Believing In A God Who Exists, Who Cares, And Who Has The Power To Help Us

On the first Tuesday of every month we bring in Staff members from our NOLA congregations for a time of encouragement and equipping, and last week we identified some of the top truths that Christians and Churches must believe. I started off the meeting by quoting Sociology Professor Phil Zuckerman, who has recently said that “Religious belief, behavior and belonging are lower than they have ever been in American history” 3 big numbers that tell the story of secularization in America.). Zuckerman stated that:

  • A 2022 Gallup survey reported that the percentage of people who believe in God has dropped from 98 percent in the 1950s to 81 percent today (for Americans under 30 the percentage is 68%).

  • Only about 50% of Americans believe in “God as described in the Bible” (only 33% of Generation Zers)

  • A 2021 Gallup poll found that, for the first time ever, fewer than 50% (47%) of Americans were members of a church, synagogue, or mosque.

  • 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. say they have no religious affiliation, up from 1 in 50 in 1960.

Those statistics are not good news for Churches and for Christianity. Sociologists and Christian leaders know that beliefs determine people’s behavior. Josh McDowell and Bob Hostettler said in their book, Beyond Belief To Convictions, that when young people lack a basic Biblical or Christian belief system they are: 225% more likely to be angry with life, 216% more likely to be resentful, 210% more likely to lack purpose in life, 200% more likely to be disappointed in life, 200% more likely to steal, 200% more likely to hurt someone, 300% more likely to use drugs, and 600% more likely to attempt suicide.” So we have to help people improve their “belief systems” – especially in regards to God and God’s principles – if we’re to see people’s behaviors change, and if we are to see them want to belong to a Christian Church. But we can see that happen as we lead people to experience the presence and power of the Lord in their lives, and we lead them to believe what the Word says rather than what the World says.

In last week’s meeting, I identified 7 primary beliefs that people need to have in order to really embrace Christianity and the Christ of Christianity – and I said that the first belief we must have is that God Is All Powerful And He Really Cares About Us. Unlike other parts of our country and many regions throughout our world, most people in our region have no trouble believing that there is indeed a God; but they don’t necessarily believe that He’s particularly relevant to their lives today. The Bible clearly teaches us about God’s existence.

  • “From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuses whatsoever for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20

But the real question for many people is, “Does God really care about us?” And the Scriptures declare that He does.

  • “He is like a father to us, tender and sympathetic.” (Psalm 103:13-15 TLB)

Oftentimes at funerals people will say to me, “Thank goodness that I have the comfort of my Heavenly Father” And the Bible tells us that God is the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), that He is our “refuge and strengthen and very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1), and that He walks with us through the darkest valleys in our lives (Psalm 23:4). We also find the Lord saying these words to His people:.

  • “God says, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love!” (Jeremiah 31:3)

God says that His love toward His people is an everlasting love, and that He never stops loving us. But even if God loves us, many people wonder, “Does God have the power and ability to help us?” And the Bible tells us that He does have the power and ability to help people.

  • Paul wrote, “I pray you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe Him . . . the same power that raised Christ from the dead.” (Ephesians 1:20 TLB)

So we can enthusiastically tell people, based on God’s Word and our experiences, that our God exists and cares about people; and we can tell them He has the power to change their lives, circumstances and relationships. And those who believe us when we share this truth with them through our counseling, teaching and witnessing will begin to experience transformation in their lives, attitudes, ambitions, actions and relationships. I will be sharing more about the “Crucial Convictions of Christianity” in upcoming CONNECTING POINT Blogs.

At Celebration we launched our 52 CHALLENGE Campaign at the end of February. In our recent STEPS TO SUCCESS study we learned how God enabled Nehemiah and the Israelite people to rebuild the devastated walls and gates of Jerusalem in just 52 Days. The 52 CHALLENGE is our effort at Celebration to raise the funds needed to complete the rebuild of our Campuses damaged in 2021 by Hurricane Ida. We’re asking every Celebration attendee to give generously above their regular Church offerings to our 52 CHALLENGE offering in the months of March and April and/or the next 52 weeks. You can do so by giving a large one time gift, or you can do so by giving weekly. You may also have stocks, bonds, jewelry, property or other items that you would like to give towards this effort, so that we can complete the rebuilding of our Campuses. We’re also asking all of our people to turn in their 52 CHALLENGE Commitment by Sunday, April 2, so we can determine how much rebuilding we can plan for in the coming weeks and months. When Nehemiah presented the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls and gates, the people responded, “Let us arise and build.” May we have a similar faith and determination as we participate in the 52 CHALLENGE. Learn more about the 52 CHALLENGE by going to

Sunday was an emotional day for me and for a number of the people we love, as our recent Iglesia Celebration Congregation worshiped together for the last time at our Airline Drive Campus. Most of those people will be leaving with David Speed, Jorge Gomez, and Josue Gomez to begin the Church of a Safe Place.

It was a great privilege for me to pray during the service for Pastor David and Rosa, Pastor Jorge, and Doris, and Pastor Josue and Helen, men and women that I love and appreciate so very much. And it was also a great privilege for me to pray for all of the men, women, teens and children who were in attendance at Sunday’s service. But it was also a bittersweet time as we all realized that sometimes we have to go in different directions while following the Lord’s will for our lives. We’re going to greatly miss David, Jorge, and Josue on our Church Staff, and miss the wonderful people who will be following them to form the Church of a Safe Place.

At the same time, as we’ve shared with them, the Lord has not released us at Celebration from our love and burden for Spanish speaking people. Nor has He released us from our commitment to reaching out to Spanish speaking people in our region and world with the message and ministry of Jesus.  Therefore, we will continue holding Spanish worship services on Sundays at 2001 Airline Drive in Metairie and at 2101 North Causeway in Mandeville (and in the future at additional Celebration Church locations), And we will continue providing Life Groups and other ministry activities as well. 

We are grateful that Pastor Jhorman Rivera, his wife Diana and their children are returning to New Orleans to lead our Iglesia Celebration ministry. Pastor Jhorman is from the Dominican Republic where he was a Pastor of a strong Church, and also was the Church Planting Director for his denomination.

He formerly pastored our Iglesia Celebration Kenner congregation that was merged into our Iglesia Celebration Metairie congregation after our Kenner Campus received significant damage from Hurricane Ida in 2021. Pastor Jhorman will be working with us at Celebration to lead our ministry to Spanish speaking people in our region and he will be overseeing our work among Hispanics across our nation and throughout our world. Under his leadership we will also partner with the North American MIssion Board to develop a Training Center for Hispanic Pastors and Leaders, who will then go out to lead Spanish speaking Churches and ministries all across North America.
Here are some ways you can help with us as we continue our Iglesia Celebration ministry. One, pray for Pastor Jhorman, for his family and for the leaders who will be working with him. They will also need furniture as they return to NOLA in the coming weeks. Two, consider helping us continue our Iglesia Celebration ministry by volunteering to serve in that ministry in the coming weeks and months. You can do that by contacting Pastor Jhorman at Three, invite your Spanish speaking friends to join us on Sundays at 10:45 am Celebration on Airline. There are many Spanish speaking people in our area, and many who are moving to our area. And we need many more Spanish speaking Churches in our area, like the Church of a Safe Place and like Iglesia Celebration.
Finally, let’s thank God for all He is doing to grow our Church, start new Churches, and advance His kingdom in our region, state, nation, and world.