Ancient ruins in Ephesus
Ancient ruins in Ephesus

Commenting on Acts 19.8, William Baird wrote, “In Acts the kingdom of God seems similar to the church (cf. 8:12), but the idea of God’s rule to be consummated in the future is not lacking (cf. 14:22)” IOVC. Indeed it does seems similar, since the church is the present earthly manifestation of the kingdom. Continue reading

members-body-christActs 12.1. Some versions translate the phrase tinas ton apo tes ekklesias as “some members of the church,” or something similar (PEB, CEV, GW, GNT, Moffatt). Even a good brother’s translation goes this route. All the editions I consulted by Catholic publishers in Brazil have “members of the church.” NLT misses completely the sense of the phrase with “some believers in the church.” Continue reading

bible-distribution-evangelismPeople are already traveling for holidays and vacation here. Numbers were low this morning, especially. But we had a great day with both churches. Numbers may get lower yet in the next couple of weeks.

• This morning I taught on the church’s mission in the series on the New Testament church. This afternoon, on Scripture, in our series on “What Is Christianity?” Continue reading

A quote from a congregation website in Irving, Texas:

We recognize that much of what is passed off today as “Christianity” is neither Christ-centered, nor pleasing to God. The church has been reduced, in many places, to little more than a social club, political action committee, or welfare society. Yet the Lord has given a blueprint for the church (2 Tim. 1:13) and Christians who take His Lordship seriously will abide by this pattern. “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17). At Westside we intend to understand the pattern for New Testament Christianity and then abide by it.

via About Westside ::



Why do people sleep in church? That subject has members of the GospelPreachers email list on Yahoo sharing stories. I shared this:

Once in a while, I see a Brazilian nodding off during a class or sermon. Two main reasons, methinks: one, 10-12 hour workdays, and spending Saturday and Sunday working for the Lord, traveling hundreds of miles in the process; two, taking two buses to get to church, spending an hour and a half to two hours, walking another 20 minutes with a six-year-old in tow.

Many times the reasons are trivial, but caution is needed before judging individual cases. Scott Wiley shared this story, reproduced with his permission:

Back in ’79 or ’80 I was visiting my grandmother and attended her congregation that Sunday.  An elderly brother fell asleep in about the third row and started snoring — I mean rattle-the-windows-out-of-the-sills snoring. The preached stopped and said: “Before I wake brother X, you should all know he’s been sitting up with his wife at the hospital all week. This is the first time he has left her room in days, and he only stopped home long enough to clean up and change clothes.” The preacher went back to his sermon started shouting and pounded the pulpit in the next few sentences of his sermon. The brother awoke, and no one to my knowledge ever mentioned it to him.

Not a bad reason to doze off, don’t you think?

God defines what good works are, for which we were created (Eph 2:10), just as he, by his own nature, defines the very meaning of “good.” I have no idea if a work is good or not. This is why Jesus challenges the rich ruler as to what is good (Luke 18:18-19), because man has one idea — the wrong one — about goodness, while God’s idea is quite different.

• The first and, in one very real sense, only consideration is when, where and how we may please God by our service and devotion, in the midst of, and participating with, his spiritual family. All other considerations, of work, relationships, and even leisure and recreation, fall far below the first. A great white space opens a gulf of separation between the first consideration and the others. Indeed, there is but one, then there is the rest. Continue reading

The follow was written for Chris Gallagher’s site, as part of a series of guest blogs on the subject. Mine was published earlier in the month of August.

In my bedroom is a relic. Not a religious artifact, but a family heirloom of sorts. On a shelf sits a carved turkey caller that my grandfather made years ago with his own hands. It is precious to me not only because it was his, but because he made it, he carved it with his own hands.

My sentiments about that turkey caller echo in a terribly weak way my feelings and convictions about the church of God. I made a list of what I love about the church, but the points are but swirls around the center. I love the church because my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ created it, not merely with his own hands, but with his precious blood. Continue reading