The Enduring Value of the Participatory Lord’s Supper

CommunionI grew up in a Bible-believing church that celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ once each week in a meeting called “The Lord’s Supper.” It was also know in our family as “The Breaking of Bread” or the “First Meeting.” The meeting is unlike communion services in mainline evangelical churches in that it is a service where men who have trusted in Jesus Christ can stand up sporadically and share something about their Savior from their heart. I heard a lot about the importance of that meeting growing up, often from within the meeting itself. Many people over the years have testified about its’ significance in their life. Some have identified it as the main reason they choose to fellowship at a particular local church. Others qualify that service as the most important hour of their week.

Many have written about the biblical foundation for the participatory Lord’s Supper. That is not the purpose of this article, though it is an area of continued need. Neither do I intend to make sweeping generalizations about the churches that employ this kind of a service, as seems to be popular among some today. In what follows, I simply want to offer seven reasons why I value the Lord’s Supper. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, as if I could in a few words encompass the immeasurable worth of remembering the Savior in this way. While these reasons are very close to my heart, they are in no way exclusive to myself alone. I hope in reading them you also will be moved to marvel at the manifold wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ for instituting this remembrance meal. Continue reading

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When Jesus Doesn’t Meet My Expectations

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Not What She Was Expecting

My wife and I were engaged a little over five years ago. Leading up to our engagement she had all the evidence necessary to know that I intended to propose to her: we had gone ring shopping together and actually purchased the ring, we had talked about our love for one another, and we had made plans for our future together. Even though she had all this evidence, when the time came that I actually proposed she was at first confused when I asked her to marry me. Continue reading

An Apologetic for Children’s Ministry

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Tonight marks the beginning of my tenth summer of children’s ministry in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ at Christian camps and church Vacation Bible Schools across the country. Teaching, encouraging, and challenging children has been one of the greatest privileges that God has allowed me to participate in throughout my lifetime. While many pay lip service to the importance of children’s ministry, it is commonly viewed as the bottom rung on the ladder of church involvement and participation. I remember a camp director telling me some years ago that he had no problem finding speakers for junior high or high school camps, but found it extremely difficult to find speakers for elementary age camps. While there are many reasons for this, the difficulty of working with children coupled with (in many cases) low immediate reward contribute to the general unpopularity of the ministry.

Despite the challenges that children’s ministry presents (and there are many), I believe that this is a vital calling which more young Christian men and women should seriously consider if we want to see the church of Jesus Christ stand her ground in our contemporary society. Continue reading

Christ, the Cosmos, and the Church: Reflections and Challenges from Ephesians

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This semester I took a class on Ephesians. It was one of the most challenging and profitable academic experiences that I’ve been through so far. At the conclusion of the course I thought it would be beneficial to think through several lessons or thoughts that I had not seen in Ephesians before. Continue reading

Four Reminders for Christians on Super Tuesday

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Here we are, Tuesday evening, March 1st, 2016. Super Tuesday, as it is designated in the political realm. The results from a dozen states have been pouring in to the webpage on my iPhone (which is being manually reloaded every few minutes) for over the past hour. I can honestly say what I see disgusts me. I have been hoping and praying that America would wake up from their stupor and somehow vote according to the same Christian convictions that I have. Instead, it appears from all angles that the vast majority of conservative voters in our nation have abandoned morality, honesty, integrity, and just plain good common sense to cast votes for a man who, if elected, could very well be the most tyrannical president our nation has ever seen.

I’m angered by what appears to be the blind and emotional following of those who support this man. His supporters value him as someone who is “outside the political system,” and so doesn’t have to play by the rules of politicians. Regardless of his moral values (or lack thereof) many will support him simply because he is a strong voice who will not relent his opinions nor ask forgiveness (even of God, as he has said). They have fallen prey to the “might makes right” mentality of the middle-ages which has refashioned itself and resurfaced in the guise of a Republican candidate.

I’m also angered by the hypocrisy of those who would claim the name of Christ and yet support such a morally depraved candidate. It is very revealing of the true nature of American “Christianity” broadly and perhaps even Evangelicalism as nominal and surface. It’s also incredibly disheartening to think about the negative direction that our country is destined to take with either this Republican man or his Democratic counterpart at the helm.

This past hour I’ve been wallowing in disgust, sorrow, fear for the future of my children, helplessness. And I’ve realized that I’ve been taken over by emotions that boiled over from a heart that’s been hoping in the wrong things. I’ve been putting my hope, even my faith, in the wrong things. As a follower of Jesus Christ, my hope is not found in human leaders or lawmakers or the American public that would elect them. My hope is found in Jesus Christ, who is perfectly revealed in God’s word. Likewise my faith and trust cannot be centered in the election of a man or woman, no matter how great or moral a leader, as if somehow that act would right all the wrongs of this world. Even if a conservative Evangelical Christian were elected to our country’s highest office it would not be the end of immorality and injustice. Only the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior can accomplish that end. Continue reading

God’s Promise Prevails through Conflict: Genesis 35

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(This message was recently preached at Warrenville Bible Chapel in Warrenville, IL.)

Working in the construction world for ten years one of the skills that I picked up over time was the ability to read a blueprint. Reading a blueprint for a residential home is one thing, but reading a print for a large scale commercial project is another thing entirely. There are special instructions and specifications that are spelled out on multiple pages, and if you’re not careful to follow the instructions the architect’s design can quickly change into something it was not intended to be. Continue reading

The End of Fear

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We are living in a world filled with fear. Last year the Islamic extremist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, invaded Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, and cut off transportation, power and water to the city, releasing over a thousand prisoners, and causing thousands to flee. After the conquest the terrorist group proclaimed itself “The Islamic State,” or “The Caliphate,” a term meant to link their organization to memories of the great Muslim era of the prophet Muhammad. Their leader was declared caliph, a term meaning “successor to Muhammad.” As caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi now claims the allegiance of all Muslims worldwide, and has called upon all Muslims to come and defend the Islamic State. Continue reading