When you host a special day or event as a church—such as for Resurrection Sunday or a graduation or conference—it is tempting to finish the event and then kick into low gear. Or, if you are Type A like me, finish the event and quickly move on to the next!
We have learned however, that it is helpful to pause for debriefing and to be sure we have thoroughly tied up loose ends before calling the event finished.
I suggest five questions as helpful starting points. The first four are ones that we ask in a team pastoral staff or leadership meeting. The last is one only you can answer. (more…)
No doubt about it, Resurrection Sunday is a highlight of the year. I thank God for the opportunity it provides many churches for extended outreach and gospel preaching, and I praise Him for every soul saved around the world this weekend.
It is always a blessing to me to watch our church family invest extra time and energy to share the gospel in the days leading up to Easter. (In the two weeks preceding Easter, our church family went to every home in our community with a gospel invitation.) And it is, of course, a joy to see people saved in the services as fruit of this labor. Another blessing of the weekend is receiving texts from other pastors and seeing reports on Twitter of people saved in other churches. I love hearing how God is working through local churches around the world.
If you’re like me, however, on the day after Resurrection Sunday, you are exhausted, and your mind is spinning. There is so much to rejoice in…and so much to do as follow up. And coupled with physical and emotional exhaustion, it’s easy to lose focus. It is easy for your mind to go to the guests who didn’t come, the goals you didn’t reach, or the part of your sermon that you don’t think came out clearly. (more…)
At Lancaster Baptist Church, we typically observe the Lord’s Table several times throughout the year. One of those times is the Sunday before we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. I am thankful for how this focuses our hearts on Jesus’ sacrifice and the events leading into His crucifixion and resurrection.
Before we observed the Lord’s Table this past Sunday, I preached a message titled “3 Lessons from the Lord’s Table” from 1 Corinthians 10. In this passage, we see that the Lord’s Table is not only a reminder of the sacrifice of the cross, but it is also a reminder that Christ deserves our exclusive love and loyalty. And, as Paul pointed out to the Corinthian church, our separation from anything that competes with or replaces Christ.
In this message, we looked at how the Lord uses this time of examination to teach us the priority of loyalty to Him, separation from idols, and, in a local church context, ecclesiastical separation from false worship.
I trust this message will be an encouragement to you to renew your love and loyalty to Christ as we celebrate His sacrifice for us and His defeat over sin and death.
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The longer I serve in ministry, the more I recognize the value of working with young people. In fact, the longer I serve, the more I believe we should pour more of ourselves into serving our youth.
Some of the most significant decisions of my life I made as a teenager. I sensed the call to preach as a thirteen year old at camp. I made the decision to attend Bible college as a sixteen year old when Dr. Jack Baskin took an hour to personally invest in my life.
It’s obvious that young people make significant life decisions in their teen years. But what we sometimes forget is the pliability of their hearts and the opportunity we have to influence them in these decisions. (more…)
I’ll be upfront: as an independent Baptist pastor, I am concerned.
Statistics bear that various groups are sliding, and every indication is that established independent Baptist churches are seeing fewer people added to the church by baptism.
This means that even as our nation is growing, our evangelism and discipleship efforts are not. Or at least that they are not growing in effectiveness.
I believe it is time for independent Baptist pastors to seek the Lord about our spirit and our vision. Do we believe it is possible to reach our nation? Is our spirit hindering the spread of the gospel?
And more importantly, what can we do about it? (more…)