The world around us seems to be devoid of hope. In Great Britain many are worried about leaving the European Union – after all, for most people, this is all they have known. ISIS continues to cause people around the world to worry, as well as the unstable situation in Korea. People worry about what is ahead of them in life. Perhaps the problem is that they see this life as all there is.
When Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, we find Christians who were worried about the Christians who had already died. Paul wrote, “Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13 NET). Continue reading “A people of hope”
“For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope” (Romans 15:4 NET).
As we live as Christians we sometimes become discouraged. When we are “down” it can seem difficult to continue going on. But there is something we can “take” for that! Often when we are physically sick we are told to take a pill, to take medication which will help to pick us up again. The solution for when we are spiritually discouraged is God’s word. Continue reading “The encouragement of the scriptures”
“After we tore ourselves away from them, we put out to sea, and sailing a straight course, we came to Cos, on the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went aboard, and put out to sea. After we sighted Cyprus and left it behind on our port side, we sailed on to Syria and put in at Tyre, because the ship was to unload its cargo there. After we located the disciples, we stayed there seven days” (Acts 21:1-4 NET).
One thing that becomes very apparent as we read about Paul’s travels is that he desired to be with Christians. It wasn’t that Paul wasn’t with Christians all the time – he was travelling with a group of at least seven other Christians (see Acts 20:4 and the “we” statements in Acts 21, indicating that Luke was also with him). Continue reading “The need for fellowship”
How many times have I have heard someone say: “I left that church because they weren’t meeting my needs.”
The thing I’m struggling with is the vision of a church as a place where our needs ought to be met, as if we were entering a shop, then storming out because the service did not meet our expectations. All of which begs the question: Is the purpose of a church to meet my needs? Is that why we join a church – in order to be served? Continue reading “It’s the church’s responsibility to meet my needs”
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”
To begin with, I need to emphasize that this article is not intended for the person who has set himself up as the “church critic.” I have had it up to here with people who carp and point fingers, who hobble elders and discourage preachers, while, of course, contributing nothing themselves to the success of the church. Except, of course, for the manner in which they spew derision and harm.
This article is about the Christian who decides that the time has come to sit a brother or sister down and say in the clearest, yet most loving way: “When you said/did that, you were wrong, and you can’t keep doing it that way and be successful in your ministry.” Continue reading “How to be an effective critic”
I can’t do that. That’s just not me. Not only have we heard these words, we have likely said them at one time or another. Our self-perceptions both limit and empower.
Envision yourself succeeding. You can do this! These are the words we hear from coaches and motivational speakers as they instill new visions of self.
As Christians, how do we view our role(s)? Ever see yourself as a priest? What would a contemporary priest for God look like? Continue reading “Catch a new self image”
Are we getting up after we fall? Continue reading Fallen!
Be encouraging, but speak the truth in love. Continue reading Unhelpful platitudes