All Posts (Page 28)

All Posts (Page 28)

The Threefold Newness of Marriage

Weddings are celebrations of love, of commitment, and of hope for the future. But they are also a time to recognize and celebrate newness, even the newness of creation. When you attend a wedding you are witnessing three brand new things: First, you are witnessing the establishment of an entirely new family. Much is often said at weddings about parents not losing a son, but gaining a daughter, or not losing a daughter, but gaining a son. These are true…

What About Your Relatives?

In the New Testament, we find new believers confronting their own family first with the gospel. One writer calls this "oikos evangelism." The word "oikos" means "household" in the language of the New Testament. A model for reaching our families is found in the first encounter Andrew had with Jesus. Read what it motivated him to do: "He found first his own brother Simon [Peter], and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which translated means Christ). He brought…

What Did George Muller Think About the Bible?

George Muller loved orphans. By the end of his life in the late 1800’s, he had housed over 10,000 in Bristol, England. Remarkably, throughout his ministry he made needs known only to God. Muller’s ultimate desire for destitute boys and girls was not just to provide shelter and food, though the children were cared for very well. When sharing his dreams for ministry to orphans, Muller said this: The chief and special end of the Institution will be to seek,…

Exploratory Ministry Trip to Ethiopia

I accompanied CCW’s newest communicator, Selamab Assefa, to Ethiopia from September 20-October 6, 2010. Selamab was born and raised in Ethiopia, but has lived in the United States for the past five years. He is a recent seminary graduate and a member of my church, and his relationships with churches in Ethiopia will seemingly provide decades of ministry opportunities there. (I like to tease him by calling him our “Ethiopian Sensation.”) This first trip to Ethiopia was for ministry, but…

Figuring Out Christian Freedom: What Romans 14 Does and Does Not Say

Have you ever disagreed with another believer about whether or not something was allowable behavior? Your disagreement might have been about whether Christians may, or should not, watch sports on Sundays, watch R-rated movies, or hold jobs where serving alcohol is required. Christians on the “may” side of such disagreements usually argue that these types of activities are not specifically forbidden in the Bible. Christians on the “should not” side either point to a passage of Scripture they believe does…

From First Baptist Church to a House Church

The first church I pastored was a fairly traditional First Baptist Church (FBC). We met in a brick building. The Sunday morning gathering had the largest attendance, and the numbers dropped off significantly on Sunday evening and Wednesday. The sanctuary itself was typical, with pews arranged in rows and a stage at the front with a pulpit and choir loft. Our meetings had Scripture reading, prayers, singing, and preaching, as you might expect. When I arrived, there were 155 people…

Herbert Brown: The Anointed Stutterer

James Alexander Stewart was experiencing enormous success as an evangelist. By the age of 20, he was so sought after that he was preaching four or five times a day. He also filled his hours with evangelism in the streets and in homes. This was too much for a young man to handle alone. Stewart comments about his burden: I began to feel that I needed a co-evangelist to labor with me . . . My heart longed, also, above…

Leaving the Work Undone

One of the saddest notes in biblical history is found in the book of Joshua. The children of Israel were coming into the land that had been promised to them after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. God had set everything up. He put dread into the heart of the people in the land, His usual pre-war tactic. He provided an able leader, Joshua. And He promised, and God’s promise is always enough. It was as good as done.…

Public Debate with Bart Ehrman in Seminaries: A Bad Decision

Last week a debate was held in a close-by conservative seminary between Dr. Bart Ehrman* and another apologist. I won’t mention the name of the school or the apologist, though I am free to, since I hope this little piece will be useful for a variety of situations yet to come. Why is it wrongheaded to set up such a debate with Ehrman in seminary, or, for that matter, any unbelieving skeptic? First, because Ehrman is a false teacher and…

The Conviction of Fleshly Man

You may or may not be aware that Romans 7:14-25 is a controversial passage of Scripture. The controversy centers around Paul’s use of the pronouns “I” and “me,” as well as his use of present tense language, in describing a serious and seemingly futile struggle against sin. Many interpreters insist that Paul’s use of the first person present tense proves that he was describing his own present experience as a Christian, which naturally leads to the conclusion that the passage describes the…

Trusting God Like Muller & Elliff: Our New Approach

A former seminary professor of mine lets me speak in his classes when I’m back on campus. He gives me about 10 minutes to discuss both my church and Christian Communicators Worldwide (CCW). I also give away CCW resources. I concluded my time with one particular class by asking if anyone had questions. Someone wondered how I was paid. At the time, my income included a small stipend per month from the church, support from friends and family, wages from…

What If Churches Started Churches?

I’ve been in some churches that should not take the advice I’m about to give. They are much too weak, or sinful, or distorted in their beliefs and practices to be in the business of starting anything. It would be better for them to concentrate on the simple things, like breathing good spiritual air or eating good biblical food. But good churches should add “church starting” to the list of ingredients that define their health. In the same way that…