How to Pray to God

Prayer

Prayer is a simple and common practice. Children are taught to pray when they are young. Prayers are regularly offered in worship services conducted by local congregations. But sometimes when a practice is simple and common, it is easy to not give much thought to it. Perhaps we are just “going through the motions” and are failing to focus on this important discipline.

In this brief article, we are going to consider how we, as Christians, are to pray to God. This may not be anything new, but it is helpful for us to be reminded of these things from time to time.Continue Reading

Obedient to That Form of Teaching

Romans 6:17

Romans 6 is a critical chapter in the New Testament. It discusses the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. It concisely explains why this difference exists and what happened in the life of a Christian to bring about this difference. This chapter can be summarized in the following two verses:

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).

Paul was writing to Christians in Rome. Previously, they were “slaves of sin.” But at this time, they were “slaves of righteousness.” How did this change occur? They “became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which [they] were committed.

To better understand what Paul was discussing, let us do a brief overview of this chapter.Continue Reading

The Trend of Churches Offering Multiple Services, Sites, and Venues

Map of City

Churches built by men are constantly changing. What a particular church or denomination believes and practices today may not be what they believe and practice by the time the next generation comes along. The reason why these churches change is because they are trying to expand their reach and attract more people. As society changes, these churches must adapt. Too often, these changes are not in harmony with the teachings of Scripture.

Sometimes changes occur among a small minority of churches/denominations. Other times, there are trends that affect a large number of churches regardless of denominational affiliation. One of these trends that I have been hearing about more in the last few years has to do with churches offering multiple services, sites, and venues.

Thom Rainer, former CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, in a blog post titled, Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services (published May 7, 2014), wrote the following:

“‘Multi’ is normative. Most congregants twenty years ago attended a Sunday morning worship service where no other Sunday morning alternatives were available. Today, most congregants attend a service that is part of numerous alternatives: multi-services; multi-campuses; multi-sites; and multi-venues.”

In a more recent post in which he projected what “healthy churches” would look like in ten years, he wrote, “The majority of healthy churches will be multi-site, multi-venue, or multi-day.” He went on to say, “As long as we don’t compromise biblical truths, we need to reach people where they are.”

However, is it true that a church can adopt a multi-service, multi-site, multi-venue model without compromising biblical truth?Continue Reading

How to Determine If One Is a Christian

Paul Before Agrippa

When Paul was on trial before King Agrippa, he used the opportunity to preach the gospel (Acts 26:19-23). One of the apostle’s goals was to persuade the king to become a Christian. Agrippa recognized this because he stated, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28).

We are trying to do the same thing today that Paul was doing on that occasion – trying to persuade people to become a Christian. However, if we are going to persuade them to become a Christian, we need to know what a Christian is. Also, they need to understand what a Christian is before they can be persuaded to become one.

So how can we determine if one is a Christian? How can one determine if he/she is a Christian or not? We can consult the Scriptures to find an answer.Continue Reading

“In the Lord I Take Refuge”

Mountain with Bird

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain; for, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart” (Psalm 11:1-2).

Throughout his life, David faced numerous challenges, hardships, and trials. All of us will face difficulties in life, though the severity and duration will vary. Job succinctly described this reality: “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1).

However, in the passage above, David confidently declared that he was able to “take refuge” in the Lord. God was able to provide him with the security and hope that he desperately needed. The same is true for us – we must “take refuge” in the Lord. David wrote elsewhere, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).

Why was David confident that he could take refuge in the Lord? Why are we able to have the same confidence? The psalmist provided four reasons:Continue Reading

Remember Those Who Led You

Hebrews 13:7

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7).

People across the country are getting ready to celebrate Memorial Day – a day to remember those who died while serving in the armed forces. It is good for us to remember these individuals as their sacrifices have greatly contributed to our ability to lead a “tranquil and quiet life” (1 Timothy 2:2).

However, there are others who are worthy of our remembrance. The Scriptures teach that we should remember those who have led us in the faith. These will be the ones we will focus on in this article.Continue Reading

The Influence of Calvinism in Our Song Books

It Is Well With My Soul

Recently at the congregation where I preach, we concluded a study on the subject of Calvinism. We discussed the five major tenets of this false doctrine (often remembered by the TULIP acronym) – total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints – along with some other ideas that are connected to Calvinism.

Over the years, I have noticed that certain ideas that can be found in lyrics in our song books reflect an influence of Calvinism. When someone else made a comment to this effect during our study, I decided to put together an additional lesson at the end about the influence of Calvinism in our song books. That is how this article originated.

Note: The point of this is not necessarily to make a list of songs we cannot sing in worship. We can make some allowance for “poetic license.” However, we ought to be mindful of the influence of Calvinism that can be found in our song books. We teach one another through singing (Colossians 3:16) and we are to sing with understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15). Therefore, it is important to evaluate the songs that we sing to see if they convey the truth.Continue Reading