Archives For Evangelicalism

342491561_640It’s been said that we are either entering a conflict, in a conflict, or just coming out of a conflict. Often, it’s some combination of the three. And, when it comes to church leadership teams, the same can be true.

Church leadership teams experience conflict for many reasons. Those teams are made up of imperfect, sinful men. The pressures are great. Misunderstandings abound. Wisdom is lacking. And the work of the ministry is just difficult.

For these reasons and more, Grace Immanuel Bible Church in Jupiter, Florida held the first “Ekklesia Pre-Conference” this past week. The event dealt head-on with the complexities of church leadership conflict in the local church.

Continue Reading…

sorrycoffeeIt happens often that there is a disagreement and two members of a family blow up at each other.  One storms into their room in anger, slams the door, and spends a couple of hours sulking and thinking terrible thoughts of the other person. After a while they will emerge from the room, either acting like nothing happened or mumbling a “I apologize if I offended you”, or even worse an “I’m sorry” that can only be answered with “that’s okay”.  The problem is that it’s not okay.  We should never justify sin in our lives and it simply doesn’t cut it to say we’re sorry.

We apologize or say we are sorry when we step on someone’s toes by mistake. What is needed when we commit an offense against someone is a transaction. When I sin against someone I must ask for forgiveness. I have sinned against them and caused pain in their life. It wasn’t by mistake. It wasn’t accidental, it was on purpose and just because it wasn’t premeditated or I hadn’t had my coffee yet does not mean that it was not sinful.

Unbelievers minimize sin. Go up to any random stranger and ask them if they are going to heaven and you will hear some form of minimization of sin. In just the last week we talked to a few dozen people about the Gospel, and all except for the one Christian we ran into believed that they were a good person. We are born thinking that sin is not that serious and that we are ultimately good people. Psychiatrists have become experts of minimizing your sin and blame shifting. The danger is that many believers, even though they believe differently theologically, in practice follow the course of the world.

Continue Reading…

genomic_instability_in_cfs

phoenixrising.me

A professing Christian was in a rough marriage for many years. It came to the point where they felt as if they could not take it anymore. Divorce entered the thoughts. They sought counsel from other Christians. Some opened Scripture, some didn’t, and some prayed. Though no biblical grounds for divorce, it came to the point where they could not see how God would want them to be unhappy in marriage. The marriage did not bring feelings of peace and comfort. So, they went through with the divorce on the grounds that both they and their close Christian friends “had a peace about it.”

Perhaps you’ve said it. “I have a peace about it.” Sometimes it takes on a different form. “I have prayed about it, so it’s God’s will.” Or, “I have a peace about it, so God is calling me to…” Those words are often-assumed gateways to what God wants me to do in the throes of life. But, is my “peace” God’s enthusiastic permission slip for my “it”? Is my prayer and peace heaven’s approval for whatever “it” may be in my life?

Continue Reading…

This week the Foundry Bible Immersion began with seven new, courageous students who have left their homes and have moved to DC for 10 weeks of intense discipleship.

This year we are blessed with an international flavor. We have Scott and Ryle from Canada, Priscilla from Italy, Mikayla and Keanen from Arizona, and Ryan and Kathy from Virginia.

Young man reading small BibleThey have decided to come here because they want to grow in their knowledge and love for the Lord. They will be doing evangelism and learning in the classroom with our pastors, but perhaps the most important aspect of the school is the reading through the entire Bible in such a short amount of time.

At the age of 18, I went to a similar school in Italy. I was super depressed, unable to sleep at night, and with no direction in life when I began reading through the Bible.  It was exactly what I needed. The Lord completely changed my life thorugh it. In so many ways.

It changed my life because it caused me to understand that I exist for the purpose of glorifying God. Reading the Bible so quickly allowed me to see that God is the central focus of scripture. Sure, John 3:16 is one verse that focuses on God’s love for his children, but throughout Scripture I was exposed to the fact that God alone deserves the glory and that He shares it with no one. I was born selfish, thinking that my happiness was all that mattered. And reading the Scripture so quickly from start to finish exposed me to the folly of selfish, man-centered thinking, pushing me towards living for God.

Continue Reading…

September 9, 2016

The Blog in Our Eyes

by Nathan Busenitz

What principles should guide Christians who interact on blogs (and other social media)?

Eye Chart

This article was originally published several years ago on Pulpit as a multi-part series. I’ve updated it slightly and republished it here because I believe it is still a helpful reminder for those who regularly communicate online – either through blogs or other forms of social media.

At times, the blogosphere can be notoriously nasty — a breeding ground for slander, gossip, misinformation, bickering, name-calling, arrogance, and quick-temperedness. Even Christian blogs can sometimes deteriorate into something between a tabloid and a talk show, built on a few provocative tidbits of juicy news and the massing of ignorance in response. Armed with anonymity and eager for an audience, bloggers (meaning both those who post and those who comment) often shoot first and ask questions only after they’ve trashed other people and embarrassed themselves.

So how can we, as believers, stem the tide and honor the Lord in the way we interact online? In answer to that question, here are ten practical principles derived from God’s Word.

Let’s start with the most foundational . . .  Continue Reading…

September 8, 2016

3 forms of gospel unity

by Jesse Johnson

 

Image result for unity

Yesterday, I argued that Christians ought to demonstrate practical unity in this presidential election. I laid out three different views of the election (vote Clinton! vote Trump! vote nobody!), and while I obviously don’t agree with all of those views—after all, they contradict one another—none of them can be clearly said to break Christian unity.

What do I mean by “Christian unity”? That the true gospel and doctrines of our faith must transcend pragmatic disagreements over politics. We should have more in common with other believers based on our statements of faith than we do based on our political outlook.  Continue Reading…

Image result for lesser of two evils

This American presidential election cycle has downsides too numerous to list, but it does offer Christians a few blessings in disguise: namely, it allows us to clarify what kind of unity the church should be expected to demonstrate in regards to politics.

The last election didn’t necessarily lend itself to that discussion. Four years ago we had, in one corner, a man who was obviously pro-abortion and pro-same sex marriage, and in the other corner someone who was not. Concerning religious liberty, this was about as clear-cut of an election as it comes. Of course there were those who said things like, “Christians shouldn’t vote for a Mormon,” but those arguments were flimsy and didn’t lend themselves to substantial ethical thinking.

This election, on the other hand, presents us something much more complicated. We—as Americans—get to choose between a woman who literally had the president of Planned Parenthood speak at her nomination, and a man whose sole political conviction seems to be racial division. We have two serial liars, either one of which would be the richest president the US has ever had, neither of whom made their money ethically. “God bless America,” as they say.   Continue Reading…

There is a story of a very conservative church up in Idaho who was part of a denomination that was turning liberal, and despite the trend the denomination was taking they stood strong in their own convictions.

fire and brimstone preacherSoon after their pastor of many years died they got a group together to decide what kind of pastor they wanted next. They all agreed.  They wanted a fire and brimstone preacher. Excited, they called one of the leaders of their denomination who was in the know of young pastors fresh out of seminary and asked him to send over one who was known for being that kind of preacher. The man shocked at such a request, since there weren’t too many left in the denomination searched far and wide for such a man, and finding him sent him over to the church to become their pastor. He lasted two weeks.

Continue Reading…

Maybe it’s because I am days away from having my first daughter (after 3 sons), but I’ve been shocked by how many godly girls are dating guys who just don’t seem to love the Lord. Guys who seem like their teeth are being pulled when they come to church or you talk about spititual things with them.

For some reason some single women in the church feel like they are better off being married to apathetic believers (or unbelievers?) than being single. While marriage is a huge blessing from God, marriage to an ungodly man is extremely difficult, and could be dangerous not only to potential children and grandchildren but to the church as a whole.

groomMy heart goes out to these girls, who have bought the lie that godly men simply don’t exist, and who believe that they must settle for the first guy who comes along who shows them attention.

The calling to be a wife is great. Women are called to submit to a man in the same way as the church submits to Christ in everything (Eph. 5:22-24). This is why women have to be so careful whom they choose to marry. I’m scared to have a daughter because some overconfident dummy is going to come along some day and try to steal her heart away.  My prayer is that she finds a man worth submitting to.

Continue Reading…

#MyParadiseIn5Words was trending on twitter recently. Thousands offered what their paradise would be like. Many said things like “Permanently ending cancer and war” or “never getting out of bed” and pretty much every five-word sentence you can imagine. It’s fascinating to ask non-Christians about heaven. They rarely think about it. To them, heaven is on earth and made up of worldly pleasures.

Recently during a conversation about whether we should talk about hell with our kids, someone in the group asked how often we talk to our kids about heaven? It made me wonder, how often do people talk about heaven in general?

Paul writing in Colossians 3:1-4 says, Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

In Paul’s opinion being with Christ should be the focus of our life. We should be actively training our minds to think about the day when Christ, our life, is revealed.

Sadly it is easy to be distracted, temporal concerns can easily grab our attention and overall it seems like we don’t think or talk about heaven nearly enough. Here are ten reasons why heaven should often be on our minds and in our conversations.

We will spend eternity there

This is obvious but we have to start here. John in Revelation 21:3-4 says, And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” This verse reminds us of the fact that heaven is eternal and that it is much more glorious than anything we can experience on earth. When we experience pain, sadness and even death our minds should jump to the joy we will experience forever with Christ.

Continue Reading…