From the Archives: 10 Mistakes We Make with the Gospel

1. Referring Rather than Declaring

It’s one thing to say “the gospel is central to all we do.” It’s another thing to declare that Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose again. It’s yet another thing to integrate the gospel into how we look at every part of ministry. Note the difference between these statements:

Statement 1: We have a children’s ministry to further the gospel in the lives of children

Statement 2: We have a children’s ministry because we all come into this world as sinners in need of rescue by a living, sinless Savior. It’s never too soon to start learning this freeing truth (Matt. 19:14, John 8:32). Read more about From the Archives: 10 Mistakes We Make with the Gospel

Kids Need Parents to Show Them They Matter

In spite of the fact that most of us enjoy a vast array of modern conveniences, it feels like we are busier than ever. Our lives are full or work and church and school and chores, all of which are important and necessary. Our kids are busy as well, attending school and Sunday School to receive academic and spiritual instruction, and most play sports or participate in other extra-curricular activities.

Over time, we may find ourselves delegating more and more parental responsibility to schools, churches, health care professionals, counselors, psychiatrists—and since we place quite a bit of faith in specialists and experts, we may forget just how much our children need us in their lives.

It’s tempting to imagine that if we just had more money, more convenience, more resources, and more time, we could do better as parents. To think we must meet our child’s physical need for food, clothing, and shelter, but to also meet their spiritual, emotional, mental, and intellectual needs—why not just admit we feel inadequate, and sometimes downright terrified! Read more about Kids Need Parents to Show Them They Matter

Five Ways to Beat Bitterness: #3 - Zoom Out

Modified NASA model of the Milky Way

Read the series so far.

Bitter attitudes hinder worship, strain relationships, and generally drain all the joy out of life. Apart from the initial pain of loss, mistreatment, disappointment or failure, bitterness does us no good.

Fortunately, Scripture and the wisdom of experience show us multiple ways to beat bitterness. Previously, we’ve considered how the attitudes of worship crowd out bitterness and how a quick escape from bitter thinking can keep it from pulling us in for a long ride.

A third approach is to confront the narrow focus and loss of perspective bitterness brings. Read more about Five Ways to Beat Bitterness: #3 - Zoom Out

The Tragedy of Biblical Illiteracy, Part 3

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Inerrancy

Reasons for biblical illiteracy are many: lack of emphasis and teaching of the Bible in our churches, youth programs that major on entertainment rather than the Word of God, Bible colleges and seminaries that prepare ministers to be CEOs rather than shepherds who feed the flock a rich diet of Scripture, confusing MTD for biblical Christianity, and simply laziness and distractions resulting in neglect of personal reading of the Bible. But one other culprit surely is the increasing challenge to biblical inerrancy. If Christians do not believe in the inerrancy of the Scriptures then by default they believe the Bible contains errors and, therefore, cannot be trusted.

If this is the case then why bother reading it? Major attacks on the truthfulness and reliability of God’s Word have been prolific from the New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, and skeptics such as Bart Ehrman. But, sadly, theologians closer to the core of the faith are also adding fuel to the fire. Read more about The Tragedy of Biblical Illiteracy, Part 3

Anathema! The Council of Trent on Justification (Part 2)

Following the deep division in the church which had resulted from the Protestant Reformation, there was a widespread desire, which grew stronger and was expressed in a variety of ways, for an ecumenical council. Its aim would be to reject errors against faith, add strength to the official teaching, restore the unity of the church, and reform the standards of the Roman curia and of church discipline.1

SIXTH SESSION, held January 13, 1547.

Decree on Justification2

CANON 18. If any one saith, that the commandments of God are, even for one that is justified and constituted in grace, impossible to keep: let him be anathema.

CANON 19. If any one saith, that nothing besides faith is commanded in the Gospel; that other things are indifferent, neither commanded nor prohibited, but free; or, that the ten commandments nowise appertain to Christians: let him be anathema. Read more about Anathema! The Council of Trent on Justification (Part 2)

How to Start a Home Church (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

Steps to Starting a Home Church

First, don’t start a home church, yet. Rather, start a home Bible study. Meet together on a regular basis for the simple (yet transforming) study of the Word. Don’t take an offering. Don’t elect any leadership. Don’t set a budget. Just meet and study God’s Word. If you want to get fancy, serve cake.

If this home Bible study begins to have some cohesion, it may be time to transform the Bible study into a church. But a church needs to be under some kind of spiritual authority, preferably of another church. Is there a church somewhere, anywhere, that holds the same doctrine as your group? Would this church become the sponsoring church for your new group? Don’t look for a church that will take you as a satellite (leave that business to NASA), but look for a church that will take you as a sponsor to provide spiritual and practical guidance. That sponsor church should be committed to your future independence and should desire that independence as soon as possible. Read more about How to Start a Home Church (Part 2)

How to Start a Home Church (Part 1)

Reposted courtesy of Randy White Ministries

In my last article, I wrote about the difficulty your church will have finding a pastor in the future, especially if it is a small to medium sized church. In previous articles, I’ve written about why I couldn’t join most churches. With these kinds of problems, now it is time to write about How to Start a Home Church.

A Bible Believer’s Biggest Problem

Without a doubt, the largest number of emails, letters, and phone calls I’ve received over the past few years has been on the topic of finding a local church. I’ve literally received hundreds of these contacts, from all parts of the country. It isn’t just small towns, its big cities also. It isn’t just from secular-minded states, it is the Bible belt as well. Read more about How to Start a Home Church (Part 1)

Jesus & the Sad, Angry Little Men (Mark 3:1-6)

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This is a sad little story, because we see sad little men rejecting their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. They have made void the word of God through their tradition (cf. Mk 7:13). In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ early confrontations with the Pharisees come quickly, one after the other. This particular account is where the water boils over.

Mounting Opposition

First, they questioned why Jesus shares a meal with such “worldly” and “disreputable” people (2:15-17). They don’t ask Jesus; they ask His disciples (Mk 2:16). We’re not sure why the Pharisees don’t approach Jesus directly. But we can guess, knowing ourselves, that they’re a bit tentative and unsure of themselves. Perhaps, they thought, “It’ll be better to take the indirect route and cast doubt on His credentials to His followers.” Read more about Jesus & the Sad, Angry Little Men (Mark 3:1-6)