Extra Biblical History – Why I Always Doubt It

So there you are, sitting in church. The pastor is at the pulpit preaching from the Bible. He reads a particular verse and then begins to explain its meaning. He tells a colorful story about how people thought, acted or behaved thousands of years ago. The pastor then uses this colorful story to explain the meaning of God’s word……

Wait a minute…..what? Where did he get that information? What are his sources? How does he know that people did that back then?
Continue reading

Short Term Youth Mission Trips

Missionary Preparation

Your home town USAWhy would a high school student, college student or adult ask for thousands of dollars of donations from friends and family to go on a short term foreign mission trip when they have no experience sharing the gospel with others?

I have seen first hand, individuals travel half way around the world on a mission trip, and then wasting the money spent to send them there because they were to shy to share the gospel with strangers. I have also seen where a young lady went on a mission trip, not to share the gospel, but so that she could be near the young man who was leading the youth mission trip.
Continue reading

Biblical Dating

Holding HandsFigure out first who you won’t date before deciding who you will date.

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

They say love is blind, and I say they’re right. Once you start falling for someone there’s a strong tendency to begin overlooking their flaws, sometimes even very big flaws.
Long before you go out on a first date; consider establishing a dating criteria by figuring out what attributes a person must already possess in order for you to date them.
Continue reading

Love God with All Your Heart

Love God with all your heartHow important is God to you? Jesus said that if we love anything or anyone more than Him, we aren’t worthy of Him, (Matthew chapter 10).

Sometimes spiritual things are difficult to understand so let’s bring this issue down to something more easily relatable such as a comparison to your spouse and children. If a man loved his work more than his wife, would she know it? Yes. Towards her, he would be distant and would only ever talk about his work. He would rarely listen and would seldom be interested in anything she had to say.
Continue reading

How to Find a Christian Husband

Click the play button to listen to this episode.

Couple walking on the beachIt’s amazing how many people are asking this question: “How to find a Christian husband?”

I’m going to answer that question right now but be warned, some of my advice is going to be controversial among church going women.
Continue reading

Going to Church Doesn’t Make You a Christian

Press the Play button to listen to this episode.
Bible Study by Ace ArmstrongGoing to church doesn’t make you a Christian, but not going to church makes you a non Christian.

Yes, it’s a bold statement and I recognize that there are many nuances and circumstances that could be discussed. However, consider this statement: Eating vegetables doesn’t make you a vegetarian but not eating at all makes you dead.
Continue reading

What a Christian Man Looks For In a Woman

How to Be a Christian Woman and What to Look For In a Christian Man

There are two types of Christian men. Those who’ve gained spiritual wisdom through the Holy Spirit and those who have yet to do so. When it comes to dating, the ones who haven’t will pursue women based solely on outward appearance. These men will also be the ones eager to pursue intimacy.

But the men who are filled with the Holy Spirit and have gained the renewal of the mind mentioned in the book of Romans, place a woman’s appearance as merely an important second. What they seek first are spiritual qualities.

What a Christian man looks for in a woman is that she’s a Christian filled with the Holy Spirit. A woman who loves Jesus, prays continually, and places her trust in the Lord. Christian men want a woman who serves the Lord willingly and who is not inclined to quarrel.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a
worker who does not need to be ashamed and who
correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you
in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)

Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with
a quarrelsome wife. (Proverbs 21:9)

Likewise single Christian women should be seeking a man who can be a spiritual leader. Sometimes women, desperate to be in a relationship, will begin dating the first guy that comes along, and will resort to what’s known as dating evangelism – trying to get the new boyfriend to become a Christian. The sad truth however is that without her, he would never attend worship on his own. He does so only as an attempt to advance their relationship, not because he loves the Lord.

A Christian woman should be seeking a man who is already filled with the Holy Spirit and doesn’t need any prompting from her to know that he needs God. He should be a man who is already attending church regularly, already reading the Bible consistently, and who spends quality time in prayer. A spiritual leader doesn’t need to be a pastor, but he does need to recognize God’s voice.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

The best way to find a Christian spouse is to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

And while you’re seeking the Lord, get involved in, and serve at, a church where you can meet and be around people your own age. Then just wait patently upon the Lord and the relationship you long for will eventually appear in God’s perfect timing.

Methods of Evangelism

Methods of evangelism – Find the one that works for you.

Methods of evangelism

Press the play button to listen to this episode.

There are many different ways in which the gospel can be shared. Each person may find that certain methods work better for them than others. So to find the methods of evangelism that work best for you, try different ones and look for the areas where God has gifted you. But remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t assume that God hasn’t gifted you just because it feels awkward the first time you try.

Just like learning to ride a bike or catch a ball, The first time you try anything, you probably won’t do well on your first attempt. Using these methods of evangelism, you’ll probably find that you’ll have to talk to a few people, before you get the hang of it. Learning how to hone your God given gifts while interacting with living, breathing people is bound to have a few moments of awkwardness. Just press on until you become comfortable talking to people and can settle into the evangelism methods that God has gifted you with.
Continue reading

How To Find a Church

What makes a good church

It was the year 2000, I had just moved to a new city and started looking for a nearby church. It seemed liked there was one on every street and in some places even two next door to each other. With so many to choose from, how do I decide which one to go to? What makes a good church?

When searching for a church to attend, be cautious. Your faith is of greater worth than gold, and is the only thing you have that pleases God enough to offer you His gift of salvation. Be on your guard when deciding which church you’ll attend. Guard your faith carefully so that no one steers you off course or dampens your faith through incorrect teaching.

a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (John 4:23)

Mark Driscoll, the pastor of Mars Hill Church, tells a story of when he was young and first starting out in ministry. He was invited to speak at a pastors conference. They asked him to speak about what they should do to attract more young people to their churches. During his presentation he stated that young people want to hear the truth, that Jesus Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead. A pastor in the audience raised his hand and asked, “But what if I don’t believe that?” Mark Driscoll was momentarily stunned and then asked “How many of you do not believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead?” Several pastors raised their hands, to which Mark Driscoll responded, “I don’t want to tell you people how to get more young people in your churches because you’re going to lead them straight to hell.” He then proceeded to preach the gospel message.

Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

It goes without saying that the first thing you should do when searching for a church is pray. Pray for guidance as to which church you should attend. After that, present each church you’re going to visit to the Lord through prayer and while visiting, pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is telling you.

To find a good church you may have to attend many different churches and may need to attend each one more than once. It can be difficult, from just one visit, to get an accurate assessment of what a church is about. You may need to attend two or more services to get a clear indication as to what their main focus is. For example, you may walk into a church on the one day of the whole year that they’re giving a review of their finances. You might leave with the impression that they’re overly concerned with money. But a second and third visit would reveal a bigger picture.

What makes a good church good, is a church that places Jesus Christ as the central focus of everything they do. If the name of Jesus is never once mentioned during the church service, you should exit immediately and not return.

A good church will have Bibles. If you look around and see that no one in the church has a Bible, leave.

But just because you find a church that does a good job teaching the Bible, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good church for you. One of the biggest influences in your spiritual growth will be the people you become friends with at church. In most cases this means you’ll need to find a church that has at least a few people that share your same stage of life. If you’re 22 and single, find a church that has some young single people. If you’re 25 and newly married, find a church that has several young married couples. Do you have infants at home? Teen aged kids? Have your children grown and moved away? Look for a church where you’ll be able to connect and form friendships with people in similar circumstances.

During my search for a good church, I visited several. Some I attend once, others I attended for a couple of months. Ultimately I ended up at church where I quickly made some friends who were very committed and enthusiastic about their relationship with Jesus Christ. They inspired, motivated, and encouraged me to pursue, with greater passion, my love for the Lord.

One point of note – Once I found a great church to attend and got connected with friends, I found that most of my spiritual growth happened outside the church. I attended weekly services and other church events but my greatest spiritual growth took place in living rooms, kitchens, back yards and in coffee shops while spending time with the friends I had made at church.

(Photo credit: Amy’s House Wamring Party, by Gary Howell)

Why Is It Important To Go To Church

Why go to church

Why is it important to go to churchImagine if in the Olympic Games there was only one competitor for each event. In preparing for the Olympics, there would be no goals to set, no standards to achieve and no times to beat. Olympic athletes wouldn’t have anything, against which, to measure their own performance. They could walk the 100 meter dash and still win. By being the only person competing, there would be no one else to challenge them and no one to spur them on.

By having many competitors, a standard for excellence is established. Each participant has something against which they can measure their own efforts.

Human beings always tend to become like the people they associate with. By regularly attending a church we have the opportunity to create friendships with other Christ followers who have a greater depth of spiritual wisdom and maturity. We’re able to see within them a greater potential for ourselves. They’re example can establish for us a baseline by which we are able to measure our own spiritual walk and growth. They challenge us. Through their friendship they reveal within us the areas of our spiritual growth that we can improve upon.

It’s not an issue of whose better, nor is it a competition. It’s the fact that we will never know our own potential until we meet someone who has surpassed us.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(Hebrews 10:24-25)

(photo credit: flickr creatice commons, 11:45 service at St Ebbes Church Oxford by Jimmy and Sasha Reade)

Is Not Going To Church a Sin

Is not going to church a sin

Is not going to church a sin? The answers are maybe, sometimes, yes and no. Here’s why:

God commands us to go to church and blesses us when we do. But is it a sin to not go to church? It depends on your motivation. If you’re not going to church at all, you’re sinning. But if you skip church one weekend because you’re sick or your child is sick, or your car broke down, or you have to catch a flight at the airport to go home for the holidays, it’s not a sin.

When does missing church become a sin?
People become like those they associate with. If you intentionally choose not to associate with like minded followers of Jesus Christ, you are, by default, becoming like the rest of the world that does not follow Christ. People who choose, either to stop going to church or to never start going, are drifting away from God. They may be drifting away quickly or slowly, but either way, if they’re never around other believers, their love for God is fading.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(Hebrews 10:24-25)

If you choose not to go to church because you feel it’s too much effort, or because you think you don’t have time, or because you believe you don’t know anyone there and would feel uncomfortable, you’re disobeying God, which is a sin.

But if you’re already plugged into a church where you’re growing spiritually by being connected in vibrant relationships with other believers, and happen to miss church one Sunday because of special circumstances, you have not sinned.

Here’s a hypothetical example: Let’s say your parents live two hours away and your dad’s birthday is on a Sunday. You decide you’re going to get up early that Sunday, skip church, and drive to his home to spend the day with him and celebrate his birthday. Is it a sin to not go to church? On the contrary, the bible says, “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12)

Through his teachings about the Sabbath day, Jesus shows us that the more important consideration is your inner motivation. The work that Jesus did on the Sabbath day came from his inner motivation to love God and love other people, therefore, the work he did on that day was not a sin.

Occasionally missing church is not a sin, so long as your inner motivation continues to be a desire to worship Jesus Christ and to fellowship, on a regular basis, with other believers.

Why is it important to go to church

(photo credit:flickr creative commons, chruch, Silent Shot photo stream)