Category Archives: Church Life

When People Discover God

Do people really know who God is? I am not asking if they know that he exists, or that he created the world, or that he sent Jesus to die for mankind. I am simply asking, do people realize just how big God is? Do they understand his omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence?

Most people cannot see God or be changed by God, because their knowledge and comprehension of his true being is too small. In order to illustrate this example, let’s go back in time and visit the scene on a ship once headed to Tarshish.

The first chapter of Jonah gives the account of the prophet whom God selected to preach to Nineveh, but who chose to be a deserter instead. He boarded a boat that was heading in the opposite direction from his divinely appointed destination. God responded with a storm so terrible that it caused the ship’s crew to eventually locate Jonah and demand some answers.

When Jonah was pinpointed as the cause, he told his shipmates about the God of heaven, the creator of both land and sea. He discussed his own disobedience to God’s command. He finally got the men to cast him overboard in a last-ditch effort to save their lives.

With Jonah gone, the sea immediately calmed down. Here we find the response to their realization. Jonah 1:16 reads, “Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.” This is a fascinating verse. It brings to mind what people do naturally when they get a true understanding of the nature and power of God.

This reminder from the Bible should cause us to ask ourselves a few questions and reflect…Do we need more storms? Do we need more calm? Do we need more Jonahs? What needs to happen before we come to terms with the awesomeness of God? What needs to happen before we properly respond?
“I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me…” – Isaiah 45:5
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Only One


We recently had a gospel meeting where I preach. Both our son and our son-in-law “traded” the preaching and song leading responsibilities. During that meeting and on a night when our son was doing the preaching, one of our granddaughters was baptized.  I cannot express how my wife and I felt as we watched our son baptize his daughter. 

However, as special as this was to our family, this is not about us – or her. It is about the value of one soul. 

I find it interesting that I listened to a recording of one of the sessions from this year’s Polishing the Pulpit a few days before our gospel meeting started. I will not mention the name of the man who was speaking, but, if I did, his name would be recognized instantly by a large number of people. He has preached the gospel for over fifty-years. He has been on the faculty of one of the schools devoted to training men to preach the gospel for more than thirty years. 

It would be almost impossible to try to calculate the vast number of people who have been affected either directly or indirectly by this man. Heaven’s population will be greater because of him and the men who have been trained by him (and those who have been taught and nurtured by them).

I found his account of his conversion fascinating. I’ve known him for over thirty years, but had never heard this account until I listened to what he had to say at PTP.

He was not a Christian and had no interest in being one when he married his wife. She apparently was a little more interested in spiritual matters than he was, but she also was not a Christian. 

One day, a college student who was in their city on a campaign knocked on their door and gave the wife some information about the scriptures, the church, and the plan of salvation. This led to her some further study. Ultimately, it let to her being baptized into Christ. At that point, she began to pray for her husband to not only become a Christian, but to be a preacher. I think it goes without saying that the Lord looked with favor on her prayers.

The brother who coordinated the campaign all those years ago might have been disappointed. This young wife was the only one who was converted as a direct result of his efforts and the efforts of the students working with him. I have no idea how many houses were visited or pieces of literature were handed out. I only know of one young wife who welcomed the young people, began to study, and became a Christian.

While all of this is fascinating, there is a sad component to all of this. The same brother who organized those campaigns all those years ago is still doing that work. He has reported that it is much more difficult to do these days. It seems that today’s college students (yes, in our schools) don’t have much of an interest in spending even a part of their summers participating in evangelistic campaigns.

Could it be that they are more interested in material things than spiritual matters? Could that be true of all of us?

Could it be that they don’t believe that anybody is lost? Have they bought into the idea that all good people (and maybe even people who aren’t so good) are going to heaven (if there is a heaven)? Could that also be true of the rest of us?

Could it be that they (and we) think that is all about numbers? Do they (we) think that, if large numbers cannot be converted, the whole process is not worth the effort?

My Lord knew that our granddaughter’s soul was worth dying for. He knew that every soul was worth dying for – including yours and those you can lead to Him.

You are important to somebody. Somebody is praying for you. Somebody is praying for those whom you might be able to teach.

Do you think that one soul is worth the effort?

Jesus did!

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Episode 65: How the Church Can Help Parents Raise Pure Children (guest: Jeff Archey) [Podcast]

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We live in times in which impurity is everywhere, but Christian parents want to raise children who are pure and holy. But parents need all the help they can get! On this week’s podcast, Jeff Archey sits down with Adam to talk about how preachers, Bible school teachers, and the entire congregation can have a hand in helping young people grow up pure in an impure world.


Links Mentioned in This Episode

East Side Church of Christ (Cleveland, TN; where Jeff Archey preaches)

Gospel Broadcasting Network

Polishing the Pulpit

The Ark Encounter

KidSing cards (West Huntsville church of Christ

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It is Not a Decision Until…


Leadership, according to a book title by the late and beloved Wendell Winkler is “the crisis of our time.” In response to that mindset, there is a whole industry rising up, and if you tried to read all the books or listen to all the podcasts being produced about leadership today you would never finish.

In the midst of that information, though, the major principles are typically quite basic. It is one of those that I want to think about in this post.

That is: what constitutes a decision?

The easy answer to that question is, “We decided to do something.” And you may think that’s the end of the post.

But read that again. What is the “something” you decided to do?

Here’s the thing: real leadership understands that it is not a decision until three things are known.

#1: It’s Not a Decision Until It is Known What is the Next Step

For example, if a congregation is considering hiring a new staff member, that is going to be a multiple-step process. “We need a youth minister” is not a decision! What is the next step that needs to be made in order to bring about the desired result? Will you openly announce that the congregation is looking? Will you write up a job description? Will you form a search committee?

Sometimes, the decision is one step. It isn’t a major deal (maybe buying a small piece of equipment for the office), and the decision is simply to make that purchase. Still, that needs to be stated clearly.

But especially if this is a multi-step process, no real decision has been made until the next step is clearly defined and communicated.

#2: It’s Not a Decision Until It is Known Who Will Make that Next Step

“We” is not usually a good “person” to put in charge! Someone needs to be assigned the task of making certain the next step is completed.

For a congregation’s eldership, it may be one of the elders, or they may ask a deacon, a minister, a Bible school teacher, or someone else to take care of the work. But that person must be told exactly what the next step is. In other words, what is the expectation?

Just saying that “someone” needs to do something leads to one of two extremes. Either one person just keeps taking on more and more responsibility because they cannot stand to see something fall apart, or “someone” morphs into “no one” and the next step is never done.

If there is no “who,” then a decision is not done.

#3: It is Not a Decision Until It is Known When the Next Step is to be Completed

Obviously, there will be exceptions to this, because there are some projects or concepts that cannot be nailed down to a calendar. Still, there should be some clear idea that this is not meant to go on and on forever!

If a piece of equipment is to be ordered and a person is in charge of making that order, then they should be told when the funds will be available and that they can then make that purchase within a certain number of days (say, 30) of that time.

If it is a larger project, people need to understand that it is already going to take awhile to get all the steps done. So, they should know that their report (or purchase, or whatever) needs to be done by “this date.” That way, the process can keep moving forward.


Now, look at the difference. Too many leaders–elders, parents, bosses–make some declaration that basically says (or sounds like), “We decided to do something.”

Contrast that with a true decision: “We have decided to hire a new youth minister. These 8 people will serve on our search committee and their first task is to present the elders with a proposed job description no later than January 10.”

Which do you think is more effective? Which will people gravitate toward? Which will move forward?

To use brother Winkler’s book title, which would help lessen–or even end–“the crises of our time?”

You decide!

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AUTHOR: Adam Faughn

3 Reasons Why Evangelism is Hard

Something has happened. There was a time when a vast majority of the people in our lives could be changed by Scripture. But in the 21st Century, it is very difficult to have any success among the masses with the gospel.
Think about it. Search your heart and ask yourself if you really believe you can influence a large number of people through your personal evangelistic efforts. See? You know exactly what I am talking about. You have not produced much in this area of your spiritual life recently.
There are several reasons why evangelism has become so difficult.
1. You are not allowed to tell anybody they are wrong anymore. Whip your kids and go to jail. Tell someone their lifestyle is sinful and lose your employment. Take a stand for God and be taken to court. Besides all of the legal implications of being a true Christian, the media has impressed upon the minds of our society that we are to clap for everyone in every situation and give everyone a participation trophy. Well, guess what? John came preaching repentance. So did Jesus (Matt. 3:2; 4:17). They told people they were wrong. Thousands came confessing their sins and were baptized.
2. There is too much confusion concerning the Bible. The Bible is no longer held in the same esteem it once was in our country. Even among those who claim Christianity, a respect for the absolute authority of the Bible is seldom found. Worship the way the church did in the First Century and you will be labeled a fundamentalist. Seek to be the church of the Bible and you will be called judgmental to those who want the church of consumerism. Everybody has been drinking from the punchbowl of postmodernism for so long that people literally believe that the Bible is open to individual interpretation. If this is the case, unity is impossible and there is no standard by which we must live.
3. People are too busy for God. It’s time for practice and your kids are expected to be there. Weekends in good weather are spent in recreation and God often has to wait for a convenient Sunday to receive worship. You might make it to one night of your own congregation’s gospel meeting or VBS – it’s the playoffs. I would ask when you last conducted a Bible study with someone, but that would be a moot point. Because the reality is that it has probably been a while since you even studied on your own. And you may have never even studied with anyone before and it seems too late to start that now. That’s the preacher’s job. And what about social media? When you have Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, and Snapchat, it’s hard to find time for God.
Maybe these words seem blunt, even harsh. But they are true words. Evangelism is not easy. But it is even harder when we won’t do it. If the church of tomorrow were up to you, would it have a fighting chance?
Study. Believe. Work. Care. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. And you will give account of your stewardship.
“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
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Are You Just Applauding or Are You Involved?


I didn’t really feel like being there, but three of my grandchildren were involved. Since grandparents do things that may not make sense to others, “Grammy” and I were both there. We only stayed for a short time, but, in that short time, I saw something interesting (besides my grandchildren).

There were about three thousand young people from seven states gathered to participate in a Bible Bowl. It was very interesting to me that this event took place in a venue in which a state university usually hosts basketball games. 

On this day, something much more important than basketball was taking place. Young people were assembled to hone their skills concerning God’s Word. I loved that the man in charge announced the winners before the event began. He made sure that all those who participated were winners. It didn’t matter where they “finished” that day.

However, there was one minor problem at the beginning. An announcement was made concerning the need for volunteers. It seems that the event lacked some of the personnel needed to make sure all the records were kept properly.

In a fairly short time, some people made their ways to the appropriate location. We still weren’t ready to start, though. 

Another announcement was made. One more volunteer was needed.

It seemed as though this took a little longer than the last time. Finally, a young lady made her way across the floor of the arena. The applause began as she started making her way to join the others and continued for her entire walk.

As I watched that from way up in the nosebleed section, I thought that what I was witnessing was a lot like life in general. There seem to be many people–even in the church–who will applaud others when they get involved, but who, at the same time, are unwilling themselves to get involved. 

At times, of course, these people do not applaud. They are more than willing to criticize if things do not go the way they should.

On September 10, 1910, president Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in France. In that speech, he said the following words which I hope will serve as a challenge to all of us:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

As I watched the young lady walking across the floor and as I heard the applause, I thought of my life. Specifically, I wondered how the Lord views my life. 

Am I content to only “cheer on” those involved in His cause?

Am I one who, when work needs to be done, rolls up his sleeves and does all that can be done to serve the One who gave His life for me?

How about you? Are you sitting in the stands or walking across the floor?

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22, ESV)

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[Quote] Frank Dunn on What Life is All About


SOURCE: Know Your Bible by Frank J. Dunn, page vi.

How to Vote as a Christian in the Upcoming Presidential Election

Yes, I just went there. There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything, including voting for President. There is the way a Christian is to do it, and there is the other way. So here we go…
1. Do NOT abstain from voting altogether. I know elections are tough for Christians because we can’t find a candidate who lines up with us on every subject. But if you think about it, Jesus wouldn’t line up with us perfectly because we are all so weak and in need of continual guidance ourselves. And since we are commanded to submit to the authority of the government (Romans 13:1), we should do our part in selecting who will govern. If you do not vote at all you really have no right to disagree with those who rule over you.
2. Pick the candidate that best represents the God of the Bible. There has never been a person who ran for any office that could stand in God’s place as far as righteousness is concerned. But there has always been one candidate that stood for morality to some degree more than the others. Issues about the economy or other peripheral matters are not as important as issues about morality. We are not taking material possessions with us. But we will stand before God on the Day of Judgment and have to answer for what we believed and practiced morally.
3. Do not compartmentalize your faith. You can’t be a Christian part-time. It is inconsistent to decide that we can put our faith aside in order to support a certain candidate or political party. Some people would vote for the devil himself if he happened to be running under the political ticket to which they have traditionally ascribed. How can we say we love God and His word if we are willing to give up what we believe when we go behind a curtain?
4. Pray. Pray earnestly and fervently. Pray for the country. Pray for every elected official. Pray that God will lead them and that they will lean on Him for answers. Pray that we will be a nation that follows the Lord and respects Him as the supreme authority in everything. “Be thou not unbelieving but believing.” The ship has not sunk. The war is not over. There are still opportunities to serve the Lord. In every generation, there have been those who have been faithful to the Lord. No matter what happens with the election it will still be our job to love God and be His people. We can do this and God will help us if we are willing to repent and seek His face.
With these thoughts, I wish each of you who read this the very best. I love you. The God of heaven loves you. May we all in love and unity do our very best to serve Him and bless others together.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14
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Praise for the Perennials


According to many social media outlets, books, magazine articles, speeches, sermons, etc., it’s all about the millennials. How are we going to relate to them? How can they be won to Christ? How can they be integrated into the work of the local church? How may we use their talents to further the cause of Christ worldwide?

Contrary to what some might think as they read that paragraph, this is not being written by some old codger who has no use for anybody younger than he is. I must plead guilty to being “of an advanced age.” I will not plead guilty, though, to harboring resentment for younger people merely because they are younger.

After all, I remember when my generation’s wardrobe, music, and tastes were questioned and sometimes openly attacked by those who were older. What on earth could they have had against Nehru Jackets, love beads, mood rings, and the like? So what if we didn’t share their enthusiasm for Glenn Miller, the McGuire Sisters, and others? Did all of that make us bad people?

I may not understand all that the millennials are about, but I can honestly say that there are many good things to be said about them. Like my generation (when we were their age and now that we are our age) there will always be room for improvement.

At the same time, let me express my deep, deep love for another group that I fear may get overlooked way too often. This group is not made up of individuals of one particular generation. There are people of all ages in this group.

I love those perennials.

You know the ones I’m talking about, don’t you? They are the ones upon whom you can depend. They are reliable. They are steady. They are “always there” when they need to be.

I fear that, in an effort to serve or appease one particular group, these perennials are either forgotten or feel like they are forgotten. That is so sad to me because, in many cases, it is the perennials who have helped a particular congregation maintain its viability during the years. In some cases, it is their effort, their prayers, and their finances that are keeping the work going now.

How about a novel idea? Why don’t we all – boomers, busters, generation x, generation y, millennials, and whatever else I’ve left out – all relate to one another and truly develop hearts of servants.

In other words, why don’t we all purpose to be perennials?

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58, ESV)

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From the Perspective of the Church Greeter


It’s on almost every congregation’s “privilege list” I’ve ever seen. Lots of people sign up to perform this weekly duty because (let’s be honest) it doesn’t take a lot of time out of our schedules during the week. It’s a relatively easy job which simply requires that you arrive at services before everyone else begins arriving. 

Now don’t get me wrong…it’s a very important task which needs to be taken seriously. Meeting people at the door with a smile on your face and a warm greeting is very valuable, especially to those who may be visiting for the first time. Handing those who enter a bulletin and directing them to a class can make a difference as to whether or not they will return to your services. 

I was talking this last week with someone who had served as a “greeter” (less than a thousand miles from me) and she gave me some things to think about. She discussed it from the perspective of the greeter. Here are some of the things she noticed (and a few I have noticed when performing this task):

  • It’s fairly easy to tell which people are happy to be coming to worship God. Now I know that is a judgment call, but from her perspective (and mine), facial expressions say a lot. Frowning faces and slouching shoulders don’t exactly say I’m happy to be here…especially when you are being greeted with a smile and an open door.
  • Those entering on walkers and crutches, or sitting in a wheel chair, seem to be some of the happiest people to be able to assemble to worship God.  I am always humbled by those who physically struggle to make it to the services of the Lord and yet do so with happy hearts.
  • It’s fairly easy to detect which young families with children have put a priority on the importance of coming together to worship God.  Everyone will be entering with a Bible in their hand if they are old enough to hold one. The children won’t look like they have been pulled from their beds at the last minute and forced to come for Bible class and worship. 
  • Serving as the greeter does not make you the head of the complaint department.  Some folks enter the doors with a complaint on their tongue (had to park too far away, it’s hot/cold outside, are we ever going to get that parking lot fixed, etc.). 

The greeter who talked with me caused me to think about my behavior when I come to worship God. She was there for a special purpose – to help me feel welcome as I enter into the fellowship of those who have come together for the very special purpose of offering worship to God.

We all need to spend some time thinking about one very important fact…God needs to be glorified when I am a greeter and when I am being greeted.

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