One of the first things I learned as a pastor is that if a church is going to impact its community, the church leadership needs to understand the SHAPE of its people so ministry can be gift-based and passion-driven.
Culture is the set of principles, values, behaviours, and beliefs characteristic of a particular group of people. We are all born and immersed in the culture of the world, which is opposite the culture of heaven.
Receiving Christ as your Saviour means you shift from the world’s culture to heaven’s culture. Your aim as a believer is now to learn as much about heaven’s culture as you can and, increasingly, live it out on earth.
We can practice fellowship by seeing and getting in touch with the big picture and goal of showing God’s glory to the world. We do this in all the many ways He has instructed us in the Bible.
Finding a church home, like finding a house to live in, is one of the most important decisions you will make as a believer. It is worth putting time and effort into it.
In the words of Ephesians 4:32, be kind. My sister Luci paraphrases this verse, “Just be nice."
Doing acts of kindness feels great as well as it makes the world or another person’s day a bit better. So I wonder why being kind isn’t second nature to me.
Many pastors offer easily accessible, appealing content. But it hides a weak gospel. The teaching may look tasty and easy to swallow, but it’s shallow—a meal with no nutrients.
In cultures where Christianity is not threatened or perceived as threatening, the word “encouragement” may even lose a bit of its edge—a pity, when the crux of the word rooted in courage.
Like potatoes in a pressure cooker, we 21st-century creatures understand the meaning of stress. A week doesn’t pass without a few skirmishes with those “extrinsic agents” that beat upon our fragile frames.
“Remember,” I told Al, “You’re the radio man. I’m the preacher man.” Allowing the Lord to guide us to the right people...and then trusting Him to guide them is an essential part of what has made us grow.
It’s tragic, but not inevitable. We can resist depravity’s dangerous undertow by anchoring ourselves to God’s grace—daily, especially when we’re growing in our faith.