Showing posts from 2015

Names for a "Worship Center"

When it comes to thinking of names for a Worship Center, it sounds easier than it is. Do you define it by purpose?  By historical coinage of terms, chapel, cathedral, etc, etc?  By denomination, like house of worship, house of prayer type names?  By region, just think Northeast versus mid-South?  Secular type names to appeal to anyone, such as auditorium? Something that sounds so simple actually can have impact various ways. A simple search yields some intriguing but not helpful ideas for your typical evangelical church: For instance, some synonyms aren't the best: And there's the connotation that the sanctuary is somehow more holy than other parts of a church or one's life outside of it, which is a dubious claim. The only thing that makes that so is that the Word of God is sung and preached in a sanctuary verbally and in hearts.  But if you consider the place, what does it mean to call it sanctified, aka sanctuar

Worship Center/Sanctuary Size in Churches

What are your thoughts on this as a person attending or helping lead in your church? My thoughts are that Thom is spot on.  He is exactly right that worship centers will get smaller over time.  Perhaps the biggest reasons are desire for multiple services and stewardship.  The desire for a more close feel among friends is also a strong contender. God bless!

3 Things God Doesn't Call You or I To Believe...

When we are trying to follow Jesus sometimes a person will say something that sounds good, but is not God's will for us.  We go along because we feel they are spiritually mature, or out of peer pressure, or driven by fear.  But those are not reasons to do anything. Consider a few examples of being misled as a Christian person: 1.) The statement "I prayed about it and got a feeling to do --fill in the blank--."   While this sounds very spiritual, you do not see a single example of someone in the Bible making any decision, let alone a major decision, based on how they felt in a prayer.  This alone ought to eliminate this as a real contender, because there is no positive foundation to use it to decide anything.  Christians ought to be very skeptical of the human heart too, for God's Word declares boldly: 'the heart is deceitful above all things, and hopelessly sick.' (Jeremiah chapter 17)  King David speaking prophetically said that he was born with a sin t

The Lord is Mighty in Wisdom

W hen you think about your work, your family situation, or your relationships, it is best to remember that God's truth makes one blessed.  Sometimes we forget this and imagine our life outside of church as a big "neutral" zone where we just operate by the world's advice.  But consider this, when Solomon assumed the throne of a kingship after his father David in Israel, he asked God for wisdom to lead.  And God heard the prayer.   One of the wisest people in history, due to God's blessing, Solomon lead a large and diverse (including parts of modern Syria, Jordan, Iraq) country. Recorded in 1st Kings the country thrived and had security due to godly wisdom in action. And yet God's wisdom extended to the practical.  He had a wise set of friends, who were in different roles, so there was balance.  These were also advisers with different backgrounds.  We read in the Bible that he had 12 directors over national provision who operated in turn, so that no area was

5 Things Pastors Should Never Say

If you've been in church for even a short time, there's a chance you've heard some of these.  Without further ado, 5 things pastors should never say: 1.) "As I start this sermon today, I have to apologize."  This isn't about a wrong done here, but rather:  when you get up to preach pastors people need a word from God, not an excuse on preparation being lacking.  Many pastors routinely apologize for not being prepared or for their getting nervous as the sermon starts.  If you have a short time to connect with the congregation to bring a Word from God, leave your self-doubt out, it's not about you pastors anyhow, but God's truth.  It is always a bad idea to start out saying things like this.  First of all, how you feel is totally irrelevant.  God's Word is powerful and it will work if you declare it honestly to people to help them.  So how you feel should not factor in.  Then there's this, speaking as an honest audience member tired of hearin

Is All Prayer the Same?

As National Day of Prayer approaches this week, we need to remember that not all prayer is godly. That sounds obvious right?  But it isn't.  Even in legitimate churches full of mainly genuine Christ followers, prayer can be off course, not directed to God but our own selves accidentally.  Our sinful tendency can make us think we are praying and doing God's will. What we really need is prayer rooted in a desire to see God's character in real life. Two illustrations this week reminded me that God looks at the heart.  A heart that is right with God must be right with Jesus Christ His Son.  This is more than a one time profession of faith when you were eight years old as we so often portray it.  Yes, there is a time you come to know Jesus as your own Savior, realizing he forgave your sins, and you personally trust Him (John 10:1-18).  But we must fight inside our heart for holy character.  These illustrations are of people in two different situations.  One is of a person

The Importance of a Day Off

So often in our busy lives we neglect to take a day off.  We wear not taking a day off as a badge of pride.  Many of us or our friends work two or three jobs.  One of these might be a small business on the side, and nearly any small business takes additional time to manage and grow. What then is the value in having a day off to rest? First, the Lord commands it.  God created you, He knows you need rest. Scripture says, before the Law of Moses, "on the seventh day God rested from all his work."  As shocking as it may sound, the example of taking a 7th day off to rest is in the first few chapters of the Bible as a pattern.  We're not stronger than God, so we should take it seriously.  Later, this was codified into the Law for Israel to use.  But the idea of a day of transcends the Law of Moses. Scripture also relays to us, we look forward to a Sabbath rest, aka, a time of stopping.  Hebrews 4:9-10 hints at its value.  It's brought up because we should use it, th

Best Evangelical Seminaries

When it comes to a good choice for digging deeper to study there are many excellent choices in the US. If you feel called to full time ministry in its old sense, this will help. Not in any particular order, ones to go to: 1.) Dallas Theological Seminary.  Known for strong language and theology classes. International reputation. Great student services. Excellent profs, overall. Great alumni for chapel. Weaknesses are high cost, an overwhelming bias to only dispensational views, and less denominational connections for post grad job opportunities. Still would recommend. 2.) Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  Top notch scholars who influence entire evangelical world. Strong belief in Scripture's trustworthiness.  Lots of programs. In an area with need for new churches. Weaknesses though are limits of its smaller pool of connections around country in actual churches, very high cost, less well known than 15 years ago. Still would recommend. 3.) Criswell College/Seminary. I

Food for thought

The 19th century famous preacher and pastor of London, Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said:  "If I wish to be a man of learning, I cannot get it simply by praying for it; I must study, even to the weariness of the flesh."

A Happy Wife

Tomorrow in worship @ The Lakes Church we will have a day exploring God's Word for women seeking to be married or who are married.  As we kick off a new series, Staying in Love, there are some great truths in this message.  One thing to share that is a minor point in the whole sermon, but could be expanded for your use is this: Genesis 2:24 says this:  " That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united  to his wife, and they become one flesh ." When a man and a woman marry they are one flesh.  This is not just a random point.  This word for "one" was used of the fact that God is one.  See the main tagline for Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Same word.  There is unity.  There is staying power.  Even in God's purpose and commitments, it is ongoing, so Israel should strive to stay faithful.  This is counter-cultural. We know too from Paul later in the Bible that marriage is a picture of the gospel, as Jesus loves the church, his br

Five Reasons You Cannot Please Everyone

A Christian leadership book mentions an example worth following in life or work:  the author of that book and his leadership team long ago set down and wrote out their core calling (or mission) as an organization. They try new things as long as they fit in that core competency of helping people with biblical principles through their business, but they never get involved in things that do not match that their specific call.  This makes it easy to say "no" to what may be good things for some to try, but not a good fit for them. The fact is in your life and work, you too cannot please everyone. You must work and live with integrity and hope and kindness and faith, but that does not mean living to be beat up by people who will cause you trouble if you try to work with them. You have to work on and have a set calling, and pursue it with passion, which both attracts people to you and also repels some others (if their passion differs). If some things can be tried that are

An encouragement to you

Billy Graham put it this way:  "Don't forget:  without fuel, a fire grows cold--and without the "fuel" of the Bible, prayer and Christian fellowship, our faith grows cold."  Wise words.

God cares deeply for you...

As Christ followers who have faith that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Lord, that his death on the cross was in our place as a substitute for our just penalty for sins, we have entered a covenant with God.  It's not so much like Israel's covenant where they were setting it up.  Rather the New Covenant in Christ (Hebrews 8) hardly was something we had a big gathering and agreed to.  It was God's sovereign and prophesied plan coming to pass in Jesus' life, death, and raising again. The thing is we sometimes operate in our Christian walks like we are dependent on stipulations to have God's love.  Of course, this is not true, because Jesus does not change.  His work does not change.  God the Father does not change in accepting the cross as sufficient to forgive any believer's sins. So you come to a verse like Malachi 3:6 "For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed." We should learn to rest in that truth Malac