I have some friends who were part of their school’s cross-country team. The importance of the long race is not just how one starts, but how they maintain their endurance through the whole race. The same is true for us as Christians. The book of Hebrews encourages the Christian to run with endurance the race that is set before them by looking to Jesus, who is the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1–2). Continue reading
In chapter three in of Nehemiah, at first glance you we read about a unique situation, Israel was working together to rebuild the wall. This task was not small as the perimeter around the city of Jerusalem consisted of almost 2 ½ miles of destroyed wall with multiple gates that needed to be rebuilt. You see the systematic approach to the rebuilding as the narrative goes from the northern part of the wall, to the western side, and to the eastern.
What is unique was not just the rebuilding of this broken-down wall but all who helped with the rebuild. There is a phrase that is written several times in this chapter, “Next to him.” It required many people working side by side to accomplish this big project. Continue reading
One could assume the priority of studying church history for the Christian today is low on the list of importance for many. I agree with the great preacher, Martin Lloyd Jones who said, “My contention is that the Christian should learn from history, that because he is a Christian it is his duty to do so, and he must rouse himself to do so.” Church history should be high on the list alongside theology because it all points to God. To some, history is history, so what’s the point? I would disagree and argue that the Christian can gain so much by understanding the past. Here are four reasons for studying church history. Continue reading
Every parent thinks about what their children will become. When they grow up, will they be successful? Will they make it? Will they be well off? We think of the types of investments we would deposit into their lives, like their education, training, extracurricular activities, etc. The truth is every parent, whether good or bad, makes these legacy choices. The ones mentioned above are not bad, but they are not the most important.
Growth in unity as believers is shown in how we respond when others go through joyous moments or are enduring trials. As believers, we know that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). Jesus even warned us with the truth that in this life we will face tribulations but we can take heart because He has overcome this world (John 16:33). Going through trials is nothing new, it is matter of when we will face them not if we will face them. We should not be surprised when we face trials and suffering as though something strange is happening, as Peter reminds us (1 Peter 4:12).
As believers, we know that we will never face trials alone. There is something refreshing and encouraging to know that when we face different trials, we have the Lord, who will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We also have the physical presence of fellow Christians, who will weep with us as we weep (Romans 12:15). I am so thankful for the body of Christ! I personally have seen the unity of the body of Christ as they have wept with me as I wept. Their presence and love bring a whole new level of comfort that I did not know. Continue reading
As a pastor, there are many times that I am thankful for those who have gone out of their way to assist me, and see that their way of serving the Lord is by blessing me and my family. They are special to me and I can say I thank the Lord for them!
God establishes the body of Christ to help one another. Each person in the body of Christ has a part to play in God’s overall plan in this world. Paul wrote, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12 esv). We see when hospitality is given in the body of Christ that there is unity. The apostle Paul knew a couple with that trait: Aquila and Priscilla. Continue reading
As a parent, there are certain things that I am less desirous of doing than others, such as going to Costco as a family. Don’t get me wrong; I love being with my family and I love spending time with them. But Costco is usually busy, and when you have three young children, it’s just not that easy. I always tell my wife, Alyssa, that it is like trying to herd cats.
There have been successful trips to Costco and that is when we are all moving together with the same goal. We get in, have fun, and get the items we came for. Plus, the kids get to eat all the free samples!
In the same way, the church is made up of more than individual Christians; we are a body of believers that is called a family. We can easily start going our own way and doing our own thing. That is why Paul urges the church to be unified. He writes to the Philippian church, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1–2 esv).
The beginning of this year I decided to choose a different method to in keeping organized. I usually used an electronic version for keeping track of my appointments or events but I was not as dedicated to that method as I should have.
I am like a kid in a candy store, wanting to try different things and I saw the idea of a bullet journal from watching a YouTube video by Matthew Kent. I was willing to give it a try for 2017.
The Bible is full of encouragement and direction in pointing the Christian to look to Jesus. One of those ways is through the example of Bible characters. We get to see the good and the bad, the celebrations and the warnings, all which points us to God’s unmerited grace in the lives of the saints.
“Be” is a new series that will focus on different characters of the Bible and will highlight either their Christlike character or we will see the warning from how they lived. It’s easy when one reads Scripture to put themselves in certain texts and want to be like Paul or David or Peter. Though this may not be bad, the Christian’s ultimate goal is to put on the character of Christ (Colossians 3). The “Be” series will focus on those people mentioned once or twice in Scripture that were a help or a hurt to the church. Continue reading
I got another e-mail—a friend who is facing a trial. I thought, “Wow, another person, Lord!”
Yes, I know that we will face trials. The Bible reminds us that we will face trials of various kinds (James 1:2). We will face opposition and suffering (John 16:33; 1 Peter 4:12). This is part of living in a fallen world—I know that. But, the question is not so much how to fight through trials but how one can thrive in trials. Throughout the New Testament, we read of apostles who thrived in trials. One particular story is found in the book of Acts and it changes our perspective of trials.