Some Thoughts on Small, But Not Struggling Churches

When we first arrived in Ontario, Mike Stephens, the Wellandport preacher for over 20 years, and I were discussing my schedule for the summer. This discussion turned to the topic of small, struggling churches. He commented regarding one of the congregations, “Oh, they’re struggling to reach 200, but they are not struggling spiritually.”

In reflecting on the summer and my association with several, but not all, of the Ontario churches, I echo this sentiment. Often in the States, we equate strength with numbers. But careful observation and scriptural consideration reveal this is not necessarily so. Continue reading

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Farewell My Canadian Brethren

Yesterday I preached my final sermon and taught my last class for the summer at Wellandport, as we said goodbye to our Canadian friends and brethren. Today we will be crossing the border back into the United States.

The past 2 months have been a real joy and a tremendous blessing as Norma Jean and I transition into a new phase in our lives. We determined some time ago to “retire” from what we call located work with one congregation, but not retire from preaching.

The Wellandport brethren have been wonderful. They have graciously received us and welcomed us to make our temporary home with them as we traveled throughout Ontario and shared the Word. Continue reading

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Heartfelt Religion

John Eldridge tells a story in one of his books about a businessman who called his daughter and asked her to join him for dinner. She was surprised but delighted. For years she had longed for a closer relationship with her father, for his interest in her.

She met him at the appointed restaurant, and almost immediately after they were seated, he pulled out his Day-Timer and began to review the goals that he had set for her that year. “I wanted to burst into tears and run out of the restaurant,” she later related. Continue reading

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Mocking Creationism in Canada

This summer I have been teaching a class on Sunday evenings at Wellandport on “Evidences for our Faith.” We are demonstrating that there is solid, sound evidence for rational thinking people to be Creationists, to believe in the Bible as the Word of God and to accept the Deity of Jesus.

Through the course, we have cited many scientists who reject The General Theory of Evolution and believe in Intelligent Design. Following a recent study, one of the members suggested I check out a speech by Canada’s recently appointed Governor General, Julie Payette. Given last fall to scientists at an Ottawa convention, Ms. Payette mocked Creationists and religion in general. It was reported by those who heard that speech that her “delivery was theatrical, her tone incredulous.” Continue reading

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Great Verses of the Bible: Matthew 13:44

 

The website Baseball History Daily relates an incredible story about a game played in Rhyolite, Nevada, one of the great boom towns of the early 20th Century.

It was June of 1905 and the local team was playing the team from nearby Beatty. Rhyolite’s William Griffith was playing first base when a ground ball was hit to him. Instead of an easy out, the ball struck a small stone and bounced away. While waiting for the ball to be returned by a spectator, Griffith picked up the stone to toss it off the field but noticed it had gold in it. So, he put it in his pocket. Continue reading

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The Great Invitation

An American author and minister, Marshall Hayden, wrote an article several years ago with the intriguing title, “Would Every Non-Hurter Please Stand Up?”

Hayden observed that people come to church services and seem fine. They put on their best smile. Wear their best clothes. And look happy. Yet, he pointed out that we need to look beyond the facade and below the surface to realize that our pews are full of hurting people. Continue reading

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Word of the Week: Selfless

Martin and Diedre Bobgan in their book, How To Counsel From Scripture, tell of a fascinating study dealing with the principle of the Golden Rule. It was conducted by Bernard Rimland, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research.

“The happiest people,” Rimland concluded “are those who help others.” Continue reading

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