Pastor's Blog

Pastor's Blog

Archive for the 'Biblical Principles' Category

Where Is the Line?

For every faithful follower of Jesus there is a line over which you cannot and will not step . . . no matter the cost. Often the line becomes clear when those in power attempt to coerce the conscience, convictions, and religious practices of those who follow Christ. For instance, early in the book of Acts, the authorities in Jerusalem commanded the apostles to cease speaking in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18). But the apostles could not and would not be silent.  Though threatened,...

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Is There a Place for Me?

Whenever newcomers check out a church, virtually all are asking some form of the same question: “Is there a place for me?” And for years our short answer at Ingleside has been, “Yes!” Our answer reflects the spirit of Romans 15:7, which says: “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (ESV). Of course, the specific questions newcomers may ask are often more detailed, nuanced, and personalized. Consider these possibilities: ...

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How Growth and Transformation Happen

Have you thought much about how significant growth and transformation occur?  I have. Words often attributed to Samuel Smiles (1812-1904) state the proven process succinctly: Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny. Sowing and reaping.  It’s no accident that the primary metaphor for growth here is an agricultural one.  This is often true in Scripture as well (cf....

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Stay the Course

Have you ever left a project incomplete? Walked away from a job because it was too difficult? Been sidetracked by another priority? I think we can all answer “yes” to those questions. Now change the frame. Have you ever cut out early on a work the Lord wanted to do in or through you? Has your spiritual tenacity drained away? Has an outside pressure weakened your witness? Then be encouraged by the words of Paul to the Corinthians, just after explaining to them how important the...

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No Passengers, All Crew

“So, how many ministers do you have at Ingleside?” the person asked.  I understand that this question is typically intended as an inquiry about the number of people on our church staff. But if answered in a biblical way, the number of ministers at Ingleside is more than 1,000! Think biblically.  A key passage of Scripture that informs our answer to this question and should shape our thinking about a healthy church says: 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the...

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Biblical, Balanced, & Blessed

Do you remember when you learned to ride a bicycle?  Did you start with training wheels?  Did someone who loved you run along beside you steadying the bike with their hand?  What was the key to success?  It was learning to be balanced. What about roller skating or skateboarding?  Do you remember learning how to position your feet and shift your weight so that you could stay upright?  So many nuances, but the goal was simple.  Stay balanced. A few years ago I took a surfing...

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An Acts 16:5 Church

As a shepherd of the flock at Ingleside, I turn to the Scripture again and again for direction and insight about how our church can be healthy and pleasing to the Lord. One of the verses that has left its mark on me is Acts 16:5.  As the Apostle Paul and his missionary partners re-visited the cities where they had shared the gospel on his first missionary journey, he observed: So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily. (Acts 16:5, ESV) Did...

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Give Thanks

When our lives are transformed by God’s grace and filled with the Spirit, one of the results will be a grateful heart.  We will approach every day, every relationship, and every circumstance with a bias toward giving thanks. Perhaps that’s why the Apostle Paul mentions gratitude and thanksgiving three different times in the space of just six verses (Colossians 3:12-16) that describe who we are and how we are to live in Christ.  This powerful passage concludes by saying: And...

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The Flu Shot and the Blood of Jesus

Virtually everyone is aware that we are in the midst of a particularly virulent flu season.  As the New York Times reported recently: “As of February 2, infection rates for the 2017-2018 flu season were still rising, higher than those in any year since 2009, when the swine flu was pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even more worrying, the hospitalization rate is the highest that the C.D.C. has ever recorded at this point in the season. It has just...

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And the Survey Says

What if you could survey about 80,000 people in more than 200 churches about their spiritual growth and how it happens? What if those people were all along a spiritual continuum – from merely “exploring” faith in Christ to an “all in” Christ-centered commitment? What if you could measure over fifty factors to assess their impact on spiritual growth? And what if those factors included: (1) beliefs and attitudes; (2) organized church activities; (3) personal spiritual...

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