RSS Robot

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  1. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . May give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” (Ephesians 1:17-18) The “spirit of wisdom” is applied to a wide variety of circumstances. It certainly includes leadership (... More... View the full article
  2. Every mom and dad knows that one of the best things about being a parent is giving to your children. Parents delight in sacrificing to meet their children’s needs and to bring them happiness. That’s one of the reasons Christmas can be a stressful time of year for parents who are struggling financially. The best gifts you can give your children, however, are not tangible. Regardless of what wrapped presents you may or may not be able to give, here are five gifts every Christian parent can (and should!) give to their children throughout the Christmas season: Time—No matter how busy December gets, plan and guard family time. Also, make sure you make a special memory with each child. This doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as driving through town to look at the Christmas lights. Or getting to stay up late one night during Christmas break to drink hot chocolate and play a game with Dad. Traditions—Part of what makes Christmas such a fun time for children is the anticipation of repeated traditions—baking Christmas cookies, decorating the tree, using an advent calendar, setting up the nativity scene. If you don’t have any already in your home, begin some this year that your children can look forward to in future years. Service—Help your child serve someone else with you this month. Visit a widow in your church, go Christmas caroling as a family in a nursing home, bring Christmas cookies to your neighbors. Teach your child that Christmas is not about getting, but about Jesus and sharing the good news of His birth with others. Example—The very best gift you can give your children is a good example. They are always watching you. Let them see you worshiping the Lord, living a consistent Christian testimony, and growing in your Christian walk. Christ—Take every opportunity you can this month to point your children to Jesus. Attend the Christmas services at church together. Read the Christmas story to them. Talk about what the Christian Christmas songs mean. Seize moments of opportunity to explain the spiritual significance of various Christmas traditions. Remind them that the purpose Jesus came to earth was to save us from our sins. Help create a spiritual focus for the holiday in your children’s hearts. Terrie and I have given our children and now grandchildren various gifts throughout the years. I suppose most of those gifts have been forgotten, but these five go straight to a child’s heart, bringing security and strengthening your relationship. They last far longer than the moment in which they are given. Related posts: 5 Christmas Gifts from Jesus 7 Guidelines for a Joyous Christmas 3 Ways to Win as a Parent View the full article
  3. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6) The high priest of Israel wore the inscription “holiness to the LORD” to illustrate to all who obeyed God that they were “accepted before the LORD” (Exodus 28:36-38). Joshua, as a ... More... View the full article
  4. Letter to the Editor: Serious Concerns Over Beth Moore’s New Series, “Entrusted” Dear Lighthouse Trails: My small Southern Baptist church recently finished Beth Moore’s “Entrusted” series which includes articles from her daughter Melissa Moore. Not having experienced Beth Moore I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. Being informed by Lighthouse Trails and other discernment websites, I approached the class with a good deal of […] The post Letter to the Editor: Serious Concerns Over Beth Moore’s New Series, “Entrusted” appeared first on . View the full article
  5. “God and Father . . . who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3) Given our high position in Christ, it follows that God would provide whatever is necessary to accomplish His purposes in and for us. The Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3-12 provide a good illustration. Each blessing is designed to meet a nee... More... View the full article
  6. Earth as seen from Apollo 17Colossians chapter one is a written portrait of Jesus Christ. Sunday our pastor included the following verses in his sermon about “Don’t Forget The Baby.” For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17 KJV) As usual, my thoughts followed a side route to look more deeply into the background of quoted scripture, and while it didn’t take away the essential message that this season we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the added depth of who that little baby is takes my breath away. Just as God’s plan provided a ram for Abraham, the description of that incident proved prophetic: And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8 KJV) Thus Jesus is the reality of God proving Himself as a lamb. John the Baptist knew this: The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV) John the author knew that Jesus wasn’t simply a creation of God: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV) The baby, the smallest piece of most nativity sets, is God. Not just was, but is and shall be. Yet, He was completely unexpected. Mary asked, as so many others through the centuries since His birth: Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (Luke 1:34 KJV) Once we believe Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, why is it unexpected when we are a told Jesus and God are one and the same? That Jesus claimed to be the name God gave Himself – I AM? Yet, His words have been as ignored as His teachings to the disciples. Until our hearts are opened to understanding. He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, (Luke 24:6-8 KJV) When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:22 KJV) That’s the baby, born in Bethlehem as God planned, when God planned and how God planned. Unexpected, just as God planned. Why, then, do we doubt that God has a plan. A plan for us, too. But – if we ignore His plan for our relationship with Him, He’s also told us what would happen: For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 KJV) I spent quite a bit of time not finding out about the time I was in. I don’t know what I missed or who was given the opportunity to rise up. That could be repeated if I ignore God. Remember that and remember how unexpected He can be in our lives.View the full article
  7. “According as he hath chosen us in him . . . that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4) In the grand purpose of our “selection” into God’s family, two key words are used: “Holy” (Greek hagios) stresses dedication. A holy man or woman is distinctively God’s, set apart for ... More... View the full article
  8. Do you love your church? Jesus does! Jesus loved the church enough to die. Do we love Him and His church enough to live? To give? To really make His bride a high priority in our lives? Here are ten simple ways that you could greatly strengthen your church this season and in the new year… 1. Really Pray—Really pray for your pastor, your church, your own role in the body. Really pray for God’s provision and power. Really pray that God will take your church forward this Christmas and in the New Year! 2. Really Participate—Many people will casually “attend” church this season—but far fewer will truly participate with passion. In what ways are you engaged with your church on mission with Jesus for the gospel? With what energy will you really engage in worship, fellowship, and service? Be faithful to services, and bring an expectant heart and a ready spirit. 3. Bring a Guest—People all around you are looking for an opportunity to be in church this Christmas. Your kind invitation could be what brings them within the sound of a clear gospel message at your church. God could use you to bring them to Jesus—just because you invited them to Christmas services. 4. Be Extravagantly Generous—Remember who’s birthday we really celebrate—Jesus! In the midst of all of your giving, decide to put Jesus and His church at the top of the list. Will you “tip” God with a little extra change, or will you truly and deeply consider all that He’s done for you and bestowed upon you? Give Him your whole heart, and your generosity will follow! 5. Serve and Encourage Others—Begin with Jesus, then move to your family and friends, your church family, your neighbor—just look for opportunity to give yourself away and think of others before self. Write a kind note, bake something, tell someone how much you love them. Be a joyful voice of blessing! 6. Remember Someone’s Pain—Within your reach, there are broken hearts having a very difficult Christmas. For them, this season is merely magnifying loss, hardship, or sorrow. A kind note, a personal touch, a gift, or a thoughtful ministry gesture will go a long way towards encouraging people who are having a “painful Christmas.” 7. Randomly Love—Pick a stranger, pay for their coffee or give a small gift—do something randomly kind—and attach to it an invitation to your church. The unconditional and unexpected love of Jesus is delightful and life-changing! 8. Forgive and Forbear—Churches are made of people, and people have issues. People hurt people. Decide to strengthen your church by personally deciding not to hold a grudge or an offense. Let it go and decide to grow. 9. Walk with Jesus Privately—Your private walk with Jesus will overflow into your place in your local body. Your church is as strong as you! Be real. Be done with casual Christianity. Choose to more fully love, embrace, and engage in the call of Jesus Christ and His work. 10. Purpose in Your Heart—Christmas quickly turns into a New Year, which provides us with an opportunity to set direction, set goals, turn the page on last year’s successes and failures—and chart the course for spiritual health and depth. Decide to grow deeper and stronger in the new year! Decide to be a better church member and a more faithful Christian through 2017! I recently heard a pastor asked his church family three questions: —What are you doing that makes your church stronger? —What are you doing that makes your church weaker? —If everyone followed you example, what would happen to your church? Good questions! Convicting questions! Fair questions. If everyone followed your example, would your church close? Flounder? Flourish? Explode? As we close 2016, somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 churches closed their doors last year. More than ever, America and the world needs healthy local churches. Healthy churches only happen if Christians are healthy—growing stronger in grace and commitment to Christ and His body. This Christmas, give Jesus a gift that YOU KNOW He will love! Give Him a STRONGER BRIDE! View the full article
  9. Remembering the Children: 46 Claims Filed in 2 months to Catholic Priest Abuse Victims Program LTRP Note: This news story is another reminder that untold numbers of children have been and continue to be sexually abused (and not just in the Catholic Church) around the world. It’s an epidemic that still remains hushed in many cases today. Let us not forget that the power of sexual abuse lies in its […] The post Remembering the Children: 46 Claims Filed in 2 months to Catholic Priest Abuse Victims Program appeared first on . View the full article
  10. One of the reasons I love the Christmas season is that it is such a great time of year for initiating gospel conversations. Between the special church events and the fact that many people still do want to go to church to celebrate Christmas, this is also the easiest time of year to invite people to church. Our annual Christmas musical service at Lancaster Baptist is this weekend—Saturday night and Sunday night at 5:00 both evenings. We’ve been inviting our community and are praying for many people to trust Christ through the gospel preaching. (If you live near Lancaster, please join us! And if not, feel free to join us via live stream at lbclive.tv.) But even in a season like Christmas when it may be easier to invite people to church or begin a gospel conversation, it still doesn’t happen automatically. It usually requires that you and I take the initiative to share Christ. Here are ten ideas to help you take that initiative: Join in special times of church outreach. This past Saturday, our church family canvassed thousands of doors with invitations to our musical. Taking advantage of scheduled church outreach allows you to reach people you don’t already know, gives you a partner to go with, and lets you be part of strategically reaching your community with your church family. Reach out to your neighbors. Bring over a plate of Christmas cookies or a simple gift and ask them to be your guest for a Christmas service. Bring the Christmas spirit to your coworkers with invitations to church. Bring donuts or hot chocolate to your coworkers or leave in the break room at work with a “Merry Christmas” note and a stack of church invitations. Invite friends via text. Send a simple text to an unsaved friend, “Hey, are you free this Saturday at 5:00? Would love for you to be my guest at my church’s Christmas musical! Will feature awesome Christmas music and a practical Bible message.” Pay for someone’s coffee or meal, and leave a gospel tract or invitation. Another idea is to leave a large tip for your waiter at a restaurant with an invitation. Follow up on previous prospects. Who has told you in the past they would come to a church event but hasn’t made it? Who on your soulwinning prospect list might come? Special events are a great time to reach out to previous prospects. Share church Christmas events on your social media. Whether you are reposting your church’s social media or creating a post of your own, use your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels to invite your friends or followers to come. (Even just liking your church’s posts on Facebook makes it more likely for those posts show up in your friends’ feeds.) Purchase and deliver gifts to needy families. Do you know a parent who recently lost their job? A single parent? A family up against hard circumstances this Christmas? Bring gifts, and deliver them with the love of Christ and the gospel message. Always be ready to share the gospel. Even if your primary goal in a gesture of kindness (such as donuts in the break room at work) is simply to invite someone to church, ask the Lord to open opportunities to be able to verbally share why Jesus came and the salvation He offers. Involve your children in sharing the gospel. Incorporate some of these ideas into your family time. Have a family night baking and delivering cookies to the neighbors. Bring your children with you to bring gifts to needy families. Invite your neighbors over for a Christmas gathering in your home, and let your children help prepare for it. In these ways, you’ll be sharing Christ with your neighbors and with your children. There is no better way to celebrate Christmas than to invite others to receive the gift of eternal life. Related posts: Voices of Christmas 7 Ways You Can Keep Christ in Christmas ’Tis the Season…for Soulwinning! View the full article
  11. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” (Ephesians 1:4) The search for identity and meaning can drive one to great successes or tragic failures. For the Christian, however, the question is answered throughout Ephesians. We are chosen! We are selected as a favorite out of “many [who] are called” (More... View the full article
  12. “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” (1 John 2:5) The New Testament is emphatically clear that we are saved entirely by the grace of God through faith in Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; . . . it is the gift of God” (Ephe... More... View the full article
  13. Caryl Matrisciana Has Gone to Be With the Lord Dear friends: Around midnight on December 2nd, Caryl Matrisciana passed away peacefully at her home. She had been battling cancer for over a year. Caryl was a devoted mother and grandmother as well as a film maker, author, speaker, and a valiant defender of the Christian faith. She has left a legacy that many will […] The post Caryl Matrisciana Has Gone to Be With the Lord appeared first on . View the full article
  14. Letter to the Editor: My Children Asked to Read About Benefits of Yoga in School To Lighthouse Trails: My kids are taking an AP English class and were asked to read articles that show the benefits of Yoga in schools. The question was not if Yoga was good or bad, but whether detention using Yoga was effective, reading an article that said it was (per query of the students’ getting […] The post Letter to the Editor: My Children Asked to Read About Benefits of Yoga in School appeared first on . View the full article
  15. “The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.” (Numbers 6:25) This request is part of the well-known Mosaic benediction for the children of Israel (Numbers 6:24-27). The first occurrence in verb form of the word “shine” is in this verse, although in the noun form, translated as ... More... View the full article