How can a church that has never been involved in church planting become a church-planting church? Many churches aren’t sure where to even begin this journey. Some churches dive right into church planting by sending out one of their own. This process usually involves investing a significant amount of resources into the planter and rallying behind him. But this effort often ends poorly as the existing church frequently ends up disillusioned with church planting altogether when their ill-equipped church planter fails.
Every statistic tells us that most pastors don’t make it over the long haul in vocational ministry. I almost got knocked out because I didn’t know where the punches would come from. Serving the Lord in vocational ministry is a crown. Being an elder is a noble calling. Being entrusted to shepherd the flock is a gift and a grace. See the danger and pray over it. Prepare for it, so that you will persevere in carrying this grace to completion.
I’m not suggesting we organize ourselves exactly the same way. But if we are to preach the whole counsel of God, we must teach the whole Bible. Other sermonic structures have their merits, but none offers our congregations more, week after week, than careful, faithful exposition of the Word of God.
But an overly broad condemnation of real problems is better than no condemnation of the problems at all. We Pentecostals and Charismatics needed to be offended, I’m afraid it may be the only thing that will make us think critically and Biblically about ourselves as a movement. And for this offense I want to thank John MacArthur and the participants in the Strange Fire Conference. The most hurtful thing about that conference is not the broad generalizations, sweeping condemnations, or lack of distinctions. For me as a Pentecostal the most hurtful thing about the Strange Fire Conference is my knowledge that far too many of the criticisms are true.
Lord, I pray that you would keep my heart from descending into legalism that focuses on actions. Cut away any part of me that looks like the Pharisees. May I be more concerned about the state of my heart than my actions. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:25). If my heart is purely devoted to honoring You, my actions will follow. If I only focus on my actions, my heart will never be clean. Even if no one else can see it, you look at my heart. May it reflect and glorify you.
According to this definition, only a Christian can truly be modest because only a Christian can deliberately pursue God’s glory. Whether we realize it or not, we are always attempting to bring glory to someone. Through our clothing we may be drawing attention to ourselves or we may be drawing attention to God. The heart of modesty is dressing in such a way that you show love to others and bring glory to God. The heart of immodesty is dressing in such a way that you show self-love and claim the glory for yourself. Immodesty is wanting to be noticed by others and being willing to do whatever that takes to make that happen.
Oh, let’s become women who value and pass on God’s Word! Let’s be more concerned with the spiritual food we are feeding our children than we are even with their physical food. May we raise a generation who can say—in the midst of everything life brings them—”Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (Jer. 15:16).
In this excerpt from a message at our 2010 National Conference, Derek Thomas gives two examples of how to resolve apparent contradictions in Scripture.