Friday, December 28, 2012

One Nation Under God?

For years I have been very concerned with the moral direction of our nation. It seems that every headline is worse than the one before, and I cannot simply pass it off as the desire of the media to out-sensationalize each other in order to gain a larger audience. The world seems to be turning inside-out and upside-down. People seem to have completely lost their minds. What is going on? Is all this a sign of something spiritual?

On Sunday at Cotton Ridge I will begin a new series called "One Nation Under God?" In it we will discover the root cause of our nation's moral collapse, how God addresses a nation like ours, and our role in the path to repentance and revival.

Join us on Sundays at 10am at 1407 Ave. H (in the Levelland ISD Annex Building) as we begin 2013 with a biblical view of God's actions toward our nation.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Accountability Partner Benefits & Guidelines

Having an accountability partner is a key to overcoming difficult spiritual strongholds in your life. Here are some things I've picked up along my journey with Christ about this important topic:
  • Unless it is your spouse (who, by the way, should eventually become your #1 accountability partner), your partner should be the same sex as you. It is a short step from spiritual to physical intimacy.
  • Your partner should truly love and care for you.
  • Your partner should have a love of the Scriptures.
  • Your partner should be able to detect when you are about to fall into the pit of sin.
  • Your partner should be spiritually mature, gentle, and careful (Gal. 6:1).
Once you have established someone as your accountability partner, here are some guidelines to follow:
  • You must agree to openness and honesty. Bondage to sin brings deception with it, and some people have been deceptive for years. If you want to be free from the slavery to sin, you start with honesty‚Ķeven if it is humbling. If your accountability partner asks how you are doing, and you have just fallen into sin, you must honestly admit it.
  • You agree to prepare a list of the circumstances that are likely to lead you to fall into sin. Together, make a plan for how to deal with each one. Ask your accountability partner to hold you accountable to it.
  • Agree to give your partner freedom to ask the hard questions, without taking offense. For instance, "Have you struggled with your sin today?" Or, "Did you break off that sinful habit or relationship completely, as you said you would?"
  • Agree to initiate communication daily for the first 30 days, as far as is possible. If you are unwilling to maintain an accountability relationship, then most likely you will not win the battle against sexual sin for any length of time.
Additional Scriptures: 2 Sam. 10:9-12; Heb. 10:23-25; Prov. 27:17; Eccl. 4:9-12
A great resource: Setting Captives Free. It is a website which offers help to people struggling with gambling, sexual purity, homosexuality, substance abuse, smoking, or bad eating habits. This ministry is adding additional resources from time to time, so check it out.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Proposed Structure for Elders and the Congregation

A church's structure is key to its long-term success or failure.

Earlier in my ministry, I pastored a church that had a structure that maintained control in the hands of a few. This led to a great amount of frustration among anyone (myself included) who wanted to use their gifts to serve the Lord. These key leaders found themselves handicapped from the outset and obstructed from obeying their calling.

Clicking the image here will download a PDF of a proposed basic structure for ministry and church life. It is not comprehensive, as it does not yet feature a diagram dealing with Deacon Ministry (which Cotton Ridge does not yet have) or church membership. However, it is a start to dialoguing how we can accomplish a few key biblical principles: (1) keeping the focus of the Elders on spiritual affairs, and (2) providing accountability and open communication.

The proposed idea is to create an Admin Team that will handle the "business" affairs of the church: finances, property, and personnel. They would be made up of faithful church members whom God has called to this important task. The Elders would provide guidance for those on the Admin Team, especially as it is being formed.

Is having an Admin Team a good idea? What do you think?

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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Entertaining vs. Hospitality

From the Life Application Study Bible Devotion:
"Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining. Entertaining focuses on the host: The home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests. Their needs-whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance-are the primary concern. Hospitality can happen in a messy home. It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup. It can even happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together. Don't hesitate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain."

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