Get off the grass

I don’t want to be the old guy who yells at the kids to “get off the grass.” I don’t want to grow into old age speaking in negative terms of the church, succeeding generations, and how everything was just peachy in my day.

To begin with, things weren’t just fine when I was younger. As is true of any generation, the people of God had their struggles against false teaching, arrogance, and apathy. Furthermore, there are many great young people being trained to serve the cause of Christ today. Many are already doing so with distinction. Urging young people to go back to the Bible and follow it completely is not the theological equivalent of yelling at them to “get off the grass,” however. It is sound, urgent advice. It is the theological equivalent of begging people to refrain from polluting the water supply. Continue reading “Get off the grass”

God loves numbers

God loves numbers. He counts the number of hairs on each human head. In fact, he likes numbers so much, he makes things uncountable by human means. The stars cannot be numbered. And who can count the grains of sand in the sea or all the drops in the oceans of the world?

But God knows. “He counts the number of the stars; he names all of them” Psalm 147.4. So he not only counts them, but names them all. Continue reading “God loves numbers”

What makes for a strong church

Between teacher Humberto’s comments in Bible class, as he covered Acts 4, and my notes, here are five points on what makes for a strong church.

#1. It preaches Jesus, Acts 4.18-20.

No message can transform lives but Jesus. No message can save eternally but that of the Cross of Christ. The issue between the Sanhedrin and the apostles was speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus. The Name made everything happen. The Name made men walk, united warring factions, caused new birth, gave hope to the hopeless. There was no talk of politics, of social change, of financial gain, of mission strategies or church resources. Jesus was the sum of their message. The strong church stays on message. Continue reading “What makes for a strong church”

Church growth: Is that all there is to it?

My grandfather used to say that if a thousand people are doing a stupid thing, it would still be a stupid thing. Moses said, “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).

“North American Protestantism,” one writer declared, “is man centered, manipulative, success orientated, self-indulgent and sentimental … 3,000 miles wide and half an inch deep” (J.I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness page 32). Continue reading “Church growth: Is that all there is to it?”

God gives the growth

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6, ESV).

What, you might ask, is the problem Paul is concerned about in this verse? The answer is, a very human and very contemporary problem.

There is more literature out there on church growth than oil wells in Texas and kudzu in Tennessee. Every mega church guru has written a book or produced a DVD on his church growth technique. Continue reading “God gives the growth”

Why the church gets no respect

You probably remember the favorite line of funny man Rodney Daingerfield: “I get no respect.” Sometimes, it seems to me, the church gets no respect.

As writer John Stott once observed, “The unchurched are hostile to the church, friendly to Jesus Christ.” Often we hear someone say, “I don’t like organized religion.” One wonders, does that mean he likes his church disorganized? As Will Rogers once quipped, “I am a member of no organized political party; I’m a democrat.” Continue reading “Why the church gets no respect”

Editor goes all sentimental for the holidays

First off, let us wish everyone a wonderful and blessed holiday season. This prayer on our sponsor site, GoSpeak, just about says it for us. Is it not a blessing of God to have opportunity to be with family and friends, and to recall how he has upheld us and brought us forward another year?

¶ We’re sad to be losing two families in the Taubaté congregation. One family has just left, another will leave next month. Both are key people in the work. On the one hand, we feel sad from not being able to work together with them closely. On the other, we believe we send them off with more resources and a stronger faith than they came with.

Perhaps, too, the Lord will send us workers, by conversion or transfer, to take up where they leave off. We’re obeying the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ to ask him to send more our way. We know the truth of his statement: Continue reading “Editor goes all sentimental for the holidays”