Showing posts from May, 2006

A Major Reason I Advocate Church Membership

In 1997 I was completely opposed to the idea of church membership. I grew up in a church that did not have official membership. I saw no great value to membership. It seemed like all responsibility and only one privilege—voting—a privilege more likely than not to lead to church problems.

During the summer of 1997, Bob Jones University hired me to write the last in a series of Sunday School quarterlies for their college SS classes. Developing Biblical Interpersonal Relationships was the topic assigned. While researching for the chapter on how to deal with relationships broken by sin, I ran across a true story that ran much like the following.

A church in Colorado had an open-membership policy like I grew up with: if you come regularly and tithe, you’re a member. A young woman, who was a part of the college & career group, decided to move in with her boyfriend. From her perspective, her moral behavior was none of the church’s business.

That wasn’t how the church saw it. Since she had b…

When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy

This book by John Piper caught my attention because I am unsatisfied with the level of joy in my life. I do desire God. And for that grace I am grateful. Yet, I long to find Him my chief joy.

Verses like the following suggest there is greater joy to be had than I currently have:
Hebrews 10:34 For you … accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.
— Christians accepting the wrongful seizure of their property with joy! Joy because their future inheritance included permanent, unseizable possessions. But that didn’t change the fact that they had lost their property, perhaps all their assets: lands, cash, houses, etc. Why? Because they were Christians. … accepted joyfully!
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy…
— right after love comes joy!
1 Peter 1:8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled wi…

Losing and Regaining our First Love (Rev. 2:4-5)

Revelation 2:4 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place-- unless you repent.

What does it mean that the Ephesians had left their “first love?”

Notice that three actions (not feelings, emotions, or attitudes) are commanded: remember, repent, and do:

1. “Remember” – they are to remember "from where they have fallen." Their current position is one below where they had been. Their current behavior is missing the first deeds that were motivated by their first love.
2. “Repent” – this tells me that whatever it is to “leave your first love” is something that requires repentance, i.e., sin.
3. “Do the deeds you did at first” – Obedience is the perfect expression of love for God (1 John 2:5). The Ephesians’ departure from their first/former love is evident in that they have ceased t…

Praying with Paul for Discerning Love (Phil. 1:9-11)

Heavenly Father, for those I’m bringing before You, I pray that you would cause their love for You to increase and abound in greater knowledge of You and, consequently, in greater discernment so that they will be able to identify and choose things that are excellent—the things that please You most—so that, from now until Jesus returns, their lives will be blameless in your sight, harmless to others, and filled through Christ’s enablement with thoughts, words, and deeds that are righteous—fully in harmony with Your word—so that their lives will bring glory and praise to You.