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Posts Tagged ‘church’

So how was church this past Sunday?

What does your answer say about you? About God? About your church?

I’d enjoying hear your comments.

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If you are off to church today, here are five ways you could encourage someone in your fellowship:

  • A warm smile
  • A solid handshake
  • Look them in the eye when you talk with them
  • Speak an encouraging word from Scripture
  • Offer to help to meet some practical need in their life this week

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sunday morning worshipRyan Shelton:

So when you make it to your pew on Sunday morning, you are encountering God. But in a remarkable way, you are doing so with others. Worshiping God shoulder-to-shoulder is one of the greatest joys of covenant relationship with God.

It might help to think of an analogy. If you host a dinner party and invite a few friends from different social circles, how disappointing would it be if your friends only chose to interact with you? One of the great joys of hosting is connecting people you love to one another.

When we treat corporate worship like it’s our private meeting with God, we not only dishonor our great Host, but we rob ourselves of the joy of sharing our mutual love for the King who has invited us to his banquet. Only we gather not from different social circles, but from every tribe, tongue, people, and family (Revelation 5:9). We honor the host when we say with that famous Assembler King, “As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16:3).

Don’t neglect the great gift of the covenant. We worship Jesus together.

From Corporate Worship Is Better Than Your Quiet Time

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Rediscovering Holiness by J.I. Packer  $2.99

Is It My Fault?: Hope and Healing for Those Suffering Domestic Violence  by Justin Holcomb $3.99

John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace  by Philip Yancey $..99

What Is a Healthy Church Member? by Thabiti Anyabwile  $.99

Ordinary by Michael Horton $7.99

New Mercies by Paul Tripp  $9.99

Prone to Wander by Duguiid and Houk  $9.99

 

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churches uk

Written for pastors particularly but a good reminder for all Christians:

“First, let’s not overemphasize the dramatic results of one incredible worship service and underemphasize the long-term results of faithful, ordinary church-going. The week in, week out routine of gathering with God’s people and listening to God’s Word is not a waste, even if your people walk out the door on a given Sunday and can’t recall the second point in your sermon. It’s the cumulative effect of our practices that matters, not the spectacular experience of the moment. Sometimes, it’s not one sermon that changes a life, but 1000 sermons.

Secondly, be thankful for the days when God performs open-heart surgery on us through His Word. But remember that most Sundays, God is extending health to us through the faithful proclamation of His Word and the fellowship of believers who stir us up to love and good deeds.

Third, let’s not downplay the ordinary Sundays – the beauty of God’s service to His children on non-holiday weekends, the Sundays that don’t stand out on the calendar. After all, it’s the God who meets us in the ordinary means of grace that we can get super stoked about.”

From “Get Ready for the Most Super Ordinary Sunday Ever!” by Trevin Wax.

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Kevin DeYoung in The Scandal of the Semi-Churched

This is one of those posts I’ve wanted to write for awhile, but I wasn’t sure how to say what I think needs to be said. The danger of legalism and false guilt is very real. But so is the danger of disobedience and self-deception.

I want to talk about church members who attend their home church with great irregularity. These aren’t unchurched folks, or de-churched, or under-churched. They are semi-churched. They show up some of the time, but not every week. They are on again/off again, in and out, here on Sunday and gone for two. That’s the scandal of the semi-churched. In fact, Thom Rainer argues that the number one reason for the decline in church attendance is that church members don’t go to church as often as they used to.

Kevin then posses five questions we should ask ourselves about our church attendance?

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What to look for in a church

Great wisdom and great list by R. W. Glenn:

1. Clarity on the gospel of grace. There are many counterfeits, not least the distortions of the gospel that make sin something you need to work off or blow off. Listen carefully for the comfort and the call of the gospel. First and foremost, listen for Jesus saying, “I do not condemn you.” But keep listening for “Go and sin no more.” The order is very important. The removal of condemnation comes before the call to obedience. But both need to be there for the church to preach the gospel.

2. Christ-centered preaching. You might have expected me to have said “expository preaching,” but it is very possible to give an exposition of a text of Scripture without ever getting to Jesus Christ. This is especially true of preaching from the Old Testament. I don’t remember who said this, but if the exposition of the Old Testament you’re hearing wouldn’t be thrown out of a synagogue, then the preacher isn’t preaching Christ. Exposition of Scripture is the means by which we get to Jesus. But it is the means, not the end of preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified.

3. Theologically informed public worship. Are the basic elements of worship present: public reading of Scripture, exhortation and teaching from Scripture, songs, prayers, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper? In addition to these basic elements, look for songs with lyrics that exalt Jesus Christ and deepen your appreciation for and understanding of the gospel of grace. I’m not saying that short songs like “I Love You, Lord,” have no place in public worship, but what I am saying is that if the content of the songs for public worship as a whole are shallow, it should give you pause.

4. Hospitable people. If the gospel is really doing its work in a community of Christians, they will love strangers, and not in that smarmy, fake, “I’m-glad-you’re-here-because-I’m-supposed-to-be-glad-you’re-here” kind of way. I mean that you feel genuinely welcomed and loved by the people as you meet them and spend time worshipping with them.

5. Church discipline. Church discipline has gotten a bad wrap. The discipline of the church cannot be reduced to the final, punitive kind, but must include the formative type as well. Church discipline happens when the members of the church are willing to turn one another back to Jesus in loving calls to repentance, through encouragement in suffering, and exhortations to grow in grace.

6. Mercy for the poor. First John 3:17 says that if we who have the world’s goods and behold our brother in need and close our hearts against him, we don’t have the love of God in us. Thus it is a test of bona fide Christianity that the church cares for its poor. More than that, our care for the poor, though it should prioritize the believing community, should move beyond the church to the broader community: “Let us do good to all people, especially those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal 6:10).

7. Concern for the lost, evidenced by a church committed to personal evangelism. And by “committed to personal evangelism” I don’t mean a church that has evangelistic programs, but that the people love their neighbors enough to tell them about Jesus. So look for a sincere interest in reaching the lost with the gospel of grace on the part of the pastors and the people in the pew, not as a notch in their belts, but because they are truly lovers of people as people, not as evangelistic prospects.

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