All Posts (Page 29)

All Posts (Page 29)

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…

What is Gained by Removing Members from Church Rolls?

This article provides motivation to do what God requires of us. Doug leads a church in Excelsior Springs, Missouri called  Pisgah Baptist. I wish all churches with bloated rolls would follow Mt. Pisgah’s lead. May their tribe increase. Jim Elliff Recently we reached an important milestone for our congregation. Since my arrival as Pastor of Pisgah Baptist Church nearly five years ago, I’ve formally and informally preached toward a proper understanding of what it means to be the Body of…

The Reluctant Mother: Amy Carmichael

We can’t always identify life-changing moments as they occur. When a little Indian girl named Preena crawled into Amy Carmichael’s lap and called her “Amma” (or “mother” in Tamil) for the first time, neither of them could have known that this simple act would change both their lives forever, and the lives of hundreds of others. Amy Carmichael was born in Ireland in 1867, the oldest of seven children. She was a feisty child whose longing for excitement often got…

Training Men

[Below is an article written by the elders of Christ Fellowship on how we seek to develop men in our church. Our church is made up of several home congregations, each led by an elder. This provides a structure to mentor men that is natural and effective. In fact, it is our commitment to mentor every man in the church! If your church is not set up this way, you may find other ways to subdivide the church in order…