1. The Role of Grace in Giving

    February 25, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    wallet

    You’ve read the testimony of the Macedonian Christians who gave sacrificially to the Apostle Paul:

    Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.—2 Corinthians 8:1–8

    Why is this testimony so powerful? Paul used it to encourage the Corinthian churches to be faithful in giving, and two millennia later, it motivates us today. Why?

    The significance lies in their motive. In God’s economy, the motive is as important as the gift. In other words, why we give is as important as that we give. (more…)


  2. 7 Practical Ways to Strengthen Your Hands for the Work

    February 17, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    building-brick-wall

    What spiritual leader hasn’t drawn encouragement from Nehemiah 2:18?

    Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.—Nehemiah 2:18

    But for that encouragement to be more than an emotional boost, we need specific ways to put it into practice.

    Just how does a person strengthen their hands?

    There are many possibilities, but here are seven starters: (more…)


  3. 15 Real Ways to Honor Your Wife

    February 13, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    holding-hands

    I’ve read 1 Peter 3:7 hundreds—if not thousands—of times.

    Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.—1 Peter 3:7

    This verse is rich with marital counsel to husbands, and I use it often in counseling.

    • Dwell with them according to knowledge: Really know what her needs are as well as her likes, dislikes, and preferences.
    • As unto the weaker vessel: Remember she has special needs, and be sensitive to them.
    • As being heirs together of the grace of life: Treat your wife as an equal—as heirs together of God’s grace.
    • That your prayers be not hindered: If a husband is not being sensitive to his wife, he is limiting his access to answered prayer.

    But while I was meditating on this verse several months ago, a phrase that I had not given much thought to hit me like a lead pipe:

    Giving honour unto the wife…

    That’s contrary to how men think. We think it is our wives who are to give us honor. But in that moment, the Holy Spirit said to me, “You don’t honor Terrie as much as you could.” (more…)


  4. 5 Revival-Producing Commands to the Local Church

    January 19, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    flame

    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…)


  5. 10 Reasons We Still Have Sunday Evening Service

    January 5, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    Sun-evening-service

    I’ve known for some years that the Sunday evening service in Baptist churches has been on the decline. But I read a recent statistic by researcher Thom Rainer stating that only 5 percent of churches have a Sunday evening service. That number startled me.

    Personally, I love Sunday evening services, and I know many in our church family do as well. But I believe this service is needful for more reasons than personal tastes. (Not that a personal taste for church would be a bad reason!)

    As I considered the 5 percent statistic, contrasted with how the Lord has used the Sunday evening services at Lancaster Baptist Church, I jotted down ten reasons I believe Sunday evening services are needful. Most of these have strong scriptural support, while a few are matters of practicality. (more…)