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.
(If you you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, click here. To download an audio mp3, click here.)
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…)
In part 1 of this post, we set the context for wanting our music to be honoring to God and offered three principles related to music. In part 2 we looked at seven more principles, for a total so far of 10:
I believe preaching is central in worship and evangelism.
I believe music is to reflect the holiness of God.
I believe there is a true danger in over contextualizing church ministry.
I believe sacred music is for the purpose of worship, thanksgiving, rejoicing, consecration, edification, evangelism, and preservation of our faith.
I believe in the priority of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs as taught in the Word of God.
I believe a hymn is a celebration of God based on Scripture.
I believe Christian music should reflect the orderliness of God in its melodies and rhythms.
I believe the CCM movement as a whole denies the scriptural teaching to come out and be separate.
I believe music can be used in a moral fashion to glorify God or in a worldly fashion to glorify man.
I believe new songs are commended and helpful in worship.
If you have not yet read the previous posts (1 and 2), I’d encourage you to do so before reading this one.
Otherwise, here are five final principles as well as a few concluding remarks: (more…)