Is There a Doctor in the House?

A recent internet article degenerated when one of the posters called a well-known and much loved professor by his first name. Some who know the professor personally took offense that someone would have the audacity to call an esteemed professor by his first name. Really, has it come to this? I do not know the professor in question well although I have met him on several occasions and always called him Dr. ___ out of respect.  I’m not sure the professor himself really cares that much what people call him. more

Read more »

What Do a Buddhist, Marxist, Jehovah’s Witness, and Unitarian Universalist Have in Common?

First, they all need a Savior. Second, they stayed at our home over the past month and are from four different countries.  As a bi-vocational church planter I was looking at some ways to help us pay the rent. One day I read an article in Forbes about airbnb.com and since we had a guestroom decided to rent it out. This is not a solicitation to do business with airbnb. However if you live in an area that has frequent tourists, researchers, conference attendees, or medical personnel on rotation this might interest you. My wife and I are always looking for gospel conversations. That doesn’t always happen yet in some way we think it’s good for them to meet Christians and see if God would use us to plant a seed in their lives.  And it’s good for us to meet people who need the Lord.  

What Do We Know About Replanting Churches? Not Much Yet

As we look forward to this church replant here is the proposal. It might be helpful to others and we would welcome input.

 OVERALL GOAL:

The intent of the following is to bring about the planting of a new multi-ethnic church in the Feltonville neighborhood of Philadelphia, building upon the history and investment of Wyoming Avenue Baptist Church.

  1. This church will be committed to the community of Feltonville.
  2. This will be an intentionally multi-ethnic church.
  3. Reflecting the planting church, this new church will identify with the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA).

Read more »

Replanting a 120 Year Old Urban Church

When we moved back into Philly two years ago one of our burdens was to see churches planted in different neighborhoods. Six months ago a church in my old neighborhood in North Philly reached out for help. The church has been in existence for 120 years. The neighborhood had changed and the church had shrunk with only a few faithful families left trying to hold it together. My brother John became interim pastor and recommended a replant. The church recently voted to dissolve, come under Grace Church – University City and replant. On November 20 Grace Church – Feltonville plans to open. The churches are only about 20 minutes apart but in different worlds. This is way bigger than us and our resources. We need the prayers of God's people and in His time we will be looking for a church planter to move into the city to lead this church plant.

Obsession with Urban Church Planting

"Those of us doing urban church planting confess our obsession. We believe it is a good and God-honoring investment of lives and that it is so good that we want to persuade other to prayerfully consider the city."  Read more at the Gospel First

Church Planting: Suburban vs Urban

Urban church planting is a focus, a needed and neglected emphasis. It is not a more spiritual work than suburban church planting. In some settings urban church planting might be more challenging where there is little gospel presence, where there are fewer Christians to constitute a core group, where there are more livability issues due to crime and poverty, and where there are more economic hardships which lengthen the time for the church plant to achieve sustainability. Of course there are suburban situations which are similar to this but a greater concentration of these challenges exist in urban areas.

Read more »

Loving the City?

It is possible to mistake infatuation for the city with love for the city. Some kind of love for the city might get you to the city but it won't keep you there. Read this from the gospel first and consider coming to the city, not always to love it but to love its people with God's love out of love for the gospel and confident of its power to redeem – not the city but people.

A Gospel-Centered Way Beyond Fundamentalism and New Evangelicalism

My brother John wrote an outstanding blog on this topic. Here's an excerpt: “Unfortunately, in the world-wide church of Jesus Christ, Christian fellowship based on gospel essentials has been difficult to achieve. This is evident in the historic divisiveness between the two movements of Fundamentalism and New Evangelicalism.” more

Why We Use the Apostles’ Creed at Grace Church of Philly

From time to time I hear concerns from well-meaning people questioning our use of the Apostles’ Creed. Most often it has to do not so much with the content, but with their personal history of having recited it in the Roman Catholic Church or a liberal denominational church. Part of their conversion story is that in understanding the gospel of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ, they left a religious system that had corrupted and confused the gospel. We rejoice with them in their conversion and their choice to leave a faulty religious system. more

Guest blog: The Congruence of Grace and Discipleship

I believe in gospel grace. Free undeserved grace. God’s saving grace. Grace personified in Jesus. Grace that forgives and grace that transforms.

I also believe in gospel discipleship. Costly and demanding discipleship. Obedient discipleship. Life-altering and life-consuming discipleship. Discipleship that rejoices in suffering. Discipleship that says no to sin and yes to holiness. Discipleship that loves the outward facing mission of God. more

« Previous Entries Next Entries »