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February 9, 2011

Michelle Obama Marks Campaign Anniv. at Andy Stanley's Megachurch

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at one of the country's largest megachurches to mark the one-year anniversary of Let's Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity.

North Point Community Church, a nondenominational evangelical church of more than 20,000 hosted the speech with Ray of Hope Christian Church, an Atlanta-based African American church.

North Point's head pastor Andy Stanley, 52, gave one of the prayers at the prayer service the day after President Obama's inauguration. The White House's press release calls Stanley "a young and rising leader in the evangelical community." His father is Charles Stanley, who served two terms as the president of the Southern Baptist Convention and is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta.

In late 2010, the campaign against obesity has set off some partisan debate. Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin joked about the program while Mike Huckabee defended it.

Michelle Obama has reached out the faith leaders through conference calls and meetings, asking them to educate congregants about healthy eating. Her speech was not particularly religious, like the one President Obama gave last week at the prayer breakfast. Instead, it seemed like a fairly general pitch on promoting healthy lifestyle with a brief mention of faith communities.

"We need to change things not just from the outside, but from the inside as well. We need to ask ourselves, 'What can I do, through my workplace, my place of worship, my organization, to help kids in my community lead healthier lives?'" she said in her speech. "And how about getting your church or place of worship involved? That’s what we’re doing through Let’s Move Faith and Communities, we’re supporting faith leaders who want to build healthier congregations."

Comments

I'm sorely disappointed in North Point for joining the political bandwagon we've seen so many other churches join. In a church that restricts it's employees from any political paraphernalia on their vehicles or in their personal social media it is quite hypocritical that they would host this event. It appears North Point is, as you comment above, "Andy Stanley's Mega-church" since he made a choice to put politics above the concerns of those in his flock.

Glad for a church that encourages good eating habits. The body has an effect on the spiritual. Obesity can attacks peoples self worth, making some of them feel even unloved by God. Teaching our children to eat right get exercise is not against anything the Bible teaches, in fact the Bible supports taking care of our bodies. The evangelical church lately seems to not care about the truth just who said it. It doesn't matter who says something the question is "Is it the truth?"

Always amuse d at the variable definition of young. Andy is 52. He had the same descreption applied to him when he spoke at the SBC pastor's conference last summer.

Good eating habits are one thing and agree that it is a good thing. The evangelical church does also care about the truth. The point was that this church has been able to keep politics and the "who said it" out of their makeup until now. By hosting the event they just became a moving part of the political landscape instead of being focused on their main mission as a church. Again, good message for all of us on health but bad choice by church leaders.

I am a member of North Point Community Church and have been for years. I am leaving the church because Michelle Obama, a political figure was allowed to use the church as a political forum. It is not in line with the mission of the church - to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus. I feel that I have been lied to for years about what I am really at North Point for. This was a political agenda. I don't care what message by Obama was given, it has no relation to our church and was not appropriate. Andy Stanley is a pinhead and the church will not get any more of my money!

I am fuming at North Point Community Church! What happened to separation between church and state? Why was this event not held at a different venue? I am not going to church or donating my money to North Point anymore! I encourage all to leave the church and find a new less political one!

They said it wasn't political, but isn't everything a reigning politician does...political? I feel like they've allowed the Obama Administration to USE the Church for political gain.

And not to mention the nationwide association now. Don't know who to vote for? What would Andy do?

I'm extremely disappointed with the church we called (as in, no longer call) home for over five years.

Some people are saying what happened at North point does not relet to the Bible. Dear friends the bible says we are the temple of The Holy Spirit. We need to know how to take care of our bodies. Stomach for food but God will destroy both of theem if we don't take care. Read more from the bible 1 conrithians 6:14-20;3:19

I was deeply concerned to learn that Northpoint opened their church to Michelle Obama, as a place to advance her political platform. Michelle Obama is an adamant Pro-Abortionist. She has written numerous letters in support of third trimester and partial birth abortions, stating that women should continue to fight to protect their right to choose. As a Christian and as a mother, I believe that abortion is nothing less than murder. I believe it is a slap in the face of God that she was invited into a House of God in order to advance her political platform, at the risk of people in the community falling prey to her glib speech. Though I feel strongly that childhood obesity is a major national issue, I believe that the number of children being murdered daily in this country under the guise of a woman's "right to choose" is a more serious issue, with eternal consequence.
It is the responsibility of the church to take a firm stand, to speak for those who can't speak for themselves, and to ask tough questions of our leaders. Pride comes before a fall, and I will be praying for Andy Stanley and Northpoint, and hoping that are heeding God's voice in every decision they make.

I completely agree with Cassidy and what she wrote above. I think this is a huge hypocracy on their end to always say they don't take a political side, but now it's like a slap in the face with only a 2 day notice that they were putting that rule aside because.....oh yeah, that's right they didn't tell us why. I just can't believe Andy would do this because he has said that he is the kind of person who thinks things through. To my knowledge he has never made a decision that would affect all our members, without first thinking through the consequences. So, to me it doesn't make since that this was a last minute deal. And the fact that the First Lady all the sudden decided to come and give a speech to thousands of people without planning it in advance, seems far fetched. Are we now going to allow every candidate up for election come speak to our church about any note worthy cause. I don't think that was the stated mission.

As I read these comments, I wonder why so many Evangelicals cannot try to find some common ground with the world around us. Why must some Christians continually fight against doing ANYTHING constructive with those they consider 'outside the faith' unless they think those people absolutely line up in every way to our beliefs? Michele Obama is involved in doing something GOOD for our families and our children. Come, let us reason together! This combative attitude does not give glory to God.

Marianne, I don't think anyone that disagrees with the church's decision should be labeled as "unaccepting of others." It wasn't a church service. It was a campaign (in disguise).

I was proud of our Pastor for praying at the National Prayer Service and would welcome ANYONE into the church for a SERVICE -- including the Obamas. But to allow a political figure to USE the Church for political gain is COMPLETELY different.

President Obama is running for a second term. Apparently, they NEED the evangelical vote. You can't tell me the Obama Admistration's decision to hold the First Lady's speech at NPCC wasn't politically driven.

Will NPCC allow other organizations to use its facilities? Would you have a problem if Planned Parenthood wanted to hold a conference at NPCC?

As a member of Northpoint, I welcome anyone that would leave the church over a visit by Michelle Obama to go ahead and leave. Threatening to leave over something like this is exactly the type of person that is not going to further the cause of Christ. They will only end up embarrassing Christ in the end.

What happened to respect for authority, both inside and outside the church? Antonymous posters are actually accusing Andy Stanley and church leaders of conspiring with the Obama's to hold an election rally? Did you watch it? Do you understand how ridiculous that is? Would it have been appropriate for Laura Bush to read to children? What about Nancy Reagan to hold a say no to drugs rally?

Presidential wives have a history of taking on useful but non-political causes. If you really think that childhood obesity is a political cause you seriously need a reality check.

If this is about making a political statement, seems like it would have been more of a political statement if Andy had said no to the First Lady. The church is non political. That is why we don't favor either side as a whole. We are suppose to honor those who God has placed as our leaders. Speaking about the health of our children should not have been political and surely no one would decide on who to vote for because of a building they spoke in. Would we not have been offended if an entity had refused to allow Laura Bush to speak on reading in their building?
I don't know about you but I am pretty sure which political party the majority of people at NPCC, and Georgia are in anyway.

I fully realize the crisis of obesity, particularly childhood obesity, but when churches get on the political or social bandwagon I leave that church. This stuff has no business being in a place of worship, unless your god is social responsibility.

There is a line between being political and being an American. There is also a line between being a Christian who is active in a political campaign and being a church that is active on issues that affect its community. I am proud that the leaders at North Point know the difference. I know of churches that offer their facilities to shelter people during crisis and churches that allow public school graduations, town hall meetings, and even presidential campaign debates. They do so because they care about the needs and issues facing their community. They do so because they are driven by a mission to show the grace of Jesus to a broken and hurting world. That’s why the mission of North Point is to “lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.” They have worked for over a decade to break down the walls that sometimes keep the community out of the church. I am sure that’s why leaders at North Point agreed to respect the First Lady’s request to address an issue that is hurting so many children in our country. I am personally grateful that North Point did not let politics get in the way of caring about their community. I am sad that some people can’t seem to view this without political prejudice. I would hope that anytime a First Lady, Republican or Democratic, asks to address an issue that can legitimately help our children, we will say yes.

One final thought. It seems like the world is watching how we as the Church respond to each other on issues like this. And I don’t know about you but I think it’s time for Republican Christians (I do believe there are some) and Democratic Christians (I believe they exist too) to demonstrate how Christians should treat each other. It might even convince the rest of the world that we love them too.

Let me see if I understand this correctly, Adam.

Jesus will be embarrassed if you choose to leave your church because it perceives to be associating itself with someone who has no regard for human life other than that they don't get fat?

Childhood obesity is a problem. But what about all those innocent lives aborted?

What's wrong with Christians standing up for what's important to God -- life and the institution of marriage?

Debbie, your comment above is an excellent perspective. To say "no" to the White House would have been a much bigger political statement. This event had nothing to do with politics. First Lady's initiatives are traditionally non-political. I have full confidence that if the purpose of this event was political, the leadership (yes, there are more people in charge than Andy Stanley) at North Point Community Church would have declined the invitation. I imagine the people outside the Church view this quite differently. I bet they were astonished at how entertaining the music and programming was and are quite curious as to what a Sunday morning looks like at NPCC. So my personal opinion is that this was not a Let's Move! event but simply giving the unchurched an excuse to check out a church.

If my memory serves me right, the only group in the New Testament concerned about guilt-by-association was the Pharisees.

I'm a conservative Christian Republican and I couldn't be prouder of North Point. If I lived in the area, I would be there every week. Alas, it's online church for me. How awesome that the leadership of NP decided to actually DO what they PREACH... extend grace and create environments that unchurched people love to attend. My favorite part of NP's services is when they show baptisms. You almost always hear stories of someone coming to faith in Christ because they were invited to church, they finally agreed to come (once) and it wasn't at all what they expected. They found themselves coming back over and over and learned that life without Jesus isn't life at all. Good grief, what an opportunity this was to have lots of people who might not know Christ walk in the doors. Maybe, just maybe, they'll be back on Sunday!

Wow…this is going to take two posts to get my thoughts out here.
As I read some of the posts here, I am frustrated at the lack of thinking by so many people. If I recall correctly, the “church” is the body of followers, and not a building. The building we have is a place that we can use for our mission, which includes helping people learn how to live life in ways that honor our faith and why we are here.
So the White House calls and says “we want to use your building. The President’s wife wants to talk about something that is an epidemic affecting our families and our nation.” If we say yes, then thousands of people walk in the door of a place that they otherwise may never step into. They get to see a place that may surprise and impress them. They get to meet incredible staff members who host them and make them feel welcome. They get to experience the talent and excitement of our musicians. Who knows, they might even think to themselves, “wow, I might wanna come back here and see what this place is about.” At the same time they hear a woman speak about something that is affecting our nation and our children and they learn what they might be able to do to help. They don’t hear anyone talk about politics.
The person speaking on the stage is like the rest of us. We all have thoughts and views on things that we believe, and certainly we all have things that we are correct about and things we are dead wrong about.
(continued below) (I hope)

(continued from above post)
Some of the people who commented here are people who have had their lives changed in this building. Some of them know that they have made huge mistakes in their lives, but they were welcomed into that building no matter what they have done or where they stand on any issue. Our church did not join a political bandwagon. They hosted an event to help people get involved in making a difference for our children. They didn’t become a moving part of a political landscape. They continued to be a moving part of a life changing landscape. And for those who said negative things about Andy and called him a pinhead. I’m not even sure I know how to respond to that. I suppose you are in the company of those who said such negative things about Jesus when he ate with a tax collector, and when he spoke with the prostitutes. They just didn’t understand. Interesting that many of the negative comments were from people who have been in our church for years talking about all the great things Andy has said. And then he and the leadership do one thing that pushes your buttons and you forget. This is a man of incredible wisdom and character. It’s too bad that people are so quick to judge and lose their ability to think when someone does something they do not understand.. Some of you are going to walk away from the place and a person because you think an unwise decision was made. Could it be that the wisdom of this choice may be beyond your ability to comprehend?

I don't think many would question NPCC motives in hosting this event and some good may come out of it. I do find it interesting that NPCC seems surprised at the backlash that has resulted; it is both predictable and understandable. It's also naive to suggest no political motive on Obama's part regardless of the stated intent of the event. Mrs. Obama's strident public support for unrestricted abortion up through the third term makes her a deservedly polarizing figure. How could Northpoint not at least anticipate the valid concerns of a significant group in their congregation and address them beforehand? This failure to communicate is a major mistake. Jesus was misunderstood for seeking to influence "sinners" but he did not promote what they were doing or give them a platform to expand their influence. I believe NPCC should have remained consistent with the wisdom of their longstanding value of political neutrality. NPCC has a diverse congregation and opening the door to any political figure could alienate some and create controversy. They did not need Obama's help to reach out to the community or to promote healthy eating habits (a topic very rarely mentioned in 15 years of messages). Fair or not, Northpoint has now fostered the perception of tacit approval of Obama.

Lanny, Jesus didn't hand the synagogue over to the prostitutes or tax collectors.

"Could it be that the wisdom of this choice may be beyond your ability to comprehend?" That statement is very similar to what we heard in the sermon on Sunday.

If it can be said Joe the Plummer was attacked AFTER he asked a question, could it be true THOSE OPPOSED TO THIS DECISION WERE DRESSED DOWN EVEN BEFORE THEY HAD A CHANCE TO DIGEST THE NEWS? Were even our own teens influenced against us on Sunday? (See my next post.)


(continuation) Correction: Plumber not Plummer.

What I got from the message on Sunday AND what youth heard: If us old tarts disagree, we are... pharisaical, weird, building walls, erecting barriers, against grace, not getting it right, likely the old guard (NPCCers for 10+ years), not open-minded, not accepting, interested in preserving life as we know it instead of advancing the kingdom, complaining, not bold, making it difficult for others to come to God, not interested in dodging the split-church bullet, insiders, making it as hard as circumcision for people to be a part of us, picking who gets in, not welcoming, hypocrites, and my favorite... resisting the will of God!!!

A question for you now... if we are validators of government can we ever be effective validators of God again?

P.S. Christianity Today, thank you for giving us a place to have "conversations" about this, especially given there are apparently "no policies" (guardrails) on leveraging/associating "20,000" people, "one of the largest churches in the Nation," and even Charles Stanley's name and credentials (as a byline for who Andy is) for the (unintended) purpose of leading others (especially youth) into a growing relationship with the Obama administration.

I couldn't have said it any better, Mark and Discouraged.

A lady I work with just started going to North Point. I told her I didn't agree with Michelle Obama speaking at the church. Then she started telling me the story about the Pharisees.

I think the message was loud and clear on Sunday.

As a member of Andy Stanly church I am very upset. We were not given the opportunity to even attend to listen to Michelle Obama.
Then what gets me. They bring in a black choir and then there are over 90% blacks in attendance.
Why?

Lisa, an announcement was made on stage on Sunday telling people how to get tickets.

I have much to say in a very tactful factual manner that I hope and believe will make people think bigger picture and thus far , for or against to think yea, in the post days given all the division amongst our church and others out side basically satan loves this division. Period end of story. I have known np and Andy even before it existed I have never seen this occur. It grieves my heart to see this and I know it does God. I will tomorrow give my bullet points but in no way shape or form has this glorified God.
Lastly, I know both Reggie and Lanny it should be acknowledged that they both over see two of the largest conferences Orange and Good Stuff which NP is involved with specifically Andy so that is why they spoke so strongly. However thousands were not there on Sunday. I would rather here a current pastor or in fact Andy himself let us know. Not that it would change the final results but his friends should not be forced to.

Lastly, Lanny you last comment question sounded extremely arrogant. To assume any one does not see your way which to you is right is less than intelligent? Sir you really need to go back and rethink that statement. I can for sure say Christ would not agree with that. Just because you do what you do does not place you on the knowledge pedestal . I do know your heart so I found it out of character. People are hurting and questioning this no matter what you think is right you cannot argue this has been a stumbling block to many and brought damage to the kingdom. I can't imagine how have contacted the church about this.

That part was emotional my entry will factual, I have sat and thought of boyh sides. My profession is all about seeing the bigger picture, and unfortunately the elders and Andy did not think big this is not an Atlanta story but a global story. More than just reaching those that were there. Which were majority already churched.

Ok that's all I hate doing this but it has been on my heart for days and tis time.

Reggie, you say "I am sad that some people can’t seem to view this without political prejudice" and chastise us because "the world is watching." And Lanny, you say "And then he and the leadership do one thing that pushes your buttons and you forget (all the good)."

The volunteers and church members so easily slandered by the powerful in last Sunday's sermon and now on this blog have never been known for putting up stumbling blocks for people to join us, nor has our leadership before now. We have, all of us, been purposefully apolitical. My buttons have been pushed many times before, especially when cd's and books are advertised from the pulpit, but those advertisements can be considered informational and they aren't in the same context as the moneychangers that stirred Jesus to enormous anger. Those moneychangers exploited those who came to worship, which is exactly what happened when 20,000 were thrown, by association and promotion, into becoming a party to putting up roadblocks to church for half the nation and most of the voters in the areas surrounding the church. There were NO such roadblocks before Wednesday. And yes, you are right, the world is watching and NPCC does now appear to have political prejudice.

The conservative Bible believing churches in "media loving Andy's" area just got a boost in membership. Andy will think twice about inviting a pro-abortion 1st lady after his tithes drop this year.

You folks who are mad about this are missing the whole point! A talk on obesity cannot and is not political! First ladies have always avoided political issues.It would be like Laura Bush talking about reading. ( or is that ok because you agree with her politcally?)

The hate and fear that comes from these inane comments is really destuctive to the body of Christ!

I hear our Lord saying, " You know not what spirit you are of "

We have taken a idealogy and made it supreme over loving people. LOVE always comes first. We as a church must LOVE before we put any personal, political view out there. We have fashioned a god of our own choosing. We have made our creed or political beliefs more important than LOVE. We often wonder why we as the church don't have a voice in the world.
The reason is we are "tinkling cymbals" we have forgotten 1 Corinthians 13.

If we would FIRST love and listen, we as a church could move mountains.God is plenty big to defend himself and his cause, he does not call us to defend a creed or cause,or prop Him up. He does call us to LOVE.

I beg you to search your hearts and ask God to show you your own sinfulness and the great grace which he extends to us all, Democrat, Republican, Independent, Muslim, Buddist, Jew,all mankind.
Let us please Love on another as He has loved us!!

Ok, Jerermy, let me understand. If I have a problem with church being handed over to a politician for that politician's purposes*, I am...

missing the point
hateful
fearful
unloving
not of the right spirit
one who has put ideology above love
have fashioned a god of my own choosing (idolatrous)
made my political beliefs more important than love
a tinkling cymbal
trying to prop up God
not searching my heart on this matter
one who did not ask God to show me my own sinfulness
one who did not ask God to show me the great grace

Did I miss anything?

*Never once was Jesus given praise as the hope for change in personal struggles against obesity while our pulpit was used. Constantly the size of our church has been used by the administration to lend credibility to the program, which promises we can change ourselves--no God necessary. See her web page. See the news articles. Are we pointed to the ONLY spirit that can change us?

It is sad that North Point would endorse the Let's Move campaign. On their website www.letsmove.gov you can view them celebrating their anniversary by leading unsuspecting children in the practices of Yoga (a Hindu practice). Shouldn't this church be about protecting their flock from false pagan practices instead of endorsing a group that is promoting and practicing them under the banner of better health?

Discouraged,

You are twisting everything I said. You are not listening. I said "the church" apparently your conscience was pricked to take it and make it all about YOU.

Again Michelle Obabma IS NOT A POLITICIAN any more than any other first lady was. IT WAS NOT A POLITICAL SPEECH.

Andy Stanley is a man of God and I for one will continue to attend his church and give him my support as he follows God.

It is not healthy for our church or for you to remain in such an angry, critical state. If you cannot support the men of God leading our church than you should leave and find another church.

Amen Jeremy!!!!

As a member of Buckhead, I have not heard a single person express any disappointment or disapproval of either the discussion of the event. I lead a small group, I know lots of people. This is the only forum I have seen that has. I think there probably are a few people that are quite upset. But they are a very small minority. And I doubt it really will make much of a difference among people that trend republican because the church as a whole is probably 80+ percent republican already.

But I do think it might make a positive difference among those that are democratic. I may be wrong. But that is what I think at this point.

I am a longtime member of NPCC and I heartily applaud Andy and our leadership team for inviting Mrs. Obama to speak at our church.

There is nothing political about childhood obesity and Mrs. Obama was not running for anything the last time I heard. Georgia has the second worst childhood obesity rate in the nation and Mrs. Obama has demonstrated that she cares deeply about the children who suffer from it. Anyone who sees her visit to North Point as political is either blind or oblivious to the facts.

I suspect a lot of the people posting here who say they are NPCC members are not really members at all. I suppose it makes your comments seem more impactful if you say you are. If any of those posting hateful comments really are members, I hope you won't leave NPCC. I hope you will read the New Testament closely, and ask God to open your mind and cleanse you of all unrighteousness. Then, if you still have hate in your heart, perhaps you should withdraw and go somewhere else more to your liking.

As for me, I'll stay at North Point, even though I do not agree with everything we do or the way we do them. I know Andy's heart is right and we'll continue leading people into a growing relationship with Christ.

Then why is this on the POLITICS blog? I guess Christianity Today is blind or oblivious to the facts as well.

...and can't you disagree without being labeled a Pharisee? Maybe everyone needs a "righteousness" check.

Michelle Obama is the third person listed under the menu title "Administration" on the White House website. She is a member of the Administration, preceded only by her husband and Joe Biden. The definition of a politician is one involved in public decision making and/or politics. Given she campaigned for her husband's first election and is actively acting to influence his second one AND given she is influencing decisions for Let's Move and its funds (including travel expenses for promoting this program and administration), I felt safe in saying she is a politician. (To say less would be an insult to her accomplishments and influence.) Axelrod, her advisor before the Obamas were in the White House, urged her to get top religious leaders involved in order to validate her programs... which is right out of the play book of Republican Richard Nixon, who was known for using clergy as props. Church size translates directly into market power, a fact documented by Duke University and very well understood by politicians.

MOST POLITICIANS ARE INEVITABLY ASSOCIATED WITH ACTIONS THAT ARE NOT CONGRUENT WITH CHURCH--whether those actions really happened or are just suspected. Bush, for instance, is known for having used force to make a point--associating him with our church would be associating our church with death and destruction. Michelle is associated with abortions. Associating our church with her is associating it with a different flavor of death and destruction. This particular flavor was addressed in the same Feb. 6 sermon mentioned above. Andy talked about what laws, of the 613 available to Jews, James said must be followed in order for Gentiles to be "let into" the "club." He narrowed the 613 down to just two, which Andy paraphrased as "abstain from offending Jews" and "abstain from sexual immorality." The Online Free Dictionary by Farlex states the definition for sexual immorality as: “the evil ascribed to sexual acts that violate social conventions” and lists as its example this statement: “Sexual immorality is the major reason for last year’s record number of abortions.” Do I feel someone who offends Jews or is engaged in sexual immorality (ever how you define it) is not worthy of getting "in" to the church??? No, of course not. Church is full of sinners, of which I seem to be the most "angry," "critical," and "unhealthy."

My discouragement comes from the church not remaining above reproach on this one. It results from being a blind follower of no pastor, in much the same way as Andy was not a blind follower of his own pastor some 16 years ago.

Discouraged with no courage
to post your real name
why do you rail?

"Above reproach"? whose, yours or God's? Our Lord was called a glutton and a drunk beacause of the company he kept. His detachment was not outward, it was an inner detachment, which only God and those who were intimate with him saw. Even John was confused because Jesus wasnt acting and doing what "he" thought the Messiah should be doing.
God is so much bigger than our small minds and ideas.

You may disagree with our First Lady and Our Pastor but Your insinuations and assasination of our Pastor's character is most un-Christlike and very unbecoming!

People like yourself have no ears to listen to anyone. You have made up your mind,There is nothing more to say, I do feel sorry for you, I wish you would open your heart to His Love and grace.

Jeremy, no one, to my knowledge, has any problem with the company Andy keeps, especially not me. If I've been unclear about that, then thanks for giving me the opportunity to clarify. Some could say the "insuations and assasination" of my character are also unChristlike and unbecoming, but I entirely relate to your loyalty and sincerely appreciate it. I think Andy and the elders deserve a lot of loyalty after getting it right so consistently for the 15+ years the church doors have been open. I am immensely relieved and grateful that you express the majority viewpoint so well.

Screen names, by the way, are commonplace safety objects of internet use and are obviously supported on this site. I offer no apology for using one that I felt best described my heart, which no one knows but Christ.

Adam, this topic has been/is being discussed in many forums, including a local talk show, the website of another small group leader, and a small government blog. Probably of most interest is the 15-year old (i.e., not started against Obama) small government blog (or, as they put it, “gathering place”) with over 200 posts. This site was one of the first ones to pick up the topic. People never associated with them before followed a post about "starting a protest in Alpharetta;" not because a protest was desired, but because a kindred spirit of revolt was there.

I am glad you have experienced little opposition to the event in your world. Much also was left unchanged for the 13,000 people that supported Andy's former pastor being in his pulpit. Andy, however, reportedly paid significantly for his opposition to the pulpit being occupied inappropriately. (Just for the record, I believe Andy occupies our pulpit quite appropriately. I do not feel the same about Obama.)

I hope you are right about the Democrats feeling more welcome. At the risk of being facetious, some could argue prostitutes would feel more welcome if we let one of their pimps come talk to us about disease prevention—friends and important people could have the live side, we could watch from the other, and all of us (especially impressionable teens) would leave more informed and influenced. "Outreach," "we were asked," "it was a worthy topic," "it was respectful of authority (like a subordinate should do what his boss asks even when questionable),” “it allowed us to invade them” (like a married man who has a sleepover with an unchurched woman would be justified if he also uses the opportunity to invade her with the gospel), “we trust Andy/our leaders,” etc. I just haven’t seen an answer yet that passes the stink test, and no one is above the occasional stink test, especially in an environment where such considerable influence is involved.

If the leaders and Andy were so flawless as to be above the occasional checks and balances of congregants, then they’d be God and we’d all be in a cult. I feel the same community that saw NPCC hand over the pulpit to a politician is the same community that needs to hear this conversation. I don't know lots of people like you, but I do know well the atheist viewpoint. I do know they think us all an unthinking lot of lemmings. 100% support for mixing religion and politics in a church that has never mixed religion and politics is just the kind of thing they enjoy exploiting.

I think many people are missing the point of what this is really about and where it will potentially take the church.

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church hosted the Obama/McCain debate. Warren also said the Inaugural Prayer and prayed in the names of Yeshua, Isa, and Jesus. Isa is the name for Jesus in the Quran, who isn't Jesus at all because Muslims believe God has no Son. This was not a biblical prayer. Warren was sppealing to the 3 major religions when he prayed; Christianity, Judaism, Islam. Isa is not the Lord Jesus Christ and Warren knows that.

Rick Warren has partnered with a Dr. Oz to launch a 52-week "Daniel Plan" of diet and exercise in his church.

This Dr. Oz appeared on Oprah and is into Eastern Meditation and Eastern Spiritual exercises such as yoga and hypnosis. These are not just exercises, these are spiritual exercises designed to connect with the spirit realm. Anyone who calls themself a follower of Jesus Christ should not be participating in these unbiblical practices. Yoga is a spiritual technique. Its not just simply "exercise" and "stretching". The spirituality of yoga cannot be seperated from the exercise itself. Ask any Hindu or Buddhist and they will tell you.

Let's make the connection to Michelle Obama's diet and exercise program.

On the LetsMove.gov website, yoga for children is being promoted as part of this celebration.

The underlying motive of Michelle Obama's diet and exercise program is to introduce these spiritual exercises into the church, just like what they are doing right now at Saddleback.

The real name for yoga is Kundalini Yoga and it means the "serpent power".

Wake up sleeping Christians! We are living in the last of the last days! What we are witnessing here is the formation of the One World Church and the One World Spirituality of the last days.

From Wikipedia:
Kundalini yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing and tapping into inner energy and awareness. It can be practiced through the physical and meditative techniques found in all the main branches of yoga. Practitioners call Kundalini yoga, the yoga of awareness because they claim it directly affects human consciousness, develops intuition, increases self knowledge, and unleashes the unlimited creative potential that exists within every human being.

Kundalini Yoga has been described as an active approach (using activities) to awaken the kundalini contrasting with a passive approach which relies on surrender. Like many other yoga forms, it develops the nervous system, glands and mental control, but is directly associated with releasing kundalini energy and activating the chakras through asana-based exercises, pranayama, and meditation. Kundalini Yoga at its highest form, having awakened the kundalini, is practiced for the purpose of attaining bliss, developing power and ultimately living in God consciousness


Linda, thanks for explaining what John touched upon earlier. The definition is especially appreciated. Anonymous, "then why is this on the POLITICS blog?" -- exactly.

If this were only about mixing faith and politics it wouldn't be nearly as bad as what this potentially could lead to, and what it appears the First Lady intends to do (knowingly or not)-- that being to introduce occult spiritual practices into the bible believing church. If this happens at NPCC, not only would it be a tragedy, but it would be absolutely treacherous for that congregation. I hope and pray someone discerning will speak out and sound the alarm.

When Andy prayed at the Inaugural Prayer Service (which I hope we all support), he prayed "through Jesus name." That's it--nothing like you describe with Warren.

What I see here most is paranoia and fear. People that have attended a church for years fear that their pastor has intentionally caluded with their political enemies and/or been duped by them. There was a very good article yesterday by david frum about the problem with most GOP political strategy. Frum said that what is different about attacks against Obama is that many are suggesting he is intentionally trying to destroy the country. That is what I am seeing reflected here. There is no respect for office or understanding of legitimate political differences. Either Northpoint is workng with the White Houseto bring down the country or they were duped. I know that does not apply to every comment, but that is what I see in many comments.

I don't think anyone is paranoid or fearful...just confused.

These conspiratorial idea's are prevelant in hyper-partisan talk radio but they have no place in our church.

These ideas are the very ones that destroy ANY credibility Christians have. Fear is the OPPOSITE of love, that is why satan works very hard to instill God's people with fear. Perfect love (God's love in us, not something we try to work up) casts out ALL fear. God is love and any born of God LOVES. Yes we miss it sometimes, but the over-arching theme in how we relate to our fellow man is love, not fear, and not hate.

My family and I made the very difficult decision to leave the church after this occurred. In our time at Buckhead we have found Andy to be very Godly, wise and an amazing communicator. Up until this decision I can't think of anything he has done or said that I have disagreed with. However, I think it was the wrong decision to have a political figure speak on a government initiative at North Point. The association between the church and the Obamas will undoubtedly influence Christian voters in 2012. I'm certainly not against the Obamas or any other politicians visiting or being involved with any church. To me there is a big difference between being welcoming and loving to someone and providing them with a platform to speak on a subject completely unrelated to the mission of the church.

Discouraged, I really agree with this comment of yours - "My discouragement comes from the church not remaining above reproach on this one. It results from being a blind follower of no pastor, in much the same way as Andy was not a blind follower of his own pastor some 16 years ago." As highly as I have always thought of Andy he is still only human and liable to make mistakes just like any of us. Out of curiosity what radio show covered this?

Former BHCA, it was Laura Ingraham/Ingram(sp?) who touched on it on Feb 9th and 12th. I'm sorry your family felt the need to leave. That's a hard decision.

I am saddened that people that have been happy for years would see something that no one will remember in a year as more important than their own long term involvement in a church. This is why church splits happen, not because of real theological differences, not because of sin, but because their feelings get hurt.

Through this, our family discovered Bill Hybels' endorsement of Obama's Immigration Reform.

http://timeonhands.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/bill-hybels-endorses-obama-immigration-reform-an-open-letter/

This kind of stuff is out there forever, Adam. And it will come up again when Christians are wondering who their Pastor supports (or perceives to support).

But let's not forget, North Point maintains there was NOTHING political about it...

Linda, I've never thought of yoga as anything but good stretching. There are several times it's suggested on the Let's Move site. Searching Wikipedia, I learned a good many Muslims and Christians leaders frown upon it (or have a fatwa against it) because of its ties to Hinduism and eastern spirituality. Your point is, I hope, NOT THAT ANDY/ELDERS COLLUDED WITH A POLITICIAN or with our enemies (which we never called Obama) in offering the pulpit, but that yoga is associated with Buddhism and Hinduism and OUR PROMOTION OF A PROGRAM THAT SUGGESTS yoga may appear (however unintentional) to be incongruent with Christianity and may influence others into unknowingly practicing a different religion. Which brings us back to...

MOST POLITICIANS ARE INEVITABLY ASSOCIATED WITH ACTIONS THAT ARE NOT CONGRUENT WITH CHURCH (Bush/force; Obama/abortions; Nixon/corruption). As established before, Michelle Obama is the third member of the administration. She is as much a politician (definition in earlier post) as Hillary Clinton. Disapproval of this decision does not mean we view Obama as our enemy, his wife as more of a politician than any other first lady, or our pastor as crooked; nor does it mean we are Satan-filled impostors (of faith or church) who will be shamed into submission by people who "hear our Lord saying" stuff about us.

Andy opposed the pulpit being used inappropriately 16 years ago. Our concerns are not so very dissimilar to his back then.

Since we ALL know that the Apostles wore suits and ties while spreading the Gospel, I won't comment on the prior rant (rabies shots are available at your local clinic!) -- Paul always looked quite striking in a double-breasted pinstripe suit...

On to more serious comments, I will admit being a bit displeased when first hearing that the White House had requested to use the North Point facility for the First Lady's event. NPCC has never dabbled into anything that had political undertones. Politicians (and First Ladies) almost ALWAYS make public decisions based on political gain. So, it is very reasonable for people to assume that North Point was chosen due to it being a suburban church, and suburban swing voters are perhaps the key to Obama's reelection. Right now, it's the group he's lost the most support from.....

At the same time, NP was able to present a welcoming spirit to the Wednesday afternoon attendees, many of whom who would not have been there on a Sunday. So, if any of these people give the church a try for a worship service, and discover the truth of what Jesus did for them, something great has been accomplished.

Some of the concerns about the Obama Administration are not "paranoid", as one person posted. Pres. Obama stated he wanted to "fundamentally transform" our country. Looking at his influences, from his own writings, there are valid reasons to be concerned about HOW he wants to change our country, especially our economic system. Regarding Michelle Obama, dealing with childhood obesity IS a serious issue for our nation's future. So, to allow her to speak to a group, using NP's facility, can be seen as a gracious act by our church. Andy was very clear, on the Sunday after her visit, that there are absolutes that the church adheres to, and being opposed to abortion is one of those. I know several pro-choice regular attendees, and I'm glad that Andy made that strong statement.

My summary is that NPCC supporters and staff should understand the concern over possibly being used by a left-wing administration for its own purposes. Conversely, NP attendees who plan on leaving due to her appearance on a Wednesday afternoon are reacting like a kid who threatens to "take his ball and go home". It's not a very constructive or sophisticated response.

Christianity needs to INCREASE its influence in our culture, NOT shrink away. We should stand for the truth, be inviting to those who oppose us or who are ignorant of the truth, then influence them toward Christ. Grace and truth - truth and grace....BOTH.

Anonymous, The endosment for immigration reform
has nothing to do with this issue. It does point to your Ultra right ring perspective that is so far for Christ it is not even funny.

Bill Hybels supports immigration reform From A scriptual perspective ( God's perspective )
"Welcoming the Stranger" is a book EVERY christian should read as it deals with what the bible says about immigration. It for us as believers to be on God's side and have his heart. He has never focused on the rich and powerful ,but the outcast, the unlovely and the poor, widows and orphans.

God is NOT a republican, nor is He a democrat. It is time for us to render unto Caesar what is Caesar, and unto God, what is God's. This politcal posturing and standing for a party and their agenda is a stench in the nostrils of Almighty God.

Our loyalty should be To God not a party or political persuasion. What his heart is and what and who he is concerned with, should be our focus.

Former Buckhead Church Attendee, in answer to your question. Blonde L. I've tried twice to post the name, but I don't think it's allowed.

Linda, I've never thought of yoga as anything but good stretching. There are several times it's suggested on Let's Move. Searching online, I learned a good many Muslims and Christian leaders frown upon it because of its ties to Hinduism and Buddhism. Your point is, I gathered, NOT THAT ANDY/ELDERS COLLUDED WITH A POLITICIAN or with our enemies (which we never called Obama) in offering the pulpit, but that yoga is associated with Buddhism and Hinduism and OUR PROMOTION OF A PROGRAM THAT SUGGESTS yoga may appear (however unintentional) to be incongruent with Christianity and may influence others into unknowingly practicing a different religion.

Well put, Terrell, about the likely reason behind North Point being chosen and about the political nature of any first lady. I do not agree that one leaving the church over this is unsophisticated or not constructive, however. That person may be VERY CONSTRUCTIVE for his/her own family in choosing NOT TO TRUST children/teens with Andy or the elders again. Who is to say that five years from now, after we've all (including and maybe especially the elders) been LULLED into trusting again, another outreach program won't leave another set of new voters with a, as anonymous says, "What Would Andy Do" moment?

It's all well and good to say afterwards the church is against abortion, though I am glad Andy clarified that. I appreciate that. Do you suppose he could also run behind Ms. Obama and tell the rest of the nation what we stand for here? He'll have to hurry, though, because she's plastering the NPCC endorsement and her association with 20,000+ God-fearing Christian voters at lightening speed. Her viewership is also a lot bigger than our's, but, hey, maybe she'll share her website like we did. That'd be just swell.

Adam/Jeremy, before you start accusing anyone again of fear or conspiracy theories, let me just jump out there and really earn that distinction, just so we can have a complete conversation about this without you having to accuse someone falsely.

Let's say, oh just let's go ahead and say it... I'm a Republican (wait, don't panic because I went from apolitical to political; this could be an outreach moment... think love others, think let me in; besides, I'm only doing this for you, not everyone). Ok, I'm a nasty Republican (unless I swing nasty tea party next election)... and my young voters know that about me. They know I didn't like Bush's second term, didn't like McCain, liked Obama even less, and would have later voted for Rick Santelli had he been running for something. Being the great parent I am, I've taught my young voters why I vote the way I vote. I've also taught them to trust the pastor/elders I trust. I've let them have a fairly unhindered relationship with the church (i.e., I don't urge caution at church like I do at school because church is apolitical). Anyway my young voters are getting a bit old for parents anyway, so it's a GREAT THING I trust my church to HELP ME raise them in the way they should go, you know, with my same values! Until, that is, my pastor seems to have been blinded by a bright light, fallen off his donkey, and all of a sudden went from one direction to another. (That Feb. 6 sermon was an all skate, all right.) ...until all of a sudden my church went from no political endorsements to endorsing by promotion.

Now you can say I'm stoked in STARK-RAVING FEAR (or more accurately, concern) and conspiracy theories.

Just FYI, though, and this is THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH. I'm discouraged to the core to not be able to trust again. (Maybe knowing that will make it easier for you to love me anyway.)

Jeremy, the church is not Caesar's for Caesar's use.

Well put, Terrell, about the likely reason behind North Point being chosen and about the political nature of any first lady. I do not agree that one leaving the church over this is unsophisticated or not constructive, however. That person may be VERY CONSTRUCTIVE for his/her own family in choosing NOT TO TRUST children/teens with Andy or the elders (and quite frankly a number of leaders who have parroted church responses to questions). Who is to say that five years from now, after we've all been LULLED into trusting again, another outreach program won't leave another set of new voters with a, as anonymous says, "What Would Andy Do" moment?

It's all well and good to say afterwards the church is against abortion, though I am glad Andy clarified that. I appreciate that. Do you suppose he could also run behind Ms. Obama and tell the rest of the nation what we stand for here? He'll have to hurry, though, because she's plastering the NPCC promotion and her association with 20,000+ God-fearing Christian voters at lightening speed.

Discouraged,

There are no words.

I pray for God's mercy in your life!

Thank you for commenting on this article. Please remember when posting to do so with decency and respect. Avoid flaming comments, insults, or name calling. Please make your comments with clarity and without contempt. Attack issues but not people.

Thanks,

BJ

Community Manager
onlinereponse@christianitytoday.complete

You're absoloutely right. Immigration Reform doesn't have anything to do with this. Nor was I suggesting God is a Republican.

The Bill Hybels link was to provide an example that these kinds of things (i.e. a Pastor's association with a political figure) aren't forgotten as easily as some might suggest.

Just Google "Andy Stanley Politics" and see what's #1 on the hit list.

On a side note, a wise man reminded me yesterday that Jesus didn't use Caesar to draw a crowd.

Andy Stanley spoke to 22,000 college-age voters a couple of weeks before announcing Obama's visit.

The gut-wrenching, heart-despairing concern over the considerable influence of this one decision knows no bounds. I wish there were an end to the responsibility I feel personally to address it, and to address it strongly. If we remain quiet, we go on record saying we are fine with helping build reputable churches only to hand them over to the government for its purposes.

Was it wrong for the Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to use churches as the bases for the Civil Rights Movement? Was it wrong for him to march with politicians on behalf of desegration? I don't think that any church faithful to the Lord Jesus can ever be totally apolitical with respect to every issue at every turn. Perhaps what Christians should be striving for is to be (whether Republican, Democratic or Independent) TRANSpolitical for the Kingdom of God. As such, a church could be open in good faith to reps. of different parties at different points depending on the issue, not as men-pleasers, but as servants of Almighty God.

Discouraged,

I fail to see the connection to Andy's philosophy when you do a google search??
Google Rick Santorum who is a good man and the top listing is pornographic.

I fail to understand what you are trying to imply with your statement, "Andy addressed 22,000 students.

I believe a lot of well meaning Christians whole identity is wrapped up in their political beliefs, and when anyone challenges those views they are extremely threatened, and take as a personal attack.

Our identity as believers should be in nothing less than the finished work of Christ on the cross and in the sharing of this truth with others.

I am so proud and encouraged that our Pastor and the elders choose not the easiest, and more politically expedient route (considering that most at NP are republicans) but he choose what he knows God has called him to do. Andy's identity is not a political party or ideology, it's spreading the love and grace in the gospel message to a world that desperately needs the love and grace.

Perhaps North Point should consider a Christmas Eve service. I can't think of a better way to reach the unchurched without creating the level of conflict Michelle Obama has created.

He didn't plan the opportunity, Discouraged it was presented to him.
How does this correlate to planning a Christmas Eve service?

We do at our church, Southside offer a Christmas Eve service and are you saying North Point does not?

Begging your pardon, the above response was to Anonymous and not Discouraged.

With all due respect, Michelle Obama nor Andy Stanley created the controversy. Those who choose to take offence to a non-politcal event did.Andy did not "give Michelle the pulpit" this event was for the community on a weekday.

Sincerely, really think hard about continuing to malign and cast dispersion on North Point and Andy Stanley. If you believe this way it is better to keep it to yourself than to continue to do harm to the body of Christ. We all can agree to disagree but when motives are called into question and the leadership disparaged, this is not helpful to the body of Christ.

You're absolutely right. This has nothing to do with Bill Hybels, Immigration Reform, God being a Republican, OR Christmas Eve. (I'm getting WAY off-track.)

In my 5+ years of membership at North Point, the church has never had a service on Christmas Eve. (Unless, I was in the restroom during the announcement, my significant other wasn't paying attention, the email reminders were SPAM, AND our friends never said anything.)

It's just an example of something less controversial that would get people in the church that might not otherwise attend. (One of the primary reasons for hosting Michelle Obama.)

Anon,

Andy did not sit in his office with his elders and say, "Guys, instead of a Christmas eve service, lets plan a Michele Obama visit and get her to talk about her, "Let's move campaign". This was not a pre-meditated planned outreach. The first Lady called and asked, then Andy prayed and got wise counsel, and then He recognized that is was an opportunity that God wanted him to participate in. Andy is spirit led instead of flesh led.

Is there not a difference in planning a Christmas eve service for outreach and taking a opportunity that God placed in your path? This was not in lieu of any other event. This was a great opportunity to participate in what God is doing.

Anon, as a member of NP I have attended a Christmas eve service two of the last three years. Pretty sure there was more. I know NP has not had Christmas eve services every year. But you might want to check your facts before you accuse a church of things that are pretty easy to document. Maybe there was not a service at every campus. But I have to agree with Jeremy, this is personal attack, not a theological disagreement that is being held reasonably. If you wonder why the church is not directly addressing it, it is because the vast majority of the church doesn't care, or was actually very proud of Mrs Obama speaking.

By the way here is a blog post from Buckhead campus (where I attend) that was announcing a second Christmas eve Service this past year. And in the comments it says that the Christmas Eve service at the Northpoint campus the previous year ran out of space with two services and was asking for a third. Northpoint does not have a regular blog like Buckhead so I didn't see similar online documentation.

http://blog.buckheadchurch.org/2010/12/08/christmas-eve/

I'm sorry for not having my facts straight with respect to the Christmas Eve service. It was not meant to be an attack as some might suggest, but an example of something the church could do (that it hasn't historically done) that would be less divisive. Kind of like opening the facilities for other events, basketball leagues, etc.

People have attacked from both sides. Everyone needs to agree to disagree. Those that disagree aren't Pharisees. Those that agree are free to do so. Agreeing to disagree is OK. Whether you stay or leave, I believe, is a matter of personal conviction.

Jeremey, Geneva, and others,
Keep in mind that there are those of us who left quietly. At the risk of adding more nonsense to this discussion... Everyone needs to decide for themselves if they want to be associated with or led in worship by a church that is being used for a political purpose by the current administration. I and others have decided not to. Many do not recognize or understand the political ramifications of NPCC essentially endorsing the Obama administration. I only hope that some of this discussion has educated or at least caused some to think more about what has really happened. I choose to believe NPCC did not fully understand how bad of an idea it was going to be to do this, but I am "discouraged" that they have not seen after the fact and done something about it. The alternative more frightening theory is that they were fully aware of the implications and support of an administration's program to have the government determine your diet. In the recent words by Jeff during the Game Plan series, "I report, you decide."

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Terrell/Linda, my responses to your conversations were unfortunately posted twice. Sorry about that.


Geneva, you posted: "...a church could be open in good faith to reps. of different parties at different points depending on the issue, not as men-pleasers, but as servants of Almighty God."


There are countless venues available already for representatives of different parties to advance their worthy programs without having to compromise a church known for its purity of mission. NPCC had been one of the precious few places perceived to be free of politics or ulterior motives.

Discouraged,

I do not agree with your use of the past tense
When saying, "NPCC had been one if the precious few places perceived to be free of politics or ulterior motives"

You are saying that that is no longer the case, and that is untrue. Our pastor very clearly and scripturally laid it all out in his sermon on Febuary 7.

You use the word " perceived" People can perceive a whole lot of things and the question is not what is perceived but what is truth? People may have perceived one thing about NP but what is truth? How do we determine truth?

We all know that Andy walks with God, otherwise why have we put ourselves under his Authority by attending NP?

When Andy gets up before the entire body and explains and shares his heart
And speaks about hearing from God, than that becomes Truth and not perception. He set the record straight, so we as the congregation have only 2 choices, either accept and believe that He walks with and hears God or that he does not and that he is a liar.

Well I believe he is not a liar, nor a manipulator because he has proven time and time again that He is not. So we have to make a choice either he is a man of God or he is not, it cannot be both.

So respectfully if you think he is not than it cannot do any good to continue to
Disparage our church and Pastor. How can you continue to follow a Pastor and church if you believe these things about them? I believe the scriptural and best thing one can do in your situation is to gracefully leave and attend a church you can support.


Sent from my iPhone
How do we distinguish between perception and truth? When a man of God whom we all know walks with God, yes nobody is perfect , but we all know that Andy has a walk with the Lord, otherwise why have we all been attending NP?

Within one day of this extracurricular event, our family was approached twice about it. Neither approach was positive. The level of "maturity" required to grasp the goal wasn't just lost on a few members.

North Point did not have to say yes to this event in order to reach "new friends" for Christ or in order to make a difference in their lives. It is like saying a teenage girl needs to compromise her standards in order to save her boyfriend, be of one mind with the most important goal, make him feel welcome, make a difference in his life instead of a point, inspire him instead of correct him, not be the religious right, build a relational bridge, reach him while he is far from God, influence him from common ground, be comfortable with footing on both sides of chastity, etc.

It's as though any sincere defense should do, as long as given by a trusted leader. It almost seems like Peter, when called out on his seeming duplicity, should have just made a better argument for why he appeared to show preference for one group of people over another.

How is a teenage girls relationship analogous
To our pastor graciously hosting our First Lady Michelle Obama?

I am trying to understand your point??

"Within one day of this extracurricular event, our family was approached twice about it. Neither approach was positive. The level of "maturity" required to grasp the goal wasn't just lost on a few members."

Thus it begins, the gossiping, backbiting, sowing discord among the church.

If you cannot accept that Andy is a man of God and that he also hears from God, then you owe it to your God and church to not stay and be critical and create disunity.

God has placed Andy in a role of leadership. Since you choose NP as home church you scriptually need to support and not critise the Pastor in leadership. Andy addressed in detail the process of making his decision, how he prayed, sought wise counsel and then heard from God. We either accept that he spoke the truth, or he lied.

I believe his past performance and the fact that I know he seeks the Lord, is indicative of the fact that he spoke the truth on Febuary 7th.He has not lied to the church before, why should he lie now?

Your analogy of the girlfriend being immoral to win her unsaved boyfriend doesnt make any sense to me.

Andy's decision is in now way anagalous to being immoral to win over a boyfriend. How can you compare immorality to this situation? You said "on both sides of chastity" Are you saying NP and Andy are immoral by making their decision? I think you are comparing NP and Andy to a girl who would do anything to win over a boy. This comparison is patently false. The motivations of a young girl to keep and save a boyfriend are not similar to Andy and the elders making a decision to open up NP for The First Lady to talk about Children's health on a Tuesday.

I am trying to understand what you are getting at.

What ever else they may be,the President and First Lady are ardent supporters of abortion.
How can ANY Christian or Christian organization support them in any way?
Take out your Bibles, read 2 Chron. 19:1-2, Jehu's admonishment to King Jehoshaphat.
Regardless of your feelings about Church and State,
this is pretty clear.
North Point Church has aligned itself with
pro-abortionists.

David,

Any person could take 1 or 2 verses out of the bible and seemingly prove their point. Many cults have begun this way and many have gone away from the themes and overarching principles of the scriptures.

By hosting this event I fail to see how NP has aligned itself with the Obamas or abortion. Our pastor was very explicitly clear on this when he addressed the church regarding this issue. Are you disregarding what he said?

If I eat with someone Or spend time with them or offer them hospitality am I then agreeing and supporting and aligning with everything that person has done or will do?

I am reminded of the story in the bible where the woman who had sinned much was washing Jesus feet with her hair the pharisees said of our Lord, "If he knew what type of woman that was and how she had sinned he would not associate with her."

Jesus purpose on earth was to do the will of the Father, and that will is to reconcile man to God by showing love and grace to a fallen world. Andy and NP are of the same mind. Man will always look on the surface, and appearance Of things ie: "how does this look" or "what will people think if you are seen with that person?" God looks on the heart. I am so thankful for this truth! It doesn't matter what anyone says or thinks about Andy or NP. God sees and knows their heart.

God DOES know the heart, but "associations" are something you have to be mindful of if you're a leader of a church (especially one of the largest in the nation) and it involves a political figure (especially if you've been politically neutral throughout your history).

I wouldn't be surprised if Andy or anyone else with children warn them to be careful of associations. People are careful of who they associate with in the workplace, outside of work, etc. It's a fact of life.

Discouraged,

I believe the primary goal of a Christian and follower of Christ is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul,mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor! This was Jesus response to the question "what is the most important thing in life?"
The primary goal is not " be careful of your associations"
In a lot if situations in life you will have to put aside "associations" in order to do the will of the Father. Jesus was only dedicated to the will of the Father, not a set of guidelines, or be carefuls. Jesus was a "man of no reputation"
His focus was before anything was to Love.

I believe with all my heart that Andy and NP has followed God's direction and kept the primary goal Of Love first .

Regardless if her speech is political or non-political, the church is not a venue. The church is where followers or unbelievers come into God's house and learn about Him...not about childhood obesity. Jesus dying on the cross should be enough for people to want to come to know him. The church shouldn't have to make it about entertainment and have all the bells and whistles to try and win people's approval first. Jesus did not do that and we should follow Him and His way. Share with people what Jesus did for them...not what the people can do for them.

Jeremy,
I never thought I would be responding but I feel I
have to.
The verses I mentioned are only 2, If you read 2 Chron. 18,19,& 20 they show 2 instances of disobedence and punishment.

Since Roe v. Wade there have been over 50,000,000
abortions with tax payer assistance. Largely because of silience on the part of Christians. Over the last few years less that half of the Christians able to vote even bother, we put these people in power through our silence we are a large reason 50,000,000
babies were killed. When we support missions we are blessed. What happens when we support abortionists?.
North Point Church has lent it's good name to support this couple

Melissa,

I don't understand your comment.

This was not a Sunday Morning church service.
Are you saying that nothing but worship can be done at church?
We do youth activities, grief counseling, scrspbooking classes, marriage classes, exercise classes,health classes,etc on weekdays.

How is a presentation on kids health any different? How is this considered "bells and whistles" Or "entertainment"

I'm trying to understand what you are saying.

David,

Well we just have to agree to disagree.

Clearly you are ignoring everything Andy explicitly stated about the abortion issue.

It becomes very difficult to have dialog when feelings and accusations take the place Of Truth. As human beings and even to a greater extent, as believers if we continue to say our Pastor has not told the truth, then what is left to say?

Have a great evening!

There are MANY PLACES where party representatives can promote their worthy programs. There are PRECIOUS FEW PLACES where Scripture is handled accurately and purity of purpose is known so much as to be trusted even by those burned by church before.

The programs at NPCC either point toward Scripture or Christ as the hope for change/success. That was not the case with Let's Move.

Romans 13:1 says: "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Like it or not, the Bible says Obama is appointed by God. He will be up for re-election in 2012, until then, let's try to co-operate with our leader.

Jeremy,
I don't know whether you are an official spokesman
for NP or not, you certianly sound like it. I do commend you for your willingness to stand up for and speak your beliefs. I'll just mention 1 more verse that I've probably taken out of context. 2 Chron.
20:37.
What your pastor supports and what happens in the church can not be seperated from the church. Jesus delt with that issue in Mark 11:12-17.

In the end will we be the Church of Thyatira or the Church of Smyrna.

God does not support abortion or those who do.

I really can't think of anything else to say.

Interesting. The footnote to my Romans 13:1 doesn't say anything about giving them a platform.

Anon,

So now, we are supposed to be led and make decisions based on footnotes??

The facts remain that

A) Andy was asked by First Lady Michelle Obama to host a non-partisian & non-political event on a Tuesday at North Point Community Church.

B) Andy prayed and sought the Lord's will in the matter. He also sought wise counsel from his elders. He did not consult local people or politicians or the "how will this look" encyclopedia.

C) After the event Andy clearly and explicitly spoke to the abortion issue and the other issues surrounding the event. He spoke from his heart and from scriptures clearly how God was leading NP to participate this event.

Now these are clear proven facts. How an individual responds to these facts is between them and God. However if you disagree and cannot live with NP position than instead of publicly and anonymously, criticizing and gossiping,
And calling into question Andy & NP motives and the fact that they heard from God on this issue. I ask you humbly to find a leader and a church that you can support.

For the record, I am a nobody, I am not on staff at NP, nor am I in any capacity a spokesperson. I am nobody that deeply cares about hearing the voice of God and obeying. I also love my church, which is a satellite church of NP. I know that my Pastor Andy Stanley deeply cares about following and doing the will of God as well as fulfilling the mission that God gave him for NP.
Many may misunderstand and ridicule leadership that they do not like, but with
God's help I believe we at North Point will continue to Love with no agenda, and to show grace, and acceptance to a dying, lost world.

This love that God "sheds abroad in our hearts" is what the world will see and know that we are His disciples.

God bless you all ,even those who disagree.

If Andy had said no to the First Lady, what sort of political message would that have sent? NP tries to avoid being involved in any politics, but in this case, he would have been sending a political message by saying yes or no. I did not see the event, but it sounds like the main complaint people seem to be complaining about here is abortion. Did the First Lady address abortion in any way when she was speaking at NP that day?

No, Jeremy. That's not what I'm suggesting. I'm just struggling to understand how NPfansince2000's verse applies to giving Michell Obama a platform.

Is the issue of abortion the only acid test for any politician to speak in church on behalf of any good cause? What about a politician who foolishly advocates for an unnecessary war? What about another politician who serves the rich at the expense of the poor? Those are sins too, in which case, by the logic of some, they too should never be allowed to advocate for a good cause in church. Since no politician has perfectly clean hands, surely they must all be banned from giving any kind of positive presentation in church. On another train of thought, it is simply wrong to call the Obamas "pro-abortion". They are not. They are "pro-choice". I myself do not agree with that position but let's be fair. Pro-choice is no more identical to pro-abortion than pro-gun is to pro-murder. Of all people, we Christians should be very careful how we judge others with whom we disagree.

Andy taught on Feb. 13 that peace does not exist in adulterated relationships. For many of us, this was duplicity on several levels - with the mission statement of the church (lead people into a growing relationship with Christ, not a politician), with people (republicans/democrats), with volunteers (here to lead others to Christ, not a politician) and with parents/children (we can count on the church to be free of outside persuasion so no need to monitor its influence vs. we can't trust the church to be free of outside persuasion, so monitor its influence). See Feb. 15 post for definition of a politician and for Michelle Obama's placement as the third member of the current Administration. ASKED, by the way, implies two answers are available - yes or no.

Now that the EVENT is a few week behind us, perhaps we should reflect on what's ACTUALLY happened instead of what everyone was concerned would POTENTIALLY happen. From the stories I'm hearing in the community, much good has ACTUALLY come from this event.

I agree with Stacy, let's look at what actually happened:
1. Unchurched people attended NP and got a good impression, and might possibly be coming back, which is great!
2. The administration has "partnered" and thereby been endorsed by NP for a government campaign to dictate eating habits. This endorsement of the Obama administration by NP was avoidable. The FLOTUS could have been accommodated without providing a platform for touting the accomplishments of the current administration. The speech included a long list of the FLOTUS patting herself on the back. Co-operation could have existed without providing a free campaign event.

Curious to see if this post gets deleted. I keep seeing the posts which are unfavorable to the Obamas get removed. Maybe I'll have a visit from the secret service now.

Joe,

"I keep seeing posts unfavorable to the Obama's getting deleted."

Are you being facetious again?

A majority of the posts above are very unfavorable to Our President and First Lady as well as NP and Andy. Only the hateful,and racists posts which are in direct violation of the blogs rules are deleted.

I hope someone is keeping track of everyone who returns because they were impressed with the excellence with which North Point hosted the event (i.e. wowed by the coolness factor), AND everyone who is now confused as to who to vote for in 2012.

So sad how so many of you who call yourself Christians attempt to mask your racial disdain behind politics and religion. Good job to North Point for not allowing the "Pharisees" to stop them from having this event. Regardless of political ideology our children's health is what ought to matter most here. Many of these comments show that sin is still real...especially among Christians.

You Americans are really funny. Very funny. Come over to live to Europe and then get back to be a bit more thankful and have some perspective. (In order you think I do not know anything about you, I have been to US 30 times in last 10 years.)

Tickets? The church sold tickets to hear this non Christian "speak" for political purposes?

Wow.

All of these mega churches (yes, Northpoint is one) that are allowing money transactions under the roof of the house of the Lord - wow - do you guys not actually read the Bible?

I attended NP for about a year - that was all I could take. First time I ever walked in that church was between services - and the speakers had Led Zepplin playing - Stairway to Heaven. Yes, it was for a program but I thought I had walked into a club.

I quit going - no cross - no pews - no tote board - no revials/alter calls - nothing but the occssional jokes and stories that most all "mega" churches are infamous for.

Andy should try to be more like his Dad I think.

To the Church...the Whole Body of Christ:
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of "food".... So what ever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you (me) a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father or our Lord Jesus Christ.

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature;rather, serve one another in love.....If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Maybe the church doesn't need any political influence, but we must admit that politics do need church involvement...

I am sorely disappointed that Andy Stanley, doesn't see the Obama administration for what it is. Has he given over to greed or does he not know history, nor understand what is to take place in America.

If I was not a Christian and I read some of these comments from those who call themselves "Christians" I Will never want to be a Christian. Leaving a church because a childhood obesity event was held by a politic at a church
WOW! disappointed... Michelle is on Disney and Nickelodeon too so hopefully your kids are not watching. I must say that I am a good representative of my Christian family and my politic is God.I follow Him not the president.

This Place

This place puts on the façade of Christianity, but the building façade has no cross to display the faith. Satan desires for us forget Jesus. The cross is a reminder of His sacrifice, removing all sin, and providing a gateway to eternal salvation. Reference John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

This place invokes good health pursuant to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, yet they practice Yoga (Hinduism) to the children. We are not to mix religions with Christ pursuant to 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?”

This place allowed for a famous lady (Michelle Obama) to speak on their platform and the same lady is pro-abortion. We are to shun evil pursuant to Proverbs 3.7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.”

This place praises God with the music of the day, and the music is rock-n-roll. Is this melodious to God? Reference Ephesians 5:19, “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,”

This place preaches the Word of God with a mix, and the mix is humanism. We are to avoid such practices pursuant to 2 Timothy 3:5, “having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

This is place has convinced themselves that they operate in the light and yet darkness surrounds them. Self-deception is their practice pursuant to Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”

Wow, Im a former member of Buckhead Church and live in another state now. Still listen to Andy online
and even buy DVD's His preaching hasn't changed
he has never been a platform for the Christian right types. The church has never taken a political point of view and should not and cannot tell people how to vote. Ms. Obama could have used any 4,000 seat
platform to rent but chose NPCC knowing the media would follower her. Her motives were poltical in choosing the venue to speak at. NPCC already sent their pastor to pray for her husband maybe that connection is why she chose NPCC. She didnt call
on Eddie Long's church in Atlanta. He's in the middle of a divorce after he played with other men.
The Obama's had to pick a good white church to promote her stuff in front of the media. Nevermind
she filled it with liberal black Democrats who came in from other than Alpharetta to fill it up.
Andy should have said no to the prayer in the first place.