The Local Church, Membership, and Being All In!

 The Local Church, Membership, and Being All In!

It was truly one of our most enjoyable C4101 classes to date. This past Sunday, we held another information and membership class at my home church, with about ten people in attendance. They came from different theological backgrounds but found unity in Jesus and other essential Christian doctrines. That’s the beauty of the original church and our growing local church family on the N.W. side of Houston. Seeing the central focus on Christ and freedom in non-essential doctrines was beautiful. Witnessing people leaving selfishness behind and stepping up to the plate to serve in a local body of Christ was encouraging. It was heartwarming to experience a true community forming in Christ. It was a good afternoon.

However, this is not the norm for others in early 21st-century America and the West. While many like visiting churches at their convenience, committing is another story. Some will claim that church membership is not a Biblical principle, and if you look for the phrase “Church Membership” in the Bible, you won’t find it. What you will find, though, is commitment. (more…)

How to Get More in 24.

How to Get More in 24.

It’s not a bad idea, you know. Taking time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, reviewing the previous year, and making plans for the new one. The meditative rhythm of reflection on the last 12 months and envisioning a path forward may be exactly what you need to get more out of this mysterious year knocking at your front door right now. I’ve been doing this for quite a long time. Once, while planting a church in Northern California, I rented a cabin in the woods for three days for this very purpose. This extended exercise can teach us lessons from the past year and clarify where we need to head in the future. (more…)

The Comfort and Challenge of Christmas!

The Comfort and Challenge of Christmas!

Well, I suppose starting December with a blog post on Christmas is not a bad idea. After all, even non-believers tend to get excited about Santa Claus, children and presents at this time of year. (Eggnog and Fruit Cake are still up for debate, though) But using an almost unheard of Old Testament Minor Prophet, Zechariah, for the subject might need more explanation. “Where’s the relevance,” you might wonder. We have been working our way through those hidden gems of the Minor Prophets in our church family, and I believe the message of Zechariah is particularly encouraging for us as we move into the Christmas season. Track with me and see for yourself. (more…)

The Essential Place of Thanksgiving!

The Essential Place of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving? The President pardons a turkey. The Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions are always two NFL teams with a game. Celebrities recite the people and events for which they are thankful. But are these famous people truly thankful, or just listing what they are presently happy about? The reality of saying thank you implies that we owe thanks to someone because they have done something for us. So, who are we thankful to? It is good to list people and things we are grateful for. That practice, done regularly, would do well for our present selfish society. But logically, who is it that we owe our gratitude to for providing those blessings we hold dear, and does it matter? Does the divine have anything to do with this? (more…)