Tag: #churches

God Never Gives Up on You – Max Lucado – 6/03/24

God Never Gives Up on You – Max Lucado – 6/03/24

A Special Family Life Interview

“America’s Pastor” Max Lucado have encouraging advice for two groups:

  • Someone whose self-doubt or mistakes has them wondering whether the Lord has given up on them
  • Congregations and their leaders who are wrestling with their proper role when people are concerned about the future of their nation.

Lucado, a Texas pastor and prolific writer of books and Bible Studies, told Family Life’s Greg Gillispie about the discoveries available when a seeker looks into the Old Testament accounts of eventual hero of the faith Jacob. Jacob’s life was full of setbacks, mistakes and turmoil. Yet, even if he was ready to give up — on himself or on God — the Lord never gave up on Jacob.


For further information:


Can we even have conversations, in a contentious election year? – 5/14/23

Can we even have conversations, in a contentious election year? – 5/14/23

 “Don’t talk about Religion or Politics” …. so they say. 

But our guest on this Family Life News Feature says our faith can help us talk about tough topics — at work, with friends, and even in our families and congregations.


Focus on the Family counselor Joanie DeBrito offers advice for people who have strong opinions, but might feel afraid to raise an argument on political or social Hot Topics. She says it takes wisdom, humility and self-control. Also, Christians (and others) need to be discerning. With some people who don’t listen well and have no motivation to remain civil, it often is wise to decline to discuss elections and candidates. However, Dr. DeBrito says politics does not have to stay “off the table” if you and the other person are open to listening respectfully, being fair, and being both firm in your convictions and willing to learn something new.

How to have good conversations, even in a contentious election year and a divisive culture … today on this Family Life News podcast.


Dr. Joanie DeBrito is a coach at Hope Restored Aftercare and a columnist and consultant with Focus on the Family.  She has 30+ years experience as a therapist and counselor.

Here are links to her work at Hope Restored and Focus.

Some of her columns and blogs about marriage, parenting and family matters can be found here and here.



What churches get wrong, and how churches can help – 5/08/24

What churches get wrong, and how churches can help – 5/08/24

Churches Can Help in the Pornography Crisis

Sam Black joins Martha Manikas-Foster for this “Inside Out” podcast on successful ways churches are helping those ensnared by pornography. Black is the author of The Healing Church: What Churches Get Wrong about Pornography and How to Fix It.

 A lot of Christians use pornography. 

 “Two-thirds of the men in the Church — and a third of women in the church — say they have an ongoing struggle with pornography,” reports Sam Black, who has walked his own journey to healing. He is the author of The Healing Church: What Churches Get Wrong about Pornography and How to Fix It.

 He says that churches that default to a purity talk to fight pornography need a better plan.

 “They already know they need to be pure,” he says. “They just can’t seem to get the gorilla off their back.”

 The way that people who struggle with pornography find hope is in community, Black says. They need brothers and sisters, in a safe environment within distinct parameters, to come alongside them on the walk to freedom. “What I want to encourage you with is, through a safe place and a safe process, living in freedom is absolutely possible,” he says. “You need to press into it to get it.”

 But because pornography is tenacious, you won’t solve it alone.

 “With this encouragement, I also have to offer some caution: you don’t find freedom on your own,” he says. “Trying harder and leaning on your willpower and your resolve never lasts. You must involve others. And that’s why we have the Body of Christ.”




A free chapter of Sam Black’s book is available for download.

Faith Under Fire – Hostility Toward Churches: Implications – 4/18/24

Faith Under Fire – Hostility Toward Churches: Implications – 4/18/24

Hostility Toward Churches: Causes & Implications

Faith Under Fire – 4/18/24

A six-year national study of threats, violence and vandalism aimed at churches and religious organization shows the danger spiked in 2023. This edition of Family Life’s “Faith Under Fire” feature invites back Arielle Del Turco for a second conversation. Today, we recap the results of that survey, but then go beyond the statistics to the causes and implications.

  • How do the current cultural perceptions of Christians affect how faith institutions see more threats and violence?
  • What trends are seen in what types of churches and entities are more likely to become targets, and should all religious groups band together to denounce anti-Christian hostility?
  • What advice does she have for Christians to make a positive influence on the surrounding culture?
  • Going to worship is safe, considering the 900+ incidents in six years compared to the millions of religious gatherings in that time. Still, what should leaders of congregations and faith-based networks learn from this study?

We also encourage you to listen to, share or download our earlier conversation with Del Turco (Faith Under Fire 4/04/24) when she talked about the numbers and trends which she compiled with this annual report. Other resources are also linked from that podcast at FamilyLife.org/newspodcasts.


Arielle Del Turco is the director of the Center for Religious Liberty at the Family Research Council.

Hostility against churches – Faith Under Fire – 4/04/24

Hostility against churches – Faith Under Fire – 4/04/24

Rising Hostility Against Churches – This week on “Faith Under Fire”

The number of incidents of assaults, violence, vandalism and other hostile actions against Churches across the USA doubled in 2023, compared to the relatively high number of incidents reported the previous year. Threats and actual attacks became eight times more frequent than just six years ago.

The Family Research Council has studied law enforcement statistics, news reports and other information to compile a study of Hostility Against Churches from 2018 to 2023. Arielle Del Turco is the director of their Center for Religious Liberty. She joins Family Life News to talk about this new reality, causes for this disturbing trend, and what Christians need to know about their safety and about threats that are a direct result of the increasing secularization of the culture.

For more information:

  • An overview of this FRC study  [ www.frc.org ]
  • The full report, which includes 11 pages of analysis, maps and charts, and a full listing of all incidents of crimes and threats aimed at Christian entities
  • A 45-minute Family Research Council podcast, which delves further into the causes, recommendations for action, and how reactions by courts and the media and the general public have taken away cultural respect for the church.
  • Del Turco’s testimony at a 2023 Congressional hearing about violence against churches and other faith-based organizations



An Interactive Good Friday Experience – Hometown Heroes – 3/19/24

An Interactive Good Friday Experience – Hometown Heroes – 3/19/24

A Tonawanda Church invites the surrounding communities to experience first-hand what Jesus experienced on the original Good Friday.

Their interactive Good Friday experience takes place on Good Friday, March 29. Guests can drop in for as long or as little as they like, anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. First Trinity Lutheran Church is at 1570 Niagara Falls Boulevard in the northern Buffalo suburb.

Carolyn Doster is one of the coordinators. She tells our “Hometown Heroes” interviewer Mark Webster about what families and individuals will discover as they “Journey Through Good Friday”. The Biblical story comes alive with an all-five-senses self-paced visit. It is family friendly, plus has advice for parents of very young children about two of the 16 scenes which may be too stark or need parental context. The First Trinity website offers a preview (plus information for people who are unable to attend in person).


Inside Out – Gen Z Needs Friends – 3/13/24

Inside Out – Gen Z Needs Friends – 3/13/24

Gen Z is Looking for Friends

Gen Z has a reputation for being tech-addicted and anti-social, but it makes sense that many are looking for friends.

“We were designed by God to experience Him when we’re in fellowship with other believers—believers of all ages,” says Kirsten Franze, author of The Gospel Coalition article “Gen Z is Looking for Friends.”

“This age group can experience a lot of change and emotional instability due to the way they’re developing, and so it’s really hard, and they’re eager for a wise, non-parental figure to care enough to listen to their challenges and offer encouragement,” she says.

 “This kind of relationship fills a need for wise guidance in life that they really do want, but maybe there are some things that are hard to discuss with their parents,” she adds.

 The opportunities are there, but if you’re older than Generation Z it can feel intimidating to reach out to teens and twenty-somethings when it looks like you have little in common.

 “Pray about and consider who God has placed in the regular routines of your life, because they’re there for a reason, right? Remember their names, say hi to them on Sunday or wherever you see them regularly,” Franze says. “Ask them questions, like how their exam went, how sports are going, how developing friendships is going in their freshman year of college. Find out what’s important to them—like what makes them light up—and just take an interest in it, because they’ll be surprised that someone even cares enough to ask.”


Learn more about being friends with someone in GenZ by listening to our 7-minute podcast.

Read the article that inspired the podcast here.

Read more of Kirsten Franze’s work here.

Hometown Heroes – “Night to Shine” – Auburn Alliance – 2/20/24

Hometown Heroes – “Night to Shine” – Auburn Alliance – 2/20/24

Chad Mitchell is a member of the Auburn Alliance Church in Auburn, New York.

Hear more about the Night to Shine events in Pennsylvania and New York on the Family Life “Hometown Heroes” news feature.


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