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    Many gifts, one Spirit

    First Corinthians 12:1–13 is part of the lectionary readings for Pentecost Sunday, May 31st. On this momentous day in the life of the Church, the passage highlights the gifts of grace the Spirit brings to Jesus’ followers. A key purpose Paul had in writing 1 Corinthians was to explain that the crucified and risen Messiah embodied the gospel. He was also the basis for the church’s unity, service, and hope. Part of that unity was maintained through the presence and practice of “spiritual gifts” (v. 1) within the body of Christ. The Greek text (pneumatika) is more literally rendered “spiritual things” and can either refer to persons filled with the…

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    1 Corinthians 14: Are Women Really Supposed to Be Silent in Church?

    What does the apostle Paul mean when he says women are to keep silent in the churches? Many see this as a prohibition against females saying anything in the gathered assembly. But is that what Paul intended? We find his instruction about such silence in 1 Corinthians 14. Let’s begin by taking a look at the context:  1.    Notice the topic is spiritual gifts. Paul’s readers, the church in Corinth, are to be eager for the gifts, especially that they might prophesy. Note there are no gender limits given on any gifts. And read his words in light of three chapters earlier, where Paul assumed women would pray and prophesy in…

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    Can a Woman Be a Pastor? Looking at the New Testament

    Recently someone raised this question: Were there any mentions in the New Testament of men/women who were actually titled "pastor"? I keep hearing arguments that there were no women pastors in the Bible, but I can't find any men called "pastor" either. The observation that no one, male or female, is called “pastor” is absolutely correct. We don’t see “Pastor Paul” or “Pastor Mark” or “Pastor John” in the Bible. Or “Pastor Phoebe” for that matter. In the same way that no one person is ever referred to as the giver (imagine “Giver Aquila”), the exhorter (Exhorter Priscilla?), the evangelizer, the teacher, the mercy-shower…there is also no one in the New…

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    Blowing Past Greatness

    I recently went to a wedding of some friends in Fort Worth. The pianist was a good looking young man who provided lovely music as we came into the church, and accompanied the vocalists during the ceremony. At the end of the wedding, as people got up to leave the sanctuary to get to the reception, he played an incredible piece that was ignored by everyone around me. Only a very small handful of us knew that he had recently earned his masters in piano performance from Juilliard, and is a concert pianist of the highest caliber. But as an unknown friend of the groom, he was playing in a…

  • Heartprints

    Christian Parenting Mistakes: #5 Not Helping Them Embrace Their Spiritual Gifts

    Just as sad as mistakenly raising cultural Christians who know the talk but can’t walk the walk because they have not yet accepted Christ as Savior, is the mistake of having a child in our family or classroom who has accepted Christ as Savior and yet we don’t help them discover and use their spiritual gifts. We hamstring their spiritual muscles and hamper their growth in Christ when we don’t help them learn how to spiritually exercise. When a person believes in Christ He is placed into the body of Christ. He is born again and given spiritual gifts. However, most churches function as though these gifts can only be…

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    What’s Your Superpower?

    If you could choose a superpower, which one would it be? When asked this question as an icebreaker, I’ve heard some people say they’d love to fly; others say they would choose mindreading. Some would love to be invisible. But for the believer in Jesus, the idea of having superpowers isn’t a fantasy. It is the reality of being indwelled by God Himself, the source of actual and real supernatural power. And He gives gifts, spiritual gifts, that consist of supernatural enabling. We find the spiritual gifts in four places in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, Ephesians 4 and 1 Peter 4. Consider these spiritual gifts—superpowers,…

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    Why Spiritual Gifts? – Everyone Matters

    God knew it would be impossible for one person to reach the whole world with the Gospel. No one person possesses all it takes to accomplish that goal or the goal of helping individuals grow and mature in their faith once they accept Christ. So, after Jesus ascended into heaven and returned to the Father…a really efficient paradigm was initiated in the form of “spiritual gifts”. The Holy Spirit was sent to indwell each person who receives Christ and trusts Him for forgiveness. (Ephesians 1:14) The indwelling Holy Spirit enables, provides power, insight into the scriptures, comfort, guidance and the ability to function as a Christian .(John 14:15-27; 16:8-15; Acts…

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    Megachurch Myths

    Denominations. Leadership structures. Worship styles. All are descriptors of local churches meant to help us categorize and identify what that particular church body believes and prioritizes. But size? Does knowing the size of a church really tell you what to expect from that church body?   We all know the myths. In small churches everyone is on a first-name basis, the Sunday School teacher is also the janitor and choir director, and the fellowship around the casseroles and Crock-pots is where true community is formed. In megachurches you can expect the skinny jean-wearing worship leader to be a former guitarist for Chris Tomlin, enjoy watching the sermon on your iPad…

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    What’s My Purpose in Life?

    A dear younger friend of mine recently posted this question on a forum: “Do you feel that you have a great mission or purpose in life? “I do feel like I’m made for something more than this, but whatever it is I can’t reach it, or find out what it is. I do feel as though I have a great purpose or mission in life—I’m sure I do!!! Why can I just not figure it out? “Was I born in the wrong time? My roommate says that I’m like a young person who thinks they were meant for more. She says hardly anyone here has a great life of purpose…

  • Impact

    Confessions of a Church Critic

    "For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3).   When I first considered writing Christian articles/columns or a blog online the following thought came to mind: “Wouldn’t it be neat to visit different churches and then write a column rating that church? I could tell others what was cool about the church, where they were on the straight path, where they were straying, where tradition was overriding biblical teaching, where they had…