1. Three Truths for Christian Patriots

    July 3, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    patrick-henry

    One of my favorite of the American founding fathers is Patrick Henry. I remember years ago visiting his estate at Red Hill in Eastern Virginia. In the museum was a copy of his last will and testament. Above all of his material wealth, he specifically stated in his will the importance of a personal faith in Jesus Christ. He was a Christian patriot, and I believe we celebrate freedom today because of freedom loving and God loving people who sacrificed for future generations.

    By now we have all read plenty about the culture shift in America, the demise of the biblical family, and the erosion of freedom for Bible believers in light of recent high court rulings. Yet, I wanted to take a moment to say, “God is not finished with Christianity in America!” Perhaps now we will be called upon to stand as never before, but this day of “Laodocean Christianity” may have needed such a wake up call. The kind that will raise up some Patrick Henrys who will pave the way for future generations to have freedom and know Christ.

    This is not the time to let despondency be the main emotion of the 4th of July holiday! Consider a few truths from the Word of God and from history:

    The gospel is more powerful than any government. When communism arose in brutal fashion in China there were perhaps a million or two Christians in China. Today there are conservatively over 200 million.

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

    We often see great spiritual progress after dark spiritual times. I enjoy studying Baptist history and am also inspired by the faith of the reformers, I have visited the cave churches of the Waldensians of the twelfth century and the sight of the burning of Huss, Latimer, Ridley, and others.

    While we celebrate the faith and courage of those who gave their lives for the faith, we also are aware that millions trusted Christ because a few were willing to stand.

    And we should never forget that just before the Reformation or the Great Awakening or even the rise of soulwinning Baptist churches in the 70s and 80s there were periods known as the “Dark Ages” or the “sexual revolution.” These were periods when many were hopeless, but the Word of God was not bound.

    These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

    Christ is still building His church. I will never forget my friend and mentor Dr. Curtis Hutson singing at a pastors meeting in North Carolina around 1995. His body was filled with cancer and his days were drawing to an end. The song he chose? It was entitled, “I’m on the Winning Side.” Dr. Hutson was on the winning side, he is, and so are all of us who are in Christ. Happy Independence Day!

    And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)


  2. The Forgotten Admonition for the Last Days

    July 2, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    looking-up

    Now, more than ever before, current events remind us that we are living in the last days.

    The events of this past week have pointed to Bible prophecies concerning the progressive lifestyles of sin (2 Timothy 3:1–4) and the oblivion of and disregard for God’s judgment (Matthew 24:37–39).

    As we know, Scripture gives us many admonitions for these last days: We are to contend for the faith (Jude 3). To preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). To witness to the lost (Matthew 24:14). To be sober–minded (1 Peter 4:7). To watch with prayer (1 Peter 4:8).

    But there is one command that many of us forget. This command is expressly given in relation to the last days. And it is specifically stated to be an issue of vital significance. Tragically, it is often neglected. (more…)


  3. A Free Toolbox—Spiritual Leadership Conference Session Downloads

    June 29, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    SLC-sessions

    As laborers together with God (1 Corinthians 3:9), it is imperative that we, as spiritual leaders, are not simply maintaining the work of God, but that we are building.

    At Spiritual Leadership Conference 2015, our theme was from Jesus’ words, “I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). Each service and session was filled with biblical truth on building in the local church.

    Videos of all the services as well as mp3 audio downloads of the workshop sessions are available—all for free.

    The sessions include a wide variety of topics in the following areas: (more…)


  4. What the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Means to Christians

    June 26, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    United States Supreme Court

    By now, you’ve heard of the landmark 5-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.

    As a Christian pastor, I’m deeply grieved at the Court’s decision to ignore biblical revelation and redefine God’s institution.

    Indeed, marriage is God’s institution, and He has clearly defined it for us.

    From Creation itself, God made marriage a sacred union between a man and a woman:

    Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.—Genesis 2:24

    Jesus quoted from this passage, affirming that marriage between a man and a woman was God’s special institution “at the beginning”:

    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?—Matthew 19:4–5

    To attempt to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, is actually a redefinition of marriage that undermines the very core of what it is. And an honest assessment of what is taking place indicates that the redefinition will not stop with today’s decision.

    So what does this decision mean for Christians? How should we respond to it? (more…)


  5. Growth Points 64: Are We Making Disciples or Developing Superficial Converts?

    June 24, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    Jesus told us in John 15:16 that He has ordained us—set us apart for a purpose—to bring forth fruit that remains.

    As pastors and Christian leaders, it’s fair that we occasionally ask ourselves, “Are we making disciples here? Or are we simply developing superficial converts?”

    It’s a hard question. But I believe it’s important. The reality is that sometimes we can get people to go through motions without leading them to go deeper in their personal walk with God. Over time, people without a growing walk with the Lord will not remain faithful.

    In this Growth Points video, we talk about the process of how new Christians are grounded the Word of God through points of discipleship in local church ministry:


    (If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Note: The Continue discipleship resource mentioned in this video is available from Striving Together Publications.