Friday, February 27, 2009

Hunger for Righteousness

"Nobody's interested in that." That's what I heard about doctrinal matters of the church. People simply aren't interested in doctrinal things; they want preaching and teaching that meet felt needs.

Well, I beg to differ. "The Affirming the Faith" Seminar in OKC was filled and overflowing. The open forum in Cleburne over the Emerging Church Movement was full of folks, young and old. The lecture and Q & A session I did Thursday night on Instrumental Music in Wagoner, OK filled every pew in the auditorium with people, young and old.

Is there a hunger for truth? Yes. People have not stopped thinking about what pleases God, and they are willing to hear "doctrinal" preaching. The belief that people are interested anymore speaks more about those who say such things than it does about reality. People are interested in what the Bible teaches, because they are interested in God.

Truth matters to God, and it should matter to us. Preachers should get out their sermons on doctrinal matters and preach them. They might be surprised at the people's reactions.

Starving folks makes 'em hungry; and much of religion today is empty of distinctive truth.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Welcome and Wanted

I am working very hard right now on a weekend seminar called "Welcome and Wanted." (All my loved ones at Concord Rd are likely to smile at this point or laugh!)

The purpose of the seminar is to stir churches to greater outreach to the lost. As you know, the 2009 Directory of the Churches of Christ showed that we are indeed on a plateau and not growing as we should. Many congregations do not have the motivation or the tools they need to reach out to the lost. I am hoping to stir them up to reach out once again.

I found while teaching courses in Church Growth that many churches have no plan at all to reach the lost. Many congregations have not seen a single baptism in the last year or two. Some congregations haven't seen a baptism is several years. We can and must do better than this.

I have weekends free in the coming years and would love to come to your congregation and present this material and to tell you of the great work of In Search of the Lord's Way and how it can help your local congregation.

Most of our viewers are NOT members of the church.

You can reach me at or at 405-348-3242.


Thursday, February 12, 2009


There is something within all of us that doesn't like rules. We don't like being “told” to do something or to refrain from doing something. Perhaps we don't like rules because we don't like the consequences of breaking rules. Disobedience to rules brings discipline, punishment, disappointment, and pain. We know that when we disobey the rules we have to face the authority behind the rules. Rules are at heart bound up in relationship. We do not break rules; we are breaking the authority of the one who made the rules.
Sin is not simply the transgression of the law; it is the transgression of God's law. When we break God's rules, we break God's will and break from his favor. Isaiah reminds us:
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save,
or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;
but your iniquities have made a separation
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
One who looks long at the cross realizes that sin breaks God's will and his heart. God grieved at the continually evil heart found in the people of Noah's day (Genesis 6:5-7). God warns Christians not to grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) by unwholesome talk or by an unforgiving spirit. Jesus grieved in his spirit to see Jerusalem rejecting God's will and refusing to embrace him as Lord (Matthew 23:37-39). You can hear the heartache of the Lord:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Rules are not some optional imperative, when they come from God. They are not suggestions. They are founded in God's own holy character. They are part of Him, and we cannot relate to Him without recognizing them.
These “rules” go to the very heart of our relationship with God. One must not confuse them with a legalistic “laundry list” proposed by power-hungry, religious zealots (Col. 2:20-23). God's rules are eternally moral and righteous; they are for our good (Deuteronomy 6:24; 10:13). They bring health of spirit and body. Those who keep them sow to life, while those who ignore them sow to corruption (Galatians 6:7-8).