Month: February 2016

Habits of Grace by David Mathis

The Reformed Writer

Mathis-HabitsOfGrace     We don’t like the word “discipline.” Spiritual disciplines have a way of sounding time consuming, strict, and boring. David Mathis, in an attempt to simplify and help us find joy in Christ through spiritual discipline, has given us this short book. In it, he explains that daily “habits of grace” such as Bible reading are disciplines that will draw us closer to God.

Mathis says that all spiritual disciplines can be sorted into at least one of three categories: Hearing God’s voice (His Word), having His ear (prayer), and belonging to His body (fellowship). The book is divided into these three sections, and each chapter into specific disciplines. Just a few of the disciplines discussed are Bible study, meditation, prayer, fasting, journaling, and baptism.

Mathis admits that this book could have been much longer. His goal is not to give us detailed practices, but to give us an overview of the joy in Christ…

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How Much Jesus Loves You

Three Iron Nails

Jesus’ love for us is pure, and real, and strong. It’s such an intense love — it’s the kind of love we usually only dream about. Jesus loves us with such passion, and cares for us more deeply than we could ever imagine. He craves looking after us. He’s immensely dedicated to caring for us, and our welfare. He loves us so strongly. He loves us so deeply.

Jesus is entirely on our side. Every single one of us. Entirely on our side. When we argue with someone, he looks at us fondly, thinking we shouldn’t have been treated that way. He wants things to work out for us — he’ll work hard to make things work our way. He wants us to be comforted and safe. He wants us to be free and at peace.

Jesus loves us so deeply. He’s our best friend. Imagine the kind of love…

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Methodist Minister Hiram Revels Honored In D. C. Worship Service as Congress’ First African-American Senator


Bishop Lanier Twyman Sr. of Temple Hills, Md., preaches at a worship service honoring the Rev. Hiram Revels, the first African-American member of Congress, on Feb. 25, 2016 in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks Bishop Lanier Twyman Sr. of Temple Hills, Md., preaches at a worship service honoring the Rev. Hiram Revels, the first African-American member of Congress, on Feb. 25, 2016 in Washington, D.C. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

A Methodist minister was honored in a worship service in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol almost a century and a half after he was sworn in as the first African-American member of Congress.

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16 Trends in American Churches in 2016: Trends 1 to 16

In The Light, 1 John 1:7

This post comes from Thom Rainer’s blog:

Church security as the fastest growing ministry. Shootings in churches and sex abuse of children mandate this unfortunate trend. No church can afford to be without serious security measures, policies, and equipment. It will evolve into a major church ministry.
Decrease in worship center size and capacity. The large worship gathering is not as popular as it has been. Through multiple services and multiple sites, churches will follow this preference with smaller capacity worship centers.

Increase in successfully revitalized churches. More church leaders sense a call to lead revitalized churches. Because of this desire and intentionality, we will see more success stories of churches that have experienced significant revitalization.

Rapid growth of coaching ministries for pastors and church staff. The current trend is anecdotal, but it will soon be verified and obvious. Pastors and staff who have the humility to be led, and…

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Church Planting 2015: Who Attends and What Attracted Them

In The Light, 1 John 1:7

Successful new churches share four factors, LifeWay Research finds.

Church Planting 2015: Who Attends and What Attracted ThemNorth American Mission Board
A 2014 church plant worships in a South Dakota school.

Protestants are planting new churches in America faster than their old churches are closing.

More than 4,000 new Protestant churches opened their doors in the United States in 2014, outpacing the 3,700 that shuttered, according to estimates by LifeWay Research based on input from 34 denominational statisticians.

And American church planters say 42 percent of their worshipers were unchurched while 43 percent switched from an existing church, according to LifeWay’s 2015 National Church Planting Study, released today.

For the study, the Nashville-based research organization analyzed 843 churches started since 2008 by 17 denominations and church-planting networks, including: the Assemblies of God, Baptist Missionary Association of America, Center for US Missions (Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod), Christian and…

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As Time Draws Near


God Always Here Psm 139 3
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. Romans 13:11

The morning headlines hit us with alarm as we realize we’re drawing closer to the season of our Lord’s return. One of our great comforts is what the Bible says about the Lord shielding His people in times like these.

– Psalm 17 says we are hidden under the shadow of His wings.
– Psalm 27 says we are hidden in the shelter of His tabernacle.
– Isaiah 49 says we are hidden in the shadow of His hand.
– Psalm 32 says that God is our hiding place.
– And Colossians 3 says our lives are hidden with Christ in God.

When you read a frightening headline, remind yourself that you are hidden in the hollow of His hand…

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Prayer and Praise in a Prison

Sydney FP Church Blog

In Acts 16: we read the remarkable testimony regarding Paul and Silas when imprisoned in Philippi. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.’

Why were these two godly men in prison? The prisons of the world remind us of the reality of sin and its awful consequences in a fallen world. Many are in prison and rightly so! They have done evil and require to be punished. Some are so wicked they must be locked away for the public good. But what had these men done? We find from the context that they had stood up boldly on the side of Christ. Through the power of Christ, the Apostle Paul had cast out an evil spirit and those who had wickedly got gain from the works of this, ‘spirit of divination,’ were incensed that their future hoped for profits…

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