Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking back and taking account

Many people like to look back at this time of year. They review their finances to see how much they have in the bank and/or how much money they owe, check to see if they’ve made any progress in their careers or education and try to determine if they are generally better off than they were the previous year.

This is also a good time to review your spiritual health as compared to previous years. Do you feel closer to God? Is your prayer life stronger? Have you grown in your knowledge of the Bible?

A balanced life is marked by peace of mind, which means physical health, mental health, financial health, and spiritual health. A lack in any one of these areas affects the others. Sometimes, health in one or more of these areas is beyond our control but maximizing whatever health we do have will lead to peace of mind. Even people who suffer from chronic illness achieve peace of mind and wholeness within their limitations.

Putting spiritual health first will help maximize health in the other areas and spiritual health is mostly within our control. You may be struggling financially but can still find peace and perspective through prayer.

Bible study, prayer and communal worship are the keys to spiritual health. The church community exists to teach and encourage you and each of these areas.

As you look towards the coming year I pray that you will enjoy health in every area of your life and especially the peace of mind that comes with walking close to Jesus.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Repent and Bear Fruit

Message from Sunday,
December 6:

Repent and Bear Fruit
(Matthew 3:1-12)

Preparing our hearts requires repentance and true repentance bears fruit.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gift Giving at Christmas

Message from Sunday,
November 29:

Gift Giving at Christmas
(Matthew 2:1-2,11-12)

An appropriate attitude towards gift giving can reduce holiday stress and multiply the joy.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do you need a store clerk’s greeting to complete your Christmas?

It's Merry Christmas not happy holidays, fool!
I keep Christmas in my heart, in my home and in my church. I really don’t focus too much on what they’re doing at the mall or department store. I really don’t care what the public school does either. They can teach grammar and long division, please leave the theology to me.

There are groups of people out there who become outraged at the thought that a store clerk might wish a person a happy holiday rather than a merry Christmas. Some have even suggested a boycott of big name stores, somehow connecting consumerism to the birth of our savior.

Shame on them. Shame on them, twice. First, for attempting to propagate the false doctrine that shopping is a Christian discipline. Second, for failing to bring the blessings of the gospel to a place they have identified as being without Christ.

“Go tell it on the mountain” we sing, to which I add, and at the mall, at work and everywhere you go. Spare me insincere greetings from those who are paid to replace, “Have a nice day,” with “Merry Christmas” because someone threatened a boycott.

Let the merchants bring us material goods at a fair price and leave the evangelism to the followers of Christ.

So, to those who share my faith, I say merry Christmas. To those who do not, I say happy holidays. And to those who need the malls and department stores to validate their celebration, I say good hunting.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The number one way to grow your church

Most people report that they came to faith because of the influence of a friend or relative. Rarely do people report that they became Christians because of a direct mailing or an advertisement. Moreover, several surveys have indicated that many unchurched individuals might go to church if they were invited by someone they know and respect.

Clearly the way to grow your church is to get regulular atendees to invite people they know. This happens frequently but not often enough. One way to increase the number of people who are inviting others to church is a campaign that motivates your members and coaches them through the steps of effectively reaching out to others.

One excellent program that is simple and can be done at no cost is called The 4XFour Challenge. Imagine if everyone of your regular attendees invited four unchurched people in the course of a year. Check out the link for details.

“Then the master told his servant,
'Go out to the roads and country lanes
and make them come in,
so that my house will be full.'”

Luke 14:23