1. 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…)


  2. 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…)


  3. Evaluating Counsel

    January 3, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    coffee-and-chairs

    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…)


  4. 10 Goals for Baptist Men in 2015

    January 1, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    first-light

    Someone wisely said, “Aim for nothing, and you’ll hit it every time.”

    When it comes to goal setting, there are no more important areas for Christian men to set goals than their personal walk with God, their spiritual leadership in the home, and their relationships and service in the local church.

    If you are a Christian man who wants to love God more, lead your family better, and see more fruit in your life, I suggest these ten goals for your New Year: (more…)


  5. 14 Highlights from 2014

    December 31, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    2014-highlights

    I’m not much of a slow-down-and-look-back person. Ask me right now about God’s greatest blessings, and I’m likely to tell you about what happened last Sunday or what I’m looking forward to in the coming days.

    But I did something this December that I don’t normally do: I listed specific highlights of God’s blessings from the past twelve months.

    To be honest, 2014 had its challenges. But it also had its blessings. And as I, with the help of my calendar, looked back over the past twelve months, I was amazed at some of the great blessings God gave our family and ministry in 2014.

    Here are fourteen of the highlights—in the order they came: (more…)