God does not forgive excuses (Scott Hubbard): Very few of us fail to learn, at some point in our growing-up years, the fine art of the fake apology. We have spoken a careless word to a friend, for example. Conscience lays a millstone of guilt upon our shoulders, but pride staggers forward, refusing to bend the knee. We look for a way to satisfy both parties. Read more at Desiring God.
5 ways to encourage strong faith (Josh Moody): Paul is concerned that the Colossian Christians stay committed to Christ and do not wander off into false teaching. How to do that? How to ensure that we stay believing the right things and doing the right things? How to show them that what they have already believed about Christ is what they need to stay with – rather than drift off into something new and different, which the false teachers were trying to encourage them to do? Here are 5 ways. Read more at God Centered Life.
Refresh the hearts of those you love (Marshall Segal): How we respond to temptation this week will affect the spiritual life of someone we know. Every time we choose to sin, the tentacles of that decision crawl, often imperceptibly at first, into the precious hearts and lives of those we love. In the same way, holiness is wonderfully contagious, wreaking blessing in every direction, often quietly below the surface of what we can see. Read more at Desiring God.
3 things to be careful about saying at the start of your service (Jared C. Wilson): Obviously context matters, and there’s no need to be dogmatic about how we informally (or even formally) begin a worship service, but here are some common introductory cliches I think worth weighing in terms of their helpfulness to the congregation’s worship. Read more at For the Church.
Your church is not a restaurant (Trevin Wax): In a consumer-oriented society, the default orientation for church attenders is to see their local congregation as a dispenser of religious goods and services. I say “default” not because it’s inevitable that everyone who goes to church perceives their congregation this way, but because without serious and sustained effort to have a more biblical approach people will naturally gravitate toward a view of the church that is influenced by a consumerist imagination. Read more at LifeWay Voices.
5 bad reasons to go to church (Greg Morse): Surveying John the Baptist’s ministry and Jesus’s questioning of the crowds, God gives us five bad reasons to go to church. Read more at Desiring God.
How church membership is misunderstood, misapplied, and abused (Juan Sanchez): Regardless of how well-intentioned we may be, when we require elements of church members which the Bible does not, it won’t be long before those very practices lead us down the same path as the Ephesian church in Revelation 2:1–7. They crossed all their doctrinal t’s and dotted all their ecclesiological i’s—but they lost their first love. And who wants to be a member of that church? So, to avoid such legalistic lovelessness, let’s consider four ways church membership can be misunderstood, misapplied, and even abused. Read more at For the Church.