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Meanwhile, Elsewhere (29/2/12)

Give Up the Gimmicks, Youth Pastors - Brian Cosby
'With all my heart, I plead with you to not be tempted with "success," professionalism, or the fading fads of our entertainment-driven culture. Rather, pursue Jesus as the all-satisfying Treasure that he is and feed his young sheep with the means God has provided.'

The Kingdom of God in the Middle of Nowhere - Trevin Wax
'But as I listened to the joyful voices of the church members, believers remaining faithful even as their way of life crumbled around them, I came to see the power of God’s kingdom in a unique way. The presence of the Lord seemed palpable in that little village church in the middle of nowhere. Somehow, serving in the place of powerlessness stirred up within me a powerful sense of hope and joy. I then felt sorry for my pastor friend. He was missing out on such a blessing!'

8 Ways to Pray in Preparing to Lead Worship - Matt Boswell
An adaptation of Mike McKinley's '8 Ways to Pray During Sermon Preparation' (see Saturday's Meanwhile, Elsewhere) for worship leaders.

Is "God Inhabits the Praises of His People" Really Biblical? - Zac Hicks
'Ultimately, it comes down to integrity. Will I approach the Scriptures as honestly as possible, and will I model that honesty thoroughly before the people I lead, even when it eliminates what I considered a major tool in my “worship theology shorthand” arsenal? Sometimes (and I am guilty of this, too), we allow a little mis-exegesis to slide because “it’s just too good.” But if we desire to be trustworthy as pastors, teachers, and leaders, we need to try to be as exegetically honest as possible, even as Christ forgives and washes His blood over all our shoddy best efforts.'

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These are the Bones of Elisha (Declaring the Word of the Lord)

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So it was, as they were burying a man, that suddenly they spied a band of raiders; and they put the man in the tomb of Elisha; and when the man was let down and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood on his feet. Elisha was dead. And yet when a corpse was thrown into his tomb hastily in an attempt to hide from marauding bands of Moabites, the man came back to life simply by his corpse touching Elisha’s bones. Even as miracles go, that one’s quite impressive.

On the Church and On Sin: With a (former) Tory MP and a Catholic Priest

What with the Extraordinary Synod going on in Rome this week, the Roman Catholic Church has been in the news a bit of late. And as a result of all this pre-synod hype in the media, two Roman Catholics wrote two of the best articles I read last week. One was an article in the Catholic Herald by a priest. The other was an article in the Spectator by a former MP. You should read both of them. (But if you're not going to read both, then please at least read the second one!)

Now, maybe that seems a bit odd. I am, after all, both a Pentecostal pastor and an Ulster Protestant. And as such, I'm convinced that very significant aspects of Roman Catholic theology are seriously wrong. I still believe that justification by faith alone is the article on which the church stands or falls. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't read, and even learn from, Roman Catholics. Although we are justified by faith alone, it is by faith in Christ alone, not faith in the right formulation of the doc…

Money, Money, Money (Must Be Funny, in a Rich Man’s World!)

‘Not the Pentecostals! Watch out – they’ll be trying to get all your money.’
     – The reaction when a new Christian told her Muslim uncle that she’d got saved and           started attending a Pentecostal church. ‘Hello, I’m calling from [“Christian” TV channel]. We have some great deals on advertising during our broadcasts and wondered if the church would be interested.’
     – A phone call yesterday. ‘$11,150’
     – the amount one American church is appealing to raise to produce a worship album $750 plus expenses
     – an American amount recommended as a gift for visiting preachers ‘US pastors paid up to $300,000 - are Church of England vicars getting a raw deal?’
     – recent Headline in Christian Today

£5.75 million
     – the amount of money an evangelical church down south is trying to raise for               building improvements.$25,000
     – the amount two American pastors are raising to produce a six minute teaching video Money has been on my mind a bit of late. Not my …