When I think back over the advice I’ve received over the years about how to spend my time as a pastor and church planter, it’s overwhelming.
At one point in my ministry, I ate almost every day at McDonald’s for lunch. It was close to the office, and it was cheap! Because I ate there so often, I knew many of the people who worked there and would often greet them by name. I also knew a lot of the other regular customers, so conversations were easy to start and enjoyable to engage in. Being a naturally friendly person, and always on the lookout for opportunities to share my faith, each day I would speak to many of the people I encountered at McDonald’s, both those I knew and those I didn’t.
The Baptist Convention of New England is adding an addiction ministry consultant to our church growth team. Samuel Arroyo-Breeden, a member of First Church in Charlestown, MA, will work with New England churches that are interested in starting or growing a ministry to reach people struggling with different types of addiction.
When I became a believer in Christ, I automatically thought my life would get better, that all my problems would go away because Jesus died on the cross for me. Don’t get me wrong, things changed. In fact, I became radically different. But since knowing Jesus, I have still struggled through depression and anxiety.
While wrestling through the whys, I spent a lot of time asking God if I was really a believer because there were days where I could not get out of bed, days that I was lying face-down on the floor battling anxiety, and days where I thought it would be easier to end my life.
Drs. Paul and Rebekah Kim of Cambridge, Mass., received the Aubrey and Peggy Jones Award at the 2019 Phil Waldrep Ministries Pastor’s Encouragement Retreat in Groton, Conn. Dr. Paul Kim is the Southern Baptist Convention’s Asian American Relations Consultant for Convention Advancement. His wife, Dr. Rebekah Kim, is the Southern Baptist chaplain at Harvard University.
Imagine hearing someone say, “I hate church services. They’re boring, frustrating and meaningless. Church is full of hypocrites who never practice what they preach. It’s a waste of time.”
We might expect to hear these words from a nonbeliever, but this is a paraphrase of God’s thoughts about Israel, His chosen people, in the book of Malachi.
Has God ever ambushed you?
I recently attended a conference session about the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). The speaker did a wonderful job of applying this timeless story by discussing the rocks we all carry around in our pockets, just waiting for the opportune time to lob them at "that one person." And we each knew who "that one person" was for us.
Except I didn't.
The Bible is clear and repetitive in articulating God’s heart for all peoples. The book of Revelation tells us that God calls forth people from every tribe, nation, and tongue to worship Him, making heaven the picture of multicultural beauty. As the visible Church on earth, our focus must always be to try and worship in a manner that most reflects the Promised Land which we will one day call home. Even if a local church finds itself to be in a mono-ethnic location, the call to see multicultural worship is still valid and can still be accomplished by supporting such works in different locations and by sending missionaries to proclaim the Gospel among different people groups.
In ancient times, the king or queen was considered the most important figure in the realm. Servants were plentiful, but the most trusted and revered servants were the cupbearers. The cupbearer made sure that no harm would come to the king or queen by tasting all food and drink to ensure it was safe, as well as up to royal standards. If any food or beverage was poisoned, the cupbearer would also be poisoned or killed by the tainted item.
We sat on her living room floor drinking tea, playing with her two toddlers and catching up on life. Kim, a new wife and mom, had been a college student in our church ten years prior to this reunion at her new home in a different part of the state. She had become a Christian during those college years, and it was wonderful to see her continuing to walk with God as she entered adulthood and faced its many challenges.
My dad came to faith late in life. In a series of events only a gracious God could engineer, he told me he trusted Christ around lunchtime on a Tuesday before dying of a massive heart attack just three hours later.
Integral to his salvation was a decision to visit a small Baptist church. He’d visited a couple of others — unsure of what he was looking for in a church — before he came to one he felt was a fit. Honestly, I don’t know the name of that little church. I know my dad wandered into the sanctuary older, overweight, not “dressed for church” and clearly not looking like a faithful Sunday attender.
The issue of church safety and security continues to be a hot topic inside our churches as well as in the public eye. Churches are being rightfully called out when they put our children and youth at risk, and this problem needs to be addressed more aggressively in our churches. As local church leaders, we must be committed to making positive and lasting changes to make sure that our churches have prepared environments where our kids will be safe and their families can feel secure.
As I begin to harvest from our garden, I am always reminded of the first garden and the first gardeners. God planted the perfect garden full of all kinds of organic edibles. And in the middle of that garden God placed two trees: the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Harvesting the fruit from these two trees still plagues us to this day.
As the school year launches, schedules are packed, students are anxiously excited and families are adjusting to their new norms. The question arises, what will become of this next generation?
How can we reach, equip and send this generation of unique individuals, each with exceedingly high expectations of themselves and the organizations they choose to engage with?
The call came on a late October evening. David Lee’s biological father was dying.
In the years after his adoptive father passed away, Lee developed a relationship with his birth father. It was always important to Lee to be a witness in his extended family’s life. Especially as his father got older, Lee felt an increasing burden to share the Gospel with him.