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Shepherding Discontented Sheep (via Nick Kennicott)

Nick Kennicott considers the delicate pastoral situation of Christians who move from one church to another because of unhappiness with their last church.

Faithful local churches want to grow through the redemption of sinners. Through evangelistic efforts and the consistent administration of the ordinary means of grace, there should be a healthy expectation that there will be new believers joining the church periodically. However, the most significant growth in most local churches is Christians transferring their membership from other local churches. Almost 60% of American churches have an average of 75 members, so it’s refreshing and can be exciting to see new faces with new and different gifts. It is not wrong to want to see the church grow, but it should never be without several important considerations.
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There are certainly cases when the discontentment of sheep is legitimate and they have good reasons to leave their church. Sadly, churches can be abusive and authoritarian, or they can be heretical. Additionally, a Christian should have a general desire to be in their church knowing that there is substantial agreement on doctrine and philosophy of ministry. If things change, there may be very legitimate reasons for a believer to look for a new church family. Likewise, Christians are never obligated to remain in a local church and nobody can insist that they must. Church membership is a vital aspect of the Christian life; but, Christians need to be members of a faithful local church, not necessarily any one church that they may have joined at some particular point in time.

Read the whole post at Reformation 21.


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Every Christian’s Sermon Preparation (via Ryan McGraw)

There is usually a lot of preparation taking place on Saturday nights for sermons being preached on Sunday.
If you’re a Christian, even if you’re not going to preach, there’s sermon preparation that you can be doing as well.

From Ryan McGraw at Reformation21:

We should pray for preachers in light of the biblical definitions and goals of preaching. We should pray privately and corporately that the Spirit would accompany our pastors in their studies in order to achieve the aims of preaching. Do we pray that the Spirit would increase love for Christ in our ministers so that they would preach him devotionally? Do we pray that the Lord would grant them the skills needed to fulfill the duties of their office? Do we pray that Christ would give them the ability to apply their sermons wisely, warning every man and teaching every man in order to present every man perfect in Christ? (Col. 1:28). The role of church members in sermon preparation through prayer is equally vital (if not more so) as the pastor’s prayers throughout his studies. Through private and corporate prayer, we participate in the preparation of sermons.

read the whole post here


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It’s Always The Right Time Of Year To Celebrate The Victory Of Christ (via Nick Batzig)

Various observations by the church through a calendar year may bring helpful themes to mind, but they should never eclipse the central theme that is constant reality.

Nick Batzig writes about Lent, concluding:

Wherever one falls on the spectrum of adherence to elements of the Liturgical Calendar, we must learn to live our Christian lives constantly in light of the once-for-all atoning death and resurrection of Jesus. We must always live and worship in dependence on the One who ascended to the right hand of the Father and is our great High Priest ever living to make intercession for us. We must live our Christian life in union with the One who cried out “It is finished,” even as we anticipate His return. All of our worship practices must coincide with those truths and must be derived squarely from the prescriptive elements of Scripture and the example of the Apostles. To that end, it will be an enormous benefit for us to submerse ourselves in the Scriptures and in the rich repository of Reformed, Puritan and Post-Reformation writings on worship.

Read the whole post at Reformation 21.


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Laying R.I.P. To Rest (via Nick Batzig)

There’s a difference between deserved and heartfelt appreciation for those who are deceased and the use of unhelpful sentimental phraseology about their eternal state.
This is not about making judgments, it’s about leaving what is unknown unsaid.

From Nick Batzig’s post at Reformation 21.
…I’ve noticed something of a concerning trend over the past several years. It is the way in which believers speak about culture-impacting individuals at their deaths. Instead of simply expressing appreciation for their life and achievements, it has become commonplace for Christians to use the shorthand R.I.P. (“rest in peace”) on social media when speaking of individuals–in whose lives there was no evidence of saving grace–at their death. At the risk of sounding ill-tempered, I wish to set out several reasons why I am troubled by this occurrence.

Read the whole post here.


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Public Worship To Be Preferred (via Reformation 21)

From a post by Mark Jones at Reformation 21 commending public worship of God morning and evening each Lord’s Day.

Moreover, worship is a means of grace. When we come to hear God speak to us, we respond in faith, hope and love to our triune God. God builds up Christ’s people, for we are Christ’s fullness (Eph. 1:22-23). Worship makes us more like Christ, and for that reason I believe that consistent attendance at the AM and PM services, if possible, will ordinarily lead to a more spiritually vibrant Christian life. Public worship is to be preferred before private communion with God. What happens on the Lord’s day is a foretaste of heaven (Heb. 12:22-23).

Read the whole article here.