100 Bible knowledge questions (Kevin DeYoung): Several years ago our church started offering a leadership training course once or twice a year. At the end of the 12-week class there is a test on basic Bible knowledge. There is much more to effective ministry than passing a written test. Much more. And yet, we do not want our staff, teachers, and officers to be biblically illiterate. For fun, and for your own evaluation and learning, I thought I’d post the questions that comprised the knowledge portion of the exam. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
Marriage and Divorce
The 50% lie (50% of marriages end in divorce) (Steven Ingino): You’ve heard it repeatedly on radio, podcasts, and TV. You’ve read it in various books and articles. You’ve even heard it in your pastor’s sermon. The problem: it’s a lie. It’s simply not true and never has been. As has been said: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” In this case, the lie made it all the way around the world before the truth even got out of bed…The 50% lie has done more damage than we might suspect, but it can only be remedied with the truth.The facts are actually contrary to what you normally hear. Read more at The Cripplegate.
8 ways for church leaders to end the year wisely (Chuck Lawless): We have one month left in 2018, which means we have about 30+ days to end the year well. If you’re a church leader, I encourage you to consider these possible ways to finish the year. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
7 ways to identify a healthy church (Thom Rainer): The seven traits presume foundational issues such as an affirmation of the truthfulness of the Bible, the exclusivity of the gospel, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Emanating from these foundational issues are key leadership traits. If a leader has all of the following seven traits, it is likely that leader will lead the congregation to greater health. Read more at Southern Equip.
Spiritual Life / Warfare
God will answer you in your crisis (David Mathis): Our God is too real, and too big, and too glorious to work according to our human expectations and convenient timetables. He loves us too much to regularly do just what we want when we want in our times of crisis. But he always sees us. He always hears us. And in Christ, he will answer, not necessarily when and how we want, but with the answer we need, painful as it may be for now, for our ultimate good and glory. Read more at Desiring God.
Sleep with your boots on (Jared C. Wilson): The enemy is often more conscious of our weaknesses than we are. And he will do whatever it takes to get us to neglect our faith and forget the grace of God. If he can get us to stumble or use us to get others to stumble, he will not let up until he’s done it. All because he hates Jesus and wants to see Jesus’ glory obscured or diminished in the world. Read more at For the Church.
Are you sure you want to pray this? (Paul Tripp): I don’t think you could pray more dangerous words than these three: “Thy Kingdom Come.” If we truly understood what we were saying, we would probably pause before inviting such upheaval through our door. This often overused and underestimated petition can only be answered by turning our lives upside down and inside out. Read more at PaulTripp.com.
3 things that might make us unavailable to God (Michael Kelley): I have wondered, from time to time, what my posture is in life, especially as it relates to the gospel. What is my general position? What is the manner in which I hold myself which influences all the other particular motions and movements that I might make? What is the general position that influences how I work? How I parent? How I attend worship services and go to the movies? Read more at MichaelKelley.co.
7 reasons some church revitalizations won’t work (Chuck Lawless): I believe in church revitalization. I’ve seen it happen, and I know it happens all over the country. Still, though, I’m convinced that some revitalization efforts will never work. Here’s why. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
Beware of the person of a single book (Eric Geiger): Beware the person of a single book and beware of issue Christians. We must not be Christians who make one thing our main thing, unless that one thing is the gospel of Jesus which then impacts how we view everything. The gospel must impact how we view everything and there are issues that will be extremely important, but those issues cannot handle the weight of being the single thing or the main thing in a church. Read more at EricGeiger.com.
American Churches are at the tipping point (Thom Rainer): If current trajectories continue, American churches will pass a tipping point. Our congregations will begin a likely unstoppable path toward decline that will rival many European churches of the past century. If there is not a significant movement of revitalization, there will be an accelerated rate of decline and death…I do want us to see the three specific areas of the tipping point: theological, attitudinal, and actionable. Read more at ThomRainer.com.
Expectant vs reactionary churches (Chuck Lawless): Is your church more expectant or reactionary? Review these characteristics to see where your church is. Read more at ChuckLawless.com.
How apologetics can address the six reasons why young people leave the church (Tim Barnett): After a five-year study, Barna Research president David Kinnaman found that 6 in 10 young people leave the church either permanently or for an extended period of time, beginning at age 15. This is an alarming statistic. Many people once thought the exodus from the faith started in college. Kinnaman found that it actually begins in the early teens. This research does more than tell us when young people are leaving. It informs us as to why they are leaving. Read more at Stand to Reason.
Friendly, caring, and carrying churches (Ed Stetzer): Three steps to move into deeper church community. Read more at Christianity Today.
How an ’80s hip hop group helps me with sermon application (Erik Raymond): This is where a hip hop group from the late-’80s has helped me immensely. The group’s name was EPMD. And, if I’m honest, their help is limited to the use of their acronym (although their most famous song, You Gots to Chill, does occasionally parade into my mind when I start getting worked up). The acronym helps me to work through a few different categories of application. In every sermon, and often multiple times on a point, I want to think through these categories. My thought is if I am giving the congregation EPMD application each week then I’ll be serving them well. Here are the categories: E- Ecclesiology, P- Piety, M- Mission, D- Doctrine. I’ll briefly explain below. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.
How do I find my own voice in preaching? (Matt Rogers): I guess some people are just born with “it.” They possess a seemingly innate capacity and charisma to communicate a message with precision and passion. There was a time when I thought I had it . . . Those illusions went with me into pastoral ministry. While I knew there was much to learn, I was certain the pulpit would be a place of comfort and stability. But my naïveté led me to some dark places when the painful truth became clear. I didn’t have it. Read more at The Gospel Coalition.