Church Blog

Church Blog

Questions and Answers

As most of you know, we had the first meeting of our new small groups last. Nearly every person who signed up to participate was present, and the few exceptions all had good reasons for their absence like illness or travel—no one just flaked on us, in other words. And since then, in face-to-face conversations, in text messages, in secondhand word-of-mouth reports from others, I have heard nothing but positive feedback from all quarters. I do not like to talk…

Is “Your Church” a “Red Door” Church?

This is an article I ran across this week by Ken Weliever, a gospel preacher for more than a half century. He evidently published it back in May, but reprinted it this week because it was his 2nd most read post of the year. It touches on many of the themes we have been talking about over the last couple of weeks and especially relates to our lesson this morning. What’s more, the elders had asked what we are going…

What is Cultural Christianity and What are the Dangers?

This is an article from Wes McAdams’ “Radically Christian” a few weeks ago. I thought it was relevant for us on a number of different levels, as we deeply consider what it means to be a disciple (and how that might mean rethinking some of our practices). It is slightly altered in format for our space. -BP A cultural Christian is someone who identifies as a Christian, but whose religious ideas and practices come more from popular culture than from…

Going to Church

Why are we here? I don’t mean that existentially. I am talking about you, sitting there reading the bulletin this morning at our assembly. Why have we gathered together? Why are you here? It wasn’t that long ago that it was common to hear sermons emphasizing the assembly to the point that you need to be here or you’ll be in hell. Neglecting it has been viewed as a mark of such unfaithfulness that it was about the only reason…

How Do You See It?

In the seventh month, on the twenty-first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet: “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to all the remnant of the people, and say, ‘Who is left among you who saw this house in its former glory? How do you see it now? Is it not as nothing in…

Merry Christmas

I have printed this article, written by Reuel Lemmons and published in the Firm Foundation several decades ago, every year since I have been here. I suppose it is something of a Christmas tradition in itself at this point. While it seems silly in some ways to repeat it, I get comments every year from those who missed it before somehow about how much they appreciate it; so I make no apologies for running it again—especially on Christmas Day!—and I…

For Unto Us a Child is Born

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of…

The Doctrine of Singing

For several years now, most of the bulletin articles I have written in December have focused on the “Christmas songs” that are commonly published in our hymnals. The purpose of that has been to get us to really think about the content of the lyrics so that we understand the message they are conveying; ideally, that will create a deeper appreciation of these works and even recover them for use in the worship assembly, where we sometimes shy away from…

The First Noel

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him”… And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the…

Assemble With Prayer and Songs of Praise

I find historical Thanksgiving Proclamations to be interesting with the insights they provide into the times in which they were issued, and that is why I have shared a couple of them with you in the past. I believe we have reprinted the one issued by George Washington in 1789—the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation—as well as that of Abraham Lincoln in 1863, which ultimately led to Thanksgiving being established as a national holiday. This morning, I have for your consideration…

On Christian Nationalism

We have heard a lot over the last few years about “Christian nationalism.” But it is probably not always clear what is meant by that. For one thing, it is usually used as a pejorative rather than a self-description. For another, it is not so much a cohesive ideology as it is a mood. But a good working definition comes from Baylor historian Thomas Kidd (quoting another historian, Matthew McCullough): Christian nationalism is “an understanding of American identity and significance…

How to Know if Your Love of Sports Has Become Idolatry

This article, by Jack Wilkie, is from the most recent edition of “Think” magazine. In the midst of football season and the World Series (at print time, anyway), it seemed a timely discussion of a subject many of us probably struggle with. It has been slightly reformatted for this space. -BP For most of my life it’s been rare to meet someone who is a bigger sports fan than me. As a kid, I played what must have been thousands…