Are We Known for Calling Upon Yahweh?

By Todd Wood.

A while ago, a 70-year-old single man took me out to lunch at a fast-food joint. Innocent enough. Yet while I was hungrily munching on my thick Arb’y roast beef sandwich, loaded with special sauce, my friend point-blank asked me how much time I spend in prayer.
PrayerThe stabbing question caught me off guard. And before I knew it, excuses were running through my brain like wild coyotes. Does he realize how busy the ministry is? And think about this: how many church congregations pay an elder to pray for them?

I shamefully mumbled an answer in the direction of my friend’s intense gaze. “Presently, very little.”

I was no longer interested in my roast beef sandwich. In fact, I wanted to chuck it into the trash can. I felt jarred and off balance. I knew there are two activities a biblical elder ought to give his full strength to: study of the Word and prayer. And I knew that the ratio of my time spent researching and studying and discussing and debating and proclaiming the Scriptures in relation to intercessory prayer for brothers and sisters and unbelieving friends toward the exalting of Yahweh’s glory didn’t really equal out. Did I really think that my concentrated study, my biblical exposition, my organized and carefully prepared words would win the day of accomplishing the work of the Lord Almighty God?
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So Why Go to School?

In The Nick of Time
by Kevin T. Bauder

In a recent In the Nick of Time essay, I suggested that learning is not the only qualification for ministry. I argued that it is not even the most important qualification. The brightest student may fail in ministry if he lacks the skills that will enable him to bring his learning to bear upon the lives of people.

From these observations, some might infer that I think learning is unimportant for ministry. That, however, would be a false inference. To say that a thing is not the most important is not to say that it is unimportant. In fact, I believe that learning is an indispensable qualification for ministry.

Evidently the apostle Paul agreed. When he enumerated the qualifications of a bishop, he specified that the man must be skilled in teaching (1 Tim. 3:2). Skillful teaching does require more than learning, but it certainly does not require less. One must learn a thing before he can teach it.
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Four Ways Instrumentalists Can Raise the Bar

by Greg Howlett

Music is a lightning rod for controversy on SharperIron, and I am hopeful that this article will lead to some thoughtful discussion and introspection. However, I have challenged myself to write about music in a way that is relevant to the average fundamentalist church while avoiding the normal debates about CCM and stylistic preferences.
PianoAs a church musician, arranger, and recording artist, I have been involved in church music for almost 30 years and have ministered in hundreds of fundamentalist churches. That track record hardly qualifies me as an expert, but I do have some strong opinions about what I perceive to be some of the weaknesses in our music.

This article is largely directed toward church instrumentalists though there are many applications for anyone else serving in music ministries. Specifically, I want to address four ways I believe instrumentalists can improve the music in their churches.
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Confronting Myself

by Beth Murschell
murschell_mirror.jpgWhen coma patients become conscious after, say, 20 years, I imagine them catching up on the world, shocked at all the advances in technology, at who has become President, or at wars or historical events that they’ve missed. But nothing will convince them more of the reality of passing time than a look in the mirror.

Mirrors should serve as a form of self-confrontation—oh, I need to fix my hair or fix a crooked collar or stand up straight or put on lipstick. We can, however, look without seeing and walk away unchanged. As James 1 says,
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