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Southern Baptists, an Unregenerate Denomination

“How are you doing?” “Pretty well, under the circumstances.” “What are the circumstances?” “Well, I have a very effective arm. It moves with quite a bit of animation. But then I have my bad leg.” “What’s wrong with it?” “I guess it’s paralyzed. At least it doesn’t do much except twitch once a week or so. But that’s nothing compared with the rest of me.” “What’s the problem? “From all appearances, the rest is dead. At least it stinks and…

Christ’s Headship in the Church: The Neglected First Principle of Decision-making

I may seem naïve and overly simplistic when I say that Christ is the Head of the church and that this one fact, properly understood, will do more to clear up confusion over decision-making in the church than any other consideration. From this truth we are able to deduce that elders and members have one goal in decision-making—to find out what the Head of the church wills for His church. I don’t think most church leaders think this way. Starting…

Five Resolves for Personal Revival

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 (NAS) Do you wish to be an instrument in the hands of God? Do you want to see God’s power at work through you? Do you long for your…

Giving Our Books Away: Your Letter From Jim

Since I wrote you last, we’ve made a big decision as a ministry. We’ve decided that we will give our books and other materials away gratis. Below is an explanation we have posted online. I hope you will not only read it, but will also order those items you wish to read and to use strategically for the expanse and maturing of Christ’s kingdom. In this way, we share in your lives and ministry to others, and you in ours. Together…

The Abiding Life is the True Christian Life

The abiding life is the true Christian life. Jesus said, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15:6) John 15 gives us the pattern for spiritual growth and effectiveness as believers. In the passage, we are called branches, Christ is the vine, and the Father is the vinedresser. What are the characteristics of authentic branches?…

When Ball Becomes Baal

It’s rare to see kids playing sports in the neighborhood anymore. We’re now organized and “professionalized”—including uniforms, state-of-the-art facilities, endless trips to the field, competitive coaches, equally competitive parents, and the after-season tournaments designed to give parents “bleacher bottom.” In addition, you’ve got to pay to play—and when you’ve paid that much, you’ll be sure to play. It is also fun, and it can be instructive. I love to watch my kids play sports. In fact, they need to play—some.…

Thinking Biblically and Strategically About Inter-Church Relationships

I am focused in this article on “inter-church” relationships, not “intra-church” relationships. There is a significant difference. An online dictionary (www.dictionary.com) gives this information: “Inter– is a common prefix that means between or among groups,” whereas, “intra– is a prefix which means within or inside one group.” So the content to follow is not about relationships within a single church (intra-), but relationships between multiple churches (inter-).  My church is part of a fellowship of churches that meets annually for…

A Three-legged Stool: All Sides of God’s Salvation Process

Election by a sovereign God was one of the mainstay doctrines in the preaching used by God during great days of awakening. During the revival ministry of Asahel Nettleton (1783-1844) more than 25,000 were converted, principally in the New England area. According to John Thornbury this figure would be about 600,000 if percentaged to our present population.1 Nettleton, for one, did not shrink back from proclaiming a God who elected. The following vignette comes from the book on his life…

Closing With Christ: Rethinking What Has Become Sacrosanct

When modern evangelical churches seek to bring the unregenerate to Christ (and they should do so with passion), they often fall prey to a formula which produces disappointing results. The pattern runs something like this: Extending a public altar call Praying “the sinner’s prayer” Giving immediate verbal assurance that one is in Christ on the basis of the sinner’s sincerity and the accuracy of the wording of the prayer Immediate, or near immediate, public announcement that this person is now…

How to Find a Wife

The proverb says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). But wisdom also tells us that one should seek this blessing from the Lord at the appropriate time and in a godly way. Many Christians enter the dating scene while they are still in their teens. This practice is fully endorsed, and even expected, by a society that holds a completely inadequate understanding of what it actually means for a…

Seven Ways to Get Smart About Kids’ Toys This Christmas

If you have plastic up to your gills, or if you want to be more frugal about gifts, or even if you enjoy using what God has given you in a redeeming way, you may appreciate these ideas this Christmas: Gather up as many bags of used toys as possible to put into circulation. Relatives or a church friend might need some of your toys for their younger children. Local organizations like foster care associations, rescue missions, or pregnancy resource…

Fiscal Hilarity

It would be difficult to imagine any giver doing so often or generously without joy in doing it. I began to be curious about giving early on. In fact, I can still picture the book on giving that my mother read to me, one of only two children’s books I remember. My first book on George Muller, the man who fed and clothed over 10,000 orphans, made the deepest impression. I was drawn into a lifestyle that was so attractive…