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Why the Lord’s Supper is Only for Church Members

There is a special literary device in Hebrew scripture that you find occasionally, especially in the poetry passages. This device is called a Chiasm. Since the writers didn't have a way to put things in bold or italics, this was a devise to highlight and emphasize. To understand how this devise works, think of it as a literary pyramid. You have several statements or word...

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Easy on Sin Means Hard on Forgiveness

Unintended consequences. That is what you call those events which, after certain choices, come like a bolt from the blue. You don't expect them, because the consequence seems unrelated to the original action. Slap a Gorilla, and you will get torn into like a bag of Doritos. That is not an unintended consequence because you can basically see that coming. But if you get ...

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Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing of Relevance

Being irrelevant is a bad thing. Screen door companies should not market to submarine manufacturers, and you don't bring football pads to a nursing home. These things are irrelevant to the stated contexts. Irrelevance is foolishness and wastes time, money and effort. Does this mean that the search for relevance is the wisest and noblest goal for business and churches ali...

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Church Growth Tactic: Join the Grave-Digging Team?

What should the atmosphere of the church be like? Many churches today want you to know what their atmosphere is like. Their websites tell you what you can expect when you arrive. This is understandable and helpful. However, many churches are quick to let you know that they are casual and easy-going. And often times this is only half the truth. The reality is they are fun...

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Throwing Grace Under the Bus

Bad things happen. We understand that is part of this living in this world. Cars break down, parades get rained on and raisins are put into cookies instead of chocolate chips. Some bad things are on another level. People get diseases, relationships are broken and wars are fought. But a tragedy is something unique. A tragedy is when an exceptionally wonderful good is ...

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When Church is Boring: 3 Problems and 2 Solutions

When Church is Boring: 3 Problems and 2 Solutions There no getting around the fact. Church can be boring. Why is this? It cannot be because God is boring. There is nothing boring in God. He is the fountainhead of every pleasure. He is the ultimate story-maker who amazes us with the unexpected all the time. Every good thing comes down from the Father of lights. So where...

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The “One Another” Passages And Discipleship

It is critical that you do love right. Love for neighbor, as you know, is the second greatest commandment. The thrust of this article is that love is rarely done better or more consistently than when it is being given in a discipleship context. Marriage is the obvious exception to this. But marriage is different because it has a purpose that no other relationship can hav...

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Culture, Worship, and my Trip to Haiti

Many of you came to the presentation I gave Sunday night about my trip to Haiti. I hope you were encouraged by the ministry happening in Haiti and how Open Door Fellowship got to be a small part of that. But I am sure there were many questions raised about the nature of church life at Bethsaida Evangelical church in Haiti in comparison with our own church life. I am sur...

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What To Do With That Idea You Have

This weekend we are doing something as a church that we have not done before. We will be doing some evangelistic Christmas caroling. Why are we doing this? There are a number of reasons why we are doing this, but the first reason, the reason that got it all in motion, was one of our members brought the idea to our attention and explained the benefits. Do you know what...

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Another Argument for the Total Lordship of Christ

A couple of weeks ago, I addressed an understandable challenge to preaching the Lordship of Christ in a person's life. This challenge said that if a person cannot know everything that Christ will call him to in the future, such as sin to forsake or life decisions to make, then demanding Christ's Lordship is too demanding. You can read why that challenge won't work here...

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A Common Challenge to Jesus’ Lordship

Last Sunday we were looking at Matthew 21:35-46 and our attention was brought to the matter of Jesus' Lordship. In the parable, hired vine-growers were attempting to overthrow the ownership, rights and lordship of the owner [God] and take the vineyard for themselves. Just what is the extent of Christ's lordship over someone's life? If we say it is total, we bump into ...

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Reflections on 5 Years of Ministry

Time flies when yourdoing ministry, apparently. People often talk about how kids grow up before you know it, but it is true of a church as well. It is hard to believe we have been here five years. The mixture of excitement and uncertainty felt in that first year is still vivid. Maybe it is because that mixture of excitement and uncertainty is still around in certain wa...

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Next Level Humility

The Olympics is right around the corner which means we will soon be hearing the oft repeated phrase, "They make it look so easy." There is no mystery why this is. When you do anything 10,000 times, it is going to become second-nature to you. You discover how things work, when to do this, why to do that, which way to adjust at just the right time. Much of this, however, c...

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How to Leave a church

Leaving a church should be a difficult undertaking for multiple reasons. First, it should be difficult because of the questions one needs to answer before leaving. Second, it should be difficult because of the relationships you built within the church. If your leaving is not a very difficult thing, it is because one or both of the above has not been adequately considered...

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When Not To Leave A Church

1. When there are church problems Ironically, this is one of the most common reasons people leave a church. When you think about it, however, this is crazy. Satan is hell-bent on destroying the church. With such a powerful being opposing us, do we really think any good church will avoid problems? I would say you have something to worry about if there are never problems....

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When To Leave A Church

1) When there is false teaching. Doctrine is the engine of decision making. What we really truly believe drives our behavior. Therefore, there is nothing more important in a church than continuous, faithful teaching of Scripture; especially in matters of essential doctrine. If our beliefs are not constantly challenged and corrected by Scripture, then we might be in a ch...

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A Surprising Mark of Godly Love

Are you a loving person? Your answer can help you determine your level of spiritual maturity. Christians are to be known by our love (John 13:35), and only those who love abide in the light (1 John 2:10). The attributes of biblical love listed in 1 Corinthians 13 are helpful. However, love is like an ocean with various currents constantly moving the waters. Some currents...

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Understanding and Bearing Spiritual Fruit, Part 3

Today we are looking at the third and final category of spiritual fruit. The first was the general category dealing with the nature of spiritual fruit. The second addressed spiritual fruit that is internal to the believer and primarily connected to the believer's own life. In working through those first two categories we developed this definition: Spiritual fruit is a ...

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Understanding and Bearing Spiritual Fruit, Part 2

Last week I began this blog series by describing three different categories of spiritual fruit. First is the general category that primarily speaks to the nature of spiritual fruit. Second is a specific category of spiritual fruit that is internal to the believer and primarily connected to the believer's own life. Third is the specific category of spiritual fruit that is...

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Understanding and Bearing Spiritual Fruit, Pt. 1

I am fascinated by fruit. Sometimes I catch myself staring at an apple. In my hand is a perfectly portioned meal, containing wonderful nutrients, sealed in its own protective skin, carrying seeds for propagation, and to top it off it is delightfully tasty. What a wonderful gift God has designed for us. But even more wonderful is spiritual fruit. I have been thinking a lo...

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After the Barbeque

People. Oh, the complexities that come with people. There are so many personalities, so many backgrounds, so many ways we sin against one another. Challenges and perils aside, God calls us to love people and pour out our lives for them. So let's say you want to do better at loving people. You know this is the second greatest commandment, so it isn't effort that will be ...

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The Hypocrite: A Better Definition

We have all heard it from someone at some time. They don't want to go to church because of all the hypocrites. But who exactly are they talking about and what church are they talking about. Let's deal with the church first. If the person you are talking to doesn't want to go to your church because of all the hypocrites, he might have a very good reason. If your church h...

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