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
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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....
Spending an hour with 10 two-year-olds every Sunday may not stretch your preaching skills, but it might just be what the Lord uses to make you a more compassionate and faithful church member in the present and church leader in the future. Nursery service is a great way to grow to love the children in your church...
Christians have a long tradition of referring to elders and deacons as church “officers.” The nomenclature rightly recognizes the role and responsibilities that Scripture gives to our leaders. It also points to the honor due to pastors (1 Tim. 5:17). People show respect to officers, right? I don’t want to downplay any of this. But . . . church membership is an office, too. It’s a job that comes with authority and responsibility. We can call a lieutenant an “officer” without diminishing the honor due to a general. What’s at stake here is not just academic, but pastoral and biblical....
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
We are not as strong in the faith as we think we are. Peter had to find out the hard way when he denied Jesus three times (John 18:15-27). Peter the 'rock' crumbled like a cookie before a slave girl on the night that Jesus was betrayed. And yet we are told that he repented of his failure and was restored by Jesus himself in John 21:15-19. He repented because Jesus prayed f...Keep Reading
All Christians are made differently, but we're also made to work together. As an individual believer you may be a foot or a finger or a follicle, but you are part of a body, the church, and it is as part of that body that you're most yourself...Keep Reading