The First Apologetic!

I must admit, I struggled with the title to this post. The battle was between using the word final or first. In fact, I changed it a couple of times! However, regardless of whether we want to take it from top to bottom, or bottom to top, the main issue I’m bringing out does not change. This brief post looks at the question of what is seen by those whom we share the gospel with?

Of course, we would all say that we want our audience, whether one or a hundred, to see Jesus! After all, if they do not see or perceive His truth and offer of mercy to them as we share, then they are still far removed from the gospel. However, in our billboard happy and Continue reading “The First Apologetic!”

Jacob’s Limp

Jacob, whose name means supplanter or deceiver, met and wrestled with the Lord one night. (Gen. 32:22-32) Fear of his brother Esau had driven him to be alone. In this aloneness, God came and engaged Jacob…a battle of supremacy ensued. The Lord, after an all night wrestling match, touched the hip socket of Jacob, causing it to shrink and come out of place. Jacob would be a man who limped the rest of his life. It was a constant reminder of this night of wrestling and the change wrought by it. He had met God, and God had won. Jacob looked weaker, but now, he was actually stronger.

We need men in leadership who have Jacob’s Limp! That is, men changed by intense and faithful wrestling with God in prayer. Men changed from their old ways of manipulating circumstances to a new way–God’s way. We need marked men…men with a limp. Continue reading “Jacob’s Limp”

Wolves Among the Elders!

As the Apostle Paul was leaving Ephesus for the last time, he gathered the elders in order to give them necessary instruction concerning his example of leadership and ministry among them. In this final instruction he gave them a very grave warning concerning what would take place after his departure. We can learn a great deal from this short instruction. (Acts 20:17-38)

It is sobering to realize that Paul knew he was giving them the last instruction he would get to personally deliver. And yet, as he did with his last epistle to Timothy, he did not fail to give them serious warnings. Here at Ephesus he chose to include the following concerns in his message.

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” – Acts 20:29-30 (ESV)

Let’s briefly look at these important warnings.

1) It would be after Paul’s departure. Wolves and false elders would not make their move until the Apostle Paul was absent. Why? Because Paul would exercise his rightful Continue reading “Wolves Among the Elders!”

Unmasking Racism in the Evangelical Church

Move around among evangelical circles and it becomes obvious that a silent undertow of racism exists. Most congregations are either “Lilly White” or “Midnight Black.” Yep, growing up in the South has been a sharp learning curve of picking up on the silent innuendos of racist behavior. We may rarely hear slanderous terms as honky, cracker, nigger or monkey to attack different ethnic groups. However, the ungodly and non-christian spirits which promote ethnic supremacy have not pulled an “Elvis” and left the building. Instead, they become politically smooth and careful to protect the musings of the heart. While many use words which are smooth as butter, war is still in their heart. (Psalms 55:21)

All genuine Christians hate and loath racism! I was part of planting an ethnically mixed church in a downtown area across from where the KKK members were put on trial for the murder of the three civil rights workers in 1964. (Depicted in the movie, “Mississippi Burning.”) A lot could be Continue reading “Unmasking Racism in the Evangelical Church”

Jesus and Discipleship

Without question we know Jesus was the greatest teacher the masses had ever seen. We must also recognize His continued influence on His generation after His death. Of course, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit was the most influential element of the success of the early church. The question arises, did Jesus have a pattern for making disciples we can use? Yes. Plain and simple, Jesus poured Himself into twelve men and these turned the world upside down. I love this verse:

“…These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also…” (Acts 17:6)

Here a couple of simple principles we can learn from His example in order to make the best use of our life and talents to equip others.

1) Selection – Jesus personally chose the ones He poured His time and instruction into. He preached to the masses, but He explained the deeper things about the spiritual life to the twelve He hand-picked. (Mark 4:34)

Those who desire to receive intimate instruction, will be obvious. They will be ‘bumping’ up to us and continually inquiring about Scriptural truths and practical application. Our life is too short and our time is Continue reading “Jesus and Discipleship”

The Importance of Listening!

Most people have one thing in common…they love to talk about themselves! For those seeking to reach the unbeliever in the marketplace of society, this is good news. In fact, if Christians would spend more time listening to those we are trying to reach before attempting to communicate the gospel to them, we would better understand the entry point into their life!

Every person, unless they have completely given up on any real meaning or purpose to life, is desiring to have an existential integration point with ultimate reality. This integration Continue reading “The Importance of Listening!”

Meeting New Friends – Twitter Style!

The week of March 6, Susanne and I traveled to Charlotte, NC. I was invited to speak at First Wesleyan Church in Kannapolis (outskirts of Charlotte) on going through affliction as a believer. On the way, we arranged to meet Russ Butcher and his lovely wife Jill. I had met Russ through twitter. After exchanging a few emails and enjoying some phone conversations, we were looking forward to meeting them.

Russ and Jill are great people. Russ is a pastor in a church plant in Logansville, GA. Their gathering, Church at the Grove, is an exciting and living demonstration of the simplicity Continue reading “Meeting New Friends – Twitter Style!”