Friday, May 6, 2016

Is Church Membership a Privilege or an Obligation?

Is Church Membership a Privilege or an Obligation?  This is especially appropriate in the face of the cultural Christianity prevalent in the Bible Belt.  We have to ask ourselves why we do church. Is it because we always have since we were kids?  Is it because we are afraid of arousing the ire of our family and peers?  Or is it because we realize that we are God's children and that we have a cherished place at His family table?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

To Know or to Know About, That Is the Question

Sometimes being an effective leader is the difference in knowing your people instead of knowing about your people. You really can care for the organization while still caring for those whom you lead. — Sam Rainer
The Great Shepherd tells we undershepherds in 1 Peter 5, the importance of leading by example and not by autocratic dominance.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Is Your Church Driving Forward or Dying Out?

If prayer drives a church like an engine, then, by contrast, prayerlessness stalls a church.  A sputtering chug unto a lurching halt (i.e., death of a local church) notwithstanding, prayerlessness is the height of arrogance on our part.  It is to say to God that we can do it all by ourselves; that we are self-sufficient; that we know best.  Are you seeing Eden in your mind's eye yet?  Before we get too critical of Adam and Eve, let's take a survey of our own lives.  How often do we cease to pray?  How often do we relegate our divine interaction to the brevity of a blessing before a meal?  I must confess my own toes are now sore.
How different--how much more vibrant--would our lives, our homes, our churches be if they were more characterized by prayer?

View the article linked below for more on the topic.

The Least Attended Church Meeting

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Rhyme & Reason: The Science of Bible Study

One of the primary rules of reading and interpreting Scripture is to always consider the context of the passage.  When applying this rule, we should take care to consider both the immediate and grand-narrative contexts.  We do this by asking ourselves: How does this passage fit within its Book as well as how it relates to the whole of Scripture?
The Book of Hebrews is a daunting read that can be simplified by applying this very rule. Take, for instance, the Melchizedekian priesthood in chapter 7.  It seemingly comes out of no where within its Book, but is mentioned in various forms throughout the Old Testament.
And just in case you were wondering or have ever wondered as to the significance of the Melchizedekian priesthood along with its relationship to the more familiar Levitical priesthood, read the article linked below?  It will serve to further solidify the importance of the rule above.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Seek First God's Kingdom

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

Grace and peace be to you from our God and Father and our Savior Christ Jesus. Easter is Sunday, April 20.  

As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s resurrection to our redemption, let us commit to consecrate ourselves to the kingdom focused living described in Christ's Sermon on the Mount. In particular, if we will apply Matthew 6:24-34, we can quell the all-encompassing anxiety over life’s daily necessities that is fueled by the ever-elusive American Dream and achieve such a consecration.

Our victory over anxiety begins when we understand that to consume ourselves with the necessities of life is to lack trust in God’s providential care and to turn a blind eye to nature’s testimony of His splendid sufficiency. Our victory continues when we understand that to consume ourselves with the necessities of life is vain for by doing so we cannot extend life nor improve upon its quality. Our victory continues still when we understand that to consume ourselves with the necessities of life is to misappropriate God-given time, energy, and resources.

So let the Holy Spirit manifest this victory in us now by entrusting ourselves to God’s care in which all self-sufficiency is removed and we find our identity and security in Christ instead of our self-achieved earthly status. Let us also tithe our time, energy, and resources for kingdom good first that the Lord may bless us according to His promise.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Open Letter to My Denomination: Have We Lost Our First Love?

Morality cannot be legislated as it is a product of the renewal of one's mind's by the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling our hearts. Our nation and world can only be changed via the gospel.  Is Christ our first love?  Are we making evangelism top priority?

An Open Letter to My Denomination: Have We Lost Our First Love?

Four Occasions When You Should Not Respond to a Critic

It is a proven truth that a good preacher will always step on your toes.  That is, you will feel that he is preaching directly to you each and every week.  But there is yet another related truth, everyone has an opinion about how and where the church should be led.  Couple these things and you have ripe conditions for criticism.  Thom Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, encourages leaders that criticism is normal and even warrants reply when the scenario is redeemable.  But as Proverbs repeatedly states, there are times when silence is golden.  Read Rainer's article below.

Four Occasions When You Should Not Respond to a Critic