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Johnny Jump-Up

Finding volunteers among children who count their years in single digits can be as slow as watching a Japanese maple grow. But wait; then they turn into teenagers. The slow response turns into no response. By then a wise mother has learned enough to stop asking for volunteers. She becomes a one-woman draft board, who assigns a task as if it were a non-negotiable mission!

I have never seen a church that had a waiting list of willing Bible class teachers, have you? Unless that list is comprised of Bible class teachers waiting for a break in teaching, that is! Other work in the churches are often left to the elders and the preacher…if the preacher is fortunate enough to have working elders. Continue reading Johnny Jump-Up

vine

Abide in the vine

My wife loves to grow things. Whether it is flowers, trees, vegetables or whatever, she loves to plant, water and watch things grow.

But, there is one thing all plants have in common. They must be attached to a root system. If the bloom, fruit or plant is cut from its stem or vine, it will die. I learned this one summer when I mowed over some of my wife’s flowers. Needless to say, she was unhappy. Continue reading Abide in the vine

fall of man

The cost of transgressions

“So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.’ . . . To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children.’ . . . Then to Adam He said . . . ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life'” (Genesis 3:14, 16, 17 NKJV). Continue reading The cost of transgressions

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People are important

There are some chapters in the Bible that we tend to avoid reading and that we definitely don’t want to have to read in public! The top of our list would undoubtedly be genealogies – someone begat someone who begat someone else…and on and on the list goes. Just down from that would be lists of names like we find in Romans 16.

Although we might initially find such lists “boring,” the more we study them the more I become fascinated with what I find. Rather than “just” being a list of names, what we have in Romans 16 are snapshots into Paul’s life. We really don’t know much about Paul. We have a general overview of his life from the time he became a Christian in the book of Acts, although great chunks are even missing from that account. We have a few odds and ends scattered throughout the letters he wrote. Then we find a long list of names like we have here. His life suddenly becomes quite interesting. Continue reading People are important

Sermon on the mount

Covenant principles

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Matthew 5:17–18, ASV).

The Old Testament pointed to Jesus as the promised Messiah; Jesus would not destroy that which affirmed his messiahship. The Covenant Law of the Old Testament would later be replaced by the New Covenant of Christ, as predicted in Jeremiah 31:31-34, and affirmed as changed in Hebrews 8:6-13 (see also Romans 7:6-7; Ephesians 2:11-16). But, at the time of this sermon, the Law of Moses is still in effect, and Jesus fulfilled the covenant perfectly. Continue reading Covenant principles

Bible Study and Prayer

Where have all the young people gone?

Church leaders and parents fret that they are losing their young people. The numbers are alarming. Why are they leaving? Who do we blame? Parents? Elders? The Youth Minister? The congregation’s worship style?

I’ve noticed that some are not beyond a little blackmail: “If you don’t remake church in our image, we’re out of here.” There are some things our young people should legitimately expect. They should expect us to be genuine, to demonstrate a changing in our lives because of Christ, to care for the poor, to act as if worship is not a drudgery to endure.

Ken Ham, in his book Already Gone has another suggestion. Continue reading Where have all the young people gone?

Flag Football

Salvation and purpose

Salvation and purpose is an odd title. Yet, failure to distinguish between these ideas entangles them to the detriment of  one or the other.

On the play ground, we can easily distinguish between becoming part of a team and what  we are to do as team members. However, open the Bible and we might find ourselves blending what is distinctively different.  Continue reading Salvation and purpose

Red Print Bible Verse

Black, white, and “red” all over

But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Do you remember the old riddle, “What’s black and white and “read” all over?” (ans: newspaper). Of course, the hearer doesn’t recognize the homophone, and is led by the terms “black” and “white” to hear “red” the color, rather than “read” the past tense verb. What does that have to do with the Bible? Stick with me. Continue reading Black, white, and “red” all over

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Can we handle our blessings?

Since Satan is always putting obstacles in our way, we should pray that the Lord will be with us in our challenges because the Christian life is very difficult (Matthew 6:34).

While it may seem an unexpected question, should we pray for our blessings in the same way?

God blesses us immeasurably if we’re in Christ (Ezekiel 34:26; Ephesians 1:3). He wants to open the windows of heaven for his faithful children (Malachi 3:10). But with blessings come responsibility. Continue reading Can we handle our blessings?

good-words

Careful! Human words radiate power

Words radiate power. Divine words emanate limitless power. God spoke creation into existence. Scripture transforms, motivates, and equips. His words are words of human comprehension that engage the human mind and soul. Jesus has “the words of eternal life” John 6.68.

The popular notion that words mean nothing is bunk. Human words also effect great consequences. The reason words multiply today is not only because more means are available, but because, down deep, people know the power of words and want to exercise that power. Continue reading Careful! Human words radiate power