Take up your arms! Satan is on the attack!

Things were going well in the congregation. Children were learning and growing in the faith. Adults were helping children to mature in the faith and were also growing and learning. The gospel was being heard and believed and shared with those outside the walls of the church.
Of course things weren’t perfect, but things were good.
And when things are good, Satan takes notice.He can’t stand when the gospel is proclaimed and believed. He hates seeing Christians joyfully gathering together and faithfully receiving the good news of Jesus.
So the devil got to work.
“These people don’t really like you,” he whispered to a middle aged woman. “You know they talk about you behind your back.” And so the woman began to distance herself from the church.
Next the devil saw a businessman. Things were going well for the man, so Satan thought, “I won’t undercut him, but I’m going to give him so much business that he’ll be so busy with his business that he won’t have time for the things of God.” And so…

The Narrow Door

Luke 13:22-30
22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem.23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

What is Churchmanship?

A while back I mentioned the word "Churchmanship" and had several people ask what I meant by that word; so, here's my attempt to explain.

Churchmanship is the craft of skill of being a churchman.

What then is a churchman?

A churchman is one who thinks about the good of the Church.A churchman is a pastor who, when a member of a sister congregation comes to see him, directs that member back to his or her home church and to a conversation with the pastor of that church. A churchman is a pastor who encourages members of a sister congregation to be faithful in serving that congregation.A churchman is a layperson who loves sister congregations in addition to his or her own congregation and encourages them to be faithful to the Word of God. A churchman is a pastor who, when he notices that a member of a sister congregation has attended his congregation for two weeks straight, calls the pastor of that sister congregation to let him know what is happening. He also will follow up,…

40 for 40

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day that marks the beginning of Lent.  Lent is a season of the church year during which we are reminded to give extra focus to repentance and faith.  Lent gives us the opportunity to clear out things that are hindering our life of faith and to add things that would be helpful.

Since the season of Lent is 40 days (Sundays don't count as part of the 40 days, FYI) I wanted to give you 40 different ideas that you could use during this season.  The idea isn't for you to do all 40, but to pick one (or a few).  Of course you don't have to do any of these and you are free to do something else if you would like.  My purpose is to spur on your thinking about such things so that all of us can benefit from the season of lent.

Many of the things listed are not unique to Lent and several should be things we do on a regular basis anyway!

Read Exodus.  It's 40 chapters long, so if you read one chapter per day you'll have read the entire book.  Exodus i…

A what if story: Jonah and the Captain

I’ve always wondered if Jonah ever again saw the sailors and captain from the boat he had boarded when trying to flee from God.  He'd told them that they had to throw him overboard in order for the storm to stop, so I imagine they figured he was dead. 
I’ve also wondered if God’s lesson really stuck for Jonah.  
So, below is what I imagine could have happened in Jonah ever did again meet up with the captain of that ship.
It must be a ghost!
The old sea captain blinked and shook his head.This couldn’t be, could it?
Standing before him was a man he had watched be thrown to his death.More than that, the old captain had been the one who had commanded his sailors to throw the man into the sea.He’d never forgotten the man’s name either. How can you forget the name of a person for whose death you are responsible?
His name was Jonah.
Over and over again the captain had played things out in his mind.He hadn’t wanted to throw Jonah into the sea.They had jettisoned all of their precious carg…

Jesus is whipped

The wicked sound of the whip flaying flesh resounded once again.

It was a sickening sound.  Some of the whips had bits of glass, metal, and stone embedded at their tips, so that when they hit flesh they would simply shred it.

The one on the receiving end was the same one who not too long ago had constructed a whip and used it to chase moneychangers out of the temple.  He had done this for the purpose of purifying the temple.

Now He was being whipped unmercifully.  The reason though, was the same.  He was receiving justice.

This was the just punishment for wickedness; not for His own wickedness, but for ours.

The sound of the sizzle of the whip flying through the air sounded once again, followed by a sickening thunk, as the whips had now ripped through His flesh in some areas and were now drubbing his bones.

Years before, the prophet Isaiah had prophesied concerning the Messiah, In faithfulness He will bring forth justice. 

In order to bring forth justice, should't the Messiah be t…

Jesus's Whip

After reading about Jesus making a whip and then driving out the moneychangers, I wondered what ever happened to the whip. So I wrote a story of what could have happened to that whip.
The Jewish Passover was near, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. He found those who were selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons in the temple courtyard. He also found moneychangers sitting there. He made a whip from small ropes and threw everyone with their sheep and cattle out of the temple courtyard. He dumped the moneychangers' coins and knocked over their tables. He told those who sold pigeons, "Pick up this stuff, and get it out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that Scripture said, "Devotion for your house will consume me."  (John 2:13-17)
What do I do with this this?
The man looked at the whip and wondered what to do with it.  He had just witnessed Jesus use the whip, which Jesus had fashioned with His own hands by taking some small rope…