Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ken Hemphill on Spiritual Gifts

I read this article by Ken Hemphill this morning and found the following to be very interesting. It's an excerpt from a longer article (see full Baptist Press article here)

"I believe that any ability that enables one to serve the King in and through the church should be used accordingly when it meets the following criteria:

1. It must be recognized and acknowledged as a gracious gift of the sovereign God.

When you receive Christ as Savior, you receive the Spirit of God, enabling you to understand spiritual truths (1 Corinthians 2:6-16). Rather than receiving new abilities not previously possessed, new believers will often see all of life as what has been freely given to us by God (1 Corinthians 2:12).

You were created for the purposes of God and His Kingdom. Now that you have the Spirit, you can understand that everything possessed, including talents and abilities, is a gift from God. I do not mean to imply that God cannot and does not give new abilities. God does what He desires to enable the church to fulfill its purpose.

2. Our gifts must be surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

It is at the point of surrender that our gifts are fully empowered by God's Spirit. Most of us have learned this principle in the broader Christian life but have seldom applied it to our understanding of giftedness. We should not be surprised to discover that the first admonition in Romans 12:1 is the exhortation to present our bodies as living sacrifices.

3. Our gifts must be used for the King in and through His body, the church.

The gifts are given by God to enable His church to accomplish its God-given task of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Many gifts serve within the body to edify the membership. Other gifted members serve through the church to reach the community and the world, and to enable the church to permeate the world and its culture. All gifts are given by the King and are thus indispensable to the mission of His church."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Prayer that Changed History: 7 Brief Studies of Prayer

I love that I get to share wonderful materials that other pastors have used in their churches.

In early December 2007 I posted a complimentary download, "Praying Like Jesus: 10 Brief Studies in Prayer" by Rick Ezell. These were very popular so Rick sent another series called, "Prayer that Changed History: 7 Brief Studies of Prayer in the Early Church." These simple, one-page studies on prayer are ideal for a Wednesday evening, Sunday evening, or other time when you lead a less formal Bible study time.

Here are the titles:
  1. The Indispensable and Distinguishing Feature (Acts 2:42)
  2. Prayer Brings God to Us (Acts 4:24)
  3. Prayer Changes Us (Acts 4:13)
  4. Prayer Unleashes the Power of God (Acts 4:31)
  5. Prayer Prepares Us to Share Our Faith Boldly (Acts 4:31)
  6. What Happens When A Church Prays? (Acts 12:5)
  7. The Prayer Force (Acts 6:1-4)
Access "Prayer that Changed History: 7 Brief Studies of Prayer in the Early Church" now...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Evangelistic VBS in a smaller membership church

I just posted a new article in the Pastor's area of LifeWay.com on Tuesday. It was written by our new director of Pastoral Ministries and Church Consulting at LifeWay, Dan Garland. I wanted to make sure you saw it.

Dan Garland believes that Vacation Bible School (VBS) is one of the most effective ways* to fulfill Jesus’ call to, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14). Dan says that the most important part of VBS is not cookies and crafts, but rather the built-in evangelistic opportunities to do the following:
  • Build relationships with children who need Christ.
  • Present the gospel in terms and ways children will understand.
  • Provide a fun time where children will feel good about God and the church.
As many as one fourth of all baptisms in Southern Baptist churches can be tied directly to VBS conversion experiences. In a 2003 study by the Barna Group, data from churches showed the probability of someone accepting Christ after age 12 dramatically drops. (George Barna, Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions, 34)

We must reach children with the Good News and VBS is one effective way.

Here are 5 keys to an evangelistic VBS in a smaller membership church.

*Almost 1-in-16 children ages 5-12 in America was enrolled in a Southern Baptist VBS, according to figures from 2006 (see article - Two million 5-12 year olds enroll in VBS)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Bible is America's Favorite Book

An earlier Harris Poll revealed the type of books Americans read but this new study released on April 8, 2008 shows that across all demographics that the Bible is America's favorite book of all time.

The summary of the study closes with this great statement, "they may not agree on candidates, but one thing that brings together partisans is their favorite book. For Republicans, Democrats and Independents, the top two books are the same – The Bible followed by Gone with the Wind."

View the results of the study at harrisinteractive.com

Monday, April 7, 2008

Church Covenant Download Available

I posted this on LifeWay.com a while ago but when I included it as a link in Pastors Today it got a great response.

This church covenant written by my dad, Henry Webb, and is based on his study of the expectations that Jesus revealed for His followers. His hope is that pastors and church leaders can use this as a starting point with their leadership team to develop or update their own church covenant.

You may access it here...

Also, if your church is in the process of developing a Constitution and By-laws be sure to check out the The Church Constitution Guide available from Church Planting Village.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Sermon Series, Building Loving Relationships, 1 Corinthians 13

I posted a new seven-sermon series in Proclaim online yesterday by Jerry Gifford. You'll want to take a look at it, along with the PowerPoint template that I created.

View the Sermon Series, Building Loving Relationships, 1 Corinthians 13

Here are the titles and verses for the seven sermons.
1. Building Loving Relationships, Series Introduction
2. Wounded: The Patient Needs Patience (vs. 4)
3. Content with Your House and Your Spouse (vs. 4)
4. Puffing and Parading in the Home (vs. 4)
5. Love Assassins (vs. 5)
6. Facing Moral Failures with Tough Love (vs. 6)
7. Love that lasts a Lifetime (vs. 7-8)