Weep With Those Who Weep

“When Jesus saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him [Lazarus]?’ He asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him.'”1

Continue: http://www.actsweb.org/daily.php?id=481

Winning with Dignity and Honor

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”1

It’s rather depressing how the news media thrives on presenting negative news because that’s what sells—or at least that’s what we’re led to believe. But as Michael Josephson suggested in an issue of Character Counts, “let’s stop thinking about the handful of ex-college coaches who were fired for dishonorable conduct and the one sportsman who belittled his profession and destroyed his own good name (and possibly his promising career) through illicit sexual behavior—and remind ourselves of the noble side of sports.

Read more: http://www.actsweb.org/daily.php?id=478

Are you excited?

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

What is it that excites you so much that you would encourage and invite someone else to attend or try what excites you?  I have heard of people who were so excited about their hairstylist that they encouraged others to try her/him.  Some are so excited about a certain school teacher that they talk them up to other parents.  You don’t have to be on Facebook long before you hear what someone is excited about – and liking this or that and encouraging you to do the same.

Are we excited about Jesus?  I mean are excited – by grace – to be a redeemed child of God?  Do we invite people to give Jesus a try?  Are we willing to be ridiculed because of how excited we are about Jesus?  Or do we keep our excitement for Jesus quite – while letting the world know what football team we support?

Are we excited about our local church?  (If not, we need to help make it a church that we would be excited to invite people to attend.)  Are we drawn into a deeper relationship with Jesus through our involvement in our local church?  (If not, what are we doing to change this and help our church body be more like Christ desires?)

The Scripture says; Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. How much clearer can God make it?  We are called to meet together – to collect in one place and worship God.  We are not to stay home – as some are in the habit of doing – but we are to encourage them to come out and join us.  And all the more as we see the last days approaching. (And folks – we are getting closer to the last days.)

Are you excited about Jesus?  Are you excited about your local church?  If not, why not?  If so, you gotta tell somebody – invite them to get to know Jesus and to join your local congregation!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

7 reasons worshipers need the church



Recently I heard someone say that they love to worship, but they don’t love the church. They don’t see why a worshiper needs the church at all. After all, can’t we just worship as individuals? Here is my response:  

While it is true that everything a redeemed person does should be done with both an attitude of worship and with the goal of glorifying God, there remains a special and specific role for the gatherings of the local church.

For example, Paul tells Felix that while he used to worship by “going to Jerusalem,” now he worships “according to the Way, which some call a sect” (Acts 24:11, 17).  In other words, Paul’s worship was in his heart, but in tune with the worship of other Christians.

Read more: http://thecripplegate.com/7-reasons-worshipers-need-the-church/

Triune Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. he who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8 (NKJV)

The prominent Roman Catholic theologian, Hans urs von Balthasar, was once asked why there was a need to believe in the Trinity. His answer was simple: “It is thanks to the Trinity that we can know that God is love.” But how does the Trinity allow us to know that? I think that 1 John 4:8 suggests an answer.

Continue at: https://faithalone.org/blog/triune-love/

How to Make Your Church Feel Smaller Than It Is…and Why You Should

How to Make Your Church Feel Smaller Than It Is…and Why You Should

Today’s post is a guest post adapted from my good friend Rich Birch’s brand new book, Unreasonable Churches: 10 Churches Who Zagged When Others Zigged and Saw More Impact Because of It, for which I had the privilege of writing the forward. 

Paul Lawrence worked on the assembly line at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama. As he watched a YouTube video on his phone about basic tennis lessons during one of his breaks, another worker, Jamal Henry, overheard the video and sat down across from him.

“Sounds like you’re a tennis player,” Jamal said with a smile. Paul looked up from his phone with a grunt. “Well, I don’t know that I would say that. But tennis is my thing. I’m trying to be more active, you know.” The two men introduced themselves and Jamal invited his coworker to come check out the group he played tennis with every Tuesday night.

Paul was soon playing every week with Jamal’s tennis group, and he also accepted Jamal’s invitation to come with him to church.

What began in a factory break room would be completed in the last place Paul ever expected to go—an “unreasonable church”—a massive church of 38,000 and growing, yes, but also a church that knows how to bring people together through small groups of all shapes and interests.

Many churches have small groups, but they are typically pre-set types initiated by the leadership, and while these groups can reach many…they don’t reach all.

What if we’ve been managing small groups in our congregations completely wrong? What if there was another way that was even more effective?

Whatever your church size is at the moment, here are three reasons why you might want to try a new approach to small groups in your own congregation.

1. People Learn Best When They Work and Play Together

Most small groups meet in churches on Sunday mornings, or on weeknights in a home, focused on Bible study. There’s no doubt studying God’s Word is extremely important, but something special occurs when we combine our desire for pursuing a closer relationship with God with our desire for a relationship with others.

Though it may seem like a pretty hands-off way to train new leaders, this way of learning within the context of playing and working together is not new. Jesus practiced this leadership method often.

Think about the original 12 disciples Jesus chose; despite lacking the background, education and vocational aptitude for the huge enterprise they would undertake, Jesus devoted himself to them. He spent time with that small motley group of men, young and uneducated, on a daily basis. Then, after His death and resurrection, He left them with a commission to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

These “group leaders” received only a mere three years of training before they began leading their own “groups,” and most of it occurred over meals and while traveling. But these very first small groups were catalysts that changed the world, with the Holy Spirit as their “coach” along the way.

The very day after Jesus was baptized, John the Baptizer saw Jesus and said to His disciples, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35, NIV). When two of John’s disciples heard this, they followed Jesus, who invited them to “come…and you will see” (John 1:39).

This is what Jamal did with Paul Lawrence; he invited him to “come and see.”

When Paul first attended the “Drop Shots Tennis Group,” he connected with people who put God first in their lives—not tennis—and his life changed forever.

Continue: http://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/299159-make-church-feel-smaller-isand-rich-birch.html?utm_source=outreach-cl-daily-nl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=text-link&utm_content=text-link&utm_campaign=cl-daily-nl&maropost_id=716263646&mpweb=256-2748494-716263646

5 Biblical Principles for Becoming a Better Friend

5 Biblical Principles For Becoming A Better Friend

How many friends do you have?

I guess your answer to that question will vary depending on how you define a friend. We have best friends, good friends, old friends, family friends, Facebook friends and everything in between!

Friends are a wonderful thing. They make us laugh and lift our spirit with their presence. Our most memorable moments happen in their company. During difficult days, they surround us with love and support.

But no matter how many friends you have and how many moments you’ve shared, everyone reading this post shares one thing in common: We have never had, and have never been, a perfect friend.

By that, I simply mean that our friendships are never absent of disappointment. In some way, whether significant or insignificant, our friends have failed us, and we have failed our friends.

Think about it. While some of your deepest joys are the result of friends, so are your most painful hurts. There are nights with them that you never want to end, and then there are days when you wish you could live in isolation.

Friendship is an integral part of the human existence, and we all have been shaped significantly by relationships that are full of both bliss and sorrow.


It’s important to know why God designed friendship and what he has to say about it. Through his Word, he has given us an accurate lens that will keep us from being naïve but also prevent us from becoming cynical.

Here are a few guiding principles about friends that should help keep your relationships healthy:

Friendships are intended

In Genesis 2:18, God says that it is not good for man to be alone. This statement is broader than just marriage and applies to God’s design for all humanity. The word “helper” used to describe Eve doesn’t define her as a co-worker, but a companion. God created us live with companions because he is a social God, living in community within the Trinity as Father, Son and Spirit.

There are benefits that come naturally from these friendships. Having a companion for everyday life is a beautiful one. Having someone to comfort you during tough times is another (Job 2:11). Honest friends who will call you to repent is a third of many more (Proverbs 27:6).

Christians, we need to seek out and immerse ourselves in community. While the “lone wolf” mentality is often applauded in our society, it is very dangerous and lonely to live in isolation. Don’t cut yourself off from people, because you’re cutting yourself off from your original intended design.

Read more: http://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/299072-5-biblical-principles-becoming-better-friend-paul-tripp.html?utm_source=outreach-cl-daily-nl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=text-link&utm_content=text-link&utm_campaign=cl-daily-nl&maropost_id=716263646&mpweb=256-2722373-716263646