Every church has its flaws. Significant ones, in fact, since even the best of churches are made up of and led by exclusively by sinners. As a result, if you are a member of a local church, you are bound to be regularly disappointed by something going on within it.
In the local church it doesn’t take long before you encounter people who don’t share your excitement for the particulars of your theology, or who don’t seem to be very zealous in evangelism or very excited about living in “community,” or who are just remarkably ordinary (unlike you, of course). Every Christian comes into the church with expectations regarding what church life should be like, and every Christian who has spent any period of time in the church has experienced some level of disappointment with his/her church from those expectations going unmet.… Continue reading
have been on my heart for some time, which is likely because I am one of
you. I am a relatively young man (i.e.
under 40), who is also a Christian, a husband, and a father. You are my peers. And I am writing to you today, because seldom
a day goes by where I am not reminded that we all have a whole lot to learn.
Let me share a little more about myself before I get to the reason for this letter. I am fast-approaching 39 years of age and have been married for nearly 19 years. Yes, I married young. Too young, in fact. But God is sovereign and good, and so despite “many dangers, toils, and snares” in our marriage we are pressing on by grace toward another nineteen years and then some. I have made many mistakes along those 19 years as a husband (which I’ve written about in years past), some of them I’m still coming to understand and still trying to correct. You would think that there would be little grace left for a husband like me, but God is an infinite God and his grace is an infinite grace. For that I am most grateful.… Continue reading
Hello, my name is Zach, and I am a nobody. I am a pastor of a church of about 150 people. I have not written any books. I don’t have a podcast. You won’t hear me on the radio. I don’t preach at conferences. I am quite certain that if you are reading this blog and 1) are not a member of my family, 2) a member of my church, 3) a personal friend, nor 4) one of the other writers of this blog – you do not know me from Adam. A high-profile pastor or ministry leader, I am not. I observe the happenings of high-profile Christians and Christian ministries from afar; from the “cheap seats,” as they say. And in recent days, there has been quite the abundance of noteworthy happenings to observe, many of them rather troubling, at least from where I’m sitting.
I have no desire to dive into any of the particular happenings I’m referring to. You likely know what kinds of things I’m talking about. Sex scandals. Firings. Debates about the value of third-party reviews. Apologies for public statements. And things like these. I have no inside track perspective about any of these things, and I am woefully under-qualified to wade into public debate about who should’ve done what, and when, and why. But, watching a number of recent situations involving high-profile pastors and Christian leaders unfold, is leading me to a number of conclusions. And I thought there may be some value in sharing those thoughts here. So, here goes…
The spiritual dangers that
attend wide visibility & influence are myriad.… Continue reading
In late November of last
year, I wrapped up what turned out to be a two-year and two-month study of the
book of Romans; a letter that many students of the Bible have regarded as the
Apostle Paul’s magnum opus and one that a particular pastor even calls “the
greatest letter ever written.” (His
words, not mine. Given that I’m just not
sure how to square those words with the plenary inspiration of the Bible, I’d
rather call Romans “one of the greatest letters ever written.” But I digress.)
After spending over two solid years in a single biblical book, it can become easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. It was for that reason that I decided to cap off our study of Romans with a simple outline that I hoped the folks at our church could store away in their minds for further meditation upon the truths we explored in our study. Some have shared that this outline was helpful to them, so I thought it may be worth passing on to you.… Continue reading
Fellowship. It’s such a rich and meaningful word in the Bible, and yet a somewhat generic catch-all term in the vernacular of modern Christians. What is fellowship? In Scripture, fellowship is a word used to describe the common life that Christians enjoy with one another, as those who have been brought into a reconciled relationship with God through Christ by grace. Entire books have been written to flesh out this one word, given the depth and breadth of its use in the Bible.
If we were to do a study together of the concept (not just the word itself) of fellowship in the NT – at least as it concerns fellowship between Christians – we would see five major themes emerge from that study. … Continue reading