Articles

Articles

The Faithful Rural Church

I have a deep respect for the rural churches. I’ve been in many that have retained their vibrancy and usefulness for 100 years or longer. Don’t underestimate the potential of such churches. God may very well pass over the clever church for the faithful one. It would be like God to surprise us by awaking rural churches and pouring out his blessing in them once again as he did in the past. He delights to make the weak strong. Rural…

Seen by the Unseen

“For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths.” Proverbs‬ 5:21‬ Perhaps you do not consider the implications of being watched. Among the panoply of spiritual beings said to see into our world, none is more pervasive, interested and involved than God himself. Everything is in his preview, without any strain to his perception or cognitive reach. This means that we are never truly alone. As really as a person who is standing…

Not Much to Be Thankful For

Table Mountain reigns over Cape Town, South Africa. When we first got sight of it from the highway, we were unable to take our eyes off of its stately, presiding presence. Its abrupt cliffs, rising up out of Cape Town on the oceanfront etched its postcard beauty in our minds. As you see, I can get rather poetic about it. But . . . Not everybody sees it this way. My first child was with us in the back seat…

Authenticating Glory in Scripture

Though the Scripture may be shown to be trustworthy by many historical and logical proofs, it is essentially received as true because of the revelation of God’s glory experienced through it. Just as nature reveals God (Rom 1:19-21), and some receive or reject his glory, so man receives or rejects the glory of God in Scripture. In other words, a man sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking a majestic display of nature has every reason to believe in…

Stop Talking So Much…And Other Tips for Leading a Small Group Bible Study

I meet with a small group of men once a week early in the morning primarily to study the Bible. We read and dialogue about a portion of Scripture. Typically, we walk through one Bible book at a time, examining a section each week. Though I am the leader, I almost never prepare for this meeting. I am a firm believer in preparation; it’s just that this meeting is different. I arrive ready to open our Bibles, to read the…

What It Means To Love Christ

Do you love Christ? Let’s start to answer that question by asking another: Is love something you feel, or something you do? Love is undoubtedly seen in action, even when feelings are fugitive. We all believe we should obey the Lord even if our heart isn’t necessarily warm toward him. Surely we are living in love when we rule against our negative emotions in order to obey. A missionary says he loves Christ as he goes to serve others, but…

SBC Recovery

The SBC must recover a high view of the meaning of conversion and membership, and must bring back or expel non-attenders through a loving and thoughtful process. We must pursue the doctrinal understanding and biblical practices necessary to overcome the remaining membership bloat, and the ongoing increase of unregenerate membership. We have much to be thankful for—for instance, the quality and training of young leaders is the best I remember it. Yet, we must address unregenerate membership—or we die. It’s…

It Isn’t About Me

When you meet with the body of believers in which God by his sometimes secret design has put you, remember this great truth: it’s not about “me.” You don’t gather mainly about you, but them. “Let all things be done for edification,” Paul said. That is, do all you do together for the building up of others. Amazingly, you will be most edified yourself if you think of the body of Christ in this way. And, it may well lead…

Check Your Guns at the Door: Responding Like Christians to Social Media, Blogs and Web Forums

Those of us who have a ministry of writing are usually pretty tough folks. Many of us have been in the combat zone for quite a while and can take almost anything that is said by readers of our articles. This short plea to social media, blog and forum participants is more about my embarrassment for all of us who are web-interactive Christians than it is for my own hide. In short, I’m appealing for etiquette characteristic of believers in…

Pain to Gain for Others

Muslim extremists murdered Ayub’s grandmother on one of the many islands of Indonesia. We stayed in the home of this warmhearted Christian leader. He serves as an elder for the church meeting in a home nearby. We loved this brother and his wife immediately and shared some really happy moments together in Christ. But, Ayub’s life was a troubled one at first. When he was a teenage boy, as a consequence of declared Jihad, Muslim zealots insisted that everyone on…

A Common but Misguided Perception

It is misguided and a dangerous misconception to base God’s acceptance of you on your worthiness, or attempt to comfort others with the concept that, “underneath it all, you are actually beautiful in character, and therefore truly deserving of God’s love.” Why? 1. You aren’t, and the Bible makes that very clear. Though all people are created in the image of God, all of us are sinful, abusing our status, both by nature and behavior and are therefore deserving of…

Christian, Rethink Your Public Speech

Believer, if you truly relish a life of turmoil, public anger, boiling arguments, caustic debates and throwing out verbal darts like porcupine quills, you will genuinely help the cause of Christ by not identifying publicly as a Christian. I’m serious. We are in desperate need of Christian wisdom, but not barbaric untamed and undignified rhetoric. It’s doing us no good. Try this test of your speech first: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of…