Church & Ministry
Posted 9/2/14 at 11:58 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“Then an expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Luke 10:25)
Holly, a 7-year-old in a church I pastored, once turned to her mother in the middle of my sermon and said, “Mother, why does Doctor Joe think we need this information?”
Every preacher should have such a child listening to every sermon and giving such feedback.
What boring preaching does–universally, no exceptions–is answer questions no one is asking.
It may do more things than this–dead oratory violates a thousand sound principles–but put it down in huge letters, pastor: the sermon which is sedating your congregation is seen as completely irrelevant to them.
Whether it is or not is another matter. FULL POST
Posted 9/2/14 at 11:32 AM | Bill Blacquiere
You’ve likely heard about “paying it forward,” but with a gun? That probably needs some explanation, starting with a little boy who bounced around between foster homes and state-run orphanages.
By the time Gary Larson was 17 years old and about to age out of the foster care system, he easily fit the description of a troubled teenager. His Bethany Christian Services caseworker and his wife decided to adopt Gary, and today he is married to a lovely woman, father to four children, vice president of a bank in Charlotte, North Carolina, and serves as a Bethany board member in his state.
“My life is not what the playbook called for, but what God designed for me,” Gary told me recently.
Now about that gun.
Gary is passionate about long-range precision shooting. Men and women compete for prizes by shooting at targets at distances from 1,000 yards to a mile. He’s even more passionate about adoption, so he started the Guardian Long Range Competition (www.guardianlongrange.com) as a fundraising event, with all proceeds going to Bethany Christian Services. His initial event drew 42 competitors from 11 states whose $150 entry fee went directly to Bethany to help us find loving homes for orphans and vulnerable children. FULL POST
Posted 9/2/14 at 11:08 AM | Justin Buzzard
How to leave a church well:
There’s much more to it than this, but this might be the main thing.
Walk into the church auditorium and find that place where you got on your knees 4 years ago on your first day on the job.
That spot of carpet under the big cross.
Go to that spot and get on your knees again.
Survey the big cross above you, just like you did before.
Pray, praising God for the prayers he answered from 4 years ago.
Give God all the glory, all the credit.
Be amazed at all he has done.
Thank him for his faithfulness, his kindness, his lavish generosity.
Smile as you pray.
Then entrust to his care the people that have been under your care.
Then tell him how desperately you need vision and help from above for the new adventure ahead. FULL POST
Posted 9/1/14 at 4:32 PM | Prayer Concerns
In one of the most challenging Bible verses about prayer Christians are told to "pray without ceasing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV
The only way we can "pray without ceasing" is by turning prayer into a lifestyle. This blog recommends using prayer lists and prayer calendars.
Operation World is both a resource book and website for praying for each nation of the world. Each day of the year prayer topics are listed for specific countries. Some highly populated countries receive multiple days of attention. During the month of September the Operation World guide will focus on 555 million people in 25 countries.
Open Doors, a ministry to persecuted believers, also produces a monthly prayer calendar. During the first week of September we are encouraged to pray for the Palestinian Territories. "Pray for long-lasting relationships to be built through the reconciliation ministry, Musalaha, which brings together
Palestinian and Messianic believers." FULL POST
Posted 9/1/14 at 1:09 PM | Christian Post
This year's theme for See You At The Pole is Never Stop Praying. This annual student-led event started in 1990 and millions of students have prayed at their school flagpole.
Posted 9/1/14 at 12:02 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (Galatians 5:9).
Take care of the little things.
In art, the difference between mediocre and masterful is often attention to details.
In wartime, attention to the little things can mean surviving.
I wonder if Goliath thought something like this in that millisecond before he expired: “This cannot be happening. A giant like me, a champion of warriors, massive and mighty, undaunted and undefeated–taken down by a kid with a rock in a sling.” He must have thought, “I hope my brothers never hear about this.”
Up in your state penitentiary you will find quite a number of good guys, people with impressive credentials and strong convictions and good records of achievement. But mixed in with their outstanding accomplishments was the leaven: a single habit they could not control, a friendship out of bounds, a secret vice, a weakness. FULL POST
Posted 9/1/14 at 9:36 AM | Tim Challies
Labor Day seems like a great opportunity to do a little “faith hacking”—to find and share some of those practical methods or techniques for living the Christian life. As I read, as I listen to sermons, as I speak to people, I am always looking for insights on how other Christians live out their faith in practical ways, and today I want to tell you about just one way I have found to read the Bible with others. It is called “The Swedish Method” and is explained in an old issue of Matthias Media’s magazine The Briefing.
As Christians we are constantly in God’s Word, constantly attempting to increase our knowledge of God’s Word and our submission to it. We read the Bible in our times of private worship, and public worship, but many of us also read the Bible one-on-one or with small groups. There are many different ways to read the Bible—many different methods, plans, and techniques, each suitable for a different purpose. The Swedish Method is one super-simple way to read the Bible with others, and may be especially effective for reading with small groups of teens or with individual new Christians. One of the advantages is that it requires few resources and little planning, but can still be very rewarding. Here is how it works. FULL POST
Posted 8/29/14 at 12:01 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices
By Joe McKeever
“Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him” (2 Samuel 16:11).
There’s something about us preachers that loves compliments and runs from criticism.
We preachers can be the biggest wimps on the planet.
Maybe it’s that way with everyone, I don’t know.
Let a preacher receive an anonymous note outlining what he’s doing wrong or a phone call dissecting last Sunday’s sermon and he is done for the week. He will be needing the attention of a good therapist.
We could learn a lot from politicians and others in the public arena. I’ve read that President Eisenhower enjoyed something like a 65 percent approval rating all eight years of his presidency, the highest of anyone since. This means 35 percent of the America public thought he was a failure. And yet, he is lauded as a winner. FULL POST
Posted 8/29/14 at 11:39 AM | Justin Buzzard
Last week I spent an afternoon with my new friend, Stephen Um. Stephen is a fantastic and friendly guy who has more degrees than I have bedrooms in my house and who has planted a great church, CityLife Boston. One of the questions I asked Stephen was what qualities he/Redeemer City to City looks for in church planters. He shared 3 essential qualities:
1. Entrepreneurial. A church planter must be entrepreneurial, must have the ability to start and build.
2. Above average preaching. A church planter must have an above average preaching gift.
3. Evangelist. A church planter must have a heart and the competency to engage people, especially skeptics, with the gospel. FULL POST
Posted 8/29/14 at 10:49 AM | C. Aaron Russell |
Selection from new book, Lessons In Faith—learned the hard way, by C. Aaron Russell. Labor Day Weekend Promotion - Free Kindle Ebook Sat-Mon
Father’s Day Weekend, June 2012—Arab International Festival, Dearborn, MI—A group of Christian demonstrators was attacked by an angry mob (formed from the largely Muslim crowd in attendance) hurling stones, bottles and debris. The assault was captured on video. The police made virtually no attempt to prevent or stop the violence or protect the demonstrators. No arrests were made. Though the Christians had a permit to demonstrate and remained peaceful, they were forced by the police to leave under threat of citation and possible arrest. It was also surprising how little attention such a shocking incident was given by the national news media, although the video capturing much of the violent confrontation went viral on the Internet. FULL POST