Stepping Over the Threshold

ad_2009_cm_threshold_logoDo you remember when you stepped over the threshold? You weren’t sure how your marriage was going to work out, but you and your spouse stepped over the threshold into your first home anyway. Maybe you remember the lump in your throat the first time you stepped over the threshold at a new job or a new school. Many of you can recall the apprehensive feeling of stepping over the threshold into our church the very first time.

Defining moments often occur when stepping over a threshold, and that’s the spirit we’re taking into our new 6th Grade Sunday School class, the Threshold. Continue reading

Friends, Fellowship, and the Final Four (Part Two)

handshakeIn my last post, we saw that fellowship means way more than getting together with friends to watch the big game. At its heart, fellowship involves sacrifice and sharing. But we need to focus the issue a little more. When, with whom, and what should we share? If we are going to sacrifice for fellowship, we had better understand a little better what we’re trying to do when we fellowship. The next point moves us in that direction. Continue reading

Friends, Fellowship, and the Final Four (Part One)

handshakeHow do you know you grew up in a Baptist church? If you hear the word fellowship and start to salivate. Many of us have an idea of fellowship that includes potluck, paper tablecloths, and crock pots. Maybe some of you (thinking outside the box) are planning to have some “fellowship” over a plate of nachos as you cheer on your favorite college basketball team this weekend. But does fellowship mean merely getting together with other Christians? In one sense, that is exactly what it means. You can’t have true fellowship with people who aren’t born again (2 Cor. 6.14).  But fellowship means much more than this.

In fact, comparing what we often call “fellowship” to the fellowship spoken about in the New Testament would be like comparing my basketball “skills” to that of Villanova’s starting lineup. I may wear basketball shoes and play on a basketball court–I may even sink a few baskets–but you just wouldn’t compare me with them. It wouldn’t even be close.

So what did fellowship look like in the early church and what should it look like today? Here are four general principles inherent in the idea of fellowship that we can glean from New Testament practices Continue reading

Can Blogging Have a Spiritual Purpose?

keyboard_1I am writing to bring to you the purpose of Bethel Life.  Six months ago I was not even thinking about posting an article on a blog or that we would even have a site like this.  Now, here we are, getting in sync with today’s communication.  How did we get here and why are we doing this?  I am being totally honest when I say that I have argued in my mind whether this is the best use of my time or if I am merely part of a fleeting, trendy fad.  As our pastoral staff has discussed blogs and “twittering” I have been unable to escape the reality of how our communications have progressed over time.  When I first began as a youth pastor there was not a single teenager in my youth group that even texted. But by the time I finished, most everyone was a texting pro.  I have come to the conclusion that not attempting to connect with our church through a blog like this is overlooking an amazing means of extending pastoral ministry in a truly impacting way.  Bethel Life is a current tool to help us stay in touch and pastor the people of Bethel Baptist Church more effectively.

Let me give you some reasons why I think Bethel Life will be of help to our church: Continue reading