This month we will be inducting new members into the most honored body the world has ever known: the church of Jesus Christ. The initiation fee for this club is so high that no human could have ever paid it; God himself had to pick up the tab. The benefits of the club never expire. The fellowship of the club is unmatched; you receive intimate access to the Lord himself (Jo...Keep Reading
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“What did you think about the sermon?” That’s a question you will frequently hear if you attend Grace Church. Perhaps you heard it from the preacher after the Sunday morning service or from one of our members. If you are a member, then this is not a strange question to you. You look forward to both hearing it and asking it, and you delight in the conversation that follows. But if you have never been asked this question, you may treat it as a social courtesy, and feel compelled to say something polite. It is possible that if you have the unbiblical notion that the gathering of the saints in corporate worship is all about ‘customer service’, then you might interpret that question as our desire as ‘service providers’ to know whether you as a consumer of spiritual goodies, were satisfied with the Sunday morning ‘experience’ or not. This is not our intention. This question, while intentional is not our way of assessing whether you will come back next week or not. This is a matter of deliberate discipleship....
The matter calls for our attention. For Christians are, first and foremost, a hearing people (Deuteronomy 6:4; Romans 10:17). And how we hear will determine, over time, whether the word we hear is devoured by the devil, scorched by trials, choked by cares, or nourished by God into abundant fruit (Mark 4:1...
Criticizing the church can come easily, especially in an age like ours. Though many of us are aware of the dangers of consumer Christianity, few of us escape its influence entirely. I know I can find myself slipping into an attitude of detached critique, rating sermons, music, and small groups as if I were reviewing a blender on Amazon. Alongside our consumerism, we live in a time when criticizing the church is fashionable. A subtle contempt, even in some Christian circles, garners respect. We are the jaded and disillusioned, those who inwardly roll our eyes at Christian clichés and anything that smacks of churchy strictness. When unbelievers share their grievances with “organized religion,” sometimes we offer little more than a sympathetic nod. Whether it arises from consumerism or cynicism, however, such a critical spirit toward the church of God appears nowhere in the New Testament....
In the midst of struggle, the Christian does well to remind themselves of the gospel comforts of Scripture. There is peace to be had and love to enjoy. Our Heavenly Father ever extends His grace to us. The Christian also does well to take to heart gospel encouragements. We desire to pursue Christ and work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). As we ...Keep Reading
In his book The Forgotten Fear, Albert Martin lists eight "specific directives for maintaining and increasing the fear of God in our hearts." What follows are his eight directives along with summaries of each point in his own words (lightly tweaked). ...Keep Reading
Most of our resolutions are aimed at changing certain things about ourselves. Here are 10 questions to ask of resolutions (whatever time of year they're made) to ensure we're being gospel-centered in our approach to change....Keep Reading
There's been a lot of talk in the blogosphere this year about the rise of "celebrity pastors" with "rock-star status" and the larger-than-life influence of popular conference speakers whose sermons are downloaded by the thousands. Some have openly decried this development; others are glad that at least pastors are being celebrated. Most of us are somewhere in the middle....Keep Reading
What is doctrine? In its basic sense, doctrine is any sort of teaching. The Bible, for example, talks about the teachings of men (Mark 7:7...Keep Reading
One of the greatest needs of our dark times is for the Christian church to regain her true identity and character. To understand what the church is designed to be, the best place to inquire is at its founding in the time of the apostles. "And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42)....Keep Reading
Scripture teaches us to love our neighbor (Leviticus 19:18), and Jesus in his famous story makes the point that our neighbor is whatever person God has placed right in front of us (Luke 10:29...Keep Reading
When the heat of our neighbor's sin singes our conscience and our own creeps in on us, we often respond in fear, cynicism, and hopelessness. This is why we can sing lines like "prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love" with great ease, yet still find it hard to believe God can actually take "my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above....Keep Reading
The answer is that the Bible presents a person as a substance that can do personal and relational things (such as speaking, thinking, feeling, acting). Something that does these personal things in relationship...Keep Reading