Sunday, December 23, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Five Marks of Established Religion:
- Reliance on Human Power (v1) - The religious leaders utilyzed a military guard with which to maintain their religious dominance. Dissent is easily suppressed when you have military might at your disposal.
- The Need to Control (v2) - The leaders were angry that Peter and John were teaching the people. They weren't authorized. They didn't have permission. They hadn't been to the right schools.
- Insistance on Doctrinal Compliance (v2) - Peter and John were proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ which contradicted the dearly held view of the Sadducees that there was no resurrection of the dead for anybody--especially Jesus.
- Ineffective Opposition (v3-4) - Peter and John are jailed (and silenced). The result is that thousands who have already heard the message are converted.
- Positional Authority (v5-6) - A "who's who" of religious and political leaders are assembled to determine the fate of Peter and John. Those with the authority, of course, must be right (smell the sarcasm). Peter and John are outnumbered and outclassed in almost every way.
Five Marks of True Spirituality:
- Reliance on Holy Spirit Power (v7-8) - What does an uneducated fisherman have that can silence the powerful elites? The Holy Spirit is enough!
- Miraculous Life-change (v9) - It's hard to argue when the recently healed are standing nearby. Peter and John may not have been to the right schools--but they have a stronger argument--miracles!
- Resurrection Power (v10) - Doctrinal conformity leads to legalism and death. Jesus rose again--what else matters?
- Biblical Confirmation (v11) - God was revealing His plans daily to the disciples through the inspired Scriptures. Nothing gives you more confidence than to know that God is working through you.
- Kingdom Authority (v12) - Jesus saves--not Caiaphas, not Annas, not the priests, not Peter, not John, not the Baptists, etc.
I am teaching through the book of Revelation on Tuesday nights at our church. I am not a big prophecy buff and I am quite sceptical of the definitive systems that appear to explain everything. I have found Revelation to be a very practical symbolic book of encouragement to the persecuted church. I read Revelation like I would read any other book of the Bible--it's a book about God that reveals a great deal about Him and His unique ways. I was strolling through a Christian bookstore a few weeks ago when I came upon Hank Hanegraaff's book, The Apocalypse Code. I picked it up because I was interested in what "The Bible Answer Man" might have to say about the subject of biblical prophecy. What I found was a primer on properly interpreting Biblical prophecy in light of proper hermeneutical principles. Hanegraaff takes aim at Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series of books and lands a crippling blow.
Paul Maier of Western Michigan University writes in the front flap, "Hank Hanegraaff argues that the book of Revelation is obscure to us because 'we have not sufficiently learned to read the Bible for all it's worth. When our interpretations are tethered to the hottest sensation rather than to the Holy Scripture, we are apt to grab at anything--and usually miss.' The Apocalypse Code is a guide to holding on to what is true in the book of Revelation as in the rest of Scripture. Throughout the history of the church, wrongheaded teachings have appeared that temporarily attracted a large following, only to become fading fads once the light of proper biblical interpretation illuminated their error. A current example is dispensational pretribulational rapture theology promoted by such prophecy pundits as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, John Hagee and others. For years now, I've been wondering what might convince such prophecy specialists to recognize that the eschatology they are foisting on the world is simply embarrassing to the church, and so prompt them to back out of their dispensational cul-de-sac."
Check out Hank Hanegraaff's website at the Christian Research Institute here.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
We appreciate this opportunity to respond to you on behalf of Pat Robertson. Because of the large amount of mail received daily at CBN, Pat is not able to reply to you personally. Pat Robertson as a private citizen has recently endorsed a candidate for political office. As a private citizen he has the right to participate in the political process, and is entitled to express his personal views. CBN, as a public charity, does not support or oppose any candidate for public office, and as a result cannot address or comment further on this matter. If we can serve you in any other way, please do not hesitate to let us know. Thank you and God bless you.
The Christian Broadcasting Network
Website - http://www.blogger.com/www.cbn.com <http://www.cbn.com/> The 700 Club Prayer Counseling Center - 1-800-759-0700
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
Remembering God's work of creation and God's work of spiritual re-creation (Gen. 2:2-3; Ex. 20:8-11; Acts 20:7).
Experiencing the worshipful rest that characterizes Heaven (Heb. 4:9-11).
Setting apart one day each week just for God's enjoyment (Col. 2:16-17).
Trusting that God will provide seven days benefit for six days labor (Jer. 17:21-22, 24-25, 27; Mk. 2:27).
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
- Adding--" . . . That day there were added about 3000 souls" (v41).
- Learning--"They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching" (v42).
- Uniting--"They were continually devoting themselves . . . to fellowship" (v42).
- Remembering--"They were continually devoting themselves . . . to the breaking of bread" (v42).
- Praying--"They were continually devoting themselves . . . to prayer" (v42).
- Feeling--"Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe" (v43).
- Seeing--" . . . Many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles" (v43).
- Sharing--"And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common" (v44-45).
- Worshipping--"Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple . . . " (v46).
- Eating--" . . . and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart" (v46).
- Praising--"Day by day . . . they were . . . praising God" (v47).
- Influencing--"and having favor with all the people" (v47).
- Growing--"And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved" (v47).
Friday, October 19, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
With this dream fresh on my heart, I entered into a time of study in the Word. I began with Psalm 69 which happens to be a Psalm of deliverance. My Old Testament reading was in Isaiah 51 which begins with these words, "Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance--all who seek the Lord." Verse 7 says, "Do not be afraid of people's scorn or their slanderous talk". Verse 12 promises, "I, even I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear?" I was overcome with emotion as I considered verse 16, "I have put my words in your mouth and hidden you safely within my hand". I can't describe to you how comforted and accepted I felt as I pondered the Word of God to me.
As many of you know, I make it a habit to pray using a series of colored beads, each of which is a call to a different focus of prayer. The first bead that I randomly (God chooses) chose was the blue bead--representing the prayer of deliverance. Years ago, I assigned the color blue to the prayer of deliverance in large part because of Psalm 69:1-2, "Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can't find a foothold to stand on. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me." Blue represents the deep waters from which we all need deliverance. My first prayer following the dream was a spiritual 911 call. Praise God for His leadership in my life!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
We hosted a "Love and Respect" marriage conference this past weekend at Cornerstone. Dr. Emerson Eggerichs is a fantastic communicator with some fresh insights into marriage. Check out the clip and then stop by the Love and Respect website at www.loveandrespect.com. By the way, he is really funny!
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Coming May, 2008...
I loved reading the Chronicles of Narnia as a young high school student. I was going through a spiritually transformational period and I very much connected with the characters in the books.
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was a wonderful cinematic beginning to this great series of stories that C.S. Lewis created. I was greatly pleased with the way that the first book came alive on the big screen.
May, 2008....I can't wait!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Monday, September 03, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Churches aren't concerned about God's glory, believing the church is just for them (Isa. 42:8; 48:11).
Pastors are more concerned about self-interests than about God and His people (Phil. 2:21).
Traditional practices are done without a heart for God (Mal. 1:6).
Sin is not dealt with, bringing weakness to the church (1 Cor. 5:5-7).
A lack of love for Christ devastates the church (1 cor. 16:22; Rev. 2:4).
A lack of unity brings division (John 17:23; Col. 3:12-15).
A lack of love within the body creates strained relationships (John 13:35).
Lukewarmness in the church becomes prevalent (Rev. 3:16).
Lack of true and earnest prayer in the church leaves people powerless (Matt. 6:9; 2 thess. 3:1).
Saints are not doing the work of service in the body (Eph. 4:12).
People are not growing spiritually (Eph. 4:12-16).
Pride in a church will always bring it down (1 Pet. 5:5; Prov. 6:17).
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Scriptural Authority--Everything of substance should be based on the biblical record. Methods borrowed from the world should be politely returned and Holy Spirit empowerment should be passionately begged for. What can you find in our churches that is foreign to the biblical record? What can you find that is drawn from the early church? Perhaps we should forget how smart we are and just do church as described in Acts 2. We spend way too much time talking about the Bible and not nearly enough time doing it!
Biblical Leadership--"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Ephesians 4:11-12). So let's get this straight...God says that we need all of these leaders in order to build up the body of Christ. So, if we leave some out (like maybe apostles and prophets), then we will get less than what God desires. Hmmmm....like what we have now! By the way, I would hold to the opinion that apostles (apostolos = sent ones) are missionaries and church planter types. You'll find plenty of examples of prophets (truth tellers with special insight) in the scriptures. I suspect that all of our churches could use a few.
Preaching and Teaching--The communication of the authoritative Word of God should be central. It's part of our marching orders (Great Commission, Mt. 28). If you want to have some fun--just start challenging structures and rules by asking for their biblical basis. Most of what we do isn't biblically based because most of our decision makers aren't spending time in the Word.
Ordinances--Try this little exercise--Imagine that you know nothing of baptism. Read every New Testament passage containing a reference to baptism and see if it looks like what happens in our churches. Do the same with the Lord's Supper and see what you come up with. What a novel idea it would be to base our ordinances on the biblical examples.
Covenant Community--We really miss the boat here! Acts 2 provides a startling contrast with the modern church. When is the last time that someone sold their stuff in order to provide for a needy family?
Mission--The mission of the church is to make disciples (Mt. 28). Any church that does not baptize at least one person in a year should disband, sell their property, and give the money to missions. It's the height of denial to call yourself a church when you don't do what churches are created to do.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Read the LifeWay analysis of the 2006 Annual church Profile here.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Spiritual - 94%
Biblical - 69%
Emotional - 55%
Intimate - 53%
Celebrative - 53%
Humorous - 50%
Spontaneous - 46%
Casual - 34%
Practical - 30%
Reverent - 28%
Creative - 25%
Serious - 19%
Innovative - 12%
Solemn - 3%
Formal - 0%
Predictable - 0%
Liturgical - 0%
No surprises here!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Multiple Services - 60%
One Service - 29%
No Response Indicated - 11%
Our people clearly love the convenience of multiple services--I do as well! The thing that I do not like about multiple services is the way that it divides our church. We also lose the momentum of the larger unified service. The "No Response" response was not an option on the questionnaire but seemed significant enough to report.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Sun, 8:00am - 32.6%
Sun, 9:30am - 32.6%
Sun, 11:00am - 32.6%
Sat, 6:00pm - 02.2%
Three Sunday services win the day with Saturday being an "also ran". We definitely like the convenience of multiple Sunday morning services at Cornerstone.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Question #1: At present we do not provide a printed order of service. Do you consider a printed order to be (choose only one).
- Essential - 2%
- Important - 16%
- Helpful - 25%
- Unneccessary 57%
There doesn't appear to be a large outcry demanding a printed order of service in the worship folder each week. I'm a little surprised that some would view it as essential. What do you thinnk?
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
By contrast to the cold dead religiosity of churches that now exist only as monuments, there is a church rising in the land of Promise.In the past 20 days, I have watched as an Arab Pastor boldly laid hands on and prayed for the healing of a committed Muslim and Islamic teacher who allowed him to pray in the name of Christ.I have observed as a former Muslim who is now a passionate believer in Christ excitedly tell all who will listen what it means to leave the darkness of Islam and to follow the teachings of Jesus.I watched as an Arab Christian teenager share the gospel to a room full of Muslim scholars in a country where it is strictly forbidden.I have watched as one of our missionaries wept over the condition of an abused Bedouin woman who has suffered such humility in a culture she cannot escape.I have prayed for and with missionaries who have given their lives to serve in one of the most difficult places on earth where spiritual darkness is deep and abiding, and yet their light shines bright and joyful.I have worshipped with Arab believers who could not understand English as I could not understand their language, and yet, in worship, we were in agreement and unity over our praise of Christ.I have laughed and joyfully walked with people from half way around the world I have never met before, but because we had Christ in common, felt the incredible bond of fellowship and Christian community.
Rick's post can be read in it's entirety at his blog The Road We Travel.
Friday, July 06, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Thank you so much for opening your church and your heart to us as part of the Comeback Churches project. We surveyed 324 churches like yours--those that had experienced substantial growth after a protracted period of decline. We are grateful for the time that you invested in this project. Please consider this book a gift from the authors and B&H Publishers. We appreciate you and consider it a privilege to help tell your story.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
At 5:45 this morning my 14-year-old son left for Juarez, Mexico as part of our student mission team.
At 7:30 this morning, we will leave for the nearby community of Greeley where my 12-year-old son will participate in his league championship baseball tournament.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Paul identifies a relational problem in Philippi and then sets out to provide a relational remedy in the verses that follow.
We would do well to practice these seven remedies in all of our relationships...
- "Rejoice in the Lord always!" (v4). It's very hard to be angry or bitter when your are busy praising God.
- "Let your gentle spirit be known to all men!" (v5). Gentle means humble and patient. I'm pretty sure that "gentle spirits" aren't divisive and venomous.
- "Be anxious for nothing!" (v6). Worry about nothing? That's right--nothing!
- Pray about everything! (v6). EVERYTHING! We're too busy to fight when we're praying.
- Guard your heart and mind with God's peace! (v7). Peace is the absence of conflict. When you feel conflict coming on...run to God!
- Think positively! (v8). We naturally tend to focus on the negative. Paul lists the positives. Be optimistic!
- Practice being Jesus! (v9). We're really good at knowing stuff and really bad and doing what we know. Practice Jesus!
Friday, June 01, 2007
- Tuesday morning: "Lord Transform Your Churches."
- Tuesday afternoon: "Lord, Bring us to Confession and Repentance."
- Tuesday evening: "Lord, Unite Us in A Cooperative Mission Task."
- Wednesday morning: "Lord, Send Revival to Our Convention."
- Wednesday evening: "Lord, Energize Our Evangelistic Efforts."
Thursday, May 31, 2007
- "The spiritual leader's task is to move people from where they are to where God wants them to be." Everyone has an agenda but only God has the power to guarantee that his will be accomplished. A true leader will lead people away from their agenda and onto God's agenda.
- "Spiritual leaders depend on the Holy Spirit." Only the Holy Spirit can change people. So, spend more time praying and less time complaining.
- "Spiritual leaders are accountable to God." God's opinion is the only one that really matters. We all need to get to the place where we don't care if we get fired.
- "Spiritual leaders can influence all people, not just God's people". God used all kinds of people to accomplish His purposes in the Bible--not just His people.
- "Spiritual leaders work from God's agenda". Blackaby says, "the greatest obstacle to effective spiritual leadership is people pursuing their own agendas rather than seeking God's will" (Spiritual Leadership, p23).
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
So...why I am going to San Antonio for the Southern Baptist Convention this year?
- I've been asked to serve on the Credentials Committee and it would reflect poorly upon me if I skipped.
- I'm really hoping that revival may in fact break out and I don't want to miss it.
- I am excited about change within our denomination and I want to support it.
- I'm taking my dad with me (he hasn't attended since St. Louis--1980?).
- I have, at times, been extremely proud of my denomination and hope to be so again in SA.
- I love San Antonio.
- I'm looking forward to meeting men that I know only through blogging.
- Casa Rio is a great meal at a great price. Check it out here.
- I want to get my free book from the Annuity Board (excuse me...Guidestone).
- I'm committed to doing my part to help make the SBC the best that it can be.
I hope to see you there!
Monday, May 28, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Wade Phillips was hired on February 8th as the head coach.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I will not be supporting Hillary Clinton.
I will not be supporting Mitt Romney.
I will not be supporting Rudy Giuliani.
I will not be supporting John Edwards.
I will not be supporting John McCain.
I will not be supporting Ron Paul.
I will not be supporting Barack Obama.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
This year's retreat was primarily a series of brief Bible studies focusing on the person and the work of a deacon. Much time was devoted to personal and corporate prayer and we attempted to prayerfully make application of what was being revealed from the Scriptures. Let me share a brief outline of what we experienced.
Friday Night: 7pm--Personal Prayer, 7:30pm--A Deacon's Character (1 Timothy 3), 8:00pm--A Deacon's Growth, 8:30pm--Personal Prayer, 9:00pm--A Deacon's Power (Acts 8:4-13), 9:30pm--A Deacon's Commitment (Acts 6:8-7:60). The commitment session was held around a camp fire where we received communion together. The idea was for each of us to embrace the courage and love of Stephen in becoming willing to die for our Lord and for the people that He has given us to serve. We finished up with a study on the Parable of the Talents that led us to begin viewing the people of Cornerstone as treasures (talents) that God has given us to care for and to grow.
Saturday: 8:30--Personal Prayer, 9:00--A Deacon's Message (Acts 8:25-40), 9:30--A Deacon's Koinonia, 10:00--A Deacon's CARE, 10:30--Selection of Family CARE Groups. This is the time when our Deacon's personally and prayerfully select the families that they will be caring for throughout the year. 1:00--A Deacon's Vision. We finished up at 2:00 clock by heading down to the 40 foot climbing tower where several made it up the cargo net and bravely came back down on the zip line.
We had some powerful experiences of prayer during the weekend and I think that we all came back with a passion to faithfully care for the families that God has brought to Cornerstone. Our Deacons are tasked with the responsibility of providing CARE for the families that they select. CARE is an acronym that stands for C-haplain, A-ccountability, R-esources, and E-ncouragement. These are the bottom-line services that our Deacons provide. We consider Deacons to be the primary guardians of the fellowship (unity) of our church. During the time that we provide for response in each of our worship services, I often have several of our Deacons join me at the front of the worship center to receive those who are making decisions and to pray for those who would come forward for prayer. Cornerstone has one of the best Deacon ministries of any church that I have ever been a part of. These men are truly my partners in ministry.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
- Mary who conceived by the Holy Spirit and brought Jesus into the world (Luke 1:26-38).
- King Josiah who took the throne of Israel at age 8 (2 Kings 22:1-2).
- David who through the power of God slew a giant (1 Samuel 16:7-13; 17:33, 42, 55-56).
- Joseph who received prophetic dreams (Genesis 37:1-11).
- Samuel who heard the voice of God (1 Samuel 2:18; 3:1-19).
- John the Baptist who recognized Jesus in the womb while in the womb himself (Luke 1:41-45).
- Jesus who taught the teachers at age 12 (Luke 2:40-52).
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that though there is diversity in the Body of Christ, there is "the same Spirit" (v4), "the same Lord" (v5), and "the same God" (v6). "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jew or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Note that all Christians are baptized into the same body through the same Spirit regardless of race or heritage. All Christians are indwelt with the same Holy Spirit of God regardless of anything else including age. In fact, Jesus went so far as to say that the greatest occupants of Heaven are the children! (Matthew 18:1-5). Look at what Paul says in verse 24 of 1 Corinthians 12, "But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked (honor)". The children who appear to be the weakest members of the Body of Christ are in fact the greatest members and therefore are worthy of the greater honor! Are believers who happen to be children indwelt with the same Holy Spirit that lives in adult believers? Absolutely Yes! Are children then, under the Holy Spirit's leadership, able to make spiritual decisions along with the rest of the Body? Again, absolutely yes!
- #1--Children do not have the mental development or maturity to cast a vote.
- #2--Large families would have increased influence in church decisions through their children.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Dr. Ken Hemphill keyed in on "Nurturing Biblical Fellowship" in April's SBC Life. You can access the entire article here.
I had the priviledge of attending Southwestern Seminary during Dr. Hemphill's tenure as president and studied the book of 1 Corinthians under his teaching. He is an excellent communicator with a depth of knowledge in the area of spiritual gifts.
I've come to the conclusion after 20+ years of church-related ministry that the church's fellowship is one of the most critical aspects of church health. Unity within in a local body is absolutely essential in order to see Holy Spirit empowerment. With that in mind, Dr. Hemphill's thoughts on biblical fellowship are very timely for our denomination and our individual churches.
Dr. Hemphill identifies five undeniable truths of fellowship within the church:
- Truth #1: Fellowship is not optional to biblical Christianity! Jesus said, "I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34, 15:12, 17). Dr. Hemphill says, "It is an inescapable truth--we cannot belong to Christ without belonging to a community of believers".
- Truth #2: Fellowship with other believers is essential to personal spiritual growth! "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge" (Ephesians 3:17-19). The love of Christ surpasses knowledge! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:1, "But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.".
- Truth #3: Fellowship is essential to ministry since the unified body is the platform for the proper functioning of the spiritual gifts! According to Ken Hemphill, "In every passage where spiritual gifts are mentioned the issue of unity of the body and the common good are always preeminent".
- Truth #4: Authentic fellowship can only be found in Christ! Dr Hemphill stresses, "For the early church koinonia was a group of believers who were bound together by their common loyalty to Christ. Our fellowship crosses racial, cultural, gender, and other artificial boundaries to find its basis in Christ alone."
- Truth #5: Fellowship is essential to Kingdom expansion! According to Hemphill, "The church that practices biblical fellowship will function like a magnet to the fellowship-hungry world".