June 18, 2017

When Church is Done Right: It is Like Family

When you (plural) do church right, there are all sorts of things that naturally result. One of those things is that it becomes like family.

image source: http://www.movemelord.com/church-family-love/
There is Biblical Precedent for this:

  • God is our Heavenly Father. (Luke 11:2-14)
  • We are called brothers and sisters. (This is used countless times in the New Testament, one example is here: Philippians 3:13-14)
  • We are adopted in to the family of God. (Romans 8:15)
  • Jesus is our great older brother that we are "joint heirs" with. (Romans 8:17)
But any of us who have truly been a part of a local church, for an extended amount of time, will tell you that this is true experientially as well. 

But listen though... I am not purporting any lovey-dovey-feel-warm-and-fuzzy sentiment here! Family can be tough. We all have that crazy aunt and the funny uncle and the favorite grandpa and the annoying brother and ... well... you get it. But it is FAMILY. You keep getting together. You keep calling each other. You continue to eat together and hang out together and take family trips when you can... and when these things aren't happening, it feels broken. When a rift comes in and separates family, it just isn't right. 

And in the Bible, the Gospel Family is supposed to be together. We are not supposed to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). We are supposed to love one another (John 13:34) and care for one another and bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). In fact, Jesus warns that the gospel will break apart many earthly families (Matthew 10:21, Luke 12:53), but as we are adopted into the family of God, we essentially have a new family... an eternal family. And this is why, when church is done right, there is a certain family experience that cannot be fully understood until you are truly committed to that church family. 

There are so many Christians that are missing out on these most beneficial and eternal experiences, simply because they won't commit. They don't know the joy of years of shared experience. They don't understand the deep feelings of love that can only come through the depths and the shallows of ministering together. Many don't even know what it is like to minster together, they have enjoyed being ministered to, but have missed the greatest joys and heartaches that can only come through the mutual burden sharing of the Christian community. They don't know the sadness of when a brother or sister leaves the family because they found another family that they like better. And they will never know the deep communal compassion of one who has not only shared a few Sundays, but has shared a life. 

If you are in a church, become a part of that church. Unless the church goes into an area of blasphemy or absolutely false teaching, commit yourself to them... adopt them as your family. 

June 12, 2017

Digital Heroin

From a NY Post Article:
We now know that those iPads, smartphones and Xboxes are a form of digital drug. Recent brain imaging research is showing that they affect the brain’s frontal cortex — which controls executive functioning, including impulse control — in exactly the same way that cocaine does. Technology is so hyper-arousing that it raises dopamine levels — the feel-good neurotransmitter most involved in the addiction dynamic — as much as sex.
Read the full article here:

It’s ‘digital heroin’: How screens turn kids into psychotic junkies...

June 11, 2017

Sunday's Sermon 2017-06-11

Here are the slides for the sermon on Sunday, June 11th, 2017:
(The Sermon Audio)

June 8, 2017

Let Me Not Wander...

I haven't done my daily devotional blog since 2013, but recently started it back up for the current study at my church. I'm asking that you swing on by and check out Let Me Not Wander and catch up on Philippians Study. I also encourage you to add your own commentary or questions on each of the verses. 

June 7, 2017

Breakfast Cookies

I don't see what the big deal is... Breakfast cookies have been around for years.

May 25, 2017

End of the Year Thoughts...

This is the 17th time I have ended a school year as a teacher. Actually it is my 18th, if you count my student teaching experience. I have spent nearly an equal amount of time teaching at public schools as I have private Christian schools, and there has been a wide variety of types of schools in each of those two categories. I think I may have learned some stuff about teaching, but I still feel like a rookie most of the time: like I still have a lot to learn.

As this year ends, I thought I would share a few thoughts from my years as a teacher (and specifically this last year):

May 7, 2017


My wife was home sick, so I set my phone up on the lectern during the service... Horrible angle for the camera... but the sound was OK. I don't start preaching until 38:47.

April 3, 2017

these people are the Christians, and I am one of them

Quote from last week's sermon...

(A letter from Cyprian to his friend Donatus.)
"this is a cheerful world indeed as I see it from my fair garden, under the shadow of my vines. But if I could ascend some high mountain, and look out over the wide lands, you know very well that I should see: brigands on the highways, pirates on the seas, armies fighting, cities burning, in the amphitheaters men murdered to please applauding crowds, selfishness and cruelty and misery and despair under all roofs. It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a company of quiet and holy people who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not: they are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are the Christians,—and I am one of them."
I found this quote in the book,
Christ Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Philippians by Tony Merida and Francis Chan

March 4, 2017

none of your trials can prove you to be a lost man

"Certain of my brethren are frequently in trouble. Their whole life is a floundering out of one slough of despond into another. You have had many losses in business -- nothing but losses perhaps; you have had many crosses, disappointments, bereavements; nothing prospers with you ... it is no sign, beloved, that you are not a child of God ... remember that none of your trials can prove you to be a lost man."
Charles Spurgeon, as quoted by Zack Eswine in the book, Spurgeon's Sorrows

February 24, 2017

How far?

Every generation of Christian must face the question, “How far should I accept and adopt contemporary standards and practices? On the one hand, the Christian must not deny his faith. On the other, he must not deny his membership of society. The cause of Christ is not served if Christians appear as a group of old-fashioned people trying to retreat from the real world. Christians in fact live in the same world as their neighbors, and face the same problems. 
Leon Morris, Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series: Revelation, pg 71-72

plod on

For a whole lifetime...
In the Christian life there are two essentials, the ability to make the clear-cut decision at the crucial moment and the ability to plod on ... on the the Christian way for a whole lifetime.
William Barclay, Letters to the Seven Churches, pg 77