Missional

Joel Plantinga

Read: Matthew 28:16-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. (v. 19) As our world changes, we find great comfort in the unchanging truth of God’s Word and his care of the church through all things. As this text says, he is with us always, even to the end of the age (v. 20). That matters. With that in mind, I wonder if we are fighting the wrong battle in trying to get people to church. It’s always great …

Prepared to Praise

Joel Plantinga

Read: Psalm 100 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! (v. 4) Imagine you’ve been given a meeting with your favorite celebrity or someone you’ve always admired. You have an opportunity to be in the presence of this person; both to speak to and hear from that person. But when the day of meeting arrives, you get distracted and end up coming late and unready. It’s hard to believe you wouldn’t make this your priority for that …

Gracious

Joel Plantinga

Read: Ephesians 4:25-32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (v. 32) When I did youth ministry, we often played a game where players had to avoid being touched while running in a restricted area. Inevitably, the kids would run into each other while trying to avoid the tag, with comical results. In churches, we can bump into each other sometimes too, but the results aren’t always so fun. Healthy churches require …

Obedient

Joel Plantinga

Read: James 1:19-27 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only . . . (v. 22) Some say that obedience is the repression of the human will. Scripture describes it much differently, including Jesus’ statement in John 14:21 that obeying him is the ultimate expression of love. Here, obedience is described in two parts: listening and doing. Churches that thrive are filled with people who obey God. Listening is a lost art. We want to be heard and …

Outward-focused

Joel Plantinga

Read: Philippians 2:1-11 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (v. 3) There are a variety of reasons people “choose” a church, and I’ve heard a lot of them. Whatever it is, the reason people come often becomes the reason they leave. When our basis for participation in a church is what we want, we are approaching a Christ-centered operation with self-centeredness. To approach church with the desire to please God …

Generous

Joel Plantinga

Read: Proverbs 11:23-31 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (v. 25) Reality check: Every breath we breathe comes from God. Our lives belong to God (“you were bought with a price”; 1 Corinthians 6:20). The church we love is Christ’s body and bride. In short, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). The concept of generosity is built on the truth that God owns it all. The calling …