if you pray in the will of God, for the glory of God, all bets are off. And what was true 2,000 years ago is still true: God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God.
Recognized from the band Watermark and from the annual Passion Student Conferences held each year in Atlanta; Christy Nockels has released several chart topping songs throughout her career with Passion and Watermark; such as ‘Gloria’, ‘Glory of Your Name’ and ‘Knees to the Earth’. With acclaim for her first solo album in 2009, Life Light Up, her eagerly anticipated second solo album, ‘Into the Glorious’ released in early April. The result of the last three years were songs of heartfelt worship and praise, covering a diverse musical range from ballads and anthems to pop rock radio singles and country melodies. All throughout these 12 songs was the theme of coming before the Lord and worshipping with the knowledge of who He is and who we are in comparison to Him.
The first single of the album, ‘Ever Lifting’, starts off with a country impression, the banjo present in a song that could also be arranged in a country music playlist. The most upbeat of the album, ‘Ever Lifting’ makes me smile as I listen to the lyrics over the banjo and acoustic guitar melodies. As Christy sings ‘…You fill my heart to know the length of Your great love. And where You go, I’ll go; You set my heart above…’ I am reminded that God’s love is endless, no matter how far we turn; we are never far from His love. A different genre from Christy’s pop worship vein, the song is still worshipful, and the acoustic guitar, banjo and bass, together with Christy singing ‘…I’m lifting my voice just to sing a new song. I’m lifting my hands just to show You I know where I belong…’ makes the song even more special, knowing that it is in our Father’s arms that we find our belonging.
As Christy sings through the rest of the album with her soft but equally powerful vocals; we are brought through a journey of honest worship and praise as together we bow before and exalt the King of Kings. ‘Already all I Need’ speaks about how Christ is everything that we need in this life, we don’t have to ask the Lord for reassurances and promises because He has already promised us that He will never leave us. As Christy explains, ‘…So many times we come to Jesus in worship and ask Him for things that He already IS and has already done…’ With just the piano and violin to accentuate the lyrical content of the song; this is one of the album highlights. ‘Be Loved’ is another piano driven song about letting ourselves be loved by the God who loves us. God loves us, and we just need to let go of any fears and issues about performance and allow ourselves to be loved by God. With the piano again taking the foreground of instruments, ‘Wonderful’ is a powerful anthemic song that shows us how wonderful God is, and in light of everything He has done, all we can do is proclaim that ‘…my life will burn for You. ‘Cause Your light shined in the darkness. I was hopeless and You lifted up my head…’
‘Your Love is Moving’ is another song with just the piano, violin and percussion. This simple melody speaks the powerful truth to listeners that God is alive and living within us, stirring and moving in His people, raising up a generation longing for more of His presence in their lives. As Christy powerfully proclaims the lyrics ‘…we reach our hands to You. Our God, You are here and Your mercies are new…’ I can see myself singing along, lifting my hands to the God who loves to lavish me with the love that I don’t deserve, but I receive it anyway because of who I am in Christ. ‘Into the Glorious’ is a song that sounds most like the ‘radio friendly’ single, with the musical technique of using keys in the verses and powerful guitars and drums building in the choruses and bridge. But its message is anything but; and as I ponder on the lyrics ‘…out from the ordinary into the extraordinary…’ I can be sure that God made each one of us with unique talents and gifts, and as we use them, not for our own selfish gain; but to honour the One who holds the universe together; He will bring us up from the ordinary mundane 9-5 and give us satisfaction, fulfilment and hope as we experience the joy of not living for ourselves, but to help others.
With the theme of worship on Christy’s mind when she created the record, it is to be expected that some of her songs that are included are ones that she sung from the Passion Conferences held over the years in early January. Both acoustic versions of their live counterparts, ‘Healing in Your Hands’ speaks about how God is never far from us, that ‘…No mountain. No valley. No gain or loss we know. Could keep us from Your love…’ and ‘How I Love You’ is a simple song about loving Jesus, not out of duty or obligation, but because of understands the lengths that God went for His creation to be reconciled unto Himself. There is also a studio rendition of ‘Waiting Here For You’ previously on Passion: Here For You, and the same live atmosphere, enthusiasm and raw passion is transferred well into this 5 minute track. With a soft piano intro drawing the listener in as Christy sings ‘…if faith can move a mountain; let the mountains move. We come with expectation, waiting here for You…’; the song builds up with anticipation. As the instruments soar into electric guitars, strings and drums, I am amazed about how this song captures the heart of Christy and her longing to wait for Jesus, to feel His presence, and to dwell in Him with adoration and praise.
‘Sing Along’, originally from Passion: White Flag; has become one of my favourites from Christy Nockels ever. From first listen, this is a worship song to God, proclaiming to Him that He is great, that when He hears our worshipful cries around the world, He can smile and allow us to ‘…join in your song and sing along…’ Little did I know that this song was much more than a worship song; and as I understood the background of it from her blog that she wrote on her website, I was able to appreciate the song’s beauty, honesty and passion, and have grown to love the song more. As Christy explains it, ‘…This song started out like a lullaby that I would sing at night as I laid my head down on my pillow, keenly aware of the heartache in the world… an enormity beyond belief…’ This song is a worship song, but it’s also a cry to God when we see the injustice in this world. It is an anthem, sung from us to God, as a way of offering up our lives to help those around us who need it. As we sing this anthem, let us not forget those around the world who need the help that only God can give.
Overall: Christy Nockels has created a stellar album full of ballads and upbeat tempo songs full of worship, praise, reflection and honesty. This album has become one of my favourite for this year so far, and is recommended to those who would want to simply let their guards down before the Lord and worship in abandonment. This is a great collection of 12 heartfelt stories and as Christy continues to amaze me with her songwriting, creating moments in songs full of awe and wonder, I cannot wait to hear her third album.
In case you don’t know who Britt Merrick is, a little intro is in order. Britt Merrick first gained popularity as the son of legendary Surf Board maker Al Merrick, founder of Channel Islands Surf Boards who makes surf boards for some of the worlds best surfers. Britt gained a following after leaving a senior level in his dad’s company to become a pastor, planting Reality Church in California. But his popularity soared after the tragic story of his 5-year-old daughter being diagnosed with cancer spread around the world after Merrick started a blog chronicling his daughter’s battle called prayfordaisy.com. Also releasing a book called “Big God.” Ever since Christians near and far have rallied around Daisy and the Merrick family, sharing in the highs and lows. Over the last 3 years since Daisy’s diagnosis her cancer had gone into remission resurfaced and gone into remission again.
But a few days ago Britt Merrick shared an emotional video message with his church announcing that Daisy’s cancer is back for a third time and this time the outlook is not good. In the video he also said that he will take an extended and indefinite leave of absence from his pastoral duties. Our hearts go to out to Daisy and the entire Merrick time during this difficult time.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW:
So as a die hard David Crowder Band fan I’ve mentioned before how sad I was to hear that they were breaking up. But its been interesting to see how the break-up has panned out: basically it meant that David Crowder is going to start a new band simply called “Crowder,” and the rest of the band is going to start their own new band called “The Digital Age” and then there’s only one original DC*B band member who is unaccounted for: a Mr. Mike Hogan. To be honest, it doesn’t matter to me how and where the chips fell, the only thing I’m happy about is these guys are still making music.
Now something I would be interested to see is which one of these 2 bands will get a record deal with Louie Giglio’s sixsteps records (lower case. all one word.//word up). Since David Crowder’s been crazy busy doing events with Giglio it seems like a no-brainer that he’d sign with them again. But we’ll see.
But the great news is—and the point of this post— is that ‘The Digital Age” has just unveiled their new website complete with videos of their new music so fans can get a sense of the new band’s sound. Mike Dodson is the new lead singer. And from what I’ve heard it sounds in terms of the sound and music very similar to DC*B which is pretty cool I think. You can check out the new website here and check out their 2 new videos below.
Download Pete Wilson’s Book Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up . . . For FREE For A Limited Time
Pete Wilson, Pastor of Cross Point TV in Nashville and popular blogger over at http://www.withoutwax.com published a book not too long ago with Thomas Nelson called “Plan B.” From what I can tell the book was quite successful. And I just found out that the good people over at Catalyst Conference who are putting on Catalyst Dallas in a few weeks are giving away Plan B FREE of charge for a limited time.
If you go to the Catalyst Dallas site and click on “Open Your Free Present,” then they’ll ask you to enter your information and once you’ve done that, it will take you to page where you can download Wilson’s book as well as a host of other books, music albums and talks by people Francis Chan all for the price Nothing. These talks alone will cost you $60 if you bought them out of pocket. Its a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. Just hop on over to the Catalyst Dallas website and get the party started. To commence merriment click here.
This Friday, five-time Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum-selling artist TobyMac will perform on ABC’s hit daytime talk show The View. At the personal request of co-host Sherri Shepherd, TobyMac and his band Diverse City will perform “Get Back Up” during the episode celebrating Shepherd’s birthday. The View airs weekdays on ABC at 11a/10a PT/C, and more information on the show can be found here.
Critics and fans alike bravoed TobyMac upon the recent release of Dubbed & Freq’d: A Remix Project, his first remix album in seven years. Fusing his signature rock-pop, hip-hop and urban styles with a treatment of today’s electronic music uprising, the album offers an outstanding new interpretation of 12 of Toby’s classics to an incredibly wide audience. Immediately upon release, the album made its debut at No. 2 on the iTunes® Christian & Gospel Albums chart.
In addition to the release of Dubbed & Freq’d, TobyMac is closing in on the finale of his unplugged “A Night of Stories and Songs” tour, which will wrap this Saturday, April 21in Ft. Wayne, IN. He has also confirmed appearances at high-profile festivals this summer including Spirit West Coast, Creation East and AtlantaFest, in additional to many more. See the cities and dateshere.
In the world of Contemporary Christian Music, it is all too common for an artist to sound like a spin-off of some more popular artist as if they are trying to emulate their predecessor’s success. Not so with Jimmy Needham. He has paved for himself a unique path with his distinctive voice, brilliant songwriting, and mixture of various music styles. And it works.
Honestly, I am not even really a fan of CCM, but I am a fan of good songwriting and music that has the ability to stand out in a sea of thousands of other artists. That is why I have been a fan of Jimmy Needham’s past work and why his latest release, Clear the Stage, is no exception.
From the first song, “I Will Find You”, Clear the Stage is in your face letting you know that this album will not be pigeon-held as any one genre of music. This song is a conglomerate of pop, funk, and hip-hop that blends together surprisingly well. Speaking from God’s perspective, Needham sings about God’s pursuit of His people. He even gets a little help from popular hip-hop artist Lecrae.
“If I Ever Needed Grace” is a perfect example of Needham’s unique style of songwriting. He takes three examples of his own life and describes how in those moments he was/is in desperate need of God’s grace. Hearing him talk about his need for God’s grace to lead his wife well or to be a good father to his daughter adds a personal touch to this song which is nice to hear.
Some songs have a more light-hearted and fun feel to them. “Daddy’s Baby Girl” has a strong acoustic lead that backs the tell-tell lyrics of all the things he does to make his daughter smile such as making funny faces and doing silly dances. Or “Arrows” that talks about how God is in various aspects of our everyday lives using these things to point us back to Himself. The vocals are smooth and soulful while the music is somewhat a mixture of pop and funk with just a hint of blues. And, yet again, it works well.
“My Victory” was a bit of a misstep for me. It is a worship song that if sung by another artist would probably be fine, but when the rest of the album sets a bar for being creative and noticeably personal, this song just falls short. Something else I noticed on Clear the Stage is that it is the first album from Needham to not close with a poem. I have come to enjoy the poetry of his past work and missed it on this album.
Clear the Stage is classic Jimmy Needham. If you have enjoyed his earlier work, then you will enjoy this album. His songs are still creative and personal, his sound still has a little bit of everything, and he still finds time to have some fun along the way. If you have not heard his music before, then this might not be a bad place to start.
Inpop Records’ Jimmy Needham has reached a milestone in his young career by achieving the highest first week sales for his latest album, Clear The Stage. Immediately after hearing the new project, the industry started proclaiming the album as Needham’s strongest debut to date, and the first week sales validate that statement. Clear The Stage has sold 3,899 units, and led to the project debuting on the Christian Combined Chart at #9 and the Christian Adult Contemporary Soundscan Chart at #5.
“I’m so grateful for everyone who continues to support my music and ministry,” says Needham. “I’ve only always wanted to promote an accurate view of Jesus to a world that needs it, and continue to create music that reflects the truth.”
Momentum is still building for the album with the new single, “If I Ever Needed Grace” going for adds at radio. Some early adds on the song include, KFSH/Los Angeles, CA; WBVM/Tampa, FL; WFHM/Cleveland, OH; WBSN/New Orleans, LA; WDJC/Birmingham, AL and WCSG/Grand Rapids. NewReleaseTuesday.com has already listed the single in the Top Twenty on the Web site’s Top 40 songs of 2012.
“ ‘If I Ever Need Grace’ not only highlights Jimmy’s amazing vocal talents, but it also showcases his ability to write a song that conveys God’s greatest gift for all of us,” says Rodney Miller, music director, 95.9 The Fish Los Angeles.
For press and tour updates on Jimmy Needham, visit his revised and updated Web site, www.jimmyneedham.com.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow took to the pulpit this morning in Georgetown, Texas, on the holiest day of the Christian calendar to share his personal story of faith. In an interview during the service that lasted for about 20 minutes, he explained how he believes God deserves all the glory.
Pastor Joe Champion at Celebration Church says he received an “out of the blue” phone call from Tebow, asking if he could come to Texas and speak on Easter Sunday.
Champion said yes.
The church rented more than 100 buses to drive people to the service, and people arrived hours early to save a seat near the front.
About 15,000 people attended the outdoor service.
“Obviously, it’s our Super Bowl. Easter is the resurrection of Christ in which we celebrate in our faith,” Champion said.
Champion said that despite his famous guest today, the message is still that God is great.
“There will be a sacredness of Easter. It’s not a Tim Tebow show; it’s not about a celebrity,” Champion said.
The man nicknamed “God’s quarterback” is known for “Tebowing,” where he drops to one knee in prayer during games, has certainly brought Christianity to the gridiron in a way never seen before.
“They’re calling it Tebowing. I really don’t think I was the first athlete to get on my knees and pray. But I think it’s pretty cool, because prayer is being talked about. And it’s okay to be outspoken about your faith, and get on your knee and pray about it,” Tebow at the service today.
“When it comes to Christianity right now it’s the Pope and Tebow,” Champion said.
Tebow has spoken publicly about his religious beliefs before, saying, “I think the greatest way to share the gospel is by acting it.”
In the NFL in particular, players have a history of finding their true selves in ministry, but usually after their playing days are over. Reggie White of the Green Bay Packers was a pastor. The Dallas Cowboys’ Ken Hutcherson and the San Diego Chargers’ Miles McPherson became pastors after they left the game.
FREE eBooks Of All Francis Chan Books By David C Cook Publishing – Offer Ends Saturday 11:59 a.m. EST
To celebrate Good Friday, David C Cook Publishing is offering 3 free eBooks by Francis Chan. They are all best sellers: Erasing Hell, Forgotten God, and Crazy Love.
Best of all, this is just the beginning. Every week, David C Cook Publishing will be giving away another free eBook.
Like the original, half-hour documentary, this 20-minute film titled, Kony 2012 PART II: BEYOND FAMOUS,” attacks Joseph Kony, the Ugandan warlord featured in the first video. The new video also addresses critics who charged the first mini-documentary oversimplifies facts about the more than two-decade old Central African conflict.
The video does not address Jason Russell’s hospitalization. The 33-year-old filmmaker behind the original film sought treatment in March several weeks after the first video’s release.
Russell’s wife said that he had suffered a “brief psychosis” following the unprecedented attention garnered from the first film, which attracted more 86 million views on YouTube.
“Doctors say this is a common experience given the great mental, emotional and physical shock his body has gone through in these last two weeks,” Danica Russell said in a statement last month. “Even for us, it’s hard to understand the sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention—both raves and ridicules, in a matter of days.”
Russell, who is still undergoing treatment, isn’t featured in the sequel.
The new film was released, in part, to promote an April 20 rally in New York.
The Latest Christian News Featuring Mark Driscoll, David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, Real Marriage, Jars Of Clay
The hill is quiet now. Not still but quiet. For the first time all day there is no noise. The clamor began to subside when the darkness—that puzzling midday darkness—fell. Like water douses a fire, the shadows doused the ridicule. No more taunts. No more jokes. No more jesting. And, in time, no more mockers. One by one the onlookers turned and began the descent.
That is, all the onlookers except you and me. We did not leave. We came to learn. And so we lingered in the semidarkness and listened. We listened to the soldiers cursing, the passersby questioning, and the women weeping. But most of all, we listened to the trio of dying men groaning. Hoarse, guttural, thirsty groans. They groaned with each rolling of the head and each pivot of the legs.
But as the minutes became hours, these groans diminished. The three seemed dead. Were it not for the belabored breathing, you would have thought they were.
Then he screamed. As if someone had yanked his hair, the back of his head slammed against the sign that bore his name, and he screamed. Like a dagger cuts the curtain, his scream cut the dark. Standing as straight as the nails would permit, he cried as one calling for a lost friend, “Eloi!”
His voice was raspy, scratchy. Reflections of the torch flame danced in his wide eyes. “My God!”
Ignoring the volcano of erupting pain, he pushed upward until his shoulders were higher than his nailed hands. “Why have you forsaken me?”
The soldiers stared. The weeping of the women ceased. One of the Pharisees sneered sarcastically, “He’s calling Elijah.”
No one laughed.
He’d shouted a question to the heavens, and you half expected heaven to shout one in return.
And apparently it did. For the face of Jesus softened, and an afternoon dawn broke as he spoke a final time. “It is finished. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
As he gave his final breath, the earth gave a sudden stir. A rock rolled, and a soldier stumbled. Then, as suddenly as the silence was broken, the silence returned.
And now all is quiet. The mocking has ceased. There is no one to mock.
The soldiers are busy with the business of cleaning up the dead. Two men have come. Dressed well and meaning well, they are given the body of Jesus.
Mark Driscoll Steps Down as President of Acts 29 Network For MATT CHANDLER; And Resigns From Gospel Coalition
Mark Driscoll has stepped down from the reins of the successful global church planting organization Acts 29 Network to make room for Pastor Matt Chandler as president, it was announced Wednesday.
Later in the day, in another major move by Driscoll, the Gospel Coalition announced that they had received a letter of his resignation as a council member. A change in priorities was the reason given by Driscoll who plans to devote more time to his growing church.
Acts 29 is a network of church planters that “emerged from a small band of brothers” to more than 400 churches in the United States and networks of churches in multiple countries.
Driscoll, who is the lead pastor of Seattle-based Mars Hill Church, issued a statement through Acts 29, which gave a brief history of the group and how the decision was made.
“Recently, I sensed that not all was well in Acts 29. As my concerns grew, I recently resumed the presidency of Acts 29 to work directly with our network captains, most influential pastors, and staff,” Driscoll stated. “It seemed to me that some of our relationships, board size and structure, communication, systems, and such were not as effective as we needed, which is to be expected to some degree in a large, complex, fast-growing entrepreneurial network such as ours.”
After meeting for a full day with pastors Chandler and Darrin Patrick, along with the executive elders of Mars Hill, he stated that a decision was made on how to restructure Acts 29.
“Together, we decided, in light of all the complexity we’re facing, that the best thing for Acts 29 going forward would be for Matt Chandler to assume the presidency, move the network offices to Dallas, and select his Acts 29 staff,” Driscoll said.
The Seattle pastor said he will remain on the Acts 29 board of directors and support his friend, Chandler. All of the network of Mars Hill local churches will continue to be a part of Acts 29 as well, he said.
“I want to thank the people of Mars Hill for pouring millions of dollars into Acts 29 over the years,” Driscoll added.
“As for myself, I want to humbly serve Jesus and his men in Acts 29 by doing whatever is best for them. Going forward, I will gladly remain on the Acts 29 Board supporting Matt, along with Darrin and whomever else Matt believes best fits the Board.”
Chandler, who is the lead pastor of The Village Church in Highland Village, Texas, also wrote a letter about the group’s transition posted on various websites.
“I am greatly humbled by the opportunity to serve our great God and King, as well as our movement, in the capacity of president of Acts 29,” Chandler stated. “Our meeting in Seattle couldn’t have been more Spirit-empowered and unifying than it was, and I flew home excited and invigorated by the opportunities that are before us.
“There are few things that excite me like planting churches and seeing people come to know, love, and mature in Christ. So, this task allows me to serve in an area of my passion,” he said. “We are in the process of transitioning Acts 29 from Seattle to Dallas. At present that involves gathering all of the information we can on Acts 29 ‘s budget, processes, setting up Acts 29 legally in Texas, etc.”
Pastor Scott Thomas, who was a board member and director of the group at one time, was not mentioned in Driscoll’s letter, but Chandler wrote that Thomas was “taking this transition as a chance to pursue other opportunities he has before him and will not be making the move to Dallas.”
“Scott and I are on very good terms and had dinner just this past weekend, where he informed me of his deep love for you and the network but felt like God has released him from leading Acts 29. He is excited about what God has next for him,” Chandler wrote.
In a development that followed later on Wednesday after the announcement about the reorganization at Acts 29, The Gospel Coalition announced that they received a letter from Driscoll that stated he was stepping down from the Council of The Gospel Coalition.
The coalition is “a fellowship of evangelical churches deeply committed to renewing [their] faith in the gospel of Christ and … reforming ministry practices to conform fully to the Scriptures.”
“Mark let us know in advance of his intentions, part of a major reorganization of his priorities and a changing of the guard in Acts 29. We are saddened by his departure but understand that all busy people must establish priorities,” officials from the group posted Wednesday afternoon.
“The Council is grateful to Mark for his contributions to TGC during the past decade. In the months and years ahead, we will certainly be praying for him, his family, and the ministries he influences,” the Gospel Coalition wrote.
In Driscoll’s letter posted on the group’s site he clarified that he was not asked to stepped down.
“I was a founding member of The Gospel Coalition and to this day enjoy deep friendships and theological unity with the men. But I’m no longer going to be a Council member, as I seek to focus my energies on a handful of things. If I’m honest, with the continued growth of all the ministries in which I’m involved, it’s not sustainable for me to keep up with all of them. So, this is a season of pruning for me.
“For the record, no one has asked me to leave the Council, and I have no relational conflict with anyone and no disagreement theologically. The men remain friends who are welcome to speak into my life, and I’m transitioning for no other reason than I find myself at the end of my tether with time and energy.”
Word on the street—the internet street that is—is that Chris Tomlin is starting work on his new album this week. This wee bit of information was originally leaked by Shelly Giglio, the headmistress in charge over at sixstepsrecords (lower case. all one word). When she tweeted last night:
This usually means they will holed up in Tomlin’s White Cabin Studio in Atlanta for the next several weeks recording the album. I don’t know if they have all the songs written and they are just recording or whether they are writing and recording all in one.
According to reports the most celebrated Christian Worship songwriter you’ve never heard of, Jason Ingram, is also coming down from Nashville to join the Tomlin crew in Atlanta for the making of the new record. Jason is the mind behind some of the biggest Christian worship songs released recently by Hillsong Live, Passion Albums, and Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman songs, to name a few. There are hundreds more artists he’s worked with in the last couple of years. The guy’s a beast of a songwriter, he probably’s going to fly down to Australia once he’s done with Chris Tomlin, to go and write for the Hillsong Live crew for their new album they’ll be recording in November later this year. And as if that’s not enough, he’s also the lead singer of One Sonic Society, the new band that some of the former members of Delirious formed in Nashville.
Ingram tweeted earlier today: