1. Growth Points 59: Five Areas to Prepare for a Successful New Year

    December 15, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    The early chapters of Nehemiah reveal a burdened man who wanted to be used of God. Nehemiah prayed and fasted, and he saw God open incredible doors. But he didn’t stop there. Before Nehemiah even set foot in Jerusalem with permission to rebuild the walls, he made preparations for the work.

    Moreover I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah;—Nehemiah 2:7

    Nehemiah prepared for the time and work beyond the immediate moment in which he was living. He had supply lines already in place for the work God called him to do.

    I believe that we, too, need to plan and prepare ahead for the work God places on our hearts. And one of the best times to do that is just before the New Year. Before January 1 even comes, it helps if we already know where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there.

    In this Growth Points video, I share five simple areas to prepare for a fantastic New Year:


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

    The Stewarding Life Planner I mention about halfway through this video is available from Striving Together Publications here.

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.


  2. Thoughts on Presenting the Gospel Gift this Christmas

    December 6, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    the-gift

    One of the blessings of the Christmas season is people’s openness to talk about Jesus. In my experience, it’s one of the best times of the year in terms of tender hearts and responsiveness to gospel invitations in the community.

    Each year, our church choir and orchestra present a Christmas musical production to which we invite our community. It requires thousands of hours of volunteer labor, but it’s beyond worth it. At the musical, I always preach the gospel and invite guests to receive Christ as their Saviour—to receive the gift of salvation.

    This year, our musical is actually titled “The Gift.” As I reflected on this title, it reminded me of three things: (more…)


  3. Angry Birds

    November 8, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    angry-birds

    There are some social media users for whom the cute little twitter bird logo would be more accurately represented as the cannon-like self-ejecting fowls from the Angry Birds game. Like those birds, they hurl themselves into any situation that they perceive to be threatening or to be being handled differently than they would—which, for such people, turns out to be many situations.

    Actually, I am convinced that there are people who have conditioned themselves to need an issue to stir and a person to fight. Without an inside cause they are restless and frustrated and eventually find an issue to raise. And then they catapult themselves at this newly aroused object of their wrath with incessant tweets, angry status updates, and/or any other mode of instant mass communication.

    The greatest problem with this approach to life is that “gendering strife” is in absolute contradiction to Scripture.

    Paul warned Timothy, “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes” (2 Timothy 2:23). Frankly, I don’t think Paul’s reference to “foolish and unlearned questions” was limited to the simple examples we sometimes give. It may very well be applied to who went to whose conference. Or why a certain leader used a particular method. Or if… You get the idea. (more…)


  4. Growth Points 57: Causes and Solutions for Trials in Ministry

    November 3, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Years ago, a friend told me, “It is impossible to follow Jesus without hurts.” Little did I know how prophetic that statement would be. The fact is, there are going to be difficulties in ministry. Jesus plainly said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” and thankfully He followed with, “but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

    Perhaps you are even now going through a period of difficulties in your life or your ministry. In this Growth Points video, I’d like to share with you some of the reasons we go through difficulty as well as some of the solutions God gives for these heavy seasons.


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

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.


  5. 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…)