Thursday, May 28, 2009


Read 2Timothy Chapter 2 again.

Notice the descriptions Paul uses:
  • kind
  • able to teach
  • not resentful
  • gently instruct
  • in hope

You will get nowhere if you fall into an emotional quarrel with these folks. When it goes that direction, excuse yourself humbly from the conversation.

As Paul says, "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments."
"Because they produce quarrels," he says.

But Paul doesn't say we're supposed to abstain from talking about our faith. Talk with them if:
  • the spirit of the conversation is a true search for truth
  • someone comes to you & asks, "Why do you believe what you believe?"
You are to be ready to give a solid, biblical, and thoughtful answer. Paul says we're to be "able to teach."

So, do your homework on Jehovah's Witnesses and be prepared to have a civil conversation about your faith.
Check out the rest of my posts on Jehovah Witness Calling, Parts 1,3&4

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Help! What is this Jehovah Witness thing all about??! Many of us have been caught in the trap of hearing the doorbell ring & answering the door before it hits us “Jehovah Witness calling!” And then it's too late. Here's my advice. Do what 2 Timothy 2 says:

[23] Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. [24] And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. [25] Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, [26] and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:23-26 (NIV)

This is a very appropriate passage for us in this situation because the context is dealing with a group of people who hold to very a similar theology as that of JW's. For example, 2 Tim. 2:17-18:

[17] Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, [18] who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 2 Tim. 2:17-18 (NIV)

These guys, Hymenaeus and Philetus, believed that the believers' resurrection of the end times had already happened and was only a spiritual resurrection (which means that they logically believed Jesus' resurrection was only spiritual as well).

This is a hallmark of JW theology. The JW's do not believe Jesus rose physically, just spiritually. And Paul strongly rejects this teaching. Jesus was resurrected physically. At any rate, the point is that Paul is dealing with JW-like people in the passage and he gives the advice of 2 Timothy 2:23-26.
Check out the rest of Jehovah Witness Calling, Parts 2,3&4.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


We do have an evangelism philosophy. We call it “seed sowing” and “harvesting.” During the year, we have seed sowing events for the community (chilli fiesta, Stonemill 5k, etc, etc). These are designed to serve the community with the love of Christ, no strings attached.

We also have harvesting events where we have an evangelistic presentation and a call for a response (I do this on Sunday mornings about twice a year, also VBS, Youth, and our other ministries in the church offer these).

So, if anyone stays around the church for a while, they will hear the gospel and receive an invitation to respond. The last time I did an altar call, it wasn’t as effective as simply boldly preaching the Word and leaving the drawing up to the Lord.

We do have a place on our communication cards where people can mark that they want to talk about knowing God, which we follow up on individually.

We want to be effective in this area. Altar calls are rarely, if ever, found in the Bible. I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

But there is a lot of evangelism that happens through individuals leading others to the Lord and simply as a natural overflow of great discipleship (check out Acts 2:42-47). The early church gave great spiritual meals of strong biblical teaching and v. 47 says that they gained the favor of the lost in their region and “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” The Lord was the one who saved folks through an ongoing exposure of the Word and worship.

Throughout history, that adding of the lost to the church took the form of altar calls, camp meetings, raising of hands, door to door invitations, small group discussions, promise keeper events, etc, etc.

We’re trying to find the most effective means of evangelism for our community today. We’re still searching and experimenting. Who knows, maybe altar calls will make a come back in our region. I’d love to see them effective again like they were in the earlier half of the last century (God changed the nation through them). That would be great because they’re measurable, public, and encouraging. But this method hasn’t worked as well as other methods have for us in this region.

Please keep praying for us. For now we will continue to have elders available each Sunday after our services to give spiritual counsel and prayer to those seeking.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Check out my last post for Part 1 on Altar Call.

There is another reason we don’t do altar calls a lot. And that is what we consider our ultimate philosophy for our Sunday morning worship services.

We believe that our audience is not the seeker or the believer.

We believe the audience is God.

Our services are 'worship services' designed to please Him. Our primary goal is to make Him the focus. Worship in the OT or NT was not primarily evangelistic, but sacrificial. In the OT, it involved actual sacrifices to please God. In the NT, it involved the sacrifices of praise through the proclamation of God’s Word and the fruit of worship (“worship” meaning to “recognize God’s worth”).

Also, we’ve found that altar calls in this area are not that effective at leading to “true conversions.” Often, people will walk the aisle out of emotion or a need for attention or some other less-than-authentic reason. When I was growing up, people would walk the aisle every week, often the same people! It became a rote part of the service and these “conversions” didn’t seem to stick. These folks would often walk the aisle but not make Christ their Lord. They were “converts” but not disciples and not a fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Now, having said all this, know that we’re constantly evaluating our services and ministries.

Check out my next posting for the final part of "Altar Call".

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I was once asked why we have no altar call at Stonemill Church?

A good question I get from time to time. Let me expound: I grew up in a S. Baptist church in southern Louisiana and every Sunday we had an altar call with “Just As I Am” playing in the background. I have very fond memories of people walking to the front and giving their lives to the Lord, so I want you to know I’m not opposed to altar calls at all. I have done them during our services at Stonemill from time to time.

But here’s the reason we don’t do one every Sunday (and, by the way, this isn’t a criticism of churches that do . . . it’s just what we believe God has called us to do).

One of the great needs of this region is biblical depth. I have found that the average person attending Stonemill is illiterate concerning the Word of God. So, one of my primary hopes in the service is to expose people to the magnificence of God’s Word and give them an encounter with the Lord. The Bible says that worship services should be places where the entire Word is preached so that it will penetrate the hearts and minds of those who hear it:

[2] preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2 Tim. 4:2 (NASB)

[12] For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

So, one of our main goals is to expose everyone that comes, not just the lost, to God’s Word plus sincere worship and make way for the Spirit of God and the Father to use the Bible to draw folks to Himself

[44] No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44 (KJV)

[8] The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3:8 (NIV)

I guess what I’m saying is that we believe that evangelism is a natural overflow of discipleship. In the great commission, we’re told to make disciples, not just converts.

[19] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

We don’t believe a person’s salvation depends on an altar call. We believe it depends on the Spirit of God drawing people to Himself via the preaching of the Word, worship, discipleship, and direct encounters with Him.

Check out my next post on Altar Call: Part 2

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I can be both of these, depending on the day.

Proverbs 13:2-3
From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence. He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about how the things we speak affect our lives. The first part of verse 2 says that good will come to us by the things we speak. Gracious words will bring favor to those who speak them, while an evil, disrespectful mouth will produce the opposite.

We all like to be around people who are kind and considerate, while we try to avoid those who speak rudely and crudely. Words are creative. Good words create an atmosphere of love. On the other hand, evil words create the opposite kind of environment; one that is offensive. God Himself, created the world by the words that He spoke. In the beginning He spoke and it was so. Genesis 1:3: "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

If we speak the things that the Bible declares are true, we will be agreeing with God's Word, and by so doing we will create an atmosphere where faith can rise in our hearts.

However, if we speak doubt and unbelief, it will destroy our faith. What comes out of our mouths reveals what is in our hearts. Therefore, if we find things coming out of our mouths that are not edifying, we should repent, and ask God to cleanse our hearts.

Things just do not accidentally come out of our mouths. Those things were in our hearts, even though we might not have been aware of them. Words of evil -- such as jealousy, lying, gossip, fear, doubt, hatred, resentment, pride, selfishness, etc. reveal those very things in our own hearts. We all, at times, slip and say things that we wished we had not said. Each time we correct our speech and repent for those kinds of things, we will find that soon good things will be coming out more abundantly than evil things.

If we align our words with the Word of God we shall be blessed, however if we just allow anything to come out of our mouths, verse 3 in Proverbs 13 tells us that it will cause us ruin. We must guard our mouths and not allow the devil to use our mouths to speak evil things that bring destruction on us and others.

We can be cursing others by speaking wrong things against them or about them. I am asking God to help me keep my mouth from saying wrong things like David did in Psalms. “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Is divorce biblical? The answer to this has been debated relentlessly. On a blog such as this, I won't attempt to give a 'final answer' to such a question. But rather, if you find yourself in a tough marriage, begin with these questions.
  • First of all, I'd have to ask “why the divorce”?
  • Has there been an affair by the husband or wife?
  • Is the affair continuing?
  • Have there been attempts to work out the marriage fervently with the guidance of professionals in the field?

If the spouse has been unfaithful repeatedly, a divorce may be permitted according to Scripture.

But more importantly, I would love the chance to work with you and your spouse to see what the Lord has for you both. You can contact me through this blog.

Friday, May 1, 2009


The idea that suicide prevents someone from going to Heaven is not a biblical one. The issue is whether a person ever accepted Christ as his/her Savior. If so, nothing can take that salvation away because it's not given based on merit, but on grace. So, we are assured that those who know Christ as their Savior do not “disqualify” themselves from Heaven, nor do we worry about suicide being the unpardonable sin.

Do you grieve for someone that has taken their own life? Well, you need not worry about God's heart for that person. God loves people infinitely more than we can imagine. But I will say this: Suicide is NOT PLEASING TO GOD. I want God to smile when I get to Heaven, not have some 'splainin to do!!!