9 Marks of a Healthy Church, The Missing Chapter

41Be-zFOs6L9 Marks of a Healthy Church is a great book. If you have never read it, I encourage you to read it. Dever’s work is a blessing to every local church. Each “mark” is essential and needed. His book prepares any church to honor Christ. As it stands 9 Marks is an excellent book.

So, let us pretend we can make a great book greater. Adding one important chapter to the 9 Marks book. What is the missing chapter? The Worship Service.

I started going to church during the shift from traditional to contemporary music. I remember the debates (which publishers are thankful for) and people leaving churches for their preferred musical style.… Continue reading

Exposing “Calvinism Exposed”

Bakersfield_CA_-_signThe city of Bakersfield, California is a relatively sleepy town, about 90 miles North of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. It’s known for oil production, agriculture and the “Bakersfield Sound”, made popular by the hometown heroes, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Not much happens in Bakersfield, but for me, its where I hang my hat, it’s where I proudly call home, and it’s where I have the privilege of serving Christ and His Church.

Recently, two pastors in the Bakersfield area picked a fight with the reformed theology community. I don’t think they realized the fight they were getting into either, because shortly afterwards, Valley Bible Fellowship (a church with 10,000+ souls in attendance) pulled their anti-Calvinist rant from their website.Continue reading

Halloween To Me

The last time I celebrated Halloween was 1988. I was 4 years old and dressed up as Big Bird. My family did the traditional thing: dress-up, go door to door at night, say “trick or Big Birdtreat,” get candy, repeat, come home, spill the candy, compare with siblings, make candy trades, begin eating candies, get scolded by mom for eating too much candy, get candy taken away and told it will be rationed over the year, argue about how un-fair that was, get a spanking, get sent to bed, sneak out of bed at 1am, eat more candy, get a stomach ache, realize mom was right, sleep in the next morning because I was sick.… Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on the Believer and Halloween

pumpkinHalloween 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.

  1. There is no clear teaching in scripture about whether or not it is permissible to participate in Halloween observances. It is what might be considered a gray area of the Christian life.
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Selfishness, the Member, and Church-Shopping

church-shoppingA couple weeks ago, I addressed the pastor’s role in what I think is an alarming trend in the church—church shopping. It’s the tendency to bounce from church to church, looking for the perfect church . . . or at least the one that comes the closest to meeting all your needs and wants. I won’t belabor the point here again, but it suffices to say this trend is a stain on the church.

In this post, I want to invite you, the parishioner, the average churchgoer, to do a little self-analysis. If you’re thinking of leaving your church—or if you’ve already left, and you’re shopping for a new congregation to call home—I’d like to offer a few points to consider.… Continue reading