The Heart of the Gospel

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images-1If there is only one point or theological truth you must understand about the cross, it’s the substitutionary atonement of Christ. It’s easy to get caught up thinking the extent of the atonement is the major player at the table, after all, it’s the L in TULIP . . . there is no S. But we fail in our worship if we neglect to understand what exactly happened on the cross and why it’s important for us. God devotes much attention to developing and instructing us regarding the nature of His son’s sacrifice. His work is the foundation for our worship, both individually and corporately.… Continue reading

How to Care for Your Pastor

the-shepherdHow 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?

It was during my time in Seminary I was introduced to this idea. How are we to nurture and care for our pastors? I read a chapter, later turned into a small pamphlet, entitled Praying for Sunday: You, Your Pastor, and Your Next Sermon. Little did I know how great an affect this pamphlet would have on my praying life.… Continue reading

I Prayed About It Again

Previously, I wrote a post talking about the dangers of misusing prayer in the decision-making process. But I neglected to specify the ways God does get directly involved in influencing the decisions we make.

This post attempts to balance out the last post by discussing how God directly influences the decision-making process through prayer.

The way God acts is not through external signs (though he does arrange circumstances in which decisions are made), but through his sovereign influence on the minds of people. Though a person cannot be directly aware of what God is doing in his mind, God nonetheless can and does work in this way.… Continue reading

More than Nickels and Noses

imageYesterday was Sunday, the day most churches gather to worship. If averages prove true, yesterday about 70 church congregations met for the last time. Studies show that somewhere between 3500-4000 churches closed their doors for good last year.

Jesus promised to build his church so despite the fact some local congregations cease to exist, this in no way negates Christ’s promise in Matthew 16. Nothing will stop the church, but it doesn’t mean a particular local body will last forever.

Sometimes in a desperate attempt to avoid this plight of the defunct local congregation, churches who struggle with declining attendance, declining giving, and declining enthusiasm will resort to all sorts of gimmickry to attempt to keep the machine running.… Continue reading