I am so thankful for the wonderful team of pastors we have in Northeast Oklahoma. Our pastors are heroes. We have especially been appreciative of the incredible work of our pastors during this pandemic. NONE of our pastors were ever trained for, nor have they ever had to lead ministries during a pandemic. Yet, they rolled up their sleeves, innovated, learned, and creatively put into place new practices so the work of ministry could continue. I have been hearing of some of the creative ways our churches have honored pastors during the month of October. We still have one more Sunday and I would encourage you to add one more method of expressing appreciation. I would ask every layperson to approach your pastor(s) this week, look him or her in the eyes and say, “I am so glad Jesus put you here!” We give thanks for Dr. Russell Human, ......
We thought we were emerging from the pandemic. Now we are not so sure. And the pandemic is only one of the challenges we have faced in the last 18 months. We witnessed racial injustice, riots, political division, mixed messages from politicians and scientists, and economic collapse. The truth is, there are a lot of things that we do not know, especially when it comes to the future of the church. Ed Stetzer writes, “I do know these are difficult days that have presented us with many challenges. On the flip side, I do believe these challenges come with great opportunities for ministry. How we seize these gospel opportunities will determine whether we emerge from this season in a state of survival or positioned for revival.” I love that scene in the movie Apollo 13 in which they’re trying to bring back to Earth the crippled spacecraft, and the......
Do Your Friendships Reflect God’s Heart? by Kevin G. Harney We should follow Jesus’ example by cultivating friendships with nonbelievers. Christian community and being part of a local church are essential for a healthy life of faith. God delights when we are active in the body of Christ, his family. But too many Christians get so invested in relationships with their believing friends that they forget to develop and nurture friendships with those who have not come to experience and embrace the grace of Jesus. It is easy to circle the spiritual wagons and take a defensive attitude toward the world. Some Christians see nonbelievers as the enemy. When this attitude prevails, we tend to break off our relationships with people who are not Christians. If we do interact with nonbelievers, we tend to keep these relationships shallow and safe. This way of thinking is diametrically opposed to the......