Over the years, America’s millions of physically, mentally, and emotionally disabled have made great strides in the workplace, but places of worship have lagged behind. See how Northland, along with many other churches and individuals, are working to change this.
Friday, May 11, 2012Obama’s Spiritual Adviser Rebukes President on Golden Rule, Same-Sex Marriage
The Rev. Joel Hunter of the 15,000-member Northland church, who is often referred to as President Barack Obama’s spiritual adviser, said he is disappointed with the president’s use of the “Golden Rule” to explain his endorsement of gay marriage.
“The Golden Rule is in the Bible but it cannot be used to contradict God’s marriage pattern reaffirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-5,” Hunter shared in an interview with The Christian Post. “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and the two shall become one flesh?’”
FIND THIS ARTICLE AT THE CHRISTIAN POST: http://www.christianpost.com/news/obamas-spiritual-adviser-rebukes-president-on-golden-rule-same-sex-marriage-74745/
Obama affirmed his support for same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, which has sparked a great deal of debate in America among supporters of the traditional definition of marriage, and those who want to see gay marriage legalized. Read more…
Monday, April 30, 2012New Faces of Homelessness
In Seminole County, one in every 50 children are homeless and that’s growing. This CBN story documents hardship and the hope for changing their lives.
Monday, April 30, 2012World Evangelical Alliance condemns the burning of the Qur’an
Terry Jones, minister of a 25-member congregation in Gainesville, Florida publicly burned a copy of the Qur’an today — as he had warned he would do — an act strenuously condemned by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA). The WEA is the global association of evangelicals, representing some 600 million Evangelical Protestants around the world.
“The burning of a sacred text is wrong and unwarranted. The burning of the Qur’an is especially grievous to Muslims and does not reflect the biblical values nor the spirit of the Lord Jesus whom we serve,” said Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Secretary General of the WEA. “We appeal to Islamic leaders worldwide to understand that this self-proclaimed antagonist does not represent Christians. Indeed he violates the call of Jesus to love people everywhere. Such violence Read more…
Thursday, April 26, 2012Sanford pastors seek unity over Trayvon Martin case
Pastor Derrick Gay delivered the bad news. As the newest member of the Sanford Ministers Fellowship, Gay had been asked to talk with Trayvon Martin’s parents about the pastors’ desire to hold a community-wide memorial service for their son.
“The initial response was no,” Gay told the group of predominantly white pastors, explaining that the Martin family knew that a group of black pastors also was making plans. “They want all pastors to come together. If this area is to be reconciled, it has to be a united effort.”
When asked why the Martin family rejected their overture to begin the healing process in a city sharply divided by race, Gay was blunt to his fellow pastors. Read more…
Friday, April 20, 2012President Obama’s Other Pastor
A conversation with the Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter of Florida about his civil rights testimony, defending President Barack Obama’s faith, and the local ministerial response to the Trayvon Martin case.
FIND THIS ARTICLE AT: http://www.urbanfaith.com/2012/04/the-pastor-the-president-and-civil-rights.html/
The Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter grew up in small town Ohio, the son of a widowed mother who loved black jazz musicians. Now he is a spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama and pastor of 15,000-member Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Florida. “Cooperation and partnership are hallmarks of Dr. Hunter’s ministry,” his church bio says. “Together, he believes, we can Read more…
Wednesday, April 18, 2012Dr. Hunter Sits Down With “Three Wise Guys”
Clergy from different faith traditions sit down as friends to talk together about important things from the perspectives of the different religions they represent. Listen in on the conversation between Dr. Joel Hunter and The Guys at: http://thethreewiseguys.com/listenftf/
Monday, April 16, 2012A Tax Day Bible Lesson
Jesus’ famous line on paying taxes is “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17)What is less well remembered is the reason Jesus called out both the political and the religious leaders who asked him about whether you should pay your taxes: Jesus “knew their hypocrisy.” (Mark 12:15)
There’s nothing more hypocritical today than the kind of political gamesmanship we have about paying taxes. The most vivid example of this is, as Erza Klein so rightly says, the “dumb tax pledges that dominate Washington.” These dumb tax pledges, especially “Grover Norquist’s now-infamous pledge” that Republicans have taken never to raise taxes on anyone for any reason, effectively ended our capacity to have government function properly. Of course, now, as Klein points out, Democrats are being forced into tax pledges of their own, exempting those who Read more…
Thursday, April 12, 2012Trayvon Martin: How Can Christians Respond?
Pastor Joel Hunter talks with CBN News about how Christians can respond to this tragedy.
Thursday, April 12, 2012Pastor Joel Hunter: “Government Can’t Change Lives, But They Have Resources We Need”
It’s not uncommon to hear the idealistic argument by small-government proponents that if the church did its job, then there would be no need for the government. But an evangelical pastor who is also one of President Obama’s spiritual advisers said that looking at the numbers, it is not possible for the church to replace the government in feeding the poor, let alone meet other needs.
Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, Fla., gave a short talk at the Q Conference in Washington, D.C., Tuesday evening with the title of “Government is Not the Enemy.” Read more…
Tuesday, April 10, 2012Evangelical activism takes different shapes at Q Conference
Gabe Lyons thinks Christian culture warriors are on the wrong path.
His sixth annual Q Conference, which opens Tuesday in Washington, D.C., is an attempt to do things differently. With 700 participants gathered in a stately downtown auditorium, Lyons will play host to a distinct kind of Christian conference, one that seeks a respectful, constructive conversation on a host of issues confronting the nation.
Q, which stands for “question,” will allow 30 different culture leaders — from New York Times columnist David Brooks to Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter— to present their ideas for the common good during a two-and-a-half day confab. Read more…
Monday, March 26, 2012The White House: Behind the Scenes
President Obama meets with Pastor Joel Hunter and Josh DuBois, director of the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, in the Oval Office.
Friday, March 23, 2012Christ at the Checkpoint
Pastor Hunter speaks to a gathering of more than 600 local and international Christians in Bethlehem. Organized by Bethlehem Bible College, the conference addressed the issue of how to find hope in the midst of conflict. Conference organizers challenged the evangelical community to join in following Jesus in the prophetic pursuance of justice, peace and reconciliation.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012“Supplement Government Funding With Personal Help,” by Dr. Joel C. Hunter
“Love … does not insist on its own way.” —1 Corinthians 13:5
Faith-based communities offer the kind of support and empowerment that can break the cycle of poverty. We need to supplement government funding with personal help. And the first step in personal individualized help is understanding the world in which those in poverty live. Without some training, we could make matters worse and even become angry at the very people we are trying to help if we presume their responses to our efforts will be ones that match our values and lifestyles.
Because of two 60 Minutes pieces on homeless school children in our county (Seminole County, Florida), people in our congregation Read more…
Monday, March 12, 2012Christians in Palestine Hope for Reconciliation Despite Occupation
Christ at the Checkpoint, a conference sponsored by Palestinian evangelicals took place this week at Bethlehem Bible College.
According to the conference’s press release:
For the first time, a broad spectrum of evangelical believers met literally at the “checkpoint,” and engaged biblically on issues that have historically divided them. Subjects included, Read more…
Tuesday, March 6, 2012The Pastor and the President: A Tale of Faith
The conventional wisdom is that the political left in America is suspicious of stories of presidential faith and the political right is suspicious of stories of presidential faith that involve Barack Obama. What we often lose in the crush between the two are those tender, endearing episodes that sometimes arise from a presidency and become treasured in American memory.
There is such a tale and it deserves to be told. It does reveal something of the spirituality of the current American president but it will not impact an election or change political opinions. Obama’s critics may deny it. His supporters may exploit it. The cynical may doubt it. Yet, the tale is true and it belongs to us.
It begins with Dr. Joel Hunter, the pastor of Northland Church in Orland, Fla., a man unlikely Read more…
Thursday, February 23, 2012Jim Towey Is Wrong About President Obama, by Dr. Joel C. Hunter
The summer before Senator Obama was elected president, he invited 30 Evangelical and Catholic leaders to meet with him in Chicago. The purpose of the meeting was transparency about his faith journey. All of us, including Franklin Graham, heard him share his testimony of how he had come to trust Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Months before that, in a personal conversation with Senator Obama, he asked me what I thought was a good direction for faith communities when it came to government activities. He knew that I am a pro-life evangelical that believes the less need for government the better. That’s why he was talking to me. I said, “The faith communities of this nation have way more resources and relationships than are being engaged right now to address our nation’s problems.” He agreed. He said, “But there are certain problems that are too great for the faith communities to solve.” I agreed. Read more…
Monday, February 13, 2012First Lady Michelle Obama: If You Are Doing Great Work, Tell Me About It
On the third and final day of her Let’s Move 2nd Birthday tour, First Lady Michelle Obama visited Northland Church in Orlando, Florida, to thank faith and community leaders from 120 congregations and organizations who represented 15 different faiths and denominations. Mrs. Obama praised the group, and their congregations, for their tireless efforts in helping fulfill the core mission of the initiative: eliminating childhood obesity in a generation.
The First Lady talked about the emotional role food plays in our lives, acknowledging that it is more than just nourishment for our bodies, it’s how we knit our families and our communities together. But, she told the assembly, finding ways to honor these traditions while making healthy changes is the essence of what Let’s Move is working to do:
“We know that government doesn’t have all the answers; know that there’s no one-size-fits all program or policy that will solve this problem. Every family and every community is different. Each of us needs to make the changes that fit with our budgets, our beliefs, and our tastes.”
Mrs. Obama called on the group of leaders as role models to children, reminding them that if they get excited about this mission, then kids will embrace it as well. And in an effort to celebrate the great work that faith and community groups have already done to promote healthy lifestyle changes, the First Lady announced a new Let’s Move video challenge , telling the crowd, “whatever you do, I want to know about it.”
Monday, February 13, 2012CHRISTIAN POST: Michelle Obama Visits Fla. Church; Urges Religious Groups to Fight Obesity
First lady Michelle Obama Saturday visited the Florida megachurch where one of President Obama’s spiritual advisers is the pastor. She encouraged faith-based groups to join her campaign against obesity, saying “your bodies are temples given to you by God.”
“Sometimes folks won’t do it if it wasn’t said right here,” she said, speaking to about 3,000 people from more than 120 congregations and organizations, representing over 15 faiths and denomination s, at Northland, A Church Distributed in central Florida.
The Rev. Joel Hunter, a spiritual adviser to President Barack Obama and who serves as senior pastor of the Northland church, introduced Mrs. Obama as a “talented, caring, a very physically fit first lady” who is most proud of being “Malia and Sasha’s mom.” She was in Orlando on the last day of her three-day tour to mark the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move!” initiative to fight childhood obesity.
“You serve as a beacon for those who are lost, a refuge for those who’ve been forgotten,” she told religious individuals and groups. “And our faith communities don’t tend only to folks’ spiritual health but to their emotional and their physical health as well,” she said. Read more…
Saturday, February 11, 2012A Bitter Pill?
Joel Hunter was an unlikely ally of Barack Obama’s in the 2008 election. The Christian evangelical, who leads a mega-church in central Florida, had backed fellow pastor Mike Huckabee in the Republican primary that year. At Obama’s inauguration, Hunter found himself sitting next to Muhammad Ali in the 12th row.
Obama’s outreach to the faithful during the 2008 campaign—unprecedented for a Democratic candidate—paid off. He did 8 percentage points better than 2004 nominee John Kerry had among voters who worship weekly or more, although he lost regular worshippers overall to Republican John McCain. With strong support from minorities, Obama beat McCain by 9 percentage points among Catholics (who favored George W. Bush over Kerry by 5 points in 2004) and made smaller inroads among evangelicals such as Hunter.
Those gains are now in jeopardy, according to Hunter and other religious leaders fuming over the Obama administration’s requirement that church-affiliated institutions such as hospitals, schools, and charities cover birth control in their employee health insurance plans.
“The boundaries of religious freedom and identity are being trespassed,” said Hunter, who still writes weekly devotions for Obama and visited the Oval Office last week; he said he keeps his spiritual guidance separate from any policy recommendations he funnels to the president. “I do think this will have political repercussions in the religious community,” Hunter added. “This has the potential to be a breaking point.” Read more…
Friday, February 3, 2012Obama Reflects on Faith in Prayer Breakfast Speech
President Barack Obama spoke of his personal faith as he delivered remarks for the third year in a row at the National Prayer Breakfast. In his speech the President made specific mention of his calls, visits and prayers with noted pastors Joel C. Hunter and T.D. Jakes.
“From time to time, friends of mine, some of who are here today, friends like Joel Hunter or T.D. Jakes, will come by the Oval Office or they’ll call on the phone or they’ll send me an e-mail, and we’ll pray together, and they’ll pray for me and my family, and for our country,” Mr. Obama said.
Friday, January 20, 2012Excerpt From “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good”
Joel Hunter is an ordained minister and has a doctorate in Culture and Personality in Pastoral Care. He is presently senior pastor at Northland Church, in Longwood, Florida and in 2009-2010 sat on Obama’s Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Northland is “a church distributed,” meeting in several locations in mid-Florida to serve a widely dispersed community. This requires several pastors to work together, among them the soft-spoken Amer-Indian Vernon Rainwater, who after time in the military, got a degree in social work, then was ordained, and came to Northland in 1990.
The church was originally built in an old roller-skating rink. The growth of the congregation has allowed it to build a larger building next door, with airy hallways, offices, classrooms, conference rooms, café, book store, and sanctuary that seats 3,100 … in addition to the thousands who attend online. Several screens throughout the church project the pastor as he preaches and they scroll the words to the songs that have replaced more traditional Protestant hymns—which creates something of a church karaoke. A twelve-voice choir and eight-piece band accompany. Additional services are offered on Saturday night and Monday evening, with about one thousand attending each.
The Sunday after Sept. 11th, Northland held a joint online service with a church in Egypt as a protest Read more…
Friday, December 16, 2011For Obama, Religion Remains an Issue
WASHINGTON – Bundled in winter coats and holding hands, President Barack Obama and his family left the White House last Sunday and strolled through a park to St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Inside, a pastor preached about John the Baptist and not giving up when things don’t work out. He connected the message to Obama, saying people viewed the president as a savior but the nation’s problems are not easily solved.
Obama’s church visit got attention because it was rare. The last time the president attended Sunday services in Washington was in July. And the family outing came days after a campaign ad by Republican candidate Rick Perry asserted Obama has been waging “war on religion.” Read more…
Monday, December 12, 2011Caring for the Environment Is a Mandate From God
There are plenty of practical reasons to be concerned about the environment and unchecked growth. Sprawl leads to higher taxes. A drained aquifer could lead to water rationing and higher costs. Pollution affects all manner of living things, from plants to humans.
Still, those reasons aren’t enough for everyone.
So the Rev. Joel Hunter offers people of Christian faith another reason to care for our natural resources — because God commands it. ”It was our first commandment when we were placed down here: Take care of the garden.” Hunter said. “Really, it’s a matter of obedience.” READ MORE