All Posts (Page 2)

All Posts (Page 2)

Pastors Moving to Other Churches: Why?

There is no biblical record of a pastor leaving one established church to become a pastor of another. This is clearly seen in the starting of new churches. The biblical precedent was for a new church to start without any official leadership. Outside of the Jerusalem church where the apostles were the first leaders, I’m not aware of any church in the New Testament starting with a pastor in place. This may come as a surprise to many, but it…

Incorporation into Christ: The Mystery in Ephesians

I was a teenager when I experienced my first revelation as a reader of Paul’s letters. It was as if Ananias had once again stepped off the street called Straight and opened my eyes. What I saw was very simple and (I have since found out) already discovered by many before me: Paul wrote very often about Jew-born and Gentile-born believers and how they become a unified church through the gospel. “So that’s why he talks so much about things…

35 Reasons Not To Sin

Because a little sin leads to more sin. Because my sin invites the discipline of God. Because the time spent in sin is forever wasted. Because my sin never pleases but always grieves God who loves me. Because my sin places a greater burden on my spiritual leaders. Because in time my sin always brings heaviness to my heart. Because I am doing what I do not have to do. Because my sin always makes me less than what I…

My Darkest Night; Hopefully Not Yours

At 3:30 a.m., I awoke to a black room, so dark that my eyes could not see even one inch away, much less to the other side. The simple room in a Romanian home in Brasov had one of those metal external shades that is lowered over the window, capable of completely deleting light. I was in the darkest place I had been in perhaps for years. And, since it was night and I was alone in the house, I…

What Did Jesus Mean by “The Broad Way?”

In the Sermon on the Mount, the broad way that leads to destruction is the external religious way. The narrow way is the way Jesus taught. This is seen particularly in the “antitheses” section in Mt. 5. For instance, the broad way is fulfilling the command, “You shall not murder,” but the narrow way is found in Jesus’ statement: “but I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother is guilty . . .” Or again, “You shall not…

In A Body

What did the writers of the New Testament mean when they claimed that Jesus Christ was resurrected? It certainly was not that he only appeared to be resurrected when in fact it did not happen. That is, resurrection to these writers did not mean that he appeared in some apparitional way, or some imaginary way, or some spiritualized way similar to the kind of thing a person might say about a deceased relative (i.e. “Mother is here with us whenever…

Reading Scripture Before Your Message

It may not seem that important to read well Scripture that you plan to expound, but you are mistaken on this account: You have failed to see that Scripture is the most important thing about your message! As I’ve grown older in the ministry, I’ve come to see that Scripture read well is a potent way to impact your audience for good. “Give much attention to the public reading of Scripture,” Paul said. Try these ideas for better listening: 1.      …

Reformation or Revival?

If you have been around me very long, you have heard me emphasize that the crying need, the absolutely desperate need of the hour, is reformation. You have also been aware that for years I have also longed for revival. Recently I was asked what the difference actually is, if any, between revival and reformation. This is an important question worthy of your precious time to think it through. Though many are blinded to the current dilemma, the fact is…

When Pastors Aren’t Able to Pastor

The church is medium-sized in attendance, yet, on paper the membership roll is even larger. Its solo pastor is a frustrated man. There are some good days, and certainly some fine people who encourage him, but he’s frustrated because the job God called him to do just cannot be done. He has many people to tend to, numbers of which are missing, and even those who are present are more than any average man could possibly care for—that is, really care for. So,…

An Appeal to Churches to Use Bibles

I’ll never forget my shock the first time I attended a Bible-less church. My kind of church was a Bible-teaching one and Bibles were standard operating equipment. The last word I heard as I got in the car to drive to church was, “Jimmy, do you have your Bible?” A child might forget his belt or socks, but never his Bible. Just as dutifully, the church children found their mothers after the church meeting to load her up with their…

Elders’ Meetings that Do Something

Elders’ meetings should not be an exercise in futility. Rather, to be effective for the church and interesting for the elders, some thought must be put into your time together. Some suggestions: 1. Plan for meeting together more often and for a longer period of time.      We find meeting for at least three hours weekly is about right. For us now, we meet from 5:30-8:30 a.m.Even then we find that we want more time. In fact, for quite…

The Gospel and Divine Visitation—An Indivisible Union

It was spring in 1630. A few ladies were traveling through the Scottish countryside near Shotts when their carriage broke down. Thankfully the minister of the Kirk of Shotts, John Home, was able to assist them in their predicament. Struck with the poor condition of his manse, these wealthy Christian ladies determined to build another one for this kind man. Naturally, the grateful Home asked if he could do anything in exchange for their generosity. The ladies asked if they…