First person: Three ways to get going when you feel stuck

 
Have you pulled to the side of the road and parked your life? We can park at any age. Some people lose interest and motivation even in the prime of life. But consider Hosea 10:9: "The Lord says, 'You have made no progress whatsoever'" (NLT). In John 8:37, Jesus lamented: "My teaching makes no progress among you" (NET). But the apostle Paul commended the Philippians, saying, "I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy ...

FIRST PERSON: When things don't go as planned

 
Try as I might, some things just don't go quite like I've planned. You probably have had things go awry as well. Some have been disappointing, others have been devastating: the marriage that ended, or the marriage that hasn't happened yet; the baby you're unable to conceive, or the baby who grew up and broke your heart; a devastating diagnosis, or an illness they can't diagnose; the parent you lost at a young age, or the parent you care for ...

Going from despair to a Christ-honoring life in Northeast Florida

 
Even years ago, Russ Mason suspected there was some type of “higher power” out there. But he wasn’t willing to call it God. But that all changed when God used extraordinary circumstances to make Himself known. When Tim Larson, who is now Russ’ pastor at WaterMark Church in Orange Park, told me a little about Russ’ story, I knew I had to meet Russ for myself. Today, Russ is a grateful Jesus follower who ...

FIRST PERSON: Dear absent church member

 
Dear Absent Church Member, Today I saw your empty seat as I stood to welcome the people to worship. I wondered to myself what it was this week that had kept you away once again from gathering with other believers on the Lord's Day. I love being your pastor, but I must admit that I experience sadness every time I see your empty seat. I visit the older members of our church in their homes because age and sickness has ...

FIRST-PERSON: Learning when it's OK to say no

 
The first time I ever ate shark meat was at a Chinese restaurant in Mexico in 1991. Specialist Salters, a soldier in my Army unit, took Pamela and me to a little restaurant in Juarez as a wedding present to us. In attempting to show off in front of my new bride and demonstrate that I ate "exotic" stuff all the time, I stuck a huge piece of shark meat in my mouth. I had never had this before and knew ...

Southern Baptist task force aims to create 'discipleship culture'

 
LifeWay Christian Resources' and the North American Mission Board's recently-appointed task force on disciple-making met Oct. 17 at NAMB's building in Alpharetta, Ga. The group of 11 Southern Baptist pastors gathered to discuss their task of communicating that "any church of any background can be disciple-making," according to Chairman Robby Gallaty, pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. Gallaty began the meeting by asking what the "win" for the discipleship task force would be. Members unanimously agreed that success would ...

LifeWay launches new long-term discipleship resource

 
This fall LifeWay Christian Resources is launching a new long-term study designed to "make disciples who make disciples." "Disciples Path: The Journey" is a one-year small group study that focuses on helping new and existing believers understand and apply core Christian doctrines to become more mature disciples. "Discipleship is one of those things we talk a lot about in the church, but many times we have difficulty putting it into practice," said Michael Kelley, director of groups ministry at LifeWay. ...

Making the Bronx 'A Better City' through discipleship

 
You've seen the pictures: burned-out buildings, junk cars littering vacant lots, drug dealers loitering on street corners. You've seen the news: In a single sweep recently, police arrested dozens of gang members accused of multiple murders, including the slaying of a 92-year-old woman. But the police can't fix the Bronx. Social workers can't heal the New York City borough, located north of Manhattan. Politicians? Israel Kelly has a better idea: the ABC Movement. ABC—"A Better City"—is ...

Southern Baptist discipleship task force formed

 
Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, and Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, have appointed a task force on disciple-making. Consisting of Southern Baptist pastors, the task force will recommend steps that churches can take to improve their disciple-making process and spark a disciple-making movement throughout the Southern Baptist Convention. "This group will suggest a transferrable process that any church can use in any context," Ezell said. "The priority will be leading people to the Gospel ...