Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Why Is Creation So Important for Understanding the Bible?

by Chris Bruno

A Story That Begins and Ends with Creation

When we think about the message of the Bible, we have a story that can be summarized by creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. At the beginning and end of the message—the story of the Bible—we have creation. God created, and God will create all things new one day.

Tracing the Theme

Even as we trace the story throughout redemptive history, we have this repeated emphasis on God's creation power. For instance, after the flood, we see Noah and his family coming off the ark and there's a great deal of language that sounds a lot like creation.

The point is that God is the one who is still using his creative power. God is still the one who is strong and in charge, and he's also commissioned his people to continue to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth with his glory. Read more ...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why a "Paper" Bible Is Better than a Bible App at Church Meetings

by Steve Burchett

Technology is useful in the church. For example, I recently Skyped into my congregation’s Sunday gathering when I was too sick to attend. I was strengthened by what I heard, and they happily avoided my virus.

But technology is not valuable in every circumstance. I’m thinking particularly about the use of Bible apps on cell phones or tablets. Sure, it’s convenient to utilize a digital Bible in numerous settings—like reading (or listening) just before you fall asleep at night, or when you unexpectedly want to look up something during a discussion. But in a church meeting (Bible studies, Sunday’s gatherings, etc.), I strongly recommend using a “paper” Bible for four reasons.

In Pursuit of Christian Womanhood

by Paul Tautges

Making disciples is the work of the church. Jesus made that clear. But how do we make disciples? As we read the New Testament we see this pattern: We make disciples by coming alongside one another in the lifelong pursuit of becoming like our Savior. In other words, the work of discipleship takes place chiefly through relationships—relationships that include the two elements of instruction and example.

These relationships involve those who are spiritually mature; that is, those who are further down the road of walking with Christ and living according to His Word. These relationships also include those who are brand new to the faith, or not as further along in walking with God. In His infinite wisdom, God placed both mature and immature, both older and younger, together into the community of the faith for the purpose of spreading the gospel of His grace and glory.

This is very different than the world’s way of gathering people. Society’s strategy for the propagation of ideas and principles is peer gathering. In other words, keep the same aged people together at all times so that they will feel accepted, like they belong—based on superficial similarities. However, God’s design for discipleship is different. God’s design for Christian growth includes the necessity of an example, the essential involvement of older, mature teachers and examples. By God’s design, the local church is the ideal place for discipleship; a plan that requires the regular, intentional interaction across the generations. For our discipleship strategy to be fully biblical, it must be multi-generational. Read more ...

What Does the Bible Teach About Abortion?

by Jesse Johnson

Here are eight biblical truths about abortion:

1. The Bible teaches that a baby in the womb is alive, and is a person whom God is making. Those I know who have had an abortion all say this is the most critical issue for them. If they believed their fetus was a real person which an abortion would murder, then they would not have done it. But they all believed that at that point of development, what was inside of them doesn’t qualify as a person by their arbitrary standard.

First, it is important to note that a fetus is a human life. It is alive, and it is human, so there is really no other way to describe it.
Read more ...

Plans for a Church Weekend Missions Conference

(with emphasis on sending additional missionaries worldwide!)

1. Friday night 6:00 to 8:30:
  • Missions fair with rooms arranged in the countries the church has missionaries or projects with info on the missionaries, projects country, etc.
  •  The fellowship room could have an on-going meal with food of several countries (not just snacks but lots of food!).
  • Missions program in the fellowship hall 7:45-8:30) with missionary speaker (challenge for missionaries to serve foreign fields), and another giving short update or story of a missionary.
  • Only sing great mission songs and hymns! (This include special numbers).
2. Saturday:
  • Men's breakfast with missionary speaker 7:00-8:30.
  • Women's brunch with missionary women speaker, 9:30-11:00.
  • 1:00 special fellowship with missionary guests with the missions committee, pastors and elders for Q&A.
  • Evening 5:00 light meal (sandwiches, salads, etc.) and service 5:45-7 pm with missionary speaker. Ice cream social afterwards.
3. Sunday:
  • Joint Sunday school for kids to listen to stories of missionaries (perhaps two missionaries).
  • A missionary to speak in adult Sunday School, with another one giving a simple 10-minute update of ministry or story.
  •  Missionary to speak in worship service (challenge to serve) with another giving 5-minute update. Just before missions message, have all the children come to the front and sit for a special missionary flash card story of 6-8 minutes (the pictures are also flashed on the church screens so the adults will enjoy also).
  • All songs and hymns to be with missions emphasis (including specials)!
  •  Sunday evening 5:30 in fellowship hall have a special "Action Night" (with lots of pizza and salad) with ALL ELDERS, DEACONS, DEACONESSES, MISSION COMMITTEES, TEACHERS, LEADERS, (and anyone interested) WITH THEIR FAMILIES, for discussion as WHAT TO DO NEXT? Receive suggestions on how to keep the missions interest, how to trust the Lord to send missionaries from our church, member care of our missionaries, possible projects to do for church supported missionaries etc.

4. Plan months in advance to make it an ALL church event with ALL leaders committed to attend ALL meetings. Encourage all the leaders to set the example to lead and help and attend and participate in all meetings!

5. Cover the travel and expenses (and an honorarium) for each missionary invited.

6. Perhaps use these Mission Hymns:

Modern Hymns:
  • Facing a Task Unfinished
  • Across the Lands
  •  O Church Arise
  • In Christ Alone
  • By Faith
  • Holy Spirit, Living Breath of God
  • O Great God
  • All I Have Is Christ
 Classic Hymns:
  •  Grace Greater Than All Our Sin
  •  We've a Story to Tell to the Nations
  •  Take My Life and Let It Be
  •  Jesus Shall Reign
  •  Nothing but the Blood
  •  Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
  •  Jesus What a Friend for Sinners
  •  There is a Fountain
  •  All Hail the Power of Jesus Name
  •   O for a Thousand Tongues
  •   Amazing Grace
  •   The Love of God
What do you think?

The Most Common Reasons Pastors Fall

by Tim Parr

I have been a Reformed Baptist pastor for 10 years, and I have not fallen, nor am I aware of any problems in my life of the magnitude that would disqualify me from ministry. I struggle with worry and grumbling, but my sins aren’t of the notorious and ignominious sort. I hasten to add however that I am no less in need of God’s grace and forgiveness than someone who is disgraced in the eyes of the self-righteous crowd or disqualified in the eyes of the humble Christian crowd. We are all sinners, and we all desperately need continual supplies of God’s grace, which he has given us in Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

Every sin deserves God’s wrath, but some sins receive different temporal ramifications than others. God has stipulated that those he has set over his flock must not be sinners of the blatant, notorious type (1 Tim. 3). Unfortunately, I am aware of several pastors who have become just that. In fact some of the most notorious sinners I’ve ever known were at one time pastors. These men were disqualified for ministry, and they faded away in shame, leaving in their wake many hurting, confused and outraged people. My question is a simple one. Why? Why does this happen? Why can we all, no doubt, bring to mind several names and faces of pastors who lost their testimony and their ministry due to notorious sin?

I believe there are a multitude of reasons why pastors fall. Let me address only a few before focusing on one in particular. Read more ...