Articles

Articles

The Rationale for Wrath

A cartoon depicted Noah’s ark surrounded by desperate people drowning in the water, begging for help. The rains were coming down hard while Noah and his family were safe inside. On the outside of the ark was a “smiley face” with the words, “Smile, God Loves You.” Are you sure God loves everybody? John the Baptist didn’t think so. He said, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not…

Preparing to Be an Amazing Old Man or Woman: Six Motivating Suggestions

Like it or not, if you continue to live, you’ll get old. As you look around at all those ancient people in the grocery store, the golf course, the retirement village and the nursing home, don’t be smug — you’ll be there soon enough. It will do you well to prepare to make those years the best they can be for the glory of God. It’s not uncommon for God to use older people. Take Caleb who fought giants as…

Is Baptism a Requirement for Church Membership?

In our view, baptism and membership in a local church are inseparable, the former necessarily preceding the latter. While baptism is never explicitly said to be a prerequisite for church membership, the following biblical factors lead to that conclusion: Baptism is commanded of every believer.Baptism is an act of obedience, not only on the part of the individual Christian, but on the part of those who are commanded to baptize new disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Disciples who will not submit to…

Suffering and Seeking the Kingdom

Below are some thoughts on Matthew 6 that I wrote one year ago. I sent them to my wife, Rachel, who read them and saved them on the eve of an impossibly difficult year. Today, still in the midst of our darkest suffering, I want to tell you that I have often failed to believe and do what I am encouraging you toward. Rachel sent my words back to me last week, and there they were: staring into my heart,…

Do Hurricanes Just Happen?

Though some postulate that hurricanes are spawned merely by natural causes, this answer is one “cause” too short. The Bible teaches they are first decreed by God. The Psalmist wrote: “Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deep places. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightening for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries” (Psalm 135:6-7). “Is it not…

Music in the Church: How Special Should We Make It?

You could put the entire teaching about church music in the New Testament in a paragraph or two. Add to this teaching those spirited illustrations of corporate singing in heaven displayed in the last book of the Bible, when angels and throngs of people fill the air with thundering six to eight line choruses. When it comes to intentional instruction about music, however, there are really only four passages in the New Testament: Speaking to one another in psalms and…

Spiritual Inventory for Pastoral Visits

Name_______________________________ Date_____________ Spiritual Inventory for Pastoral Visits For systematic pastoral visitation of church members____________________“Warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all men.” 1 Thess. 5:14 “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly, nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the…

This is WHAT Day the Lord Has Made?

This Is WHAT Day the Lord Has Made? Jim Elliff When we quote or sing “This is the day the Lord has made,” we aren’t saying that this very day, the day we are in presently, is the day the Lord has made. That is true, of course, but it isn’t what Psalm 118: 22-24 is about. Rather, something much more important is being said. Read it closely: “The stone which the builders rejectedHas become the chief corner stone.This is…

Asahel Nettleton: The Forgotten Evangelist

The year was 1812. America had just declared war on Great Britain in June and lost its first battle in October. In the midst of that climate, a young, unimpressive minister on his way to an assignment in New York stopped at a church in the community of South Britain, Connecticut.[1] When he was invited to preach, no one could have anticipated the impact his ministry would have, not only on this small church, but also on all the East Coast over the…

Say What You Love About God

May I suggest something of value for you to do that has great returns. It is so simple, yet profound and effective. We all can do it. Here it is: DESCRIBE SOMETHING YOU VALUE ABOUT GOD TO OTHERS. I mean by this to thoughtfully tell somebody what God is like. Portray as colorfully as possible a characteristic of the Father, Son, or Spirit that you value and think is worth being known. A believer who could learn to do this…

Ten Tips for Leading Camp (or Conference, or Retreat) “Reflection” Times

You have some young people assigned to you at camp. An informal gathering for reflection is on the schedule and you are in charge. You’re a little nervous about doing this right. What can you consider doing to give room for the Spirit of God to work in their lives?  Below are suggestions that come out of my experience over years of small group leadership. In fact, they were used recently at a camp each evening during a 45 minute…

Thirty-five Questions for Maturing a Christian Marriage

The following questions are not intended for short answers such as a mere “yes”, but are a means to meaningful discussion between a man and a woman who have vowed to love each other “until death do us part.” Take your time to talk them over. Let the conversation flow. You may answer these questions in any order you wish, or all at one time. Two rules apply: First, be painfully honest. Nothing much has happened to improve marriages without…