1. When God’s Gifts Aren’t Wrapped How You Hoped

    December 23, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    Life has a way of handing us unexpected and unwanted packages.

    A pink slip from your employer.

    A bad report from the doctor.

    An eviction notice from the bank.

    A harsh email from a strained relationship.

    Too often, the package delivered with your name on it isn’t a present you want.

    The first Christmas was wrapped in an unusual set of circumstances: Joseph and Mary having to make a difficult journey in the last trimester of her pregnancy…and then to have to give birth in a stable.

    But the way Jesus chose to come reveals that the “surprises” in our lives that look so foreboding to us truly are unusual packages of God’s grace. (more…)

  2. 6 Ways to Help your Children Love Being in Ministry (even during the holidays)

    December 21, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    The Christmas/New Year’s season is incredibly busy if you are a pastor or ministry leader. Not only are there special church programs and services, but December is also a full month for outreach, weddings, school events…and all while you are wrapping your mind around planning and casting vision for a new year.

    It can be easy to put your family in the back seat—or at least on autopilot—as you prepare, preach, and work to focus forward.

    Some people even go so far as to suggest that ministry and family don’t mix. This is something our four adult Children who are serving the Lord disagree with, but that is in a large part due to Terrie’s work through the years to seize Christmas and New Years as memory-making times.

    It is true, however, that you do need to be intentional about making the holiday season special for your family even in the midst of such busyness.

    What can you do to make this “most wonderful time of the year” wonderful for your children as well? (more…)

  3. Growth Points 73: Preparing Gospel-Focused Christmas Messages

    December 17, 2016 by Paul Chappell

    With just eight days between now and Christmas, I’ve counted seven Christmas services yet remaining before I sit down for Christmas dinner with my family. It’s a blessing throughout the month of December to focus on Christ’s birth and what He means to us. And yet, it’s a challenge to keep every one of those services unique and effective for the gospel.

    In this Growth Points video, I’d like to share a few thoughts that I hope will be helpful as you head into the final stretch of the Christmas season as a communicator of God’s Word:

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

  4. 7 Tips for Effective Follow Up

    December 15, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    This past weekend—Saturday and Sunday evening—was our annual Christmas musical at Lancaster Baptist Church. The amount of work put into these projections is staggering—not just in the thousands of hours given by the choir, orchestra, and drama teams, but also the thousands of invitations given out all across our community in the weeks preceding the musical.

    I think our church often enters this weekend a little exhausted. Yet, the exhaustion gives way to joy for all of us as we see people respond to the preached gospel message. It was our joy to witness this in every service this weekend, and we praise the Lord for it.

    The tendency after such an outpouring of service is to breathe a long sigh of relief on Monday morning, thank God for those who were saved, and kick back into neutral for a few weeks. (more…)

  5. 5 Christmas Gifts Every Christian Parent Can Give

    December 8, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    Every mom and dad knows that one of the best things about being a parent is giving to your children. Parents delight in sacrificing to meet their children’s needs and to bring them happiness.

    That’s one of the reasons Christmas can be a stressful time of year for parents who are struggling financially. The best gifts you can give your children, however, are not tangible. Regardless of what wrapped presents you may or may not be able to give, here are five gifts every Christian parent can (and should!) give to their children throughout the Christmas season: (more…)