There are two major bodies of water in Israel– the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. (Okay, I know the Jordan River that connects them is pretty important and the Mediterranean Sea is pretty big. Work with me here!) These geographical spots can be instructive to our spiritual vibrancy.
The Sea of Galilee is a fresh water lake and is vibrant. Cool waters flow from Mt. Hermon and the surrounding hills, bubbling up from a spring at Caesarea Philippi. The water leaves the Sea of Galilee to form what we know as the Jordan River.
The waters of the Sea of Galilee abound Continue reading
This will sound strange to many of you. I went to church 52 weeks a year as I grew up. I went to Sunday School and Sunday morning worship. I was at church training and Sunday evening worship. I attended prayer meetings every Wednesday night. My family even went to church when we were on vacation.
My parents deeply valued the church. They believed it could help them learn God’s word, deepen their faith and guide their family. The local church was a high priority.
Prioritizing the church is less common now. Many Christians see church attendance as an option among many. They often value hobbies, leisure and events as much or more. Participating in the life Continue reading
Few practices have blessed my life and ministry as greatly as my long time practice of reading the entire bible at least once each year. Of course, as a vocational pastor, I have some obvious advantages in doing so. If I am reading the bible at church, people say, “Don’t bother Pastor Doug!” If you are in bivocational ministry (God bless you and may your tribe increase!) or your ministry is not part of your vocation (How thankful I am for your willingness to serve faithfully as a volunteer!), you probably won’t have that advantage.
One other caveat. If you haven’t read through the New Testament (NT) fully, start there. Read it all the way through several times before going to the more daunting assignment of reading the entire Old Testament. I have sometimes used a reading plan to read the NT in one month (You can find 30 day plans online). After several times through the NT you are ready to read the entire 66 books of the bible.
Here are some reasons I read through the entire bible each year. Continue reading
Posted in bible, bible study, Christianity, devotional life, faith, Uncategorized
Tagged bible, bible reading, bible study, Christianity, devotional life, faith, Prayer
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) faces some challenges. We have slowly declined in recent years. We have less members and attenders. The decline in evangelistic effectiveness is especially troubling. But there is opportunity.
Our fellowship has not always been stellar. We can be cantankerous towards each other and our disagreements are not always handled as agreeably as they should be. Sometimes we find ourselves unnecessarily snarky. But there is opportunity.
We have vacancies at the leadership of two major agencies– the International Mission Board and the Executive Committee. These are critical roles and there are no perfect people to lead them. But there is opportunity.
God provides Continue reading
Posted in baptist, Christian unity, evangelism, friendship, humility, International Mission Board, southern baptist convention, southern baptist convention, Uncategorized
Tagged Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, International Mission Board, SBC, southern baptist convention
The essence of discipleship is found in Jesus’ words, “Follow me.” Can’t you just picture him calling out to Peter and Andrew and James and John, “Follow me!” He didn’t tell them where they would go or what they would see. He just called them to stay close to him, to walk with him and to be with him.
Discipleship is, of course, more than attending church services. It is more than keeping the rules. At its heart, discipleship is following the Lord. It is staying close to Jesus.
Following Jesus means we live like Continue reading