“I Am Your God”–Whom Do We Serve?

slide_jer-7_23In Leviticus 26:12–13 God declares, “I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt . . .” (NASU). The middle two phrases present an expression of the covenant relationship between the Lord and His people. That relationship includes His personal presence (“I will walk among you”). This excludes any detached or aloof relationship. The divine title Immanuel (“God with us”) expresses such a close relationship.

For many Bible readers, biblical covenants seem like legal technicalities couched in ancient stipulations.… Continue reading

Reprise: The Believer and Halloween

pumpkinAlthough written over two years ago this post is still relevant; this topic still comes up every October. In The interest of full disclosure, we don’t have any pumpkins on the porch this year.

Halloween has become one the biggest holidays on the American calendar, spending over $6 billion last year on decorations, candy and costumes. What was once essentially a children’s holiday has become a cultural juggernaut, and as it has, Halloween has become an increasingly controversial and at times divisive topic in the Christian community. But it doesn’t have to be, and to that end I humbly offer a few thoughts.… Continue reading

On Mathematics & Ministry Success

church-attendance1For many Christians, a church’s success is a matter of simple mathematics.  The more people, the better.  If attendance and giving numbers are going up, God must be pleased.  And if those numbers are going down, well…you get the picture.

I wish I could say that I’ve never played the numbers game myself, but I can’t, because I have and I do.

However, various circumstances in my life and in our church have led me to some deeper reflection over the issue of church numbers in recent years.  This post is my attempt to summarize most of the big things that I have learned and continue to learn (as I need frequent reminding), hanging my thoughts on some of the larger principles I see in Scripture. … Continue reading

Ecclesiology and Missiology – Why The Whole Church Should Study Missions

Yesterday, our church began a series of messages entitled “Missions and the Church.” Our church is in its third year and we are continually trying to lay a solid foundation. We aim to shape the direction of our ministry by biblical principles at the outset of the church, and then review these same principles regularly so long as we are able.

With that in mind, and with a little prompting from Romans 10:14-17 in our ongoing study of Romans, our leadership decided to spend some time teaching the church from the Scriptures about the crucial subject of missions.

Here are the reasons I presented to our church.… Continue reading

How to Care for Your Pastor

the-shepherdOctober is pastor appreciation month. Here is something to help us consider how to love our shepherd. “Here are some great exhortations from Shawn Wilhite, a man who loves the Lord, the local church, and his pastor. Shawn’s exhortations are well thought out, lived out, and come from both experience and study.” — Jason Vaughn

How do you, as a congregation, care for your pastors? Pastors are tired, yet joyful; discouraged, yet constantly refreshed; and they have one of the most joyful, rewarding, and refining work. But how do and should congregational members care for their pastors—even associate pastors or staff?… Continue reading