All Posts (Page 2)

All Posts (Page 2)

Pastors and Salary

It is very likely, despite the admonition to the Ephesians to support their pastors, that the New Testament church elders covered their needs principally through other means as they led house churches. Surely, as Paul appointed elders in nascent churches, he did not arrange a salary package along with the assignment. Only a few hundred years later, as church life was institutionalized, did churches with buildings and larger memberships have enough funds to give salaries to some of their pastors…

Memorized Scripture: An Aid to Ministry, Sometimes in Surprising Ways

Awhile back, I finished memorizing Philippians. Since that time, I have tried to keep those four chapters memorized — a harder task than I imagined! Also in the days after memorizing this little book, I have had three unexpected experiences that have shown me that memorizing Scripture is even more beneficial for church leaders than I might have originally thought. The first unexpected experience happened during an elders’ meeting. We were discussing an issue in the church when one of…

How We Use Our Statement of Faith

Churches have historically used confessions or statements of faith in order to summarize and clearly identify what they believe. Many historical confessions have been preserved, and are used by churches to this day. Instead of adopting an historical confession, we have chosen to use the following summary of biblical doctrine, entitled Holding Fast the Word of Life, as our statement of beliefs. Listed below are several important things you should understand about the purpose of our statement of faith, and…

Upon the Gibbous Moon

Upon the Gibbous MoonJim Elliff Upon the gibbous moonThe ward was lighted, clean;Outside were dark and gloomAnd aggravated fiends. “Now he, the boy, is born,”They said in muffled tones,Their face in furtive scornAnd gurgling up their moans Sweet mother rests her head,With evanescent smiles;Awhile she lay in bed,Who birthed the precious child. The child was gently placedInto his mother’s arms,Though all the vicious racedTo plot the baby’s harm And then, first signs were found And ancient lines reviewedThe entry first…

Some Comments on the Wretched Man in Romans 7

Romans 7:13-25 is a difficult passage, but many concerns vanish when chapters 6 and 7 are analyzed together. Four questions are answered that arise in the Jewish mind related to grace and Law (Rom 5:20-21). This is in a section principally addressed to Jew-born believers, but not without benefits for the Gentile believer. Each of the questions are answered by “absolutely not!”. Here they are: 1. Are we to continue in sin that grace may increase? Absolutely not!….Paul uses the…

Always Present: A Letter From Jim

Always LordAlmighty Jim Elliff O God, my ever present helpIn floods of pain and trouble,You are my refuge and my strength,Though earth’s foundations crumble.Always present, Always helping,Always Lord Almighty! O God, in You I cannot fear,Though mountains fall around me,Though waters of adversityThat roar and foam surround me.Always present, Always helping,Always Lord Almighty! O God, while kingdoms rage,My secret doubts may overtake me.But You are here; I will not fall;At break of day You’ll save me.Always present, Always helping,Always Lord…

Solomon’s Lust

Egypt’s Shishak “took away all the treasures of the house of the Lord,” and of the King’s house during Rehoboam’s reign, next in line after Solomon — an incredible take considering his father Solomon’s massive wealth. Add this to the fact that the ten tribes above Jerusalem split from Rehoboam when he took his position as king. By the time of Shishak’s theft, we have catapulted from the amazing wealth and expanse of Solomon, to a divided kingdom devoid of…

Walking to Death: Isaac and Jesus

How beautifully and intricately the Old Testament prefigures Christ. I read the following words concerning Abraham and Isaac walking to the mountain where Isaac was to be slain. Some, not all, believe this to be the same mount where the Temple was later to be built and close to the very place where Jesus was later crucified. “Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire…

Another Concerning Report About SBC Churches

If you were a pastor of a church of 80 members, with 23-24 people attending on average each Sunday, would you say the church is healthy (or 800 members with 230-240 attending)? If 4 or so of those 23-24 were not members, but children or guests, how would that affect your view of the health of the church? What if more than a third of those 23-24 didn’t attend any small group? I’ve just described the SBC churches (and some…

A Merciful Awakening, Please Lord

Though one can in some ways understand the desire to be inclusive (without expecting repentance) in the name of love as espoused in most mainline churches, it is a sad pattern that has emerged by that conviction —- the more inclusive they have become, the more they disintegrate. This pattern has been almost painful to watch, as literally millions have left these churches while they press on to disregard the true exclusivity of the gospel, that is, the good news…

Don’t Let God Rob You

The music was quietly playing before the offertory when my brother Tom stepped up solemnly to the podium and uttered these words: “Don’t let God rob you.” There was a pause. Clearly he was in a hard place. He had misspoken, but he wasn’t one who liked to admit such blunders at such moments in those days. He had said it very deliberately. I know, you would have said, “Whoops! I meant, ‘Don’t rob God.” Not Tom. His strengths were…

Let Us Resolve This . . . A Few Thoughts About Personal Resolutions

As this year draws to a close and the prospect of a new year reminds us again that time marches on, many will see the turning of the calendar as a their annual stimulus for personal change. Those who are stirred in this way will often try to make January 1st the day to make significant and hopefully lasting improvements in health or physical fitness, or in the area of personal or spiritual disciplines. We have come to call these…