1. Doctrine Still Matters: What’s Wrong with Hillsong?

    October 28, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Bible

    You’ve likely read the news regarding Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, refusing to answer questions concerning Hillsong’s position on same sex marriage. Although this is not the first time Houston has made similar statements, it is the most recent.

    Does Hillsong’s position matter? After all, even Houston himself made a press release with a follow up statement that he personally believes in the traditional definition of marriage. (In effect, his “clarification” covered his personal belief but reiterated that Hillsong would not take a public position on these matters as a church.)

    Over the years, many have spoken out against Hillsong. The overall assessment I have heard has centered on music issues—specifically their CCM style. Sometimes we critique an area that may be worthy of attention (after all, music is a powerful, important part of worship and worthy of concern), but we can miss the larger picture and the deeper issues. Thus we condemn a ministry for an expression of a deeper issue rather than identifying and separating from the real issue(s).

    Why would I be concerned when a Baptist pastor becomes enamored with a ministry like Hillsong? My fundamental concern is that those enamored with Hillsong’s style will end up compromising Bible doctrine.

    Notice the three points of concern below, and ask yourself if these aren’t substantial issues—issues that would keep you from working with the church in your hometown that believed and practiced in these ways? (more…)


  2. The Challenge of Christmas Curriculum

    October 24, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    A Season to Celebrate

    The last six weeks of every year—from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s—are full of incredible reminders of God’s presence and goodness.

    But these weeks also tend to be incredibly busy and demanding. It’s easy to spend these weeks pulled from one special ministry event or family celebration to the next with no time to breathe in between. For many the season simply passes by in a blur of activity and hurry.

    Add to that the pressure as a teacher or preacher of preparing holiday-themed lessons or messages—multiple years in a row to the same people—and there is another demand on a full calendar season.

    Yet, for Christians, Thanksgiving and Christmas ought to be two of the most celebrated and reflected upon holidays of the year. And the New Year ought to be approached with renewed dedication to the Lord, not frazzled leftovers from a stressed out month.

    It is for these reasons that I recently wrote a brand new adult Sunday school curriculum—A Season to Celebrate: Experience God’s Grace in the Busyness of the Season. I am so excited about releasing this mini-series, and I pray it will be a help and blessing to teachers and students alike. (more…)


  3. Why I Stand with the Five Houston Pastors

    October 21, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Bible-on-pulpit

    Houston made headlines last week over the subpoena issued to five pastors surrounding the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

    The short background to the story is that Mayor Annise Parker (the first openly lesbian mayor of a major city in the US) signed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (also known as “the bathroom bill” because it would allow men who identify themselves as women to use public ladies restrooms and vice versa) into law. For obvious reasons—including common sense public safety concerns—Christians in Houston began gathering signatures to put this measure on the ballot. Pastors spoke out against the sin involved and encouraged their congregations to sign the petition to get the measure to voters in Houston.

    Petition organizers collected over 50,000 signatures—well over the required 17,269. The city secretary approved the signatures, and all was set to see Houston vote on this law.

    Then the mayor and city attorney went back through the approved signatures and said that enough of them either weren’t submitted or authorized correctly to bring the number below the required amount. Petition organizers disagreed and filed a lawsuit against the city.

    What happened next is where a sad story becomes bizarre and alarming. (more…)


  4. 5 Helpful Follow Up Methods Every Christian Can Use

    October 13, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    open-house-2014

    The Lord gave us a phenomenal Sunday yesterday, and how we praise Him for it! I preached a message from Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazareth and the need to consider eternity. What a privilege to preach Jesus and lift up the cross! God blessed as scores of people responded during the invitations and trusted Christ as their Saviour.

    After a Sunday of such abundant fruitfulness, I not only feel grateful, I also feel very responsible. I want to follow up on guests and nurture young Christians to grow in Christ.

    I believe that “big days” of ministry must be just the starting point for continued discipleship and training. Aggressive soulwinning must be followed with aggressive discipleship. Second Timothy 2:2 makes it clear that our job is to “teach others also” in the things we have learned.

    So how do we practically do that? Below are five ways to follow up on guests and new Christians after a special Sunday of outreach: (more…)


  5. What to Do at Church on an Outreach Sunday

    October 11, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Church

    In the previous post, I suggested ten ways you can use an evangelistic Sunday (such as Open House or a Christmas musical) to reach people with the gospel.

    In this post, I want to encourage you to steward every opportunity for sharing the gospel and reaching people for the Lord that a special Sunday brings.

    What can you do on Sunday morning to lead people to Christ? Here are five suggestions: (more…)