Monday, April 28, 2014

Nine Essentials of a Great Worship Leader

by Alex Duke

My local church is in search of a worship leader. To that end, our senior pastor cobbled together a group of 12 members for a Worship Leader Search Committee. Despite my musical ineptitude, I was among those asked to serve.

I suppose I’m equal parts grateful and terrified. After all, the title “worship leader” is nowhere in the New Testament. This fact tempts even the most levelheaded toward the subjective and superficial, where already drawn lines and white-knuckled commitments merely evidence what we’ve previously seen, known or been comfortable with.

So I wanted to pass along a few thoughts I’ve developed as I’ve prayed through what my church is undertaking in the coming weeks. Read more …

Friday, April 25, 2014

Just Asking: Do we really believe the Word of God?

On one occasion I was attending an early morning Bible study with church and lay leaders in another country. They asked me questions about ministry in the Philippines and also asked me to share my testimony and about my previous cancer situation.

I shared Psalm 66:10-12, "For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins. You made men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water, yet You brought us out into a place of abundance."  I then mentioned that we can trust God with whatever He gives us, sickness or health.  One man took very serious objection to what I was saying and replied loudly, "God doesn't do that!"  I repeated the verse, and the man responded, "I don't know about that.  It doesn't sound right. I don't know if I can believe that."

Do you believe when you read, or is it just too hard to really take our LORD at His Word?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

False Teachers: Benny Hinn

by Tim Challies

A few weeks ago I set out on a series of articles through which I am scanning the history of the church—from its earliest days all the way to the present time—to examine some of Christianity’s most notable false teachers. Today we turn to one of the most outrageous charlatans of our time, a man who claims to have healed countless people. His name is Benny Hinn. -- Tim Challies

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Compiling Books for Needy Pastors & Christian Workers.

One of my assistants is helping me to compile key books for the Philippines.  We have contacted special friends in ministry for sermons and articles on key topics.  Our goal is to have 10-12 chapters in each book by Filipino pastors and leaders, as well as pastors from Canada, the US, the UK, etc. Some of the topics are:

  • Character of a Christian
  • Christmas
  • Church
  • Cross
  • Family (Marriage, Parenting, Husband-Wife Relationship, etc.)
  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • Gospel
  • Homosexuality, Gay-Marriage, and the Bible
  • Jesus: The Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sin of the World
  • Missions
  • Prayer
  • Preach Christ (messages on Christ)
  • Resurrection
  • Sanctification
  • Servant Christian Leadership
  • Suffering in a Christian's Life
  • Thanksgiving
  • Word of God (The Inspiration and Sufficiency of the Word)

We estimate each (valued at $12) can be published and distributed to God’s people in the Philippines for only $2 each (2000 = $4000).  Please pray with us about this need.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

35 Ideas for Affirmation

Below are 35 ideas for affirmation which I took from Sam Crabtree's excellent book, Practicing Affirmation (p. 151-160).  He listed 100, but I chose 35 which would help you to start if you haven't already with the Lord's guidance to the glory of God.

1. At a committee or board meeting, before moving on to the next agenda, stop to commend those who worked on the previous item.

2. Write a personal letter or note card that an employee can take home or put in a personnel file. Keep a supply of such blank note cards in your desk for just such a purpose. E-mails will do, but they are less likely to be pinned up on workspace walls or put in a portfolio.

3. Commend the wisdom and helpfulness of a suggestion somebody has made, especially when the suggester has offered to be part of a solution to a problem.

4. Explain that what inspired you to do some good thing was the other person's example. "l brought coffee cake for the office because I see how much the staff enjoys it when you consistently do thoughtful things."

5. Don't talk down to people; talk up to them. Consider them better than you. "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves" (Phil. 2:3). "You probably already know this, but. . . ."

6. Loan something of value - books, camping gear, a car, a cabin - as a signal of your willingness to take a risk, having noticed something in the other person that elevates your confidence in her trustworthiness.

7. Think of something that is normally not praised, because it is simply expected - like refilling the soap dispensers at church restrooms. Customarily, those who have responsibilities for such things as refilling soap dispensers only hear from people when the dispensers are empty. Be the one to notice that they are not empty, and commend the faithfulness of the worker who serves others behind the scenes.

8. In the next birthday card or Christmas card you send, include a personal note commending some Christlike quality you observe in the recipient.

9. Commend someone for the (sensitivity, kindness, compassion, etc.) with which he treated a third party. You noticed, and so does God.

10. When asked to do a chore, consider saying something like, "Nothing would give me more pleasure right now than doing this for you," because of all the tasks in the universe you could be doing, you choose to do this one. Serving someone can be affirming of them.

11. Nominate someone for an office or post - based upon her integrity, dependability, or trustworthiness.

12. Following a worship service, write a note or leave a voice mail for someone who excelled in reverential musicality, hospitable ushering, enthusiastic reading, or faithful preaching.

13. Respond to that e-mail or note that has been waiting for a response.

14. Ask a younger person's advice.

15. Paul said to the Corinthians, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). Say to someone, "You are like Christ in (forbearance, boldness, etc.), and I want to imitate you as you imitate Christ."

16. Jesus is never late. His timing is perfect. While waiting for the start of a meeting, commend those who were on time for their punctuality, which shows respect for the time of others.

17. Stop and pray right now, asking God to help you to be affirming.

18. Do you know people who are suffering from an illness? They may be encouraged if you commend their endurance, patience, and determination (to stick with the therapy, etc.).

19. Do you know of a missionary or someone else doing something risky but right? Commend the courage.

20. When you read a biography and come across an incident or episode modeling great character, read it to someone or send a photocopy of the paragraph or page, saying something like, "This reminds me of you."

21. Compare someone you know with a Bible hero.

22. Don't forget to say thank you to those who directly (or indirectly) benefit you.

23. Commend a self-sacrificing mother for her loyalty to her children's welfare.

24. When someone comes up with a good idea or solution that was overlooked by others, commend his resourcefulness and creativity.

25. When someone advocates for the relief of the suffering of someone else, praise the compassion being demonstrated.

26. Is someone taking pains to avoid hurting someone else? Commend that gentleness.

27. Search the Scriptures for ways people commend others. Do likewise.

28. When you observe (or hear about) a youngster doing his chores, praise his sense of responsibility as evidence that he is growing up.

29. Do you see someone who is good at welcoming others, inviting them to share in activities, meals, lodging, etc.? Commend the hospitality.

30. Put down this list, pick up the phone, and call your (spouse, teammate, coworkers, child, parent, etc.) with an affirmation. The point: don't save it until later.

3l-. Commend a worker (postal clerk, bank teller, McDonald's cashier, grocery store check-out guy, etc.)for smiling and being cheerful.

32. Literally applaud someone for doing something commendable.

33. Insert a character quality into the well-known birthday jingle, like this: "Happy birthday to you' Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, dear dependable Debbie. Happy birthday to you."

34. Make an acrostic of a person's name, using a character quality for each letter. For example, Vicki:

Innovative in solving household problems
Kind to aging parents

35. Ask members of your small group how they affirm Christlikeness in others, or ask for fresh ideas. Ask how they like to be commended.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Are Visits to Heaven for Real?

by John MacArthur

In recent years, Christian booksellers have inundated the evangelical world with testimonies from people who say they visited heaven in near-death experiences. Their stories are full of specific details about what heaven is like, who is there, and what is happening in the celestial realm. But when we compare their claims with Scripture, it becomes clear that they are merely figments of the human imagination, not true visions of heaven as it is described in God’s Word. Read more …

Friday, April 4, 2014

Just Asking: Should Christians Separate from Other Believers Over Homosexuality?

Should believers remain in churches, denominations, schools, organizations which now accept homosexuality and gay marriage as the norm?

In all the discussions and "passionate" arguments about homosexuality and gay marriage within the church and Christian organizations, it is helpful to go to the Word of God:

1. As believers (followers of Christ) we are to reach out to all with the gospel [John 3:16, Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 5:10].
2. As believers, we are to live in obedience to Christ and His Word [2 Corinthians 5:17-21].
3. For example, we are to recognize sin as sin, such as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, as well as drunkenness, cheating, stealing, etc. You will notice the notice that homosexuality is considered as sin. [1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9-11].
4. We are all involved in sinful behavior and its dominion, but in Christ we have been delivered, "Such were some of you" [1 Corinthians 6:11].
5. As believers, we are, therefore, now instructed (commanded) NOT to associate (not even to have a meal with) another believer (brother in Christ) who is involved in known sin, which includes homosexuality [1 Corinthians 5:10-12].
6. Paul refers to people engaged in sin as "so-called brothers" [1 Corinthians 6:11] and says we are not to associate with them. 

Therefore, should believers remain in churches, Christian organizations, schools, denominations which approve of homosexuality, gay life-style, and gay marriage?  This might give some guidelines to believers who are in churches/denominations who accept the sins of gay marriage and homosexuality.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Answers to a Biblical-theological-ethical Question

by John Piper

How do pro-life Christians obey God’s command to honor a president when he supports the right to kill the unborn?

Pastor and author John Piper preached the following sermon on Jan. 17, 1993, but not much has changed since then: Abortion kills more than 1 million babies each year, a president who calls himself a Christian presides over the rampage, and a revered reverend’s advice as to how Bible-believing Christians should respond still rings true. —Marvin Olasky Read more …