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58 Practices Of a Healthy Church Community

It's impossible for a Pastor or even a church staff to care for the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of every individual and family in a congregation. Expecting them to do so places an unscriptural and undue burden on them and creates unrealistic and bound-to-be-unmet expectations in the minds of church members. I mentioned this in a post I wrote last weekend about how I'm sorry when I let people down. In that post, I raised a question. Who then cares for the …

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Six Traits of the Best Small Group Hosts

Some churches raise the bar when it comes to recruiting small group leaders. You need to be a member for X amount of time, well versed in the church's doctrinal statement, agree to a lifestyle covenant, etc. The more qualified the leader, the stronger the group will be... or so goes conventional wisdom. But is that really true? My friend Ron Wilbur, one of Saddleback's Small Groups Pastors, once told me I'd probably make a terrible small group leader. It wasn't that he was …

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Lessons On Community from Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach represents authentic southern California beach culture. You've got bodybuilders working out on the sand, skateboards and bikes covering the boardwalk, and street performers driving nails up their noses for tip money. My family and I visited there yesterday with the Krumm's, friends of ours here in Orange County. It was a fascinating taste of local culture for us and in the midst of that experience, I observed some of the markings of genuine community. Note …

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Spurgeon on Loving the Brethren

One of my favorite websites is The Daily Spurgeon where my friend Nick spends a lot of valuable time culling the pages of Spurgeons sermons and works to offer up a daily couple of paragraphs from one of history's greatest preachers. Today, Spurgeon echoed something that has been on my mind lately about Loving the Brethren. Basically, we can stand against what we interpret to be biblical error, we can expose falsities, and we can disagree strongly, but we ought to love the …

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Lord’s Supper Devotional: An Altar or a Table?

As Luke records it in Luke 22:14-23, Jesus sat at a table with the apostles to celebrate the Lord's Supper with them. Then He promised that someday, they would sit at another table with Him in the Kingdom. Many Christians see the communion table as more of an altar - a place of ongoing sacrifice, but I believe it was intended to be seen as a table. What's the difference? …

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My Church Is My Family

Nobody is closer to me than my wife and daughter, whom the church which I attend could never replace. But I remember Rick Warren talking about how we should be "doing life together" with our church family because we're really preparing to live with them as family for all of eternity. Today reminded me of what it means to be a church family. First, a friend in our church brought me a baseball and an 8x10 photo autographed by Ozzie Smith! Harold knew I loved baseball, so he …

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A Good Weekend to Be a Pastor

Thursday I visited the Native American Museum here in Bentonville with our Keenagers group and enjoyed lunch with them. Friday we dropped in on the Refuge Lockdown and were blessed not only by seeing 30 teens show up to stay up all night, but were also privileged to exit and sleep in a nice comfy bed! Saturday we watch the University of Arkansas Razorbacks get decimated by Alabama. And today, we had a great day together in worship as a church family. Today was filled with …

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Get Along With One Another

We've been going through the "one another's" of the New Testament on Wednesdays at Bethel and it's been a nice journey so far. I think the Scriptures themselves can simply break our hearts over the need for a close bond of fellowship within God's family. The first was "love one another," which had to do with extending an unconditional, God-like love toward other believers as a witness to the world that we are Jesus' disciples. Last week was "wash one another's feet," which …

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Kumbaya, My Lord!

What does that mean, anyway? Actually, it means "come by here." We didn't sing Kumbaya at camp this week, but God definitely showed up! This was my first experience with church camp... ever! I'd been to Conservation Camp in elementary school and hated every minute of it. This week was vastly different. For one thing, thirty-six people got saved! As I reflect on camp, let me just share the highlights... The quiet mornings by the lake while the kids slept were great. Waking up …

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Life… In All Its Complexity

The blog has been put on hold for a couple of weeks now, primarily because of all that my wife and I have been experiencing in our personal lives. Here's a recounting of it... On Monday evening, October 30, Angie left her ladies' Connection Cafe meeting feeling well, but by the time we drove from the church to our house (just a couple of minutes) she was in terrible pain. We decided to go to the emergency room. Our beloved friends, Cory and Lachelle McCaig, came to sit from …

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