Unity in the local church is the goal of every church (or it should be). It is not always easily or readily attained, as a newspaper account about a church in Wales a couple of generations ago testifies: Yesterday the two opposition groups both sent ministers to the pulpit. Both spoke simultaneously, each trying to […]Read More Fighting for Church Unity
While there has been a historical temptation to drink alcohol and too many have followed that desire too heartily (resulting in drunkenness and addiction), the prevalence of alcohol in Christian circles seems much stronger today than it has been in past years. I have heard multiple pastors and church leaders speak repeatedly about the virtues […]Read More Alcohol and Liberty: What’s a Christian to Do?
As believers we cannot expect a life of ease; in fact, we should anticipate a life of labor. We labor to serve one another in the church. We labor to disciple and discipline our children well. We labor to cultivate and develop our spiritual gifts. We labor not to sin — to control our personal […]Read More The Hard Work of Sanctification
This post was originally published June 3, 2013; it is being republished today because the theme fits this past Sunday’s sermon so well. The term “fellowship” is used regularly in the context of the church (do non-believers use the word?). Often the word is used synonymously for “food” or “feast,” as in, “be sure to […]Read More Fellowship with God
The most popular cultural conception of God is that He is loving. The idea is that He is a God of all (and only) grace, overlooking the foibles, peccadilloes, and even most severe sins because He is too nice to be mean. He is so loving that He could never be angry. This perception is […]Read More Have you considered God’s kindness — and severity?
God doesn’t change. God hasn’t changed. God won’t change. God can’t change. God is what He is. God is what He always has been. And God will always be what He has always been. In contrast, our lives know only change. We get older (and weaker and ultimately, frail). Our children get older. Our job […]Read More God doesn’t change
Lewis Sperry Chafer delineated at least 33 blessings that the believer receives upon coming to Christ. He comments: “The Scriptures reveal 33 stupendous works of God which together comprise the salvation of the soul. They are wrought by God instantaneously, are grounded on the merit of Christ, and are eternal. Accordingly each member of the […]Read More 36 Spiritual Blessings of Salvation
The kinds of questions children sometimes ask about God are not so different than the questions we have about God: Who created God? What does God look like? Why can’t we see God? How can Jesus fit in my heart? Why did God create Satan? Why do people get sick and die? Where is God? […]Read More God is with us. Always.
This past week, we gave thanks to the Lord as a congregation for His faithfulness to us over the 40 years of the church’s existence. A large amount of time, energy, and financial resources went into that celebration. Is it legitimate to do something like that celebration? Why should we be overt in our expression […]Read More Giving Thanks for 40 years of God’s Faithfulness
Several years ago when I began a sermon on the early part of Ephesians chapter one, I said something like, “This morning we want to talk about God’s work in salvation, specifically His election of sinners to salvation. And as I said the word ‘election,’ some of you instinctively bowed up and already feel resistant […]Read More Don’t I have a part in my salvation?
It often first surfaces in the seemingly innocent words of a three-year-old venturing into unknown tasks — “I can do it!” the child adamantly asserts to his parent. Yet he likely cannot do it and he may even be endangering himself in his quest. Oh, that we learned to stop bragging after those first foolish […]Read More There’s no boasting in Heaven
In Romans 8:3, Paul identifies the reason for Christ’s advent — He came “for sin” (ESV). That is, He came for the purpose of addressing the problem of sin. He came for sin because sin was (and is) the great problem of mankind. We tend to think we have bigger problems than sin. We have […]Read More Christ came for sin
In his book Comrades, Stephen Ambrose writes this about warfare: Combat requires all the nerves, all the physical attributes, every bit of the training. It is only in combat, nowhere else, where time is measured in other ways than by clocks or calendars. Only in combat does the soldier realize that he is in the […]Read More It’s a fight
Too many times I have made the statement, “I’m no good,” or “I’m no good at…” And too many times I have heard others make similar statements. Very often, these (and other) self-deprecating comments are actually solicitations of affirmation or a veiled desire for compliments (“Oh, Terry, you’re really good at…” or “You’re not like […]Read More “I’m no good”
Many years ago when doing evangelism training with him, a friend asked me, “what is the benefit of the gospel? I know we get Heaven, but is there good news in the gospel now? What good is the gospel for people today?” I don’t remember what I told my friend on that occasion, but I know […]Read More The gospel is good — today