LEADERSHIP IN THE CHURCH: NOT LIKE THE GENTILES

Whether you read research out of the National Institutes of Health[1] or simply observe children at play, you will find evidence that humans are hardwired for hierarchy. Consequently, hierarchy feels “natural.” It seems “good.” And if we’ve learned anything from post-modern culture it’s that “It can’t be wrong when it feels so right!”[2] We even have biblical passages to which we can appeal in support of hierarchy. Leadership norms Yet Jesus had a few things to say about hierarchy that don’t line up with what we often see. He didn’t deny it; He just turned it on its head: You [...]

IS YOUR ASSEMBLY A WELCOMING CHURCH?

If you were to ask most people in assemblies today whether they thought their church was welcoming to visitors you would probably get a positive answer. The reality is that for many of us it’s very difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of a first-time visitor. We are so used to seeing what we are so used to seeing that we miss the glaring weaknesses and how we are perceived by visitors. In his book, Becoming A Welcoming Church, Thom Rainer shares some very practical and helpful thoughts on how we can be as welcoming as possible to a first-time [...]

SHOULD CHRISTIANS FAST IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

As we read through the New Testament, particularly the Gospels and Acts, we encounter the practice of fasting which is seldom given much attention in the local churches with which I am familiar. There is nothing particularly mysterious about fasting; it is simply abstaining from eating for a specified period of time. In 1 Corinthians, Paul indicates that a married couple may choose to set aside normal sexual activity during a fast, though this is not required. A fast can be absolute (no food or drink whatsoever) or partial. Most fasts, particularly longer ones, allow water or other clear beverages. [...]

8 WAYS THE ASSEMBLIES CAN GROW IN 2018

Much of my burden comes from my own assembly and the assemblies of close friends.  I long to see us grow in the Lord and be a shining light in the communities we have been placed into.  That doesn’t come without effort and dedication to the leading of the Spirit. As we look to a new year ahead here are 8 ways I see the assemblies moving forward and making progress.  I pray that these become a vital part of every assembly in 2018. 1. A fresh surrender to the Holy Spirit This is not the first point by accident. [...]

SHOULD CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?

At this time of year stores start playing Christmas songs, lights go up on houses, trees are set up with lots of decorations and people start planning their holiday schedule and meals. Many churches hold special services, choir concerts and some put nativity scenes out front. It’s also the time of year when many Christians criticize those who celebrate the Lord’s birth. Some will even accuse them of being pagan worshipers. Many who do not celebrate Christmas look down on those who do as being swept away by worldliness and commercialism. In some ways they have a point. Christmas can become an [...]

CAN YOU BE GODLY WITHOUT ATTENDING THE CHURCH MEETINGS?

In my last article, I spoke about the tendency to equate attendance with godliness. When we become too rigid in our view of how the meetings of the church should function we lose sight of the greater goal of growth within the body of Christ. On the other hand, there is in our society a general lack of commitment towards things that are of ultimate value. We firmly believe that the church is founded upon the Word of God and it gives us several key reasons why we should meet together. Not just a social club At its very core the [...]

GOD, PLEASE STOP THE RAIN

I’m sure by now you, dear reader, are aware of the natural disaster in Houston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey rained down so much water that it is best described as “Biblical” in proportion. A great many people were evacuated prior to the storm’s landfall, but a great many more were advised to stock up and ride out the rain. Areas categorized as “no-flood” zones were assumed to be safe. My sister, Sarah, and her husband and four small children live in just such a zone. They went to sleep Saturday night, listening to the rainfall, and thanking the Lord for their [...]

FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF JOSEPH

Author Kent Nerburn once wrote, “It is much easier to become a father than to be one.” As Father’s Day approaches, I’m ever mindful of my shortcomings as a dad. Thankfully, God hasn’t left us to figure things out for ourselves; the Scriptures are ripe with wonderful (and not so wonderful) fatherly examples. Whether or not one has actually fathered children, godly men can be fatherly examples to the assembly. Joseph, the adoptive father of the Lord Jesus, is a wonderful example to all Christian fathers and would-be fathers. Although not a word of dialogue is recorded of Joseph, his [...]

LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY

The scene is the garden of Gethsemane the evening before Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus prays alone, sweating great drops of blood. He returns to His disciples and finds them sleeping. He admonishes Peter, “What, could you not watch with me an hour? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(Matthew 26:40) What could you not watch with me one hour? What a piercing indictment! Weakness in Prayer Often I am like Peter. In my self-confidence, I’m not against praying, but I also don’t comprehend what is at stake nor the extent [...]

ACHIEVING SUCCESS IN LIFE

I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) Talent is a funny thing. There are people loaded with it who don’t succeed, and the opposite is also true. Thomas Edison once quipped, “ Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” That might be how it worked out for him, but what about all those who perspire and expire [...]