Tag Archives: church
The preacher would end his sermon by saying “every head bowed and every eye closed.” I knew that the next few minutes would be spent listening to the pianist play “Just As I Am” on the piano while the preacher encouraged people to come down front and pray. At some point the preacher would inevitably say “if you want to be saved, repeat this simple prayer after me,” after which he would recite the “sinners prayer” from memory. Then, with every head bowed and every eye closed, the preacher would ask if anyone said that prayer. He would ask people that said the prayer to raise their hand while assuring them that “no one will see and no one will approach you.”
That might be a familiar routine to you. You also might be wondering what it is and why some churches do it.
First, let’s talk about the history of the altar call and how it came to be a sacred ritual in many churches today. An article at Christianity Today shares some of the history of the altar call:
Even though abortion is still technically illegal in Britain, the law has not been enforced for quite some time. This effort to decriminalize abortion has little to do with the law and more to do with creating a culture of abortion in Britain. If abortion were no longer illegal, providers such as BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service) and Planned Parenthood would have free access to market their services. This would lead to abortion services being marketed to schools, women’s groups, and other public services.
The author of the article cited above said that perhaps some of the blame lies with doctors that oppose legalizing abortion but have remained silent. He also said “the church has also been largely silent.”
Perhaps British Christians should learn from our mistakes as it is currently reported that 29% of American evangelicals say abortion should be legal.
Lets be clear. No amount of feelings will change your biological gender. You can really want to be the opposite sex all you want, but there is nothing you can do about it. The surgeries are like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. It doesn’t really change what’s going on inside.
For years church leaders tried to convince us that being a hip, trendy, and relevant church was the key to doing church right. It was about professional bands, cool video graphics, and more ministry choices than you can fit on one bulletin page. But after many years and many failures even the well-respected church growth guru’s are admitting that it’s really about the preaching.
But not just any preaching. The trendy “talks” that cite one Bible verse then shares stories, jokes, and illustrations for 40 minutes are also failing. What people are really looking for is teaching from the Bible that expounds the Scriptures and connects them with daily life. In other words, expository preaching. What exactly is expository preaching?
Finally, the secret to growing a church has been discovered, and revealed.
Like me, if you have spent time in leadership at your church you have wondered, and discussed, ways to grow the church. You’ve tried to figure out what the “secret” is and how you can see church growth in your church. You’ve looked at programs, discussed strategies, and planned campaigns designed to see exponential and permanent growth. And you are still wondering: what is the key?
Personally, I’ve been concerned that the secret to church growth is having a full head of hair and a Ph.D.; because I have neither. I’ve also been concerned that the secret to quick growth is in cool glasses and skinny jeans and soy-non-fat-mocha-vegan-gluten-free-useless warm brown water. Because, if that’s it…I’m in trouble.
There is much confusion and misinformation in our world about what the Gospel is. Some people think the Gospel is doing good things, living “right” (whatever that means), or going to church once in a while. Many Americans believe that being born in America or in a particular part of the country is enough “Gospel” to save someone. And other, well meaning “church people” would say that the Gospel is doing good deeds as a form of “servant evangelism.”
Still, there’s those pesky mega-preachers that claim to know Jesus and say that the Gospel is loving people. All you gotta do is flash a perfectly white smile, say some fluffy, inspiring cliché’s and, voila, Jesus.
None of this is the Gospel. So the question remains, what is the Gospel?
Once again Christians were the most persecuted religious group in the world in 2016. This makes several years in a row that Christians have topped the list as the most persecuted religious group.
What this reality tells us is that those who deny Christians are persecuted for their faith are simply not paying attention. Often we hear about Muslims being persecuted, and it is true that Muslims are the second most persecute religious group in the world. But, denying that Christians are persecuted for their faith can only be done out of ignorance. And, interestingly, Muslims are typically persecuted by other Muslims while Christians are persecuted by Muslims, governments, and others.
One pro-life outlet that I follow regularly recently did a look back and their top 10 headlines from 2016 and it’s no surprise that 40% of those headlines involved political candidates and the election. Take a look at the list of headlines below and you will realize how broad the issue of life is in our culture. It involves the unborn, the ill, and the aged. The issue of life stretches from the White House to the Church house. This is an issue that touches every aspect of our life and culture and continues to leave a lasting impression on us all.
You probably saw the article a couple of weeks ago decrying the fact that Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a church where they teach that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The now infamous hit piece by BuzzFeed lamented that this very popular TV couple are conservative, Christian Americans that believe in traditional marriage.
This personal attack on the Gaines has much to teach us about the new reality we live in as part of the sexual and moral revolution.
If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s a short recap from a recent article:
One of the things I’ve appreciated about reformed churches and theology is their willingness to keep “the main things the main thing.” They do not argue over non-essentials. They focus on the Gospel and its power to change people’s lives and allow freedom on non-essentials. That’s precisely what the scriptures call us to. We are not to tout “the traditions of man as though they are doctrine” (Matt. 7:7-13) as the Pharisees did. And this group, unlike any other I’ve known, emphasizes and lives this out. The Baptist churches I’ve known are so legalistic that if you disagree on a non-essential you are labeled a heretic of sorts. “How dare you not adhere to a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation view of the rapture. You’re wrong!” Well, the truth is that regardless of what you believe about the rapture, it doesn’t change whether you are a Christian. So, in truth, it doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s good to know what you believe and understand it. But having a “proper” view of the rapture doesn’t save you, or un-save you. So if someone wants to believe that there’s no literal 7-year tribulation, that’s ok, we are still brothers in Christ and can fellowship and worship under the same roof.