The Rushmore Report: Chick-fil-A Hosts Displaced Church in Virginia

Chick-fil-A is opening up a Virginia branch of their restaurant to host a church congregation that has been displaced. The White Oak Community Church recently arrived at their usual place of worship to be informed that the hotel could not host their weekly gatherings due to “building issues.” So, Chick-fil-A stepped in. The family friendly company has once again solidified its standing within the faith community.

A church member phoned her friend who managed the restaurant premises, when the need arose. “They are NOT open for business,” the church clarified in a subsequent Facebook post. “They have simply agreed to let us use their space for worship this week.”

Lead Pastor Dave Wilde, a veteran of the Marine Corp., also shared his appreciation for Chick-fil-A and its manager, sending a “huge thank you to Greg Williams and Chick-fil-A for graciously agreeing to host us next Sunday,” according to Fox News.

“If you’re a current or future attender, and you always wanted to worship in a restaurant setting, this is your lucky day.”

About the Author

Will Maule is a writer and editor of HelloChristian.com.

The Rushmore Report: Actors You Didn’t Know Were Religious

In the glitzy world of Hollywood, it’s easy to get caught up in all things worldly. From competing for the best dressed title on the red carpet to going for plastic surgery every other month, actors tend to be self-serving and self-aware. Many live compromised lives, filled with controversy. Few have time for faith. But there are some exceptions. Here are ten Hollywood actors whose faith is central to their lives.

1. Katherine Heigl

Fans of Grey’s Anatomy know Heigl as Dr. Izzie Stevens. She is an active Mormon who lives according to her faith. As such, Heigl did not live with her future husband, as most stars would. She considers marriage a sacred bond before God.

2. Steven Colbert

A Roman Catholic, despite his active schedule, the late-night comedian remains determined to continue practicing his faith and instilling it in his children. He is a regular church attender and sometimes even teaches Sunday School classes.

3. Steven Seagal

The action star and martial arts expert has always stood out in Hollywood because of his distinctive looks. While his parents are Jewish, he has Mongolian ancestry. Seagal is a practicing Buddhist.

4. Stephen Baldwin

The Baldwin brothers are an integral part of Hollywood, as the band of brothers are composed of four well-known actors. But unlike his brothers, Stephen is an active evangelical Christian.

5. Angela Bassett

Best known for her role as Tina Turner in the film What’s Love Got to Do with It, Bassett received critical acclaim for her performance. Avoiding the limelight, Bassett is a committed Christian.

6. Mario Lopez

A Roman Catholic, Lopez is fairly private about his faith. He attends church every week, often going by himself. He says church provides close communion with God.

7. Natalie Portman

A converted Jew, the famous actress is raising her son according to her faith. As she considers having more children, she is on record as saying they will all be raised Jewish.

8. Angus T. Jones

Playing many diverse roles, the young actor is one of the few actors who is a practicing Seventh Day Adventist. Not much more is known about Jones’ faith.

9. Alice Cooper

Yes, I said Alice Cooper. He is the ultimate example of why we must not judge a person by his looks. Cooper credits his born-again faith with helping him to overcome alcohol addiction.

10. Mark Wahlberg

As a rapper in his younger years, Wahlberg had multiple run-ins with the law. He has battled drug addiction, and once ended up in jail. It was then that he returned to the faith of his childhood. Now a devout Catholic, Wahlberg takes his wife and four kids to church with him every Sunday.

British Pilot Breaks Sound Barrier on Land

It happened 20 years ago today – on October 13, 1997. Andy Green, a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, broke the sound barrier on land. The Thrust SuperSonic car’s jet-powered engine propelled Green across the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to the speed of 764.168 miles per hour, 1.007 percent above the speed of sound. He made a second run an hour later to establish the record officially.

Green’s achievement came almost exactly fifty years after American pilot Chuck Yeager’s historic supersonic flight in 1947. Green, who graduated with first-class honors in mathematics from Worcester College, Oxford, in 1983, is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

What Andy Green did in 1997, man has been trying to do since creation. He likes to go fast. Not prone to slow down, we live microwaved lives.

But God has a better plan. “Be still and know that I am God,” he says. It is in slowing down that we get to know God – and ourselves. Speed is fun. But sometimes slow is better.

The Rushmore Report: Twitter Bans Promotion of ‘One Man One Woman’ Book, Calls it ‘Hate’

On July 2, 56-year-old pastor Craig Stellpflug paid for Twitter ads to promote a tweet he posted about his new book titled One Man One Woman: God’s Original Design for Marriage. Stellpflug, a retired medical professional with a pastoral career, told The Christian Post that he received an email response from Twitter telling him his book could not be promoted on Twitter, as it “promotes hate.”

The tweet the author sought to post read, “One Man One Woman is about God’s original design for marriage carried from Adam and Eve in the garden to this day.”

Specifically, the ad was blocked because Twitter prohibits “hate content.”

Stellpflug said his book is “definitely not an anti-gay book” and that it is “not about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transexual movement.” He continued, “I suppose if I named my book One Man and Another Man Together in Marriage, it would soar past the critics and actually garner praise as some clarion call for peace and unity.”

He continued, “My book is not hate! It highlights conservative Christian marriage values – therefore it is ‘hate.’ Have we stooped so low in our country that my freedom of speech is squelched because I promote my Christian beliefs? I’ll tell you where the hate is. It is flaunted against the morality by the few as a tool to promote liberal agendas.”

About the Author

Samuel Smith is a writer for The Christian Post.

Heart Transplant

A man who was having trouble went to the doctor to see what his options were. The doctor recommended a heart transplant. The man reluctantly agreed, and asked if there were any hearts immediately available, considering that money was no object.

“I do have three hearts,” said the doctor. “The first is from an 18-year-old kid, non-smoker, athletic, swimmer, with a great diet. He hit his head on the swimming pool and died. It’s $100,000.”

The man asked about the second heart.

“It’s from a marathon runner, 24 years old. Great condition, very strong. He got hit by a bus. It’s $150,000.”

“And what about the third heart?” asked the patient.

“The third heart is from a heavy drinker, cigar smoker, and steak-lover. Man was grossly overweight. This heart is $500,000.”

The patient asked, “Hey, why is that heart so expensive? He lived a terrible life!”

The doctor explained. “It’s true the man lived a hard life. But he was a lawyer, so his heart has never been used.”

Okay, that’s a bad joke! But here’s the point. It doesn’t matter how we live our lives unless we live them from the heart. If we make all our choices and plan all our futures only from the brain, we will miss the best part of life. Jesus said it is what comes from the heart that really matters (Mark 7).

So learn the lesson now. An unused heart is a terrible thing to waste.

How to Get to Heaven

A teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would I get to heaven?”

“No!” the children all screamed.

“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?”

Again, the answer was “No!”

“Well,” she continued, then how can I get into heaven?”

In the back of the room, a five-year-old boy shouted out, “You gotta be dead!”

Indeed, that is a requirement for getting into heaven. You have to be dead. But that’s only half the answer. You must be dead to get into heaven, but first, you have to be alive. And that happens through faith in Christ.

The Bible says it is appointed to man to die – and then comes the judgement. We will all meet the “you gotta be dead” requirement, eventually. The real question is, are you yet alive?

Fireman’s Dog

A Sunday School helper was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children began discussing the dog’s duties.

“They use him to keep crowds back,” said one youngster.

“No,” said another, “he’s just for good luck.”

A third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dogs,” she said firmly, “to find the fire hydrant.”

Not that’s interesting insight. The fact is, these dogs are now really just mascots, reminders of the past, when dogs were used alongside firefighters in horse-drawn carriages. The dogs served to keep the carriages on track and to dissuade attackers and other animals.

But the girl had a point. Most of us do need help with directions. We know where we want to go, but are not always sure as to how to get there.

Nowhere is this more important than in the spiritual realm. We want to get to heaven. Who doesn’t? But what is the right way? I suggest Jesus had it right when he said, “I am the way.” So let’s follow him. The one who has already been to heaven is our only hope to get there ourselves some day.

Enemy Attack

I loved an old comedy show, on in the 1970s when I was a baby. It was “The Flip Wilson Show.” The star of the show was, surprisingly, Flip Wilson. He did all sorts of silly stuff, and had some unique guests. But Wilson’s mantra was to get in trouble, then say, “The devil made me do it.” He was so funny that CBS kept him on the air for less than two years. But let’s talk about that statement. “The devil made me do it.”

Do you believe in the devil?” (I know, some of you ladies may think you are married to him.) Well, the Bible sure believes in the devil. St. Peter said, “Your adversary the devil, is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Lions roar when they are hungry. The “roaring lion” (Satan) is roaring because he wants to devour you.

I heard about a hiker who came upon a lion, but was pleased to see him praying. Then he heard what the lion was saying. “Thank you, Lord, for this meal you have now set before me.”

When the devil looks at you, he sees a “meal set before him.” But it doesn’t have to end that way. Submit to God, and the devil can’t make you do anything, despite what Flip Wilson says.

How People Pray

Let’s tackle three issues about prayer. First, why do Christians put their hands together when they pray? This custom is not rooted in the Bible, but in Roman culture. In the ninth century, a man would put his hands together as a symbol of submission, and it was accepted by the Christian Church.

Second, did you know that people used to say “grace” before each meal? In ancient times, food spoiled quickly, sometimes causing death. Nomadic tribes were often poisoned from eating bad food. Before a meal, they would ask the gods to protect them, and after a meal, they thanked their gods for the “grace” by which they were still among the living.

Third, why do we say “amen” after a prayer? The word “amen” appears 13 times in the Old Testament and 119 times in the New Testament. The word originated in Egypt around 2500 B.C. It meant “hidden one.” That evolved to mean “so it is,” and was passed down to both Christians and Muslims.

And here’s a fourth question. If we really believe in the power of prayer and in the God of the universe, why don’t we pray more? I wish I had a good answer to that one.

The Rushmore Report: Jim Carrey Preaches Grace of Christ to Former Inmates

Comedian and Hollywood actor Jim Carrey preached the hope of Jesus to former inmates and said that he’s learned that suffering leads to salvation. The Ace Ventura star attended a Homeboy Industries event in Los Angeles, where he addressed former gang members who had been incarcerated. In his remarks, Carrey went spiritual, telling the attendees that real hope is found outside ourselves.

In his emotional speech, Carrey said, “I want to speak to the fact that I believe that this room is filled with God, and that you are heroes to me and I admire you. You’ve made a decision to transcend and to leave darkness behind, and it takes a champion to make that decision.”

Carrey continued, “I really want to speak to the fact that I’ve had some challenges myself and ultimately I believe that suffering leads to salvation. In fact, it’s the only way. We have to somehow accept – and not deny – our suffering, feel our losses, and then we make one of two decisions.”

The actor said we all must choose between what he called “two gates.” He described one of the gates as resentment, which leads to self-harm. The other gate, he said, is forgiveness, which “leads to grace.”

“Your being here indicates that you’ve made that decision already. You’ve made the decision to walk through the gate of forgiveness, of grace, just as Christ did on the cross. He suffered terribly and he was broken by it to the point of doubt and the feeling of absolute abandonment. That’s all he felt,” Carrey explained.

The comedian explained that in spite of being in such horrible circumstances, Jesus made the decision to look on the people responsible for his suffering with “compassion and forgiveness.”

“That’s what opens the gates of heaven for all of us,” he said.

Carrey added that although he’s suffered many things, he knows those in attendance have suffered greater losses. He then expressed admiration for them all. Before concluding, he went on to say that the concept of omnipresence in the Bible reveals that God is in all, and he encouraged everyone to think about the power behind knowing that.

“When you decide to transcend the negativity and attempt to do something positive for yourself and your family, you are the heart of God, you are the eyes of God. When you speak from that place, you are God’s voice.” He concluded, “Serving the world with your work, that is the Body of Christ.”

In the past, Carrey has expressed his distrust of organized religions. He was raised Catholic, then ventured into Presbyterianism. He has spoken about looking for spiritual answers as a child while being inspired by the Buddha, yet this shows that he is now clinging to Jesus after times of suffering.

It appears suffering turned Jim Carrey’s heart toward God. May it do the same for each of us.