In my own denomination 75 churches each week close for good. The attrition rate among pastors is staggering. According to LifeWay research (link) it may not be 1,500 a month walking away from the ministry but on average 250 each month do. The culture we live in has changed. Just a generation or two ago a local politician, think city council or school board member, was expected to be active in a local church in order to be considered a member of the community. Church attendance is no longer looked to as a metric and being outspoken about one’s faith may be a strike against a candidate. The rights to religious expression are challenged with increasing frequency, not just in the public arena but in homes and other private property.
There is a misunderstanding among some Christians of exactly what the Gospel is. I’ve read lengthy rants explaining that the Gospel is a presentation given to non-Christians: Our natural state is lostness, Jesus died to save sinners, hear the Gospel and repent. To them there is no such thing as living out the Gospel in front of others, sharing the Gospel without using words, etc. Because the Gospel is the words “Jesus died to save you from your sins” and nothing else beyond that. I call that a misunderstanding because repenting of sins and asking forgiveness is merely the beginning. Continue reading →
We are sent to share the Gospel. In a statement known as the Great Commision (Matthew 28:16-20) Jesus told his followers to go to all nations. They were sent to proclaim the Gospel message and to make disciples; teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Evangelism is more than having an audience raise their hands, repeat a prayer or sign a card. Making disciples goes beyond baptism. It’s an investment into people’s lives that involves building relationships and working together in ministry. Followers of Jesus are not to just promote him but to lead others into a life of following. To teach others all that Jesus has command we must first learn and understand ourselves. The two processes actually happen simultaneously. We continue on the journey of learning and being conformed to the image of Christ while recruiting others to walk with us. Go to all the world, preach/teach/share the Gospel, make disciples. To this task we are called. Continue reading →
Much of the New Testament was written in Greek and gospel is a word that we borrowed from the original language without translating it. Gospel simply means good news. If you look at crime rates, history, human nature or simply tune into to any news program then you know that we are surrounded by bad news. In the United States we are deeply divided politically, there is gun violence, debate over gun violence, crime in the big cities and various protests across the nation over a variety of issues. Other countries are at war, operate under a military regime or are completely impoverished. People don’t seem to be getting better. Our level of science and technology has increased but after thousands of years of philosophical discussion we as the human race have not dramatically improved. Theft, rape, murder and war are still universally found around the globe much as they were in ancient times. The bad news is obvious to anyone paying attention: there is something wrong with us. Beyond politics, individual beliefs and philosophy, human nature is flawed. There may in fact be some good in every person but the bad in every person has not yet been weeded out. Continue reading →
When I was a kid it was a special treat to find them handing out free samples on grocery day. I remember asking my mother to buy whatever brand of sausage they were handing out and she told me that was already what she bought. I then asked if she could cook it in little one inch cubes and serve it on toothpicks because it tasted better that way. She never did that. Continue reading →
It was somewhat expected by those in the know that J.D. Greear would be elected to serve as SBC President at the annual meeting in Dallas this week. I was still somewhat surprised by the 68% of ballots he received from messengers. While many were pleased with the announcement the reactions ranged from “Thank God” to talk of the downward spiral the SBC has been on for years. While I would make a good 3 1/2 point Calvinist at best I am going out on a limb and saying this choice will not seal our fate. Greear’s election is not the final nor any other nail in the coffin. Continue reading →
My thoughts on Disney, for what it’s worth. Disney is not only a secular institution it is a business. They produce a multitude of entertainment products. I was never fully sold on the SBC boycott of all things Disney back in the 90’s, and that’s when I was young and foolish. There is so much filth and violence on t.v. and the big screen that children shouldn’t see or hear that it was a tough call for families to ignore the billion dollar entertainment giant cranking out the movies, shows, characters and songs that all children love. Continue reading →