January 22, 2015 by Paul Chappell
When I was a young boy in Northern California, the only time I wanted to go inside was dinnertime. All other hours, I wanted to be outside playing.
Playtime for today’s young people, however, has transformed into screen time. The nature of community for twenty-first century children and teens has been radically changed.
The typical teenager today spends over 7.5 hours each day connected to some form of media.
This many hours of screen time poses serious concerns for the hearts and souls of young people—on every level.
One of these concerns is purity.
For today’s teens, technology and purity can be incredibly connected. Twenty percent of all teens say they have sent/posted nude or semi-nude pictures or videos of themselves. And there’s worse…but I’m stopping there. The point is that today’s Internet makes moral sins incredibly accessible (and deceptive) to young people at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. (more…)
Category: Christian Life, Family, Media/Resources
Tags: Family, Media/Resources, Ministry Moments, Resource, sermon | Comments (0)
January 19, 2015 by Paul Chappell
If we can learn anything from the first-century churches of Asia Minor, it is the propensity of Christians and churches toward decline.
As you read Revelation 2–3, you see churches that were started in the days of the apostles already seeing sharp spiritual decline in that first generation.
But if there is one other thing we can learn from these churches, it is that Christ cares about the condition of the church and that He desires to revive His church.
Notice these instructions the Lord gave to the church at Sardis through the Apostle John:
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.—Revelation 3:2–3
These are words of hope. They speak to God’s willingness to revive Christians and local churches that were once vibrant in their faith but are now faltering in their love and loyalty for Christ.
To the church at Sardis, Christ laid out for them the path to spiritual restoration in five specific commands that would bring revival: (more…)
Category: Christian Life
Tags: Christian Walk, Church, revival | Comments (0)
January 16, 2015 by Paul Chappell
Welcome to the club!
It’s a club comprised of some of the stalwart heroes of the faith. You know, Abraham (Genesis 17:17), Sarah (Genesis 18:12), Gideon (Judges 6:13), Elijah (1 Kings 19:10), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:7), John the Baptist (Luke 7:19)…and Asaph.
We don’t think about Asaph that often. He’s probably not included in your kids’ Bible story book, and you may not even recognize his name. Asaph was the chief musician leading Israel’s temple worship during the reign of David. And he penned Psalm 73—one of the most transparent chapters in the Bible.
In Psalm 73, Asaph recorded his doubts about God—about God’s goodness, about God’s righteousness, about God’s faithfulness. And he recorded how God led him, not to suppress the doubts, but to work through them—in the sanctuary of God.
I recently came across a small book that is packed with helpful study regarding this Psalm. The book is titled Working through an Asaph Moment: and dealing with doubts about God. It is written by Tim Zacharias, pastor of the Community Baptist Church in Branford, Connecticut. (more…)
Category: Christian Life, Media/Resources
Tags: Book Reviews, faith, Media/Resources, Recommended Reading, Resource | Comments (0)
January 12, 2015 by Paul Chappell
The best part of most new year’s goals is the first week of January. Adrenaline runs high, and success seems just within reach.
And then the second week of January comes. And the adrenaline-based enthusiasm wanes.
Maintaining the momentum to pursue God-given goals is particularly difficult in long-range goals or in difficult-to-measure goals, such as leading and building up other people. Although I believe it is helpful to set clear, measurable goals, God’s work through us can’t always be measured this side of Heaven.
And yet, I believe God is honored when we persist in pursuing growth in His work—when we put our hand to the plow and faithfully look to the end of the furrow all year long.
When it comes to the work of the ministry, how do we maintain the passion to labor with God all year long? How do we lead and serve others with a commitment to build and a patience to persist? (more…)
Category: Christian Life, Ministry Leadership
Tags: Church, leadership, Leadership Lessons, ministry, new year, pastors | Comments (0)
January 3, 2015 by Paul Chappell
You’ve probably heard the old fable of the man and his son bringing their donkey to market. En route, they encounter so many people who give their opinions as to who should ride the donkey and who should walk that by the time they reach the market, the man and his son are carrying the donkey.
The point of the fable is simple—no one person can or should respond to the opinions of every person who offers them.
It’s interesting to note that scriptural admonitions to receive counsel often include a qualified person from whom we are to receive it. For instance, children are to receive—not necessarily all instruction—but the instruction of their parents (Proverbs 1:8). The Apostle Paul pled with those he had led to Christ to receive his counsel (1 Corinthians 4:15–16) and counsel from godly teachers (1 Thessalonians 5:12).
While the Bible does generally instruct us to listen to counsel (Proverbs 19:20), it never instructs us to heed all opinions or counsel. Otherwise, we’d end our ministries not saying, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7), but “I have fought others’ fights, started many courses that umpteen people laid out for me, and I’m not real sure what the faith even is.”
In other words, we’ll arrive at market carrying the donkey.
So how do you know from whom to receive counsel? I believe the six questions below give an objective criteria that is consistent with the admonitions in Scripture regarding from whom to receive counsel. (more…)
Category: Christian Life, Ministry Leadership
Tags: Christian Walk, leadership, ministry | Comments (0)