Lisa and I spent the beginning of October at Good News Church (Pastor and Denise Renner) in Moscow, Russia (pictured above). After that, Lisa and I will be in Greece and Turkey leading a biblical sites tour, and we will preach in Malta after that. When we return from overseas, I will be preaching in Warrenton, Missouri. In November, we will more stateside ministry (CT, VA, and CO) in addition to ministry in Canada and Brazil.
Audio Interview with Jim Graff
On September 23, 2017, the eye of hurricane Harvey went directly over Victoria, Texas. Since that time, Pastor Jim and Tamara Graff and their staff have been very proactively ministering to people in their congregation, and leading members of their congregation in serving the broader community. Jim shares some excellent insights on how to be effective in ministering hope in the midst of a disaster. Click here to listen to the interview with Jim Graff
Can you imagine someone opening up a box containing a jigsaw puzzle, and simply picking up one or two pieces of the puzzle? Imagine them holding up that piece or two and feeling like they’ve made a great discovery! At the same time, they blatantly disregard the hundreds of other necessary pieces that are designed to give a complete picture. We might think that is an absurd illustration, but people do the same thing with Scripture frequently. It takes all of the pieces of a puzzle to make a complete picture, and it takes the whole counsel—the comprehensive teaching—of God to give us an accurate picture of God and his will for our lives. In teaching the Bible, I have often stressed balance. It is important to understand that balance is not 50% faith and 50% unbelief; neither is balance 50% grace and 50% legalism. Rather, balance is the healthy and harmonious integration of everything God teaches in his Word. Read this article by Tony Cooke
Americans are reeling yet again following another senseless tragedy. As always, good-hearted people are responding with compassion, and in this benevolence many find strength and hope. Many others, though, are increasingly confused and bewildered by the endless stream of natural disasters and human violence that incessantly assault us. Instead of succumbing to fear and fatalism, these situations present us with an opportunity to gain perspective, find answers, and discover comfort in God’s word. We will never comprehend these events unless we understand the bondage that this world and all of humanity came under due to original sin. Scripture is not mythology or a fairy tale. Paul writes, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Rom 5:12, NLT). God’s perfect creation was marred and corrupted by man’s rebellion. The perfect peace and life God intended was exchanged for fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, and death. Read this article by Tony Cooke
There are spiders that occasionally spin their webs across the front walkway to our house. It is unnerving to feel that sticky substance attach itself to my skin as I unknowingly walk through one of their webs on the way to my car. Immediately I do the “spider dance ” trying to get that web and any possible spiders off of me as quickly as possible. I don’t like being caught in their snare, even though in my rational mind I know I’m bigger than they are and that their web is no real threat to me. Our adversary is much like a spider that weaves a nearly invisible web to catch its prey. He hopes to “catch” us in his carefully woven web of lies and deceit. Some traps and snares are very obvious and can be easily seen and avoided. But we must also be aware of the “gossamer webs” that aren’t so easily discerned. What some would consider small sins such as talking badly about another person can be a web we unknowingly get wrapped up in. We can be vulnerable to these “difficult to see” traps because our heart has hardened in certain areas of our lives or we just aren’t watching carefully enough for those traps. Read this article by Lisa Cooke
Leadership is an Inside-Out Job!
Many aspire to leadership but do not understand the privilege, responsibility, and stakes of it. Romans 12:8 tells those who have been given the gift of leadership to “lead with diligence.” Before leading others with diligence, a leader must successfully lead themselves. Paul told Timothy, a leader, to “take heed to yourself.” As a leader, I have a deep sense of responsibility and conviction for what God has entrusted to me. With this profound call to leadership, we must prioritize the leadership of ourselves over the leadership of others. Leaders must engage in the process of self-leadership, self-development, and self-discovery because not doing so has serious implications for those around them. As church leaders, we must master leadership within, because leaders ultimately lead according to “who they are.” You are the most important person you will ever lead, and you will most likely be the most challenging one as well. You know your weaknesses, temptations, struggles and bad habits. If leaders are unwell, weary, or discouraged, their followers will suffer. Consequences of leading without wholeness are destructive, especially to those who follow. Unless we are giving attention to what is going on in our heart, our insides can trip us up as leaders. God’s design for us is to thrive from the inside out in our leadership. Read this article by Haley Schurz
I’m writing this on September 24, one day after the most recent in a long-string of ill-advised predictions about the rapture, the end of the world, or whatever cataclysmic event was supposed to have happened on September 23. Every time one of these so-called researchers predicts a date, I groan silently and roll my eyes. Some people simply refuse to learn from history, and some persist in thinking they have discovered the hidden, secret, cryptic formula for calculating the end of time. What equally troubles me is how gullible others are to jump on the bandwagon and believe these types of things. While the whole world did not end dramatically on September 23, the world did end for thousands of people, as it does every day. A quick look at a few websites reveals that approximately 151,600 people die each day around the world. This is most sobering, especially in light of Hebrews 9:27 that states, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” People can get so caught up being carried away by false predictions that they forget that every single day is someone’s “last day.” Read this article by Tony Cooke
Read all of our quotes by visiting our Quotes Page.
The greatest gap in life is the one between knowing and doing.
– Dick Biggs
“Attitudes are like clothes; you can change them”
The Bible is not only a book which was once spoken but a book which is now speaking.
– A.W. Tozer
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance, the only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
– C. S. Lewis
“Christianity is not the sacrifice we make, but the sacrifice we trust.”
– P. T. Forsyth