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Two Catholic priests were arrested Saturday inside an abortion facility in New Jersey during a non-violent demonstration to save unborn babies from abortion. Police arrested four pro-life advocates during the Red Rose Rescue: Father Fidelis Moscinski, Father Dave Nix, William Goodman and another unnamed individual, according to the pro-life group organizing the effort. The demonstration […]
An Alabama pro-life woman who received a ticket for handing out brochures won a victory in appeals court Friday. Ellen Haverman Hermann received a $250 ticket for protesting without a permit in May 2017 outside of an abortion facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the AP reports. On Friday, however, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled […]
A pro-life organization offering free ultrasounds to pregnant mothers in need was vandalized Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina. The mobile ultrasound unit, which is owned by Human Coalition and the Women’s Clinic of Charlotte, was parked near a huge, new Planned Parenthood abortion facility in the city, the Catholic News Herald reports. Trained medical workers […]
A decade of analysis from Pew details what global faith leaders already know: From China to Europe, from the Middle East to the US, persecution is climbing.Ahead of a US State Department gathering being touted as “the biggest religious freedom event ever,” a new report showcases how persecution is getting worse—especially for Christians, the most-harassed religious group in the world—and becoming more widespread.Hostility against religious minorities spans longstanding hotspots in the Middle East and North Africa to Western contexts in Europe and the Americas, according to a comprehensive analysis released today from the Pew Research Center.Christians endured more pushback than any other religious group each year from 2007 to 2017, when they faced harassment in 143 countries (that’s one fewer than in 2016, but markedly higher than before), researchers found. This week, Sam Brownback, the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, has organized the second annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, a summit in Washington to strengthen international commitments to religious freedom. “There is no common theology in this discussion, but it is towards a common human right,” Brownback said of the event, which is expected to draw up to 1,000 religious and civil society leaders from around the world. “And that human right is that everybody is entitled to be able to practice their faith peacefully and without fear.”The recent Pew release builds on earlier reports that looked at year-over-year change and offers a decade-long picture of religious freedom’s global decline—and the need for greater political action to curb the trend. Christians remain the largest and most harassed faith community, but Muslims are not far behind, with reports of political or social oppression in 140 countries in 2017. ...Continue reading...
Today's category: Sunday SchoolHow To Get To Heaven A teacher asked the children in her Sunday School class, "If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would I get into heaven?" "NO!" the children all answered. "If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would I get into heaven?" Again, the answer was "NO!" "Well," she continued, "then how can I get to heaven?" In the back of the room, a five-year-old boy shouted out, "You gotta be dead!"View hundreds more jokes online.Email this joke to a friend
Myungsung, the world's largest Presbyterian church, awaits denominational court ruling on pastoral succession.“You’ve heard that our church is very big. Very large,” said the pastor emeritus of the world’s largest Presbyterian church at the 2018 commencement of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. “I and my colleagues at our church worked together and practiced exactly what American missionaries taught us,” continued Kim Sam-whan, who in 1980 founded Myungsung Presbyterian Church in Korea with 20 members.Today, Myungsung claims more than 100,000 members, and its footprint extend beyond its main Seoul sanctuary with its two towering spires. The church owns and operates an evangelical television channel, two schools, the first and only private prison in Korea, and hospitals in Korea and Ethiopia.However, the megachurch and its denomination have been fractured after the 74-year-old Kim gave his senior pastor position to his 46-year-old son in 2017.Next week, the court of the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK-TongHap), one of the largest of Korea’s more than 100 Presbyterian denominations, is scheduled to announce its decision July 16 on whether the accession of Kim’s son, Kim Ha-na, is valid.The crux of the debate is Article 28.6 of the PCK-TongHap constitution, which prohibits the transference of pastor or elder positions to family members. Defenders argue that Kim Ha-na was elected in accordance with Myungsung’s laws, and the denomination that Kim Sam-whan once headed should not meddle in the megachurch’s affairs. Critics argue that the denomination’s flagship church is flouting the corporate laws it must heed.“Hereditary succession is a major issue in Korea because the world’s first major wave of megachurches was birthed in Korea,” said Warren Bird, ...Continue reading...
Some Chaldean detainees lost their chance to fight to stay. But it's still unclear if their home country will let them back. Hundreds of Iraqi Christians detained in immigration raids are once again at risk of deportation after losing their chance to keep fighting their cases in court.On Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals closed the book on Hamama v. Adducci, a class-action lawsuit filed in June 2017 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of 1,400 Iraqi natives, including more than 100 Detroit-area Chaldean Christians, who were detained by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and told they would be repatriated to their home country.After the raids two years ago, a district judge granted an injunction to protect the detainees, many of whom have lived in the US for decades, and let them present their cases in court. Last December, a Sixth Circuit panel overturned the protections, and this week the full court declined to hear further arguments, allowing the government to resume deportations as soon as next week, Michigan Radio reported.The ACLU argued that sending the Christians back would put them in danger of torture or death. The historic Chaldean Catholic Church had been the largest Christian group in Iraq, which now ranks No. 7 on Open Doors’s list of countries most dangerous for Christians.Iraqis’ claims of imminent danger have for decades persuaded the US and Iraqi government to allow them to stay in the US, despite lapses in immigration documents and even felony convictions. (After paying their debt to society, most convicted felons from Iraq have lived under what are known as final orders of removal, meaning that if they leave the US, they are not permitted to re-enter. Many of those swept up in the 2017 and 2018 raids had final orders of removal from crimes committed in the 1980s and ’90s.)Metro ...Continue reading...
Link: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/one-day-your-war-will-endFormat: Web PageTopic(s): Spiritual WarfareAuthor(s)/Speaker(s): Iain Duguid
Ministry is hard. Small church ministry is relentless. Doing it alone is impossible.
Amid so many forms of communication—multimedia, music, and more—what is it about preaching, even today, that carries life-changing power?
On Thursday, July 11, Governor Parson signed HB 138. This legislation, known as “Simon's Law” has been a priority of Missouri Right to Life for many years. HB 138 builds on the rights of parents to make health care decisions for their minor child(ren). The Crozier Family's story as well as other stories, gave rise to the […]
Nearly a dozen religious leaders representing faiths including Christianity and Judaism gathered at a Texas abortion clinic Tuesday to “bless” it and declare their support.
Israeli officials unveiled a stairway, known as “Pilgrim's Road,” that which provides further windows into biblical history. The road, which Jesus likely walked,” served as a pathway to ancient Jerusalem for those who traveled there three times a year to offer sacrifices.
The often-criticized U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed a major victory to pro-lifers and the White House Thursday when it ruled the Trump administration can enforce a new rule that could result in Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers losing tens of millions of dollars.
Tropical Storm Barry is expected to wreak havoc on the Gulf Coast starting Friday morning. The storm – which is expected to be at hurricane strength when it makes landfall – is predicted to bring as much as 2 feet of rain to parts of Louisiana, threatening to flood areas in and around New Orleans.
The Declaration of Independence was a statement against all odds. To some, it could have been called, The Declaration of Insanity.How could thirteen fledgling colonies win a war against the mother country?How could rough pioneers and poor farmers advance against a highly-trained military?How could an under-paid, poorly-clothed, and ill-fed bunch of soldiers fight the deep pockets of support flowing to the enemy?But they did.Signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to stand by what they had signed. And by the time the war was over, they had indeed given their lives and fortunes. Of the fifty-six who signed, every one of them suffered deeply through the war.Today, through the grace of God and the courage of Americans over 200 years ago, we stand a free nation.Today, I'd like to draw your attention to another need in our land—one as great (actually greater) than that of freedom. The need for a spiritual revival.Like the idea of independence in 1776, the idea of revival doesn't look very plausible. The odds are stacked against us. Lawmakers bent on legalizing godless lifestyles, judges who care nothing for our nation's founding documents, citizens who resist and outright reject Christian influence in society—can revival happen today?I believe it can—simply because of 2 Chronicles 7:14:If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.Yes, the odds are great. But I'm concerned our carelessness is greater. We complain about the state of our nation, but we do little to confront it.If we will overcome our greatest obstacle—complacency—I believe we can see revival in America today. But I believe that, as pastors, we will have to pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to see it happen. We'll have to invest ourselves and act.Against all odds we can see revival, but only if we confront the odds.
The Short Answer—I Can't Do Anything Else Proverbs 19:27 “Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causes to err from the words of knowledge.”In 1976 God spoke to my heart about starting a Christian school. I was then pastoring a small, rural church in Northeast Missouri. When I say rural, I mean way out in the middle of nowhere. When I went to the church with my burden, the people I pastored, whose lives incidentally were integrally tied into the small public school there, did not have my burden.A few months later I was ousted from the church and I and several families started a new church about 18 miles away. From the very beginning, everyone knew that a Christian school was in the works. I made a vow to the Lord that my children would never go to a public school.In September of 1978 God fulfilled my burden and the Monroe City Christian School opened its doors with 17 students. If I had had 1700 students that first day, I could not have been prouder. My wife and I bought a huge home there in the city of Monroe City and the church met in our house and we redecorated the basement for the school. Oh, what the Lord did that year.Well, it is now 20 years later, and I believe more in Christian education today than I did 20 years ago in that first ACE classroom.Let me be honest though. There have been times in these 20 years, when it has been tough to continue in this ministry. Finding good, qualified teachers and administrators with the same burden is not easy. The Christian school movement itself has not always been as popular as it was 20 years ago. On many occasions the financial burden has been a great strain on the churches I have pastored. But if something is right and God-ordered, then we should keep doing it even when it is not easy to do it.On a couple of occasions I said to the Lord, kind of in a complaining way, “Lord, would You let me pastor a church without a Christian school?” But God has always answered me, “No, I have given you this responsibility—you carry it.” During times when my burden has grown lax or problems with the Christian school have engulfed me, I have reminded myself of 3 reasons why I believe in the Christian school.Philosophically, I Cannot Do Anything Else.Our text says for us to command our children to stop hearing those who teach them contrary to the Bible. My faith is the most precious thing that I have. I cannot send my children to a Catholic Sunday School because the teachers there would teach them contrary to my faith. Neither can I send my children to a humanist Monday school because the teachers there will teach them contrary to the scriptures.Proverbs 22:15 says, “The rod and reproof give wisdom but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” The older my children get, the gladder I am that I did not give up during the tough times! I see in my grown, older children a worldview that comes from their training at home and at school.It is sad to me when parents give their children a choice about one of the most important things in their life: their education. God gave parents the duty of “bringing up their children” not of allowing them to bring themselves up. As a parent, I am to guide my child, I am not to allow them to guide me. (By the way, parents, that means that you have to know where you are going and what goals you have for your children).Christian schools are not found in the Scriptures. However, the command is that we are to train our children in our faith and not to allow others to teach our children (who are so moldable) contrary to our faith. Christian schools and home schools are simply a way to fulfill those commands.Practically, I Cannot Do Anything Else.One million girls will become pregnant outside of wedlock before graduation day. Before they leave high school, 1.2 million boys will become sexually active. One third of all school children will be so poorly educated they will function under their own intelligence capabilities. All public school students will be taught the untenable and unbelievable theory of evolution. Few will learn the undeniable truth that there is more evidence to support the belief that man was really created by God.Most public school students will not learn to read well and many will not learn to write and think clearly at all. Only about 50% will learn enough geography to identify the location of places like Chicago, Miami, Forth Worth, etc. Fewer will learn to locate Germany, Spain, or Saudi Arabia.They will be exposed to violence, crime, cursing to an extreme, drugs, and sexual promiscuity. Often these things will be condoned by teachers and the administration itself! Many school districts now are exposing their kids to homosexuals and will be taught by sensitivity training that alternative lifestyles are a matter of choice.If I did not have the conviction from the scriptures, even practically, I cannot send my children into that system.Purposely, I Cannot Do Anything Else.I am afraid that most parents do not raise their children on purpose. They simply have no driving purpose that guides their decisions with their home and children. I have one driving desire for my children and that is that they love and serve the wonderful God that I have loved and served.My prayer and aim is that they either serve the Lord in a full time capacity or be used in a good, Bible believing independent Baptist church to further God's work. I want them to be ambitious and do well in whatever vocation God calls them into, but business is second in my mind, God's work comes first.We only have one life and it will soon be past. A hundred years from now it will not make any difference how much money I made. It will make a difference how many souls I led to Christ, how many people I helped guide along the way, and how I served Him for Whom I was made and redeemed!Ps.127:3 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord.” The word “heritage” means ‘loan.' My children are not mine to raise for myself, they are on loan from the Lord and I must raise them for Him. With these things in mind, I must choose a school that helps me toward my purpose. I must help my children choose a college that will help me toward my purpose. Money should not be the primary consideration. The will of God must be the driving factor. I would sell my house rather than have my children trained contrary to my faith. I know many, many people who live very sacrificially in order to train their children according to their faith.We only get one chance to train our children. Their faith and values cannot be taken for granted. They will learn faith and values. The question is, “Whose faith and whose values will they learn?”From the Daily Manna.
If your schedule is anything like mine, from Thanksgiving to early June is booked. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, starting off new school semesters, winter revival, stewardship emphasis, Easter, graduations…. It fills up pretty fast.Because I know this happens every year, I have adjusted my personal goals for study and growth to be primarily concentrated in the summer months.Summer often allows for a little extra downtime that sometimes the schedules of the school year prohibit.However, this kind of growth doesn't happen automatically. It takes intention.If you, too, are looking forward to some extra opportunities for growth this summer, here are ten ideas—in no particular order—to help you:1. ReadI keep a growing list throughout the year for summer reading and typically read a couple dozen books from June through August.2. Bible StudyThis is a great time to delve into a particular topic, book of the Bible, doctrine, or area of contemporary theology. I work a book or two on whatever topic or doctrine I want to study into my summer reading.3. Learn or Enjoy a HobbySometimes those of us in the ministry forget to live with rhythms of work and rejuvenating. A healthy hobby can help bring balance to our over-extended lives.4. Listen to PreachingWhether it is when you are visiting another church on vacation or listening to messages on a morning jog, it's encouraging and helpful to hear other preachers. Those of us who preach multiple times each week especially benefit from time to simply hear God's Word preached for ourselves.5. Spend Extra Time with the LordGet up an hour earlier one day each week to get out in nature and spend time in prayer. Block off half a day or a whole day to just read your Bible and pray. Perhaps there is a spiritual discipline you noted at the beginning of the year you want to grow in. Take some specific steps toward that growth this summer.6. Spend Extra Time with Your FamilyTake advantage of the later hours of sunlight for family time. Make memories with your wife and children. Take a day trip to go fishing or hiking. Get outside together, and have fun.7. Invest in FriendshipsSchedule coffee with a friend. Plan to read the same book with someone and schedule time to connect to discuss it. Think, too, through who you could invest in as a encourager or mentor this summer.8. Evaluate Ministry NeedsThis is a good time to step back and with some clarity look at the processes, trends, or roadblocks you may be experiencing as a church family. God promises wisdom when we ask Him for it (James 1:5), but His wisdom often comes through insights as we step out of the current long enough to hear His voice.9. Study a Specific AreaThis also relates to summer reading. Consider any personal or family needs or an area of need for your church. Find two or three highly-recommended books on those topics, and commit to studying and learning.10. Attend a ConferenceAttending a conference like Spiritual Leadership Conference gives three days of preaching, fellowship with other pastors, ministry-specific training, and resources. If you were not able to attend the Spiritual Leadership Conference, you can still listen to the sessions online or make plans to attend next year.Perhaps the most important tip for summer growth is to plan for it. If you're not careful, summer will come and go, and it will be the end of August before you realize you missed the opportunity for focused growth.
In a generation of undisciplined people, how do you have a disciplined class so teaching and imparting truth can take place? Here are some tips establish and maintain a disciplined class:1. Make sure the teacher is under control and in control. Scripture teaches that we produce “after our kind.” Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. As we hate sin, love right, fill our minds with Scripture, and yield to the Holy Spirit, this fruit is produced in our lives. Control your thoughts, temper, mouth, and emotions.2. Separate talkers as they enter the class. It makes too big a scene to separate them once they are settled in.3. Keep clutter out of the room.4. Be in class early.5. Be prayed up.6. Secure their attention. Begin with a song.7. Have a cue card and keep it moving. An idle mind is the devil's workshop.8. Do not get side tracked.9. Save students' questions for last.10. Use plenty of visuals and attention getters.11. Incorporate the undisciplined child into the lesson. Get them to hold a visual or stand next to them as you teach.12. Smile!13. Love them. Where love is felt, the message is heard.Most discipline problems are the teacher rather than the student. Let's take responsibility and do something about it.This article is an excerpt from the book, Basic Training for Sunday School Teachers by Mike Ray.
This week, Terrie and I celebrate thirty-three years of ministry at Lancaster Baptist Church with the Anniversary Sunday and host the Spiritual Leadership Conference. (And I hope you're planning to join us!)Before guests arrive for the conference, however, I wanted to share with our church family some convictions regarding ministry that I am as convinced of today as I was in 1986. Last week, I preached a message titled “This I Believe” in which I shared four such convictions.Whether you are just starting out in the ministry or have been preaching the gospel for decades, remembering and holding to these truths from God's Word will keep you going during seasons of challenge and difficulty.These convictions aren't helpful because you believe them, but they are truths that help you when you believe.1. The Power of the GospelFor I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.—Romans 1:16Following Romans 1:16, one of the great declarations of the power of the gospel, the Apostle Paul describes the darkened, hardened hearts of a culture in need of the gospel. We see many of these marks of depravity in our culture today.Thankfully, at Lancaster Baptist Church, we've also seen the power of the gospel to change lives—one person at a time.The fact is that the gospel is more powerful than the dark hearts, false worship, vile affections, and reprobate minds described in Romans 1.If you don't believe in the power of the gospel, you will become discouraged or jaded in ministry. But when you believe that the gospel is the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” you want to continue to preach it. You rejoice in every life it changes. And you never lose hope for those who still need salvation.2. The Potential of ChildrenBut Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 19:14One of the blessings of spending over three decades in one church is performing the weddings of those you prayed over on baby dedication Sundays. It is watching the spiritual fruit in the lives of young families who were once children attending Sunday school. It is seeing God shape new generations of biblically-committed, Spirit-filled, Christ-centered Christians in this world.But whether or not you've had the privilege of being in once place for a long period of time, the reality of potential in children is there. This is why a Christ-centered church must be a child-inclusive church that nurtures and disciples hearts for God.We must continue to bring children to church—by discipling parents who already come and by sharing the love of Christ with children whose parents are not yet saved.We must also teach children. Paul affirmed to Timothy, “that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Children face unrelenting indoctrination from a corrupt culture. We must point their hearts to Christ and equip their minds with the truth.3. The Priority of the Church But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.—1 Timothy 3:15The local church is a body of believers that is supposed to function as a place of teaching and building up (Ephesians 4:11–16), encouraging and loving (Acts 2:46), and holding sound doctrine (1 Timothy 3:15, Titus 1:9).As a family, the local church has challenges. If it has real people, it has messy people. That's just the nature of life and the process of sanctification for all of us. But the church is to be a place where sin is confronted (1 Corinthians 5:1–5) and the fallen are restored (Galatians 6:1–2).The local church is God's plan for reaching the world with the gospel (Acts 1:8). Above all, it is the place where Christ is to be given preeminence (Colossians 1:18).Although there are certainly times when those of us who lead in local church ministry become weary, remembering the priority of the church—to Christ who loved it and gave Himself for it, to those within our church families who need the church to grow into Christlikeness, and to a lost world in need of the gospel—reminds us of the greatness of any ministry that is part of the local church.4. The Provision of God's GraceAnd he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.—2 Corinthians 12:9God's grace is sufficient.It is sufficient for your family. It is sufficient for your financial challenges. It is sufficient for your trials. It is sufficient for your ministry. It is sufficient.When you face challenges in your life or ministry and consider if you can continue, the answer is always yes. Yes, you can.Because of God's grace.Because of the priority of the church.Because of the potential of children.Because of the power of the gospel.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, United Flight 93 took off from Newark's Liberty International Airport bound for San Francisco. There were forty-four people on board, all of whom would lose their lives that day. Four terrorists took over the plane with the intention of flying it to the Washington DC area and crashing it into one of our government buildings or memorials. They very probably would have succeeded, except for the bravery of the passengers and crew onboard that day.Recently, while preaching in a Faith Promise Missions Conference, the Pastor took the missionary families and me to visit the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. My mind and heart were deeply impressed by the selfless, courageous actions taken by those who were on board and lost their lives that day while attempting to take back control of the airplane from the terrorists. The heartbreaking messages of love from wives, mothers, and husbands to their families were testament to their concern for their loved ones, while they themselves were in absolute jeopardy. The memorial is a wonderful aid that causes us to remember their bravery and devotion.As I stood at the spot looking over the site of the crash (pictured above), God brought three simple thoughts to mind.1. We Do Not Know What Tomorrow HoldsBoast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.—Proverbs 27:1I know that is an elementary statement; but I fear it is a truth we often know, but too often fail to appropriate into our decision-making and lifestyles as believers. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow. We are not to live in abject fear that we may die at any moment, but we are to live with a healthy reverence that at any moment we could leave this life, or Jesus could return. What life-altering truths those statements are! God is not only to be in our planning, He is to have authority over our planning; and His glory is to be the object in every decision and direction for our lives.2. There Are Times and Events That Are Bigger than Our Convenience and Our ComfortWe live in a self-oriented and self-interested world. Just peruse social media for the proof of that statement. Many believers operate with the sense that God exists for the purpose of making their lives good. But we must be reminded that we, in truth, exist to bring God glory! There are times when life delivers us circumstances that are more than difficult: they can appear to be tragic.Certainly, the loss of life in this horrific act of terrorism was senseless and a terrible source of suffering for the families of those lost and for our nation. However, in that loss, the people on that plane revealed to us that human beings can respond to a crisis with a strength and ability that can only be explained by the grace of God. They set aside their own feelings and the sense of their own loss to serve a greater good, stopping that plane from being used as an instrument of war against their nation. Who knows how many other lives were saved because of their selflessness that day in giving their lives for a cause bigger than their own survival?The songwriter penned these words in America the Beautiful: “O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved, And mercy more than life!” We need to be believers who love our God more than our own lives, and serve His cause more than our own.3. God Will Mark Our Service and SacrificeI am thankful for the Flight 93 Memorial and the way it serves to remind us of those who lost their lives on that terrible day. But in truth, most believers who serve the Lord selflessly for His glory will not have an earthly memorial built in honor of their devotion. God does note their service, however, and He will reward the faithful servant! What a day it will be, when the selfless servant of God hears, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”May God help us strive to be Flight 93 believers: Making God the priority of our plans, making His glory the object of our living, and leaving the reward for our service to Him.
Helping Others Get Closer to God “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 If you are on the staff of a church, you are an example to someone. You may just think of yourself as a secretary, or office worker, but in reality you are more than that. Just being “on staff” makes you an example and a leader. You need to accept it, and allow it to affect what you do and how you behave. You ask, “Who is watching me?” or, “to whom am I an example?” There is someone in your church who wishes she had your job, or wants to be just like you some day: Children and teens (yours or someone else's) Newer Christians Newer members Parents of your children's friends School parents Folks in your adult class Folks who sit near you in church Are you a good example? A godly influence is one who moves others onto God's agenda. Before we can influence others toward godliness, we ourselves must be under God's influence—seeking God's direction, obeying His impulses, and being where we're supposed to be so God can use us. If you are moving toward God, someone is probably following you. A godly influence: 1. Encourages a Closer Walk with God “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1–3 Encourage wise choices—encourage ladies to seek godly counsel, love their husbands, and be faithful to the Lord and church. Encourage “God-ward” thinking—remind others of God's love; weave godly topics into conversations. Encourage Bible study and prayer. 2. Is a Need-filler So often we are guilty of not noticing. Instead, we need to stop, look, and ask questions. This is where love kicks in—do you love enough to act or just have empathy or sympathy? When you say you will pray for someone, don't fail to do it! Influence grows when we show compassion. We must model compassion, like the Lord did in Luke 10:37, “And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Genuine compassion powerfully affects those who receive it, those who give it, and those who observe it. You can offer to babysit for a young mother, or help in a financial way if you can, or just a smile, hug, or note can communicate compassion. 3. Is Trustworthy Keep confidence. Be careful about sharing news. Be careful not to gossip. Repeating facts can lead to gossip (James 3:6; Proverbs 26:20–22). Gossip = habitually retelling behind the scenes information Gossip = idle talk about others, regardless of fact Gossip = saying something about someone that you know he/she wouldn't want said—regardless of whether or not it is true Be intensely loyal, and always give others the benefit of the doubt. 4. Is a Real Example In word – our words should build, not tear down “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6 “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James 3:2 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 In conversation = lifestyle “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;” Philippians 1:27 In charity = compassion Do you love enough to take action? In spirit = attitude Attitude is contagious (good or bad)! Is this your attitude: “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:8)? “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” Proverbs 25:28 In faith “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 In purity “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 Let's determine to be a positive friend, mentor, and influence in our offices, churches, and communities.
3 Harmful Aspects of Public Schools The education of our children is a grave responsibility for every parent. For years, Anna and I have counseled Christian parents to either homeschool their children or to have them in a quality Christian school. I tell people that one of the primary reasons our children are serving the Lord today is because we kept them out of public school and gave them a Christian education.Our primary focus has been on protecting children from the many negative influences found in the public school system. Though there are many dedicated public school teachers who truly care about their students, the public school can be very damaging to the Christian student. Let me repeat, I do believe there are dedicated Christian schoolteachers in public schools; and I believe that the public school is a great mission field for these dedicated servants.However, the public school can be very hurtful to Christian young people for the following reasons:1. The Secular World ViewIn 1962, by Supreme Court decision, prayer was outlawed in our public schools. In 1963, the Supreme Court followed up by saying that Bible reading would be outlawed in our public schools. From that time, the quality of our education has decreased. The Bible says that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God. With the exclusion of God, our educational system could not do anything but decline. The humanistic philosophy of our present society has great influence in our public schools and will have a harmful negative effect on our Christian students.2. Teachers Who Are Anti-GodAs I said, many good, solid, Bible-believing Christian teachers are in our public schools. However, the vast majority of teachers in public schools are not Christians. Psalm 1 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”God tells us that, as adults, we should not sit in the counsel of the ungodly. If God doesn't want us to sit there, then why would we send our children to be taught by men and women who deny the Lord Jesus Christ? It certainly isn't the wisest thing we could do.3. Negative Peer PressureBy far, the most negative thing about the public school system is the negative peer pressure that Christian children receive. There is a constant pressure to conform to the new fads of this world.I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind….—Romans 12:1–2Young people are continually pressured to be conformed to this world in their dress, in their music, in their lifestyle, and in their morality. When a child spends thirty to forty hours a week in school with friends who see nothing wrong with vulgar, inappropriate music, movies, language, and lifestyle, they will be pressured to conform to that immoral behavior.However, having said all that, I want to share with you an article that I recently read put out by the Council for American Private Education. In this article, a study is quoted that was published in issue three of volume eighty-seven of The Peabody Journal of Education. The study was done, not by a Christian organization, but by a senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institution in Princeton, New Jersey, and a professor at California State University, Long Beach. I think you will appreciate a portion of this article.Students in religious schools enjoy a significant academic advantage over their counterparts in traditional public schools and charter schools, according to the findings from a meta-analysis of 90 studies on the effects of schools conducted by William Jeynes, senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Priceton, New Jersey, and a professor at California State University, Long Beach. The study was published in issue 3 of volume 87 of the Peabody Journal of Education. “The results indicate that attending private religious schools is associated with the highest level of academic achievement among the three school types, even when sophisticated controls are used to adjust for socioeconomic status,” according to the report.“I was quite surprised that students from charter schools did no better than their counterparts in traditional public schools,” wrote Jeynes in an email message to CAPE. At the start of the study, he was expecting to see higher levels of performance from charters. “To the extent that neither traditional public schools nor charter schools are succeeding on a broad scale, it appears that the best hope for American education is religious private schools,” said Jeynes. “Not only are they considerably more economically efficient, but their students obtain better results.” He said the nation should “rethink its strategy of espousing charter schools and overlooking the benefits of faith-based education.”1 Christian education is the choice of even secular educators today. I would encourage you to consider that as you prepare to enroll your child for the next school year.1Council for American Private Education (2013). Study Finds Advantages for Students in Faith-Based Schools. CAPE Outlook, 1.
The Importance of Sunday School in the Local Church The goal of Sunday school is to accomplish one of the greatest needs in the 21st century– to provide Biblical education to individuals in a particular life stage.Sunday school, like many things in the church, is a tool, not a goal. It is a tool that God has used in amazing ways. It is a tool to systematically, comprehensively, and appropriately teach the Bible to a particular life stage. Sunday school exists to transform lives through effectively teaching God's Word.Sunday school lessons usually provide a format for discussion and interaction, while following a set curriculum that covers the Bible and applies it to a particular life stage, then cycles around every few years.If the only teaching your congregation receives in the course of the week is a forty-five minute sermon, they're not learning as much as they could. There is so much more that you could be teaching them, and Sunday school provides that opportunity.Sunday school should focus on providing age-appropriate instruction. It is a venue to teach biblical world views in everything from dating to evangelism, from knowing God's will to interacting with parents and coworkers, all while allowing time for questions and answers. It should provide Biblical education to a particular group of people at a particular life stage.One Bible college professor was asked by a college student what someone should do in order to become a theologian. He replied, “That's easy. Teach a third-grade Sunday school class.” Sunday school makes it possible to get age-appropriate biblical teaching into the life of the church.Sunday school is a valuable tool for discipling believers. It complements and supplements the sermon, gives age-appropriate knowledge needed for godly living. Accountability, fellowship, community, and mission—these things are all very important, but what gives them their power is the Word of God. Sunday school provides the biblical education necessary for discipleship.
Our Response to God's Call Has Far-Reaching Consequences Many years ago I was reading a prayer letter from a missionary in the Dominican Republic. In the last paragraph, the missionary wrote these words, “Alexis asked me a couple months ago: ‘What would have happened to me and all the people in our church if you had not come to the Dominican Republic?'”I have often thought, “What if the Lord Jesus Christ, after counting the cost of man's salvation, had decided to stop short of the cross?” Thank God He did not! Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The gospel is free to us, but it was not cheap.What if every Bible-believing church in America took seriously the Great Commission? Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” I praise God for churches all over the world that have taken seriously God's Great Commission to us. Sometimes, we get so involved in superficial things that we fail to do the one thing that God has commanded. We are to make Him known to “every creature” in our generation.What if every Christian gave something every week to missions above a tithe and offering? Many churches use what we call “grace-giving” or “faith-promise giving” to encourage their members to give something every week, above their regular offering, for worldwide evangelization.What if there were a great emphasis on world evangelization in all of our Christian schools, Bible colleges, and seminaries? What a great difference this would make! Our missions organizations would soon be flooded with mission candidates.What if God's people took seriously the prayer request of our Lord Jesus Christ? After looking at the multitudes of hurting people, Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37). While the harvest field is much larger today than it was when Jesus walked upon the face of the earth, the force of laborers has not increased in proportion. The problem is not with the harvest; the problem is a lack of laborers. After making that great statement, Jesus commanded His disciples, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into his harvest.”What if you and I would go before God daily and pray to Him that He would send forth laborers into this great harvest field? Many people are fearful of praying that God will send forth laborers. Their fears rest in the fact that they are not willing to go to the mission field, and if they pray, God might lay the mission field on their hearts. Someone has well said, “We should not pray unless we are willing to be the answer to God's prayer.” We should always be willing for God to use us and our loved ones anywhere in this life.Thank God, the missionary went to the Dominican Republic, and Alexis and his friends were saved. Thank God, Jesus Christ went all the way to Calvary and suffered, bled, and died so you and I could be saved from our sins. My constant prayer is that we will not come short of what God has for each of us.

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