Monthly Archives: July 2010

So Anne Rice Has Quit Christianity . . .

Recently, Michael Hyatt tweeted that Anne Rice boldly noted on Facebook, “I quit Christianity.”  Here’s her take:

As I said below, I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of …Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.

She has posted other updates:

My faith in Christ is central to my life. My conversion from a pessimistic atheist lost in a world I didn’t understand, to an optimistic believer in a universe created and sustained by a loving God is crucial to me. But following Christ does not mean following His followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.

Here are some things that all of us could remember when we issue statements such as “I love Jesus, but hate the church” or “I love Jesus, but quit Christianity”:

  1. You cannot separate who Christ is from what He said.  Jesus condemned lust outside the marriage union of a husband and wife (Matthew 5:27-28; Matthew 19:1-10).  That includes homosexuality along with adultery, fornication, and bestiality.
  2. Jesus was not anti-science.  He observed how the weather on numerous occasions and made meteorological conclusions, among other examples.  He took the evidence that was available to him as did and would other scientists.  His worldview was that of a Creator—in fact, He is the Creator (Colossians 1:15-20; John 1:1-3).  Secular scientists discredit this.  Jesus is pro-science, but anti-secular scientist.
  3. You cannot say you love Christ, but hate His wife or His body (1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 5:22-33).
  4. You cannot say you love Christ, but disavow the roles He has set for men and women (Ephesians 5:22-33).

So while Anne Rice’s sentiments may sound noble, they are misinformed and simply show that she is playing by her own set of rules and feelings.  While the theology of applause on Facebook shows that many people agree with her sentiments, majority doesn’t make it correct.

Are there dud churches out there?  Yes!  But true Christianity will always be the best thing going, and the Bible must inform all of these things.  The Bible must shape us, we must not shape the Bible.

What think ye?

ADDITIONAL NOTE:  Russell Moore has written an excellent article on how Christians should treat Anne Rice (hint: she is not a Christian’s enemy).

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Book Review: “Fearless” by Max Lucado

Lucado Fearless Max Lucado’s recent book “Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear” will speak to so many in our culture who are struggling and dieting “on the bread of anxious toil” (Psalm 127:2).  With so much insecurity within and instability without, Lucado’s book addresses this topic in such a creative and pastoral way. 

One of the great strengths of the book is how he grounds everything he says in Scripture, especially in the accounts of Jesus.  From the healings (the raising of Jairus’ daughter) to the storms on the sea to the feeding of the 5,000 (men), Lucado sets these Scriptures in with such day-to-day picturesque illustrations that you cannot help but get the picture of how our Savior is able to steady us.  He presents Scripture after Scripture to show that with the Lord, we have Him on our side through the gospel.

With this strength comes a concern.  Although Thomas Nelson Publishing (who graciously sends this book out free to bloggers who wish to review) publishes the New King James Version of the Bible and is the standard version used in all their works, Lucado uses numerous translations (I believe I counted 12).  While the motive may be to give a broader picture and flavor of what Jesus is saying, one walks away from this book simply thinking, “He just picked a translation that worked well for him.”  To his credit, on certain occasions, he put the same verse in three different translations.  Instead, I wish that Lucado would have gone to the original languages a few more times to get what the author intended, rather than what the translator decided some 1900+ years after the fact.  I know quoting Hebrew and Greek may be off-putting to some modern readers, but it would actually help steady his case all the more in the end.

While Lucado does ground his case in Scripture, I wish he would have grounded his case in the gospel a bit more.  Each chapter seemed to say, “See, with God, you have nothing to fear—so don’t fear!”  He alludes to the gospel in words, but I wish he would have taken more time to speak on the atonement and why grounding ourselves in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ who absorbed the wrath of God that was toward us, and then gave us His righteousness so we have favor with God based upon Christ and not on our ability to screw our own courage—that would have bolstered his case a bit more.

I would recommend this book with a supplemental book on what the gospel is truly all about.  Understanding the breadth of the gospel was what alleviates ultimate fear.

(I am grateful for Thomas Nelson and their program – http://www.booksneeze.com – for providing this complimentary book to review.)

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Book Review: “Christ in the Camp: The True Story of the Great Revival During the War Between the States” by J. William Jones

In a visit to Washington and Lee University, I had the pleasure of visiting the Robert E. Lee Chapel and Museum.  In their bookstore, I happened upon the book Christ in the Camp: The True Story of the Great Revival During the War Between the States by J. William Jones (Sprinkle Publications).  Jones was a chaplain in the Army of Northern Virginia, led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  In this, Jones seeks to show the world (as the subtitle shows) the movement of revival in the Confederate armies through the arduous work of the Confederate army chaplains with their preaching and tract distribution.

In the process, Jones gives extended sketches on the Christian generals who led the Confederate army, such as Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart among others—men who provided great access and liberty and encouragement to these chaplains and their efforts.  Included also are stories of great valor of Christian men such as Richard Kirkland who, as a recently converted Confederate soldier, raised the white flag to take water out to the wounded Union and Confederate soldiers who lay on the battlefield and provided each with a drink of water.  The move brought a cease fire from both sides, and left Kirkland with the name “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” (you may read about him here). 

 

Some reading this may wonder how such a revival could have taken place amongst the Confederate armies, since the Confederacy was a slave-based economy.  Some may ask, “How could there be a move of the Spirit of God among a people who enslaved others based on their race?”  A number of factors could be at play.

  1. The cultural standards of the day played too great a factor in how Christians viewed the world, and thus a revival was needed in order to open their eyes to this scourge.  It should cause all of us to evaluate the institutions and mindsets we take for granted as part of our culture, but should never be a part of someone who names the name of Christ. 
  2. Not everyone in the Confederacy was for the institution of slavery, just as not everyone in the Union was for the abolition of slavery.  In the decades after the Civil War, we see that the predominate view of both North and South was that the black man was inferior to the white (see the campaign slogan of Gov. Horatio Seymour (D-NY) who ran against Ulysses S. Grant in 1868, who had the campaign slogan, “This is a White Man’s Country: Let the White Man Rule.”)  This was the reigning view of many, who worried about the policies of Reconstruction and the violence that occurred in the South during this time.  Lee and Jackson were against slavery (although Jackson did own five slaves whom he taught to read and write, something that was bordering on illegal in that time). 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though the author is clearly pro-Confederate and pro-Lost Cause—which may be off-putting to some.  This author does not deal with the problematic issue of slavery.  He sticks to the chaplain’s work of preaching and tract distribution and the fruits therein. 

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Is Virtual Preaching as Legit as Actual Real-Time Preaching?

In a recent article in the CNN Tech section entitled “Virtual Preaching Transforms Sunday Morning.”  The article features Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Houston, preaching in high definition to his various satellite church campuses.  In the article, some note the use of this technology, while others seem to believe he is actually present preaching to them.  The question is, is this legit?

Some say yes.  Others say no.  Those who say, “no,” use the argument that what matters is, the gospel is going forth.  In a comment on Facebook, Mike notes:

What’s important is what method helps you fulfill God’s call for you. Is the church called to teach, shepherd, care, etc. or is the pastor alone called to preach, shepherd, care, etc.? I Cor 12, Romans 12, and Eph 4 talk about the church (including pastors) doing these things, not just the pastor. What’s important is that these things are done; not that they’re all done by “the” pastor. The reality is that these can all be done by the pastor in a smaller church, although even that isn’t the healthiest model. If you wish to reach a larger population, then these tasks need to spread among the entire body.

Pastors’ reality – smaller church connection to congregants = pastoral care.

Larger church connection to congregation = sermon

Mike makes a good point.  As one who pastors a church of 150-160, the pastor is more able to minister to the individual congregants and visitors who come in.  I and other pastors of churches my size need to be present not just in speaking but in serving!

In the article, they record the perspective of Thomas Long:

It may not be a better way, though, said the Rev. Thomas Long, a nationally recognized authority on preaching and author of “Preaching from Memory to Hope.”

Preachers who don’t think they need to be physically present in their church should ask how they would feel if they were forced to preach to high-def images of their congregation every Sunday morning, said Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Emory University.

“There’s something about embodiment — that the person who delivers the sermon is actually there — that’s important,” Long said. “It’s important in the same way that someone physically visits someone in a hospital or buries a loved one — they don’t fax it in.”

Long said the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ interaction with people show him constantly touching and being physically present with people.

“We don’t think God sent a message to us; God sent a person and the word became flesh,” he said.

One may recall from the New Testament that Jesus fed 5,000 of his followers, yet this number represents just the men.  With women and children, that number could balloon to 15,000-20,000 people.  Void of the present technological advances, Jesus maintained an accessibility to these individuals, being physically present but (to Mike’s point) using his disciples to distribute the food to all!

So what think ye?  I will post a follow-up on this with my opinions on the matter on Friday.

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God Causes the Growth, And Commands We Invest

In my closet, I have a treasured item that my kiddos got for me for Father’s Day. Two years ago, Cindy and the kiddos purchased a Carson Palmer jersey for me. I like this because it’s not the traditional who uniform or black uniform, but an orange home uniform—a uniform they have great success with.

On Wednesday night, Alex Marshall brought me a uniform that is very much treasured by Chris Marshall—a Chris Sabo jersey from the 1980s. Sabo played 3rd base for a number of years with the Cincinnati Reds.

Another jersey I have is a jersey from Trinidad. On the front is the team representing West Indies, on the back is the name of arguably the greatest cricket player in the history of the game, Brian Lara with his #9.

Another jersey here means a lot to us. This is a Cleveland Browns jersey (and I’m surprised the Bengals and Browns jersey didn’t get into a fight in this box!) with the #44 on it. On the back is the name “Roberts”—a gift to my father-in-law who passed away last year.

All of these jerseys have something in common. They all have names. On the front of the jersey is the name or logo of the particular team. On the back you have name of the player (Sabo, Palmer, Lara, Roberts). You even have the name of the maker of that jersey.

The question is: which name matters most? Former hockey star Duane Sutter once said, “You play for the name on the front, not the name on the back.”

You see, all of us who are Christians are part of a team! We have a uniform, being clothed in righteousness. The roster of that team is written down in the Book of Life, which was there from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8, 17:8). Yet, what name matters most to us—the name on the front or the name on the back of our ‘jersey’?

In Luke 19:11-27, we come across an interesting parable that Jesus told right after his encounter with Zacchaeus. Won’t you read this with me?

11As they heard these things, he proceeded to tell a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately. 12He said therefore, "A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return. 13Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’ 14But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business. 16The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 17And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ 18And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made five minas.’ 19And he said to him, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I kept laid away in a handkerchief; 21for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ 22He said to him, ‘I will condemn you with your own words, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? 23Why then did you not put my money in the bank, and at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’ 24And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’ 26‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 27But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.’"

As we see what God means to teach us from this parable, we must understand this: While God causes the growth, He commands us to invest—and He will take care of the rest!

You have heard it said, “You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.” As far as this parable is concerned, you need to understand who all of these players in this story represent.

The nobleman represents Christ, the king! We would return to a “far country,” as he had always promised during his ministry, and would return. Yet, the ‘near country’ was also under his rule, because he made the world (John 1:1-3). And the citizens of this country did not like this nobleman’s rule, sending ahead a delegation. These citizens represent the Jews at the time. This was nothing new, however. And this story was something to which they could relate.

After King Herod died, Archaleus was convinced he would ascend to the throne of Judea. Even though he was reigning unofficially in that capacity, the only way it would be official is if he received the approval of Caesar himself. So, Archaleus made the long journey to Rome—only to find out that a delegation had gone ahead of him to protest his ascension. One group came from his family, who felt that others in the family were rightful heirs to the throne. The other came from the Jewish leaders, who protested the cruelty of how he had treated the Jews, at one point executing 3,000 of them. After much debate, Archelaus was given the throne. Needless to say, his family and the Jewish leaders felt his wrath in the backlash.

Clearly, this parable brought back those memories and helped them connect. Yet, this nobleman had servants—bondservants who had surrendered everything to their Master. These servants depict Christians, who have surrendered their entire lives (heart, soul, mind, and strength) over to Jesus. Whatever he bid them do, they would do it.

He gave them each a mina (approximately three months’ laborers’ wage) and gave them this simple, but powerful order: “Engage in business until I come.”

Theologians have labeled the time between Jesus’ first and second comings as the “already and the not yet” of his Kingdom. He has come and established His rule in part through the church, but will come again and do so in full at the end. While theologians call this one thing, I tend to call this period: “In the meantime.” We affirm from God’s Word that Jesus has come, and we also affirm that Jesus will come again (“Engage in business until I come”). So we must look at this as, “Yes, Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again,” as the ancient creed states. But in the meantime… .

So this statement that Jesus gives us is an ‘in the meantime’ type of statement. Engage in business until I come. He did not want them huddling with their own, even if ‘their own’ were very religious. He did not want them mingling with those not their own just for the sake of mingling. Don’t just simply wear the uniform. You’re a member of that team. Get in the game. Engage! Invest!

He Causes the Growth, He Commands Us to Invest

Upon the nobleman’s return, three servants approached him with the return. Please notice the difference between the first two and the third. In verse 16, the first servant says, “The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’” In verse 18, we see the similar response to the servant whose mina returned five-fold—the nobleman set him over five cities.

Yet, the third servant had an issue. His response to the nobleman’s inquiry was markedly different. And it only goes a few words in to see the difference. “Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, which I … .”

What is the difference? A number of ways. First, the first two had confidence the mina would bring a return, the third didn’t. Notice how they express this. “Lord, your mina has made ten minas more.” They did not take credit for the return. Unlike the third servant, there was no ‘I.’

It would help if we knew what this ‘mina’ represented. It represents the greatest resource that we have—the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as the other resources He has given to us to help advance that gospel. Those resources are:

  • Time
  • Talents
  • Spiritual gifts
  • Finances: savings, stocks, bonds, retirement
  • Friendships
  • Education
  • Skills and hobbies

All of these things and more are given so we may invest in the greatest resource there is. We must remember from God’s Word that while Paul planted and Apollos watered, it is God who brings in the increase. But He uses His servants to bring this great end of salvation in place.

Dear Christian, do you trust that God will use to invest His gospel so He may bring in the increase? One of the reasons why this servant laid away the mina in his handkerchief, or why we hide our light under a bushel, is fear. The man said, “I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man. You take what you did not deposit, and reap what you did now sow” (Luke 19:21).

One of the reasons why we do not trust God may be due to the ‘god’ in which we’ve placed our trust. The way that he described his Master showed he was either deluded or was trying to make an excuse for his laziness and disobedience. Yet, fear is a great crippler to Kingdom people.

What causes you fear when it comes to investing the gospel in others? At our church, we put before you in numerous places that we are to spread the glory of God from our neighbors to the nations. We go further by saying that aim to do this by strengthening the people of God to share the gospel of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What keeps us from investing this mina?

Fear of engaging in conversation. Fear of rejection is a powerful tool Satan uses.

Fear of not knowing what to say. Some churches ask incoming members who wish to join the church (not new Christians, but those transferring from another church) to share the gospel in 60 seconds. This is a good practice for assurance for Christians but also to be ready to give an answer for the reason of the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15-16). But Satan whispers in our ear that we shouldn’t be so arrogant to think we have the answers. We need to leave it up to those who have that gift.

Fear of not knowing how to answer follow up questions.

But dear friends, another reason we do not invest our mina in others could be pride camouflaged as humility.

Remember:

  • God’s Word will not return empty (Isaiah 55:11-12)
  • God will provide the words to say
  • God is the one who brings in the harvest—we simply plant the seed.

Why did Christ take away the mina and give it to the one who already had ten cities? Because those who have a love for their Master and His Kingdom—and demonstrate that by investing those resources God has given—God will give them what is needed.

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Leading Your Family in Worship

Tim Smith of Mars Hill Church in Seattle has some excellent observations about pastors and leaders leading their family in family worship. 

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Investing our ‘Mina’ Christ Entrusted to Us

What steps should we take when it comes to investing the gospel of Christ in people? So many of us do not know where to start—and if we figure that out, we do not know where to go! Here are some steps:

Ingest. We need to know and nourish ourselves on the things of God. If we are to invest, we will only invest what we ingest. We can’t lead people to the things of God if we do not know where we’re going. Just ask one of my members, Chris Marshall, about our trip back from Eric and Sarah Masters’ wedding rehearsal in December of 2009. Just because two people are helping each other navigate back from Point A (which, in this case, was Danville) to Point B (Lexington), does not mean that the road will be easy. One wrong turn, lots of back roads, no lights, and you’re in for an adventure. You will ingest sound doctrine so you know where you are going and can take others along!

Initiate: Help them Know About Christ

We need to be ones who know about Christ to help others know about Christ. And it starts with simply planting a seed—initiating the conversation. If you are talking to a FRAN (friend, relative, associate, neighbor), then hopefully you already have some sort of relationship with them. Ask them about their spiritual belief? Ask them what they think of Jesus Christ?

If you are in a place a business you frequent (restaurant, bank, gas station), ask them if there’s any way you can pray for them. If you’re at a restaurant and leave a tip, leave a tract with a generous tip.

Invite: Help Show Them Christ

Two types of evangelism: go and tell evangelism, and the come and see evangelism. Invite them to listen to your hope in Christ. Use a tract or the Romans Road to walk them through the gospel (and to help keep you on track). Invite them to church so they can meet other Christians and see what a body of Christ is all about. This will help all of us “get ready for company” in making God’s house inviting and welcoming. (A word here: invite them not only a special service, but also to regular services so they see how we are from week-to-week.)

Increase: Help Them Grow in Christ

We must not be concerned about growing numbers in the pews, but by growing the people in the pews—notice the difference.

Disciple them by meeting with them over coffee, chat over the Internet, call them on the phone. But how?

Go back to Titus 2:1-10. Older Christian men, you’ve got to grow, but also help the younger men grow. Older Christian women, you’ve got to come and train the younger women. God has provided two venues for that to happen: the home front and the church front.

Have a system: Bible reading plan, go through a Bible study, read a Christian book together about a specific topic.
Go over what I preached on this past Sunday—take notes. Find out what I’m preaching in the weeks ahead and begin looking over that, so you’ll be ready for the sermon and the ensuing discussion with your friend.

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Unless We are Upheld by an Invisible Arm!

"Hold me up–and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117
We need God’s constant presence, power and grace.
Except He upholds us–we shall certainly fall.
We would have fallen before this–if God had not kept us!
We would fall every dayunless we are upheld by an invisible arm!

This day Satan may lay some snare for us!
This day our evil hearts may deceive us!
This day the world may lay some unexpected bait for us!
And unless the Holy Spirit . . .
  opens our eyes,
  gives us fresh supplies of grace, or
  holds us back by an invisible power
–we shall utterly fall!
"Hold me up–and I shall be safe!"
Let this be our daily prayer! It will never be unsuitable!

(James Smith, "Daily Bible Readings for the Lord’s Household")

Via Grace Gems

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When You Feel You’ve “Swung and Missed” in Preaching the Word

I cannot trust my feelings when it comes to preaching.

I realize this is a subjective feeling—but this is something I experience with much regularity.  I do not know whether this is due to my own hidden insecurities, my desire to “knock it out of the park,” seeing someone “walk the aisle”—or by the fact that I did swing and miss.

It is then that I need to remind myself of a number of checkpoints:

  1. God’s Word will never return empty (Isaiah 55:11-12).  When God has an intention for His Word, this Word will bring about His intention through the working of His Spirit.  I know that the burden is ultimately on the Spirit, not ultimately on me. 
  2. God has ordained the preaching and teaching of His Word to bring about salvation in the hearts of men (Romans 10:13-17).
  3. God has simply called us to faithfully invest our minas (that is, the gospel) with our speech, service, time, gifts, talents, and every resource God has given to us.  He causes the growth and brings the return (1 Corinthians 3:7-8). 
  4. I cannot always gauge how the Word is landing by looks on the faces of those in the congregation.  While someone may have their eyes closed, they well may be asleep, but they may also be shutting out the distractions or praying that God would work through the Word.  They may well be under conviction.  Again, we have to trust the Lord to do His work in the hearts of those who may seem to be disengaged.  Trust the Word to do its work—it is empowered by the Spirit of God Himself.
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EQUIP: Engaged in a Quest toward a Unified Investment in People

When the thoughts of equipping our people for the work of the ministry comes across my mind (Ephesians 4:12), I grow energized!  Our Sunday evening services  at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church are now known as Sunday Evening EQUIP, in which we dedicate how to be equipped to spread God’s glory from our neighbors to the nations, strengthening His people and sharing His gospel in Jesus Christ.

First, let’s reacquaint ourselves with this passage:

11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4:11-16, ESV).

Why does this passage energize me? 

  1. God has given leaders as gifts to the church, to equip them for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). You may say, “So you’re saying leaders are God’s gift to the church?”  Absolutely!  Now, before you believe that God is giving leaders a reason to be cocky, let me explain.  Paul was explaining how Christ came and gave gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:6-10).  Among those gifts “he gave” different leaders of the church. 
  2. As those who are equipped by these godly leaders, they then build up the body of Christ under the head, who is Christ.  The body is built up through unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Sons of God.  Even with the diversity of gifts, the church is brought under the unity of Christ and His Word.
  3. That unity brings about maturity.  We grow, being able to discern the truth which anchors from falsehood which beats us around like the winds on the ocean. 
  4. This brings about a beautiful balance of truth and love.  Truth with no love breeds legalism and Phariseeism.  Love with no truth brings liberalism and compromise. 
  5. Ministry is more appreciated and, yes, fun when shared!  I know that many will worry when I say that ministry is ‘fun.’  By that, I mean that there is a joy in ministry when more people take ownership of the church that Christ entrusted to us.  When people become of use to the Savior, the joy that exudes from Christians and the body of Christ will have others surely take notice. 
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