Walking through a strange land home

Do you ever feel a longing for home, but a home not of this world? If so, there is a very good reason, and First Peter just might be what you need to see you through this day. Written originally to Christians in five Roman provinces, it is clearly a legacy for the church at large, consisting of individuals Peter describes as God's chosen ones but strangers in this world. That double (and … [Read more...]

what our people must learn

"You will know them by their fruits," Jesus said when warning his disciples about false teachers (Matt. 7:15-20). Teaching and living go together. Say something often enough, or just hear it said, and you will soon be living as if the thing being said is true. Which brings us to Titus. Paul stationed Titus in Crete to amend what he found defective and to ordain elders in every town. The Cretan … [Read more...]

COMMUNITY OF THE RESCUED

The following is an edited excerpt from Edward's latest book, The Divine Rescue: The Gripping Drama of a Lost World and of the Creator Who Will Not Let It Go, scheduled for pre-release at Pepperdine University Bible Lectures on May 4-7, 2010. For more details, click here. Jesus himself envisioned a community of faith, a fellowship of the Rescued, created by his intervention on their behalf. As … [Read more...]

CONSUMER CHRISTIANITY

The modern generation, we are told, looks at church through consumer eyes. They are spiritual shoppers, going from one congregation to another, inspecting the "merchandise" for quality, comparing elements of convenience, service and cost. Churches that wish to grow (or even to survive) are expected to be customer-oriented, ever-happy providers dispensing whatever satisfies the public and makes the … [Read more...]

GROWING A CHURCH

A gracEmail reader in central Texas writes: "Our congregation is not growing. Some believe it is because we do not know how to grow a church. We need help. Can you suggest some guidelines that might help us get started?" * * * It is good for us to think about the growth of God's kingdom and of his church, and to pray and work accordingly. We must fill our minds with Scripture principles, … [Read more...]

SECULAR USE OF CHURCH BUILDING

A brother in Kansas asks, "Do you think that Christians should always do spiritual things when they gather together? In other words, should we avoid doing secular activities in the church building with our fellow church members?" * * * One difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament is that the former divided everything into distinct categories of "holy" and "common" (or secular). … [Read more...]

THE EKKLESIA IS PEOPLE

A gracEmail subscriber asks whether the New Testament restricts the the use of church funds to particular specified activities, making it sinful for a local church to support good works other than those specified. * * * No it does not. The Greek word ekklesia, represented by the word "church" in standard English Bibles, appears 115 times in the New Testament, and it literally means a group or … [Read more...]

CHURCH BYLAWS

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "In a recent Family Notes you gave the website address of a particular church. The first thing that met my eye on the website was the set of organizational bylaws. Since you are knowledgeable in the Scriptures and in the law, I would be interested in what you think about these church bylaws." * * * Bylaws in general are merely part of the legal technicalities of a … [Read more...]

WOMEN ON CHURCH BOARD?

A gracEmail subscriber asks whether I think church "boards" should include only elders and deacons, or also chairpersons and ministry leaders. Elders and deacons only, in his church, would mean an all-male board. He prefers that because he believes it "God's will that men should run the church," and because he thinks "men are more capable of making the decisions without getting too cluttered with … [Read more...]

FEEDBACK: ‘KNOWING ONE ANOTHER’ – 3

Judging from your feedback, the gracEmail for May 18, 2008 titled "Knowing One Another" touched a live nerve. Following are a few responses (some edited for space or form). Thanks to all who wrote! * * * "Can you imagine ACTUALLY 'confessing our sins to one another'??? Yikes!" -- Mike (msecuro777@yahoo.com). * * * "Rarely, I'm convinced, do individuals share themselves on a deeply personal … [Read more...]