Articles

Articles

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…

Giving Up Our Rights

Consider the formula: Giving up rights = Gospel advancement. Rights are those preferences and freedoms we enjoy as Christians related to what we eat, drink and enjoy and even some things that we are owed or deserve. To us in the West, willingly giving these up is an uncomfortable concept. However, in 1 Corinthians 9 we discover that Paul’s main method of evangelistic ministry was focused upon giving up his rights. Three are mentioned explicitly: the right to get married…

Questions for a Prospective Pastor

It is not uncommon for a pastor to be opposed by the very people who at first enthusiastically promoted him. Why? Often it is because only surface communication took place between the potential pastor and the congregation before he assumed his position in the church. In our day it is possible for a pastor to be chosen for a church with almost no serious questions being asked, much less any doctrinal questions. This should never be the case. We suggest…

Taxes and the Day of Salvation

That dreaded day is upon us again, April 15th. When our American fathers stormed the Boston docks, threw out the British tea, and cried, “No taxation without representation,” they could not possibly have imagined what freedom from our mother country would bring. Untold treasure and opportunity, true. But we also have incurred the privilege of paying now over 50% of our income in taxes of an alarming variety. You work half of the year just to do that. Many of…

Burrus the Deacon and the Meaning of Diakonia in the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch

As Ignatius of Antioch made his sunset journey from Antioch to Rome, he passed through the city of Smyrna, stopped in Troas, and continued his journey through Neapolis to Rome. The first four of Ignatius’ letters are the product of the Antiochan overseer’s stay in Smyrna (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, and Romans). The remaining letters were penned in Troas (Philadelphians, Smyrneans, and probably the Letter to Polycarp). Unable to write to all the churches from Troas because of his sudden evacuation…

As It Is In All the World

“. . .the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf. . .”  Colossians 1:5-7 This describes how the gospel came to the people of the city of Colossae. They…

Why do Some Pastors Deliberately Avoid Teaching Doctrine?

I have been involved in leading churches for four decades, with an emphasis on church planting in the last few years. I’ve also visited and addressed hundreds of churches around the world and have had the privilege of meeting thousands of Christian leaders. Through this time I’ve watched an unintentional doctrinal imprecision on the part of many pastors become intentional. In other words, I have witnessed a new “conventional wisdom” emerge. Simply stated it is the “wisdom” of attempting to…

Culture is the Backdrop for the Real Story

Christians, God is infinitely more concerned about the heart, faith, behavior and unity of true believers in our country than the politics, economics, social trends, racial tensions, sexual downgrade, and international relations of the country. But that does not mean these things have no meaning or present no concern at all. We learn about this priority of God for the true church above culture from examining the emphasis of the New Testament during the time when Christianity was not conjoined…

Rebuilding Our Churches with Bible Reading

I’m no prophet, but I believe we may soon see a swelling interest in reading the Bible both together & alone that could rebuild our faltering churches, and improve the good ones. My information is purely anecdotal but substantial. I’m certainly not the only one seeing this tremendous need and trying to do something about it. Perhaps God will use each of us who care about this to repair the crumbling base in these slanderous, corrupt and morally compromised days.…

We Must Live With This

“Let anyone who has no love for the Lord be accursed.” (1 Cor 16:22, NET) This verse seems to dangle there with no immediately apparent connection to what precedes it or follows. Paul placed this thought in the very last handful of sentences in the first letter to the Corinthians. He’s given the readers some final punctuated reminders to end up his long epistle. It has a strength there, even if all alone. But maybe it’s not totally alone. It’s…