What Makes a Great Church?

From a sermon entitled: “What Makes a Great Church”…

Before the term “mega church” was ever conceived, Charles Spurgeon pioneered one right in the heart of London, England. When he was just twenty years of age, the New Park Street Church in London called him to be their preacher. Soon people were coming in such large numbers that the church building couldn’t hold them. So they constructed a new building—the Metropolitan Tabernacle—which seated 6,000 people, which was unheard of in that day, and they filled it twice every Sunday.

 

For thirty-one years, he filled the Metropolitan Tabernacle twice on Sunday and hundreds and hundreds of people were baptized.

 

Charles Spurgeon, who is referred to by many as the prince of preachers, would have been the first to tell you that the source of the churches strength and success wasn’t in any special program or new idea, nor was it in the words that he preached: Left to themselves they were just mere words. There was a greater source of strength. So what was it that gave this church its power?

 

Well, the story goes that one Sunday, five young college students who were preparing for the ministry visited the Metropolitan Tabernacle to hear Spurgeon speak. While waiting for the church doors to open, Charles Spurgeon himself approached them and asked if they would like to see the powerhouse of this great church. The soon-to-be preachers were delighted to see the secret to the power of this church. Spurgeon led them through a long hallway, down a stairway, and cautiously opened a door at the bottom. What the five young men saw astonished them. Looking through this open doorway, they saw about 700 church members bowed in prayer asking God for His blessing on the upcoming service. “That,” said Spurgeon “is our powerhouse!”

Want Burns to be a great place? Pray for our family.

Pray for me as I preach to select the best topics, study them faithfully, and deliver them well.

Pray for the elders to shepherd this flock and care for our spiritual needs.

Pray for our leaders and go-to people who organize our work together.

Pray for every member who struggles, who celebrates, or who is somewhere in between.

Pray that God would use us to reach those nobody has reached, serve those nobody has served, and love people who have never experienced the love of Jesus.

Pray for God’s grace and presence to abound in our family.

Book Review: Graceful Uprising by Jonthan Jones

gracefuluprisingSome time ago, I heard a sermon called “Grace: Don’t Tell Me What It Isn’t.” Jonathan Jones took that advice when he wrote his walk-through Romans: “A Graceful Uprising.”

Jones’ book walks us through the powerful epistle to the Romans, one section at a time. He hasn’t written a verse-by-verse technical commentary. Instead, he helps us work through the chapters and major sections with an eye towards application. Many of us have trouble understanding how we fit in the world of the Jews and the Gentiles. Jones excels at finding appropriate applications for the modern church.

He is balanced and biblical, with an eye towards helping us appreciate the beautiful fullness of grace. He fights our temptation to pigeonhole it, abuse it, or neglect it. He wants us, through the book of Romans, to “taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8). The book demonstrates powerfully what grace will do in our lives and congregations—if we’ll just get out of its way.

The book would make a great guide for a small-group walkthrough of the book of Romans or for personal reading. I enjoyed it—and think you will, too!

The book is available from Amazon or Start2Finish books.

Christianity is Weird

weirdChristianity has always been weird. It is different than the way most people act and live. That’s why Jesus could refer to his followers as “salt and light” in Matthew 5:13-16. We are not called to be like everyone around us. We are different.

When the world complains about being forced to go one mile, Christians go two (Matthew 5:38-48).

When others retaliate and demand revenge, Christians turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).

When our culture seeks security and satisfaction in possessions, Christians invest in a different kingdom (Matthew 6:25-33).

When most people love the people who love them back, Christians love their enemies (Matthew 5:44).

When half of marriages end in divorce and homosexual unions are normalized, Christians view marriage as a man and wife becoming one flesh, and they fight for love even when they don’t feel like it (Matthew 19:5).

When multitudes seek greatness through power and strength, Christians find it in service (Matthew 20:26).

When many see porn and obscenity as entertainment, Christians cut off anything that can pollute the heart (Matthew 5:30).

When the crowds demand that they get what they deserve, Christians forego their rights to help others (1 Corinthians 9:19-23).

When racists discriminate, Christians teach that God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11).

While everybody else looks out for number one, Christians visit the orphans and the widows (James 1:27).

When people fight to be first, Christians are fine with being last (Matthew 20:27).

When society is insulted it stands up and fights back, but Christians bless in return (1 Peter 2:23).

When the average guy is proud that he’s a pretty decent person, Christians know they fall short of the standard–of perfect holiness (Matthew 5:48).

When it seems like everyone is ignoring God and his way, Christians know that the way is narrow that leads to life (Matthew 7:14).

Christianity is not the average way of life. This is nothing new. Scripture says that the world is surprised that we don’t join their way of thinking (1 Peter 4:4). We must not fall to the temptation of being like everyone around us. Let’s embrace the weird!