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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…

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…

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…

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…

Seriousness In Children and Teens

It is increasingly obvious that children and young people in many evangelical churches are anything but serious about Christ. There are notable exceptions, but in many churches a cursory look at the behavioral signals put out by the young people reveal a profound disinterest. On the one hand there is a sort of giddiness and silliness by some who believe that church is there only to provide them a place for enjoying friends and impressing the opposite sex. On the…

Personal Evangelism Under New Testament Scrutiny: Becoming a Biblical Presenter

Our evangelism, on the main, begs for a complete makeover, and leaders are tirelessly inventive in the ways they are attempting to do that. They are as frantically creative as cutting edge businesses, and not at all ashamed of comparing themselves to them. You will find the Bible way down on the list of books about evangelistic strategy, even in most seminaries. This is so not only in corporate evangelism, but sadly, this is true concerning personal evangelistic methods as…

35 Reasons Not To Sin

Because a little sin leads to more sin. Because my sin invites the discipline of God. Because the time spent in sin is forever wasted. Because my sin never pleases but always grieves God who loves me. Because my sin places a greater burden on my spiritual leaders. Because in time my sin always brings heaviness to my heart. Because I am doing what I do not have to do. Because my sin always makes me less than what I…

When Pastors Aren’t Able to Pastor

The church is medium-sized in attendance, yet, on paper the membership roll is even larger. Its solo pastor is a frustrated man. There are some good days, and certainly some fine people who encourage him, but he’s frustrated because the job God called him to do just cannot be done. He has many people to tend to, numbers of which are missing, and even those who are present are more than any average man could possibly care for—that is, really care for. So,…

The Gospel and Divine Visitation—An Indivisible Union

It was spring in 1630. A few ladies were traveling through the Scottish countryside near Shotts when their carriage broke down. Thankfully the minister of the Kirk of Shotts, John Home, was able to assist them in their predicament. Struck with the poor condition of his manse, these wealthy Christian ladies determined to build another one for this kind man. Naturally, the grateful Home asked if he could do anything in exchange for their generosity. The ladies asked if they…

Why Churches Lose Members

A church might lose members because its leaders are burdened with a new direction the people are unwilling to travel. Or, it might lose members because of natural calamities or factory closings. Perhaps the demographics of the community have changed, such as in rural areas where land that once used to be teeming with large families is now controlled by farming conglomerates. But often a church will lose members for less noble reasons. Some people will tell you to just…

The Heart of Family Reformation

When our children were younger we began the day with the hymn we are currently memorizing. When Laura was five, she sang for all of us the second verse of “I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” by the Yale president of the late 1700s, Timothy Dwight. With a determined look, she sang out, I love Thy church, O God. Her walls before Thee stand. Dear as the apple of Thine eye, And gravy on Thy hand. My boys collapsed on the…