Suffering / Trials
God wrote this part of your story too (Tony Reinke): Because God gave his only Son for you, he has given you his guarantee that he will weave the details of your life together in such a way as to lead to an eternity with him to enjoy his full pleasures forevermore. To be chosen in Christ is to have the script for your life written, and the end of the story is eternal flourishing. Read more at Desiring God.
9 things to do when you’ve stopped loving your congregation (Chuck Lawless): I’m afraid it happens. The congregation we once loved has brought pain, and it’s hard—if not impossible—to love them now. If that’s where you are, here are some suggestions I pray will help. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
4 steps to start moving from teaching a crowd to equipping the saints (Karl Vaters): Teaching requires two things: a competent instructor and receptive students. Equipping and discipling require much more. Read more at Christianity Today.
Stewardship / Giving
Time, not money, is the new church commitment currency (Karl Vaters): Church giving patterns are changing. Here are 5 ways to get our churches ready for that reality. Read more at Christianity Today.
The best way to reduce money problems in a local church (Karl Vaters): When a church is making disciples and following the pastoral Prime Mandate to “equip God’s people for works of service” (Eph. 4:11-12) a whole lot of problems get better or go away entirely – including finances. Read more at Christianity Today.
5 signs that the enemy has a stronghold in a church (Chuck Lawless): Based on my years of studying spiritual warfare—and recognizing that human sinfulness is at the root of all these issues—these things at least suggest ongoing strongholds in a church. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
22 characteristics of church pessimists (Chuck Lawless): We all have them in our congregation and perhaps we have exhibited some of these as well. Read the first 11 characteristics, plus 11 more characteristics, at ChuckLawless.com.
4 sources of discord in your church (Tim Challies): Every church is at every time in danger. Every church is in danger of disruption and disunity when Christian turns on Christian or Christian turns away from Christian. In Paul’s letter to Titus he offers four sources of discord and warns us to avoid them. Read more at Challies.com.
When re-conversion is easier than repentance (Samuel D. James): One of the biggest tragedies of evangelical spirituality is that we’ve neglected the Bible’s tender, compassionate words to Christians. We’ve reduced Christian practice to avoiding the non-respectable sins and presenting the gospel to sinful unbelievers, trying to get them to convert and leave all that sin behind. But we’ve missed so much of the immense patience, lovingkindness, mercy, and encouragement in the Bible toward real believers who are struggling against the sin that so easily entangles. Read more at Letter & Liturgy.