July 1, 2020
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Church growth strategies have been named many things by many pastors. Others call it “vision casting” others call it being “purpose driven” and others merely call it what it is….pragmatism. I came across these ten interesting myths that made me chuckle:
1. If You’re Not Growing, Something’s Wrong
If growth and a bigger crowd is “always” the result of obedience then some of the OT prophets will have some serious explaining to do.
Of course, if you’re not growing—or you’re declining—I think it is cause to evaluate what you’re doing, but it’s not a given that something is always “wrong.”
God could be doing something different—more Jeremiah and less Peter…
2. The More You Grow, the Healthier You Are
We would love to believe this one. It certainly feels good to have a bigger crowd. There’s a built-in justification for ministry leaders when more people show up, I know. However, just because your church has more people attending doesn’t mean your church is completely healthy. In fact, it might be cause to closely evaluate the message the crowd is hearing…
3. Contemporary Music Will Save Your Church
It can help at times—depending on the community and the people you’re trying to reach—but it’s not always a help. In fact, sometimes it’s an obstacle.
Changing your music and the feel of your worship gathering should have a reason bigger than, “We want to reach young people!” or, “We want to stay hip.” Hopefully, the music you sing is an authentic expression of your distinct makeup as both a church and a community and not a grasp at straws for church growth. …Read More!
May 12, 2020
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A friend of mine posted these basic doctrine questions on Facebook and I thought they are interesting. Try and see how many you can answer and then scroll to the bottom of the page for the answers:
Questions About God and Christ (Answer True or False)
1. Jesus was God, but only appeared to be human.
2. Jesus was the first of all God’s created beings.
3. Jesus had a human body and divine soul.
4. In the Old Testament, God was known as the Father, in the New Testament, as the Son, and after Pentecost, as the Holy Spirit.
5. Mary is the mother of God.
6. God chooses people because he knows in advance they will choose him. …Read More!
Sangomas, Umthandazeli and Umprofethi are common names used in South Africa for the local go-betweens or witchdoctors that mere mortals need to approach so as to discern the will and favour of God.
In this episode, Blaque Nubon of The Gospel Coalition Africa (TGC Africa) digs deeper into the practice of witchcraft and use of these go-betweens and how ingrained it is in many churches in Africa. Saneliswe Jobodwana tells of her testimony and journey to grace and true freedom in Christ as she speaks about witchcraft in the church.
March 19, 2020
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In 1939 when King George had to muster some courage and give his Christmas speech – as the second world war loomed heavily over the future of Great Britain, Europe and the world, he borrowed the words of a poem written in 1912.
The poem had actually been first published just two years before the first world war. Interestingly it is so suitable for such a time as ours when now with the COVID-19 virus pandemic we see a foggy darkness descend and grip the world and life as we know it appears to be coming to a slow distressing ebb for the 21st-century millennial. For such a time as this…
“The Gate of the year” also titled ‘God Knows’:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
December 5, 2019
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At Christmas the time of the year when most people are setting up nativity scenes not many set up a bloodied cross or an empty tomb to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ yet his birth goes hand in hand with his death. Only true Christians know the immense and infinite significance of Christ’s death…He came as a lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. He came to die!
Imagine Christ, the sin bearer, approaching that hour…the hour of his appointed death. Is that a “Christmasy” thought? You bet! It gets better when you understand the reason why his death was was necessary.
Horatius Bonar puts it this way…
The feelings of the trembling sinner, when awakened under the terrors of the divine law, and made alive to the hell of sin within him, may help to give us some faint idea of the way in which the burden of our sins pressed upon Christ. It is true He had no sin—not the shadow of sin upon Him, for He was the Holy One; yet He speaks always of our sins as if they were His own, as if He had committed them. He felt under them just as if they were His own. He was perfectly holy, yet so closely were our sins bound upon Him by God, that He felt the pressure just as if they were His own.
Being our substitute, God dealt with Him as such—as if the sins He bore had really been His, not ours. Being thus in the eye of the law identified with those whose sins He bore, He was made to feel what they would have been doomed to feel, had God left them to reap themselves the fruit of their own transgressions. This awful burden He bore alone. He had none to aid Him; none to relieve Him of any part of its overwhelming pressure. There was none that could assist Him. There was none to divide the burden with Him; nor to uphold Him under it. “My lovers and my friends stand aloof…and my kinsmen stand afar off.” They all forsook Him and fled. And, as He bare it alone, so He bare it fully. …Read More!
December 2, 2019
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This is an old humorous clip. It features a Baptist Church singing about Christmas (Er, plus 12 Doctrines that their pastor taught them). The kids seem to learn an earful in one seating…Please, sing along! 🙂
August 29, 2019
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Nine Marks has an interesting article on why you should become a church member and even when you have an excuse for not joining one church you must look for another and BECOME A COMMITTED CHURCH MEMBER. Check this out….
REASONS TO JOIN THE CHURCH
These more deliberate conversations veer back and forth between the biblical and the practical. Typically, I generally encourage a person to join the church
# For the sake of the pastors. It lets the pastors know who you are, and makes them responsible for you (see Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:17).
# For the sake of obedience to Jesus. Jesus did not give you the keys of the kingdom for binding and loosing. He gave the keys to the apostolic local church (Matt. 16:13-20; 18:15-20). You don’t have the authority to baptize yourself or feed yourself the Lord’s Supper. It requires a church to affirm your profession of faith, which is what membership is at its very heart (see Acts 2:38).
# For the sake of other believers. Joining makes you responsible for one local congregation, and they for you. You now own or have a share in their discipleship to Christ. That is, you are now responsible for their growth and professions of faith, insofar as you are responsible for the church’s faithful gospel preaching (Gal. 1) and that individual’s discipline (Matt. 18:15-20; 1 Cor. 5).
August 22, 2019
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M and J were a missionary couple who were working in Uganda. (Story was first posted in Feb 2013) Every week they sent updates on their progress with evangelism in the community or the growth of the local church and new orphanage that they are setting up. Some times there were moments of deep heart ache (especially when the gospel was rejected) but nothing lightened up my heart with a good old laugh than this particular week’s ‘veggie tale’. Apparently not every thing that is green and leafy is lettuce:
The Mistake – (J writing) While at the trading center on Saturday, I saw two ladies sitting on the veranda of a little restaurant with bags of green leaves for sale. The leaves were a lovely shade of green, and I thought I should buy some of them and take them back for our orphan children to eat. I asked the ladies how much one bag would cost, and they replied, “It is seven hundred shillings.” That seemed a little high to me for greens so I went into the little restaurant and gave out some more tracts and asked the owner (who happened to be a lady that I knew quite well) how much a little bag should cost. She said that 700 shillings was the usual price. So I went back outside and started digging in my purse for the money. I was going to buy 7 bags to take home so there would be enough for all of the children to enjoy. As I was digging in my purse, the lady inside the restaurant called out, “Who are you buying that for?” I replied that I wanted to take it back for the children at home. “What children?” she asked. …Read More!
August 20, 2019
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If you have never heard of Samuel Zwemer, he was one of the first American long term missionaries to…wait for it…the Arab world of the Middle East. He sought to go about God’s mission aspiring not to be famous but to be faithful:
Some missionaries are known for their great fruit, their many converts, churches they started, or hospitals they helped build. Samuel Zwemer is not known for these things. After 38 years of missions work throughout Arabia, the Persian Gulf, Egypt and Asia Minor, Samuel had seen his efforts produce fewer than 12 conversions to Christianity.
Yet producing converts was not the ultimate goal for Samuel. The man who would become known as the Apostle to Islam wrote “The chief end of missions is not the salvation of men but the glory of God.” We are faithful to God’s call on our lives for no other ultimate goal than that of bringing glory to God.
Read more of this post
August 19, 2019
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A lone street preacher calls on the crowd with a message. This is one of the most stirring photos I have seen in a long while…
August 18, 2019
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Many ask that isn’t God’s purpose in mission and evangelism ruined by unbelief; especially when the gospel is taken to villages and hard hearted people groups who refuse to be receptive and responsive to the message?
It isn’t “The Parable of the Soils” in Matthew 13:1-23, but The Parable of the Sower, as Jesus himself called it (v. 18). The importance of this title is to show that it was Christ’s word, or the gospel, that is sown and that it is His intention to sow seed on the soil (people) who will not believe, as well as on those who would. Jesus is unambiguous. He clarifies that the gospel is able to be understood by a subset of those who hear (“to you it has been granted,” v. 11), “but to them [the rest] it has not been granted.” This surely had a special impact meant for the Jewish audience, as we see by reading Christ’s long quote in Isaiah 6.
The evangelism/mission cause can never be thwarted by the unbelief of the masses who will “keep on hearing but will not understand,” any more than Jesus’ own earthly evangelism was hindered by it. It has always been part of the plan that people will not understand. If a missionary hacks his way through jungle and finds no reception in some villages, it isn’t defeat. …Read More!
May 30, 2019
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If you are church shopping [this article was first published in OCTOBER 2011] or looking for a local Christian fellowship a Reformed Baptist Church may not be your cup of tea 🙂
Well you see, Dr. James White has (honestly) noted that in a Reformed Baptist Church…
- You don’t get to leave after every sermon feeling good about yourself. You may even desire repentance.
- You don’t get to hear the sermons in the same way you may be used to. It’s frequently verse by verse, maybe not even relevant to your current situation.
- You don’t get to be entertained. We don’t want to entertain you. Read more of this post
February 13, 2019
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In 2012 well, I went to Constance (Konstanz) in the South West corner of Germany to visit sites of historical importance to the Reformation. My plan was to of course visit the impeccable Constance munster (cathedral), John Huss (Jan Hus) museum and memorial stone. Or so I thought. As you may imagine the city of Constance always has its jaw dropping surprises and humorous detours. No wonder John Huss was short changed in that infamous Council of Constance by the Emperor Sigismund.
As I took in the nostalgic natural and ancient delights of this mesmerizing lake side University city guess who I stumbled upon again? Yup, that controversial Emperor Sigismund has had a statue of himself made. Well believe me it’s not a flattering one though. It is as controversial as it’s own colorful infamy.
Imagine walking down a peaceful foot path with park benches lining the sides of a clear lake harbor. A flower garden gives you a warm bear like hug from behind and thrusting you forward to catch the hue of the sun hidden behind the Spring time cloud line over the Lake Constance. There as you are intoxicated by the glory of the natural beauty of creation with no care in the world and just as you are about to take a nice cool sip of juice. There just before you can say “John Huss” There before you even can say “gesundheit”. There as you …Read More!
February 11, 2019
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The Crucifixion- Matthias Grunewald (1470-1528)
Is there a God? Is He sitting some where twiddling His thumbs or biting His finger nails as the world spirals into debauchery? Ever fancied taking a peek over His shoulder and catching Him taking a cat nap or slumped over in a yoga- pose with legs helplessly inter twined? Calvinism is associated with Reformed Theology the Theological system associated with the Reformer John Calvin that emphasizes and underlines the vitally important truth that God is in control of all things, not man; that God is the source of salvation; and that men and women can do nothing to save themselves. It emphasises our total dependence as guilty sinners on the mercy and grace of God for salvation. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation. Read More
February 10, 2019
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Going through my old mail (this article was first run in 2011) I came across a copy of one of the hardest letters I have ever come to write. I have edited the particulars and specifics but featured the letter in it’s entirety. I have featured it not to cause any malice but to perhaps help somebody who may be in a similar situation. When breaking fellowship with a church that is digressing from orthodoxy, it is never easy especially after you have been a devout member. I thank God for the journey I have come through, without which I would not have known his providence and grace.
Dear Pastor XX,
Warmest summer greetings to you and your family. The last six or seven months have been a period of soul searching and re-evaluation of our own lives, our family and church visions in light of the Gospel. Read More
January 7, 2019
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This is a common question especially when a church is beginning to define it’s rules and how things will be conducted. Here is some help:
The Bible’s teaching on Communion, or the Lord’s Supper, is found in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and promotes “open” participation for believers. All those who are true believers in God through personal faith in Jesus Christ, His Son, are worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper by virtue of the fact they have accepted the death of Christ as payment for their sins (see also Ephesians 1:6-7).
The actual reasoning behind some churches practicing “closed” communion seems to be that they want to make sure everyone partaking is a believer. This is understandable; however, it places church leadership and/or church ushers in a position of determining who is worthy to partake, which is problematic at best. A given church may assume that all of their official members are true believers, but even this is not necessarily always true. …Read More!
January 2, 2019
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An excerpt from the missions book Warfare Prayer:
Is it possible for a missionary’s zeal to dwindle and spiritual life go dry? Not only is it possible, it will become a painful reality unless deliberate steps are taken to avoid this peril. One of the enduring misconceptions about missionaries is that they are super-saints, entirely immune from the doubts, temptations, fears, struggles, and sins that plague everyone else. Not only are we encumbered with the common burdens of all believers, but these trials are even more exacerbated on the mission field…
Pray that your missionaries will maintain daily, intimate fellowship with The Lord. Our spiritual life and ministry depend on it. ~ David Sitton
Free missions book courtesy of To Every Tribe ministries and David Sitton: Warfare Prayer ebook here.
January 1, 2019
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When it comes to missionaries to South East Asia or rather India in particular William Carey, a shoemaker by trade is the first name that springs up. Born in England in 1761 he spent an active forty-one years serving the Lord in India, including translating the Scriptures. This was after being heckled,”Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine.”
To know what William believed I will let this excerpt unfold the story:
William Carey’s greatest contribution to the modern missions movement was his trust in the sovereignty of God in missions. This fueled his zeal to reach the heathen with the gospel. In his youth, he was told to sit down by an elder brother, a hyper-Calvinist, who told him that when God wanted to reach the heathen He would do it without him or Carey. Carey’s Calvinism however, his theological understanding of God’s sovereignty and the responsibility of man, would not allow him to either doubt God’s sovereignty or neglect his responsibility. Read More…
September 13, 2018
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There is a video clip of a pastor who seems to be unleashing extra ordinary waves of powers into an emotionally charged congregation with a slight swing of a finger and a swerve of an arm. In some circles such a man is given the almighty title ‘mighty man of God’ placing him above any pastor in the land and becomes the linch pin for any ‘revival service’. For it is then believed that he has reached a higher echelon of power. The preacher’s worthiness becomes the virtue on to which the congregation clings to so as to per chance swing the pendulum of fate and fortune in their own lives.
Such preachers are suave and charismatic and very winsome and convincing in their trade. Once they have amassed a sizeable congregation, they sneakily put their bibles far aside as they go to great lengths to mesmerise and entertain. But once they make you their convert you become seven times worse emotionally, financially and spiritually – you sadly become more faithful and dependant on them for answers to your prayers than to God.
Martin Luther once said on prayer that:
Some say, “I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.” I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of blood.
We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone.
So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness.
September 11, 2018
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Oh how the words of some hymns just linger in the recesses of your mind and nourish you with rich spiritual truths. Today I will feature the first two verses and the last verse of William Cowper’s hymn ‘There is a fountain filled with blood’
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains…
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away… …Read More!
September 7, 2018
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This is an interesting clip outside an abortion clinic involving a young man who has just dropped off his wife. He then has a short conversation with a stranger called ‘Todd’:
August 31, 2018
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On the perseverance of the saints…
Psa 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Ecc 3:14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.
Isa 46:4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
Jer 32:40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Phi 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
2Ti 4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safety into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Of all whom he has called and brought to Christ, none will be lost
Joh 6:39-40 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Joh 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
Rom 8:28-31 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? …Read More!
August 29, 2018
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A Street Preacher…
A remarkable sinner who became a remarkable convert, was an extraordinarily gifted man and fearless street preacher in the Edinburgh of the mid-1800’s. It is said Robert Flockhart (1778-1857) had sinned much, but he had been forgiven much, and so he loved much. Where Robert in Satan’s service had often exposed himself to disgrace, danger, and death itself, but after his conversion, “… If there had been need for it, I believe there was no man in Edinburgh who would have gone to the stake or scaffold for Jesus Christ with a firmer step or nobler bearing than this brave old soldier of the cross.”
Flockhart was converted in India, while a soldier, he became a fearless as a street preacher – often in the face of unruly crowds. In a tribute to Robert Flockhart, Charles Spurgeon said:
I must linger a moment over Robert Flockhart, of Edinburgh, who, though a lesser light, was a constant one, and a fit example to the bulk of Christ’s street witnesses. Every evening, in all weathers and amid many persecutions, did this brave man continue to speak in the street for forty-three years. Think of that, and never be discouraged. When he was tottering to the grave the old soldier was still at his post. “Compassion to the souls of men drove me,” said he, “to the streets and lanes of my native city, to plead with sinners and persuade them to come to Jesus. The love of Christ constrained me.”
Neither the hostility of the police, nor the insults of Papists, Unitarians, and the like could move him; he rebuked error in the plainest terms, and preached salvation by grace with all his might. So lately has he passed away that Edinburgh remembers him still. There is room for such in all our cities and towns, and need for hundreds of his noble order in this huge nation of London—can I call it less?
Lectures to my Students, Charles Spurgeon.
August 27, 2018
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Many missionaries learn of God’s wonderful providence in times of difficulty and more so in financial difficulty. David Sitton shares in his free book on how to pray and support missionaries Warfare Prayer:
Financial anxiety increases with the sudden drop of support. Every missionary has gotten the “Dear John” letter explaining why support is being discontinued. One such letter I received had a final check and a hand scribbled note explaining that it was no longer financially feasible to invest in the ministry, as the parking lot of the church building needed re-paving.
My missionary mentor, Joe Cannon, encouraged us during tough financial times by saying: “Check and see if the sparrows have eaten today. As long as they eat, we eat. When God quits feeding the sparrows, missionaries will become extinct.” How true that is. Yet, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Dependence upon God and his daily provision is a wonderful way to live. ~David Sitton
Luke 12:6-7: Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
August 24, 2018
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In this day and age when kids think being a missionary and going into all the world is dressing up like an Avenger or Captain America or one of those Marvel comic characters and busting a few skulls in the process makes you realise there’s a whole lot of teaching to be unlearned and re-learned the right way.
Needless to say Scripture is clear when it explains God’s desire for his church to participate in global evangelism (Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) and take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the world. Scripture is equally clear in explaining God’s desire for his people to train up their children in his ways (Deut 11:18–21, 32:46, Prov 22:6; Isa 38:19; Eph 6:4; 2 Tim 1:5, 3:14–15).
Mike Pettengill has written an article on how to engage the youth from an early age to understand missions. For the expansion of Christ’s kingdom, it is vital that the youth in our churches be taught about God’s passion for the lost and that he desires his disciples to reach out to non-believers and teach them about the grace and mercy of Christ.
Here are seven ways (adapted from Mike) on how your church can reach the kids of your congregation and teach them about the importance of world missions:
1. Study Missionary Biographies
In your children’s church and youth groups, include a series of stories about the great missionaries of the past. Tell your kids about the incredible missionaries who have served in the name of the Lord. Revere the martyrs and laborers who sacrificed for God. Let the youth see how these great servants were not super-Christians, but simply obedient Christians. Have the youth study, write, and report on their favorite missionaries of today and the past.
2. Video Conference With Missionaries
Help the children of your church get to know missionaries by asking missionaries to use video conferencing technology to talk directly to your Sunday school or VBS classes. Take a few minutes to interview the missionaries and their kids and let the kids of your church ask questions that interest them. Help your youth to get to know the missionaries your church is supporting and praying for. Allow the kids to learn missionaries are normal people just like they are.
3. Study Biblical Missions
Make concerted efforts to regularly study what Scripture says about the relationship between the church and missions. Help your youth understand missions and evangelism are central themes throughout the Bible. Train the kids of your church to see missions was on the heart of God from the beginning of time and that it is a command every church is to follow. Learn about biblical missionaries like Abraham, Jonah and Paul and study how God used average disciples to accomplish amazing things. …Read More!
May 26, 2018
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One of the most important questions for a Christian after where will I spend eternity and whom shall I marry is what church shall I attend? Well of course if you just need a joint where to spend Sunday morning ‘s hang over then you may as well a steer away from this site. Steer far away.
I was recently asked by a friend how to choose a good church. To be honest it is a head ache. Possibly a migraine of a decision. With the plethora of churches on the high street these days one needs a lot of prayerful patience. You probably won’t find a perfect church but a good solid Biblical church with sound doctrine is indeed a God send. There’s More
March 20, 2018
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Or rather not being at peace with indwelling sin…
March 12, 2018
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This is an excerpt from a Table Talk (TT) magazine interview with an African pastor (Conrad Mbewe) of Kabwata Baptist Church in Zambia…
TT: What are two important lessons that Western Christians can learn from the African church?
CM: Western civilization has lost a lot of its interpersonal virtues. It has become overly individualized—if you see what I mean. Issues like hospitality, respect for authority and the elderly, being more people-conscious than time-conscious, and so on are largely lost. This has affected not only the society generally but Christians as well.
Western Christians have filled their lives with too many things (toys?) that have robbed them of eternal perspectives. Electronic gadgets, holidays, sports, recreation, and so on have almost become idols. Even church must be about having fun.
March 7, 2018
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God brings different seasons in our lives to teach us different lessons. There are times of joy, plentifulness and happiness and there are also times of difficulty and trials where our most immediate cry is almost”Lord, how long?”
This is an excerpt from an article of a man who learnt of the comfort that only comes from the God of all comfort when he and his family went through a very tough time:
I had known throughout my ministry, of course, that God comforts His own. I had taught about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, our paraclete, who was sent by Christ to help us. And I had seen that the reading of the Bible brings solace to sorrowing hearts and peace to those in great turmoil.
But now my wife and I are experiencing God’s comfort for ourselves. In the months since Elsie’s stroke, we have known daily the comfort of the Savior, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the precious Word of God…
The faith of the Christian should grow stronger in times of trial and trouble. Trials have a way of digging up the soil of our hearts and turning up weeds. That is good for us, for it is not in the sunshine but in the storm that we discover the depth of our need. Someone has said, Great soldiers are not made in the barracks nor on the parade ground, but on the battlefield where the going is tough.
Trials provide opportunities for us to get to know God better. In his epistle to the Colossians, Paul assured the Christians that he was praying for them on a regular basis. Included in the list of things for which he prayed was the request that they might be increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10). Paul knew that one of the secrets to a full and blessed life is getting to know God better.
March 5, 2018
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A few words of encouragement from a man who has seen many days go by. So, when Jim Sayers stops to give you a few tips on starting out in ministry then you had better take notes.
Here are seven of Jim’s fifteen tips for starting well as a pastor:
- Preach within your range. The Bible is like a mountain range, and some peaks are a lot higher than others, so don’t set out to preach beyond your capabilities. We grow into the task of preaching, so don’t set out to preach through revelation as your first series, or John 14-17 or 2 Cor. 10-13. (I tried the latter, and am still scarred by the experience.) Preach what your congregation needs to hear most, and what you can make clear and apply well. Your preaching will reach first class standard after about five years, and test match standard….maybe! meantime, know your limits. John Chapman says ‘Preaching’s not that hard. It’s just the first forty years that’s the worst!’ After twenty four years I am starting to appreciate that quip more and more.
- Make a preaching plan for your first few years that takes you to a different genre of Scripture in each ‘term’ of the year. I watched my pastor in Abingdon, Simon Hutton, do this in his early years in Abingdon, and it is a great plan (which had never occurred to me). So we had Exodus 1-15, Colossians, some of Mark, Job (the best early series), Amos and Micah, and so on. As he tackled each series, so he became used to handling that Scripture genre ready for whenever he handled a similar book in future. See your early years in preaching as developing your skills gradually.