By Brett Christensen — The only reason you and I are in Christ’s church is because we have heard the pure message of salvation as taught in scripture, and have believed it with enough conviction to obey it and continue in it. That’s not true of anyone outside the Lord’s church, whether they’re in some humanly established alternative church or even irreligious.
It’s good news that if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the tragic corollary is that those not in Christ are not new creatures. We in Christ have an unassailable hope; those apart from Christ are living without hope. If God means what he says, then we cannot deny these truths. So the unpleasant reality about any person or group which has not followed God’s instructions on how to get into Christ is that they’re without God, without hope in this world, not having the forgiveness of sin which is available in Christ. Continue reading “Us and them”
It is unfortunate that for some people their view of God and worship is a long list of what they cannot do. Scripture provides us a long list of how God’s people are empowered to act. Consider these representative ideas. How many biblical texts can you attach to each item? Continue reading “Tell me what I can do”
“I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel, from the first day until now, being confident… that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:4-6).
In what amounts to a piece of gallows humor, missionaries misquote Exodus 1:8 thus: “There arose in the church an eldership that knew not the missionary.” Continue reading “Preaching partners”
This is the time of year when the careful gardener is painfully aware of root systems in the garden; especially when they are insufficient.
Rainfall has been almost nonexistent for the past several weeks, and many of the newer trees and shrubs are showing signs of stress. The brilliant colors that herald autumn are muted even in the more established trees, because of insufficient water. Continue reading “Firmly rooted and knit together”
“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”
No weddings ever take place in the garden centers at Lowe’s. It begs the question —- Why not? There are hundreds of flowers and plants. Unlike my garden, they dispose of the ones that might be struggling or have gone dormant.
Shouldn’t that be the ideal venue for a classy event? Continue reading “Gardens versus garden centers”
I’m thankful today for the medium of the internet that makes it possible to communicate easily and quickly with you and so many others, seeking as we do to edify and build each other up in the Lord Jesus Christ.
I’m thankful today for my time yesterday morning with the congregation in the Pimentas neighborhood, in the city of Guarulhos, about an hour from here, as I shared with them the “7 powers of the servant of God.” They’re looking to choose some men next month to serve in some important functions, a sign of good growth for this 10-year-old congregation.
I’m thankful today for the two and a half hours I spent yesterday afternoon, in the Pimentas church building, with a dozen men from several congregations in greater São Paulo area, answering their questions about spiritual service. They are earnest men, dedicated to the work of the Lord, aware of their needs, desirous of doing a better job. Continue reading “I’m thankful today”
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”
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NKJV).
Three of us had left the car and started down the mountain-side (well, in Nepal it is “just” a hill) carrying four back-packs between us plus a heavy camera bag and a well-stuffed purse. Yes, one of us was my wife. Continue reading “Burdens and burden-bearers”
It seems that throughout the history of mankind, people have developed words to distinguish groups of people. The Greeks referred to all those who were not Greek as barbarians. In Rome you were either a citizen or a non-citizen. The Jews called all those who were not Jews by the term “Gentiles.” It would seem the purpose of creating such distinctions was to elevate your own group and put down those who you considered less than your group. Even today we can find this type of terminology in places. Continue reading “No more “us” and “them””