December 8, 2019

The Lead

  • Why were Martin Luther’s 95 Theses important?

    In this week’s “Ask Pastor Mark”, he teaches on the importance of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses from the very place where they’re believed to have been posted in Germany.

  • The Bible Is More Than the Sum of Its Books

    At some point during the conversation, someone asked a snarky question. “Who wrote the Bible?” The ability to ask good questions in these kinds of settings is a learned skill (I’m still learning). I didn’t think this duck had any wings. Even the tone of the question seemed off: a kind of awkward jab at simple profundity. But Jenson took the question seriously and turned the moment from an awkward jab into one of, well, simple profundity.

    “Years ago,” Jenson answered, “I would have pulled my historical critical commentaries off the shelf and talked about the theology of the Jahwist, the various communities of the early church behind the gospels, etc.” In other words, Jenson would have given the best critical answers of the day about the human authorship of Scripture. “But now,” Jenson concluded, “I just say God.”

  • A Revolution of Hunger and Blood: Iraqi Police Shoot Civilians as Hundreds Protest for Better Life

    A Revolution of Hunger and Blood: Iraqi Police Shoot Civilians as Hundreds Protest for Better Life – CBN

    Excerpt:

    JERUSALEM, Israel  –  At least 33 people are reported dead and hundreds injured during violent clashes between Iraqi security forces and anti-government protesters who are crying out against corruption and the nation’s crumbling economy.

    Since Tuesday, spontaneous anti-government protests have erupted in Baghdad in response to skyrocketing unemployment, failing public services, and far-reaching government corruption. The protests lack a clear political leader but they are the largest since Adel Abdul-Mahdi became prime minister a year ago.

The Focus

Is Children’s Ministry the Frontline of the Church?  The Survey Says Yes
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Is Children’s Ministry the Frontline of the Church? The Survey Says Yes

If you look at children’s ministry as the frontline of the church, perhaps this podcast featuring Nick Blevins will cause you to reconsider.  In this podcast, Nick reveals the results of a children’s ministry report that only heightens the importance of reaching the lost as early as we can with the good news of Christ.

Podcast: Important Children’s Ministry (2019 Statistics) – Ministry-To-Children

Excerpt:

Nick Blevins just released our podcast conversation talking about the latest children’s ministry statistics and what that means for local churches. We talk about how kids are coming to Christ and how families are essential at every step of that process. You can also download our full 33-page special report (PDF).

…..Tony: Sure. Nick. So what happened is, I mean, I’m looking at all this stuff. I’ve got a headache for two or three weeks in a row trying to try to just sort out and say, now what, what about this is important for what we’re doing ministry in the church. And the five key findings that I took away from this is, number one, childhood is when most people find Jesus. This is a, if you talk to the people who are adult Christians now, the most normal experience for them is coming to Christ when they were children. So that was the first finding. The second finding is that of those people, parents overwhelmingly had the most impact, most direct impact on how children come to Christ. The third one, a children’s ministry matters. We still saw, despite the overwhelming importance of parents, um, children’s ministry was over and over mentioned as a key in how people came to Christ, whether they were in Sunday school or VBS or church camp..

Top Stories

  • 'Encourage Others to Live in Faith': Tim Tebow Visits Texas Prison, Shares Gospel After Receiving Letter From Inmate's Father

    Tim Tebow is headed to prison, and it’s probably not the first time he’s gone down this path.  It’s a path that begins, for many, and probably Tebow, with Matthew 25: 

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.’

    ‘Encourage Others to Live in Faith’: Tim Tebow Visits Texas Prison, Shares Gospel After Receiving Letter From Inmate’s Father – CBN

    Excerpt:

    During a recent trip to Waco, Texas, NFL quarterback turned baseball player and sports commentator, Tim Tebow visited Alfred D. Hughes maximum-security prison, where he spent quality time with the inmates.

    FAITHWIRE: 21 Rikers Island Inmates Dedicate Their Lives to Jesus During a Hillsong NYC and Prison Fellowship Event

    In a video shared to Instagram, the outspoken Christian athlete can be seen engaging in a pushup contest with inmates, which according to TMZ, he lost 84-71.

    “We had fun, but I got smoked! So encouraged by what God is doing at Alfred Hughes prison and grateful for the…

  • 6 Inspirational Resources for Writing Sermons

    Getting constructive help for your sermon is almost always a welcome additiion to your week.  Here’s some sermon-writing helps you might be misssing…..

    6 Inspirational Resources for Writing Sermons – Church Relevance

    Excerpt:

    Sermon writing is one of the most identifiable and important parts of a pastor’s job in ministry. Jesus preached constantly to His followers and disciples and set the foundation for a pastor’s job today. There are two critical components of a sermon. First, to base it on sound theology and second, to have a clear purpose of always strengthening your congregation’s understanding of and relationship with God. However, even with years of education and practice, writing sermons can still be a challenging task.

    If you are a pastor struggling to find inspiration in this…

Briefs

  • It’s easy to have a superficial conversation with someone. Most of our conversations aren’t personal. How often has someone asked you, “How are you?” What’s the universal response? “Fine. How are you?”

    What if you didn’t talk to make conversation, but instead you talked to make a difference?

    I’ve used “S.P.E.A.K.” as an acronym to help me…

  • Here is a LINK to a PDF of the latest study in my series “Insights In Isaiah” — Isaiah 49:  The Future Restoration and Salvation of Israel

    Isaiah 49

    Listen to me, O coastlands,
        and give attention, you peoples from afar.
    The Lord called me from the womb,
        from the body of my mother he named my name.
    2 He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
        in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
    he made me a polished arrow;
        in his quiver he hid me away.
    3 And he said to me, “You are my servant,
        Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”[
    4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;
        I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
    yet surely my right is with the Lord,
        and my recompense with my God.”

  • Who is an evangelical? Dr. Thomas Kidd joins Matt and Derek to discuss this pertinent question which is also the title to his recent book, Who Is an Evangelical?: The History of a Movement in Crisis. Listen in on why Dr. Kidd does not include activism as an identifiable factor for evangelicals, why it seems that evangelicals are susceptible to politicization, and if being “born again” unmoors evangelicals from historical institutions?

  • Humans are complex creatures, consisting of body and soul. God formed us out of the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7a). He gave us bodies, making us physical creatures. And He nourishes our bodies with physical things. The Lord provides food to satisfy our hunger and drink to quench our thirst.

    But that’s only one aspect of the person. God also breathed into us the breath of life (Gen. 2:7b). He gave us souls, making us spiritual creatures. So if He provides physical things for our bodies, how does He nourish our souls?

  • Words like “Ummm” “ahhh” or “you know” indicates hesitation and indecision. It communicates that you’re not sure, you’re looking for the right word, or you just can’t decide. None of those options are good for a leader’s perception.

  • The U.N. Security Council will hold closed consultations Tuesday on North Korea’s recent ballistic missile launches, diplomats said Thursday.

    Britain, France and Germany called for a council meeting following the recent series of missile launches, which are a violation of U.N. sanction

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