For 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
Why did God create man with the ability to sin? I suspect this is a question that you have asked at some point in your life. I know I have. It is a variation of the age-old “problem of evil.” Is there an answer to this question? And how might it apply to other kinds of God-ward questions beginning with “why”?
In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin gives a very good two-part answer to the question of why God made man with the ability to sin. I thought I’d pass it on to you in this post, as I have found it helpful, and I believe it is relevant to the other why questions of life.… Continue reading
Nowhere is the Gospel more needed than in a marriage. Two sinners pledging their lives to one another is not exactly a recipe for satisfaction and blessing, but for the grace of God. Scripture tells us that marriage was intended by God to function as a living breathing illustration of the Gospel (Eph 5:22-33). What this means is that for a marriage to operate as the Lord intends for it to operate, a man and his wife must be breathing in the oxygen of the Gospel on a daily basis and actively pursuing ways to work its truths into their relationships with one another.… Continue reading
When I was a kid, a good friend of mine had a hamster. I don’t remember his (or her?) name, or even what he looked like. All I remember about this hamster is what happened the first time I stayed overnight at my friend’s house. Sometime after midnight, I woke up to the sound of that little rodent running for his life on a big wheel in the middle of his cage. Despite having an elaborate system of tubes and tunnels to explore, that hamster spent the better part of the night (and every night, as I understand it) in a race to nowhere. … Continue reading
“…an overseer must be above reproach.” (1 Timothy 3:2 ESV)
The biblical qualifications for a pastor are rather high and are deadly serious. Many Christians and many churches have been greatly harmed by pastors who do not meet the qualifications that God lays out for them in the Bible. Part of the reason for this is because many Christians do not actually know what to look for in a pastor and because they are often looking for the wrong things, as recent situations like this one continue to demonstrate.
The Bible is not confusing when it comes to the kind of men that should occupy the role of pastors (also described as elders, leaders, and overseers in the New Testament) in the local church. … Continue reading