Abstinence is Not Enough, Or Why a Prohibition Culture is Not Ready for the Opioid Crisis

I have been a Southern Baptist for my entire life. And, for as long as I can remember, I have been taught to abstain from alcoholic beverages. Of the many Bible verses that I heard while growing up, Ephesians 5:18 was a constant. “Do not be drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” To this, every Bible-believing Christians can and should say, “Yes, and amen.” The problem, however, is not with the prohibition to…

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Nine Ways YOU Can Care for Others in the Context of the Church

The local church exists to glorify God the Father by making disciples of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. As members of the local church, we play an invaluable role in the body by caring for others. As Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11-16 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we…

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Plan Your Preaching for 2017

About twice a year, I set aside a few days in the week to plan my preaching calendar for the year. In addition to strategic planning, intentional long-term preaching planning provides many benefits for the church and the pastor. First, it assures that a pastor is rightly dividing the Word of God with balance and providing God’s people with the whole counsel of His Word. Pastors have a natural tendency to preach on their favorite topics/passages and avoid more difficult…

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Can God Spread a Table in the Wilderness? Thoughts on Church Revitalization

Church revitalization is hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. It can be discouraging and isolating. Often times, those who are committed to church revitalization will find themselves afflicted by the “greener grass” syndrome, believing that everyone else’s experience is better than their own and that no one understands their struggles. Such feelings often lead to doubt and unbelief. At the core of those doubts is a question that no pastor ever wants to ask but sometimes…

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Is the Church Failing Those Impacted by Divorce?

The Study In a recent Washington Post article, entitled, “How Decades of Divorce Helped Erode Religion,” Julie Zauzmer discusses a new study from the Public Religion Research Institute, which addresses the growing exodus of Americans from organized religion. In the study, multiple causes for the religious exodus are considered, but Zauzmer picks up on the relationship between divorce and religious disaffiliation. Zauzmer writes, “People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up not to…

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