As you visualize in your mind the scene in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth, what picture comes immediately to mind?
I am a graduate of Calvin College (1964) and Calvin Seminary (1968). During seminary I served a year internship teaching at TCNN in Nigeria. I then served the Leighton Christian Reformed Church in Leighton, Iowa, from 1968-1972, and the Southern Heights Christian Reformed Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from 1972-1984. In 1984 I took a leave of absence and obtained a doctorate in New Testament from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. In 1984 I did begin a part-time pastoral position at the Woodland Drive-In Church in Grand Rapids, an outreach ministry of Fifth Reformed Church (www.driveinchurch.org). In 1986 I started part-time at Zondervan as a theological editor in the Bible department, and in 1988, after my graduation from Notre Dame, I was offered a fulltime position. In 1992 I transferred to the academic book department at Zondervan and have been there ever since. I am a specialist in editing books in biblical language resources as well as Bible reference works such as commentaries. I have been privileged to publish several books, such as Your Church Sign, The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology: Abridged Edition, Early Church History, and A Not-So-Silent Night: The Unheard Story of Christmas and Why It Matters. I also assisted in the editing of the book Devotions on the Greek New Testament. The Lord has been good to me.
There is no question whether the apostle Paul had the gifts to be a powerful and effective evangelist, but the skills of an evangelist are different from those of a church leader.
I’ve written a few blogs on church signs. I thought I’d written my last one but I’ve received some feedback that’s made me reflect more on how people might react to them.
I firmly believe the church sign can function as a testimony to the people driving by as to what we stand for and what sort of message we proclaim.
In January, I wrote about the value of church signs, especially those that have the option of putting on captions that change from week to week to catch the eye of motorists and pedestrians walking by. So what makes a good caption?
Advertising today has been changing at an exceptionally fast rate. This includes church advertising. Yet, one advertising means hasn’t changed — the church sign that people see as they drive by.
Preaching fresh, inspiring messages at Christmas can be a real challenge. As I thought about this, I determined that one of the main problems we face is what I call the Christmas mythology.
In my reading I came across a fascinating discussion of metaphors ... we can learn a lot about how we view an issue and its potential outcome — be it an issue in the home, in the church, in society at large — by examining the metaphors that we use to describe that issue.
I just read When God Shows Up: A Pastor’s Journey. The bulk of the book is about the author's ministry, and in particular, a church conflict during the turbulent 70s and 80s, when the charismatic movement affected many established churches. It's a story of excited believers and disappointed ones, of emotional agony and painful misunderstanding, of people...
I preach regularly at the Woodland Drive-In Church in Grand Rapids. The question inevitably arises: Why would people want to worship at a drive-in church instead of sitting inside a traditional church? There are two main categories of people who attend our services and a number of reasons they do so...
Timothy Tennett in his book Theology in the Context of World Christianity has a marvelous chapter on this issue, entitled "Followers of Jesus in Islamic Mosques."
Thank you for your post, Andy. In answer to your questions, I generally post three to four new captions every Sunday morning. I usually vary the themes (partly depending on the season, both...posted on: Church Signs: Who’s Your Audience?
The distinction between a specific command and a general command is a valid one, Daniel. When Jesus tells the blind man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam (John 9:7), this is a specific command...posted on: Advice or Imperative: How Can We Know?
Remember too that ordained clergy, if they live in a parsonage, have to pay social security taxes on the rental value of their homes--and they pay it at the individual level (i.e., 14% or...
You ask an interesting question, David. In summary, you are right that context plays a huge role in determining the force of an imperative. Look at the Lord's Prayer, which has a series of third...posted on: Advice or Imperative: How Can We Know?
You raise important concerns, Norman. Personally, unless a person is truly unfit for service in the church (e.g., through moral issues or doctrinal ones), I do not get why there should be a limit...posted on: Best Before
I appreciate what the others are writing, and especially the resources that you have found helpful in trying to get a handle on what effective leadership is and how to maneuver through conflict. I...posted on: The Cost of Leadership
Thanks to those of you who have responded. There are indeed a lot of summer drive-in services in parks and campgrounds, and those efforts are to be appreciated. We need to go to where the people...posted on: Why a Drive-in Church?
Yes, krino is the basic verb, and diakrino has a prepositional prefix (and katakrino does as well). It is always difficult to predict how a prepositional prefix changes the meaning of the verb....
Yes, John, I will give that serious consideration. That is an interesting word study that could benefit other people, including elders. Thanks for the suggestion.posted on: Playing with Hebrew Word Usage