Don’t Tweet that Sermon!

When a new technology explodes on the scene, there is always a period of time in which society negotiates the rules that will surround it. When the telephone first gained popularity it took time to learn what would be considered the polite way of answering it. Alexander Graham Bell suggested “Ahoy!” Others tried, “Who’s there?” Those would be considered rude or ridiculous today, but that is only because society successfully negotiated “Hello?” as the preferred greeting. In years to come …

How to Build Unity in Your Church

Yesterday I wrote about Satan’s Great Desire which is to bring about disunity in your local church, somehow convincing you that the people in your church are no longer worthy of your love. I ended by giving the encouragement that God has equipped us to build and maintain this kind of unity and that all we need to do is use the tools he has equipped us with. How has he equipped us? According to Ephesians 4, he has given …

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The Community of Celebration

This week’s reading from John Stott’s The Cross of Christ for Reading Classics Together comes courtesy of Rebecca Stark. My week happened in such a way that I wasn’t able to write up my summary post, so I gladly borrowed Rebecca’s (with her permission of course). This week’s chapter was titled “The Community of Celebration” and here is how Rebecca summarizes it… The Community of Celebration. Stott starts by pointing out that Jesus didn’t die simply to save individuals but …

Benefits of Being a Mother Church

As I was looking through J.D. Payne’s book Discovering Church Planting: An Introduction to the Whats, Whys, and Hows of Global Church Planting I came across a sidebar which lists “some benefits of being a mother church.” Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, it does draw out some important benefits of being a church dedicated to planting. This topic is close to my heart these days as my church prepares to send out some of our members …

Unity and Maturity

In the past few years I’ve often been asked to speak or write on the topics of discernment and Christian maturity. I’ve also been asked to discuss the ways Christian communicate using all of these amazing new media available to us. In both cases I’ve found myself drawn to a quote by John Stott. This comes from his excellent commentary on Ephesians and here he discusses the well-known words of Ephesians 4:15 where the apostle calls us to speak truth …

The Extraordinary Ordinary

Theologians sometimes speak of the ordinary means of grace, a term that refers to the preaching of the Word, the sacraments (or ordinances, if you prefer, as most Baptists do) and prayer. These three means are to be the foundation of the church’s activity. They are simple measures and ones that can often be overlooked. We tend to encounter these means on a regular basis and for that reason these ordinary means of grace can really begin to feel, well, …

The Overwhelming Problem of God

Bright and early each Friday morning I meet at a local coffee place with a couple of friends. We read a portion of a book during the week and get together once a week to discuss what we’ve read. Having previously worked our way through Os Guinness’ The Call, we have now begun The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. While only a short book, I have little doubt that it will prove to be profoundly challenging. I have …

Preparation for Communion

Some time ago I became convicted, by the Spirit I trust, that I did not regard the celebration of the Lord’s Supper with sufficient significance or gravity. I felt that I did not sufficiently sanctify this celebration through lack of preparation and lack of focus when actually taking the bread and the wine. Over the past four days I have been making my way through Gospel Worship by Jeremiah Burroughs, a Puritan who lived and ministered in the early seventeenth …

15 Things I Learned At Saddleback

Scott Hill, who blogs at Fide-O, wrote a short article called "15 Things I Learned at Saddleback." I can’t quite decide if the article is hilarious or tragic. "For my own integrity sake I took the opinion that if I was to speak with any authority on Saddleback Community Church then I would need to actually attend the church itself, and not just take other’s word for it. Since moving to California five years ago I have attended Saddleback 12 …

Southern Baptists – An Unregenerate Denomination

I remember my introduction to Southern Baptist churches. My parents had just moved down to Atlanta and were attending Charles Stanley’s church (First Baptist). I had listened to Stanley on the radio while driving to work over the past year and was eager to see this bustling church with 15,000 members. I was amazed at the size of the building and quite impressed by the size of the sanctuary. But as it began to fill I came to realize that …