Guest Post – A Claim of Faith


Please note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Faith is only as good as its object. The man in the jungle bows before an idol of stone and trusts it to help him, but he receives no help. No matter how much faith a person may generate, if it is not directed at the right object, it will accomplish nothing. “I believe” may be the testimony of many sincere people, but the big question is, “In whom do you believe? What do you believe?” We are not saved by faith in faith; we are saved by faith in Christ as revealed in His Word. – Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) – New Testament – The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 2.

Some of us go to church every Sunday and hear the pastor preach from the Word of God. We might go to a weekly Bible study and maybe even host one in our home. We go out and buy Christian books to read. We download podcasts to listen to because we did not get enough on Sunday. All in the pursuit of more knowledge. But what exactly are we doing with that knowledge? Is our faith growing? Are we growing in our likeness of Christ? Or are we eating of His Word and getting lethargic and comfortable in our seats, not applying what we claim to have faith in? We all must examine ourselves daily and see if our faith really is causing us to be transformed and not conformed to the world.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 (NASB)

You would think that the church would not conform to the world, but because of the level of comfort that is being sought after in the church we are becoming to look more and more like the world. We all at times enjoy comfort, and from time to time need a time of rest, but we must not stay there too long or we might get stuck and find ourselves surrounded by a large group of people that are caught up in the comfort of routine. I do believe that we are saved by faith alone, but how much faith do we actually need to have before we start to do what we claim to have faith in? I think of the book of James as I am writing this..

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” – James 2: 14-18 (ESV)

Faith and works go hand and hand.

What is one way you continue to grow your faith? Share with us in the comments below!

erikstanleyErik Stanley and his family are missionaries in Rocky Point, Mexico, teaching the local community how to garden and make compost so they can grow their own fruits and vegetables. Please check out their ministry via Facebook here:

Guest Post – Why Should You Join a Small Group?


Please note: The views & opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of LifeWay Christian Resources.

Why are small groups important? In Hebrews 10:19-25 we are told to not forsake meeting together to exhort one another. Verses 24-25 specifically say, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (ESV) If all you do is go to church on Sunday and sit in a service you are not fully doing what we are being told to do here. How can you stir someone up to love and good works that you are not spending time with? The answer is you can’t.

I am a part of a group of men who meet together regularly to invest into each others lives. We are not just gathering together as a social club but we come together around the Word of God.

Once you can become part of something like this it changes you and the way you live your life. You realize that you can no longer live a Lone Ranger lifestyle. As a group we have put on a bass fishing benefit for the family of the young boy who had a heart defect. This is how you stir one another up to good works. You do not live that out sitting in a pew just one day a week. It also allows us to come together for the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:1-2.) It is hard to offer encouragement to people that you don’t know in an intimate way because you don’t know where they are hurting or struggling. It takes getting involved in the lives of others to know how to minister to them.

I highly recommend that you get involved in a small group, one where you do not have the distractions of children, especially with the same sex because it allows you to have an openness that you may night have otherwise. You should also try to find a group that has a variety of ages so you can glean knowledge from those who have been where you are. Even if it’s not exactly the same situation, they usually have something for you to learn from and can relate to your challenges.

Just imagine how much your life could change if you had a team of people to lean on and learn from. The richness of having a shoulder to turn to when you need to be able to get something off of your chest. A group of prayer warriors to lift up your request at the touch of a button. These are just a few of the benefits of having a group like this to turn to. It will also help you to grow in areas of your life that you never stop to take a look at. So if you have never thought about joining a small group I hope that this post has encouraged you to do so.

What else would you suggest for those looking to join a small group? Share with us in the comments below!

paul horne, guest blogPaul Horne has been married to wife Lory for over seven years, and they have two sons. They reside in Suffolk, VA, and are a part of a local church plant. Horne is currently a full-time seminary student (LBTS), pursuing an M.Div. in Pastoral Ministries. He has a heart for men’s ministry, particularly small groups. You can read more of his blog here.

Free Friday! Letters to Timothy

LettersTimothyHappy Friday everyone! Today’s free download, usually $19.95,  is Letters to Timothy: A Handbook for Pastors by John Bisagno. Click here to download.

The word church in the New Testament is used two different ways. The first is the universal or invisible church. When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into oneness not only with Jesus but also with all other believers everywhere. It is a church that exists beyond buildings, denominational lines, and international borders. It is the body of Christ, the family of God on earth. Ninety percent of the time, however, the New Testament use of the word church means a visible, locally assembled body of baptized believers worshiping together, ministering to one another, honoring him, and winning the lost.

After nearly fifty years in ministry, Letters to Timothy is John Bisagno’s retirement gift to younger and older pastors alike. A voluminous and comprehensive work, it is full of useful advice to ministers covering the “things that might have fallen through the cracks in seminary.” This book is a practical manual covering all aspects of pastoral life for clergy in churches of all sizes, locations, and denominations.

John Bisagno is Pastor Emeritus of the 22,000-member Houston’s First Baptist Church. His remarkable 30 years at Houston’s First Baptist is summed up in Rick Warren’s words: “There are some great pastors that excel in one particular area. But John has excelled at it all.” It is precisely this multi-gifted aspect that propelled him to be a dynamic evangelist, compassionate shepherd, and strong leader. In addition to being nationally recognized as a popular and effective crusade evangelist and Bible teacher, he is the author of 25 books. Dr. Bisagno has spoken at the Southern Baptist Convention, the World Congress on Evangelism, and every major state convention and state evangelism conference.

After you have read the book, we would love to hear what you thought in the Customer Reviews box on the bottom of the book’s page. Have you read anything that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

Guest Post – The Church and Extended Family

1375019_10102649454633520_703365999_nEvery year my family travels down to Jonesboro, GA for our Thanksgiving get together on Black Friday. While everyone else is unloading their big screens and midnight deals from their morning adventure, I’ve already downed an entire can of black olives (not exactly the wisest choice). All twenty plus aunts, uncles, cousins and significant others circle up and say grace before we sit down to a meal that will guarantee some form of turkey coma later in the day.

This picture of family has been ingrained in my mind for as long as I can remember. As we pulled out of my aunt and uncle’s driveway I always wished we lived closer so that we could get together more often. A few times a year just isn’t satisfying enough.

What if somehow I was able to create this “family” feeling wherever I lived? That’s the question I felt God ask me in an upstairs youth room in an urban church in San Francisco. There have to be others like me who are searching for this feeling or have never even experienced the joy that it brings.

On second thought, what if my family all served the same city and people we love whenever an opportunity arises? What if this family wasn’t limited by numbers, but grew as people welcomed others they know, love and that desire to have a relationship with God?

This is and has been my vision for the church. As much as someone desires the spiritual gifts or longs to see healing, I want to see two strangers grow to love each other like brother and sister. In all my prayers I want the people I know to care about each other on the same level that my God and parents care about me. I want it to be the same biblical level as the first believers in Acts 4:32.

Revolutions don’t just happen. Is this too revolutionary? It happened in the Bible. Couldn’t some form of this at least happen now? Without a big budget, rented space, a piece of land, great children’s programs or even a Sunday morning service, could anyone in a community create a Christ-centered family in their community?

We knew that God wanted to use us to connect with people in our city and invite them to be a part of our family. Sharing what is happening in our lives, what God is telling us and what we’re doing about it isn’t just strategy, it’s how you build relationships.

That’s what we desired. We wanted to eat together, serve together, grow together, cry together, celebrate together and worship our incredible God together. So is it possible? I know it’s possible because we’re doing it. It wasn’t random or some elaborate plan. I meet another man, Merle, who had the same vision as me. We began meeting together and praying for this. The two of us soon became four, four became six, six became twelve, twelve became eighteen and so on. And our church, Windborne Church, was born.

Windborne hasn’t just happened. God knew that people in Athens, GA were longing for an extended family. He spurred us on to find others who felt the same. God sent us out into the community to be involved together, be missionaries in the city we love and to invite the lost into our homes.

The Thanksgiving with family isn’t just once a year now.  It’s every Thursday at 6:30 at Merle’s house and we’d love for you to come eat with us if you are ever in the Athens area.

Andy Slagle is recently married, an aspiring chef, computer nerd, teacher and church planter in Athens, GA. He worked along with his wife, Kristen, in campus ministry for two years before being a part of  WindborneChurch. You can find more information here.

How do you create community where you live? Share with us!