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What's The Big Deal About Attending Church?

 You've probably heard it a million times by now. We are living in unprecedented and uncertain times. So much of what is being discussed right now is political. I want to be clear: this is not a political post. It's not a left wing or a right wing thing. I'm making a theological statement as a follower of Jesus Christ. I'm not shying away from politics because I'm afraid of it. Instead, I am refusing to talk much about politics during these times because talking about Christ is way more important. It was more important before  these times. It will be more important afterward, too. As one of the tracts we've distributed in the past so eloquently puts it: No matter who is president, Jesus is King. (You can get some of these tracts for yourself from our friends at  -- they have bumper stickers and magnets , too.) Due to the overemphasis on politics, we've allowed everything to become politicized. Even attending church nowadays is a politic
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The Church Isn't A Business

I used to be a salesman. I sold a lot of different stuff. I worked retail. I did door-to-door. In all my various jobs my function was essentially the same. I was the link between company and customer. Successful companies know their customer demographics. Many sales meetings revolve around numbers. Persons are treated as statistics. The customer becomes a set of numbers, preferences, and habits. Really successful companies cater their goods and services to a target demographic. It's all about the consumer experience. I remember when I began in pastoral ministry. People assured me that my experience as a salesman would be beneficial. They said there was a lot of overlap between pastors and salespeople. That may be true in our experience. But is it true of what we read in Scripture? When I open my Bible and read about Christ's church I see a beautiful design that is very different from a business. Night and day different. When Jesus walked the earth He rebuked those who

Three Obstacles To Salvation

My children sometimes enjoy making obstacle courses. In our backyard. In the basement. They enjoy racing against each other to see who can get through the course the fastest. Some adults enjoy obstacle courses. I am not one of those adults. Obstacles are annoying to me. I prefer a straight, smooth course. Even still, life is filled with obstacles. They are unavoidable. We must learn to deal with them. Everyone who desires to live as a witness of Jesus Christ needs to understand three common obstacles to the salvation of others. We must understand and look for them so we can faithfully navigate the way. 1. The Enemy. The Bible describes the devil as the god of this world. Part of his work is to blind people to the gospel. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Learn To Love Theological Tension

Most people I know are trying to eliminate tension in their lives. Commercials offer products to reduce it. People go on vacations to escape it. Medications are designed to help people forget it. Tension carries a negative connotation for many. Certain types of tension can be hazardous to your health. Not everyone avoids tension. Some types of tension are sought on purpose. Some types of tension can even be beneficial. Bodybuilders actively seek muscular tension. To gain strength and muscle mass they intentionally put their muscles under as much tension as possible for as long as they can. Tension is positive in this case. I believe Christians should actively seek theological tension. I believe this is healthy. Like weightlifters need to learn to love the burn, Christians need to learn to love theological tension. Let's be clear. Theological tension does not mean theological arguments. It doesn't mean looking for people you disagree with. Those types of tension

Christ Died For Our Sins

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3) The truth of the gospel includes this important phrase: Christ died for our sins . You've probably heard it before. Many times. Sometimes familiarity leads to a diminished sense of importance. The more you hear about something the more ordinary it may seem. Common. Ho-hum. Boring. But this truth is anything but common. Another difficulty arises with this truth. Beyond being common. It may happen in your ears without you even realizing it. When the truth is declared that Christ died for our sins, you may think you hear the truth. But what you really hear is a diminished version. A partial truth. Instead of hearing that Christ died for our sins you may hear a slightly different version of this truth. You might hear this: Jesus died for your sins. Do you see the difference? You should. These statements are similar. Both m

Winning the War, Losing the Home Front

Let me introduce you to my friend. We’ll call him Al. Al’s a great guy. The type of person who is naturally good at just about everything. Handsome. Athletic. Great at his job. He brings positivity, excitement, and excellence to everything he does. He even professes to be a Christian. By all appearances he takes his faith seriously. He goes to church. Participates regularly in a Bible study at work. He even took a leadership position at his local church. On the surface, Al is a successful guy. He has his stuff together. But that’s only part of the story. This morning, as I was walking away from Al's desk I dropped a casual compliment. "Good luck, Al. I know you'll make this project better. Everything is better when you've worked on it." His response stopped me dead in my tracks. "I wish that were true with my kids. They just seem to be getting worse." I only know a little of Al’s family story. What I do know has me concerned. I know he

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Growing up, I said the Our Father prayer a lot. A lot. Multiple times a day. It was part of my religious tradition. Most of the time, I mumbled it as quickly as I could. For what it's worth, my Dad tried to help me understand that mumbling the prayer without understanding what it really meant wasn't the goal. He wanted me to understand it. He wanted me to mean it. I remember sitting with him in the car one afternoon while we went through every phrase. He did his best to explain to me what the terms meant. Why we would say these things. Why it mattered. It didn't take. Although I became better equipped to describe the meaning of the phrases, I still mumbled them as fast as I could so I could move on to the next part of my day. Fast forward many years. After being born-again by the grace of God I started to read my Bible. I desired to know God and His Word. I remember when I stumbled upon Jesus teaching the disciples to pray the Lord's prayer in Matthew