1. 5 Practices of Faithful Financial Stewards

    February 27, 2017 by Paul Chappell


    We know that a biblical perspective on our finances is based in the awareness that God is the ultimate owner of everything and has entrusted resources to us to steward, or manage, for Him. Our job, then, is to be faithful stewards.

    It’s easy to talk about faithfulness and to assume we are faithful just because we have the desire to be. But what does faithful stewardship look like in terms of our day-to-day lives?

    Over the years, I have observed five habits consistently present in those who wisely handle finances.  (more…)

  2. 5 Ways to Make Sermon Study More Productive

    February 20, 2017 by Paul Chappell


    The greatest ministry responsibility of a pastor’s life is noted in Acts 6: “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).

    Yet, the time spent in prayer and study for messages is probably a pastor’s greatest challenge as well. There are just so many pastoral responsibilities that arise during a given week that time for sermon preparation must be guarded…and maximized.

    Below are five tips that I hope will be a help to you in making your study time more productive for your congregation. (more…)

  3. 6 Relational Characteristics of a Christlike Leader

    February 15, 2017 by Paul Chappell


    My generation tends to think of a strong spiritual leader as someone who is authoritative and able to administrate from a position of command. Indeed, we see leaders like this throughout the Bible—Joshua, Nehemiah, perhaps Paul.

    Millennials, however, have a greater tendency to see a strong spiritual leader as someone who is relationally connected and able to persuade from a position of understanding.

    Sometimes, for all the chatter about generational preferences, we forget that the Bible not only has examples of both kinds of leaders, but it also teaches all of us to develop in both areas.

    Perhaps no area of a spiritual leader’s life demonstrates his Christlikeness or fleshliness like his relationships. (more…)

  4. The Marijuana Mistake

    February 11, 2017 by Paul Chappell


    It came to my attention several weeks ago that for nearly six months city leaders and planners have been studying and discussing issues regarding cannabis and the effect it would have on our community to grant cultivation permits for medical marijuana. I have been asked by our city leadership to share my opinion on the matter, which I am grateful to do. I am thankful for our city leadership and their commitment to protect and serve our citizens in so many ways. The simple fact that our council meetings begin in prayer encourages me to know our leaders recognize they are under the authority of God ultimately. What follows represents my best understanding, given the limited time parameters, of the city’s proposal and the consequences I am concerned will follow.

    I recognize that a majority of Californians approved smoking marijuana for recreational use this past November. I am, however, among the 44 percent of our state who opposed Proposition 64, and I hold to the conviction that just because something is legal or popular doesn’t make it right, healthy, or wise. As the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said, “Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” (History can point us to plenty of majority-held positions, which have led to great harm and destruction.[1]) The City of Lancaster has historically identified against the majority of Californians on a number of similar issues.

    I, as a pastor, and Lancaster Baptist Church as a ministry, stand opposed to the dissemination of marijuana or any mind-altering substance to the general public.

    As I have reviewed the city reports recommending Ordinance No. 1019 and Resolution No. 16-55, I commend the city staff for being proactive in creating codes that would not allow distribution points for marijuana. I do, however, have significant concerns regarding this ordinance and resolution. For the sake of organization, I’ve grouped these concerns into three categories: (more…)

  5. How to Know if You Are Growing in Grace

    February 8, 2017 by Paul Chappell


    We know that God calls us to “Grow in grace” (2 Peter 3:18). And every Christian who is walking with the Lord desires this kind of growth.

    But how do we know if we are indeed growing? What are the benchmarks of growth in grace? There are many throughout God’s Word, but here are three very specific ways we know God’s grace is growing in our lives.

    Grace nurtures trust in God.

    Grace does not shield us from trouble, but it does give us the ability to trust God in our troubles. (more…)