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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Ideas For Follow-up Visitation

Sunday comes and a new visitor or family comes to your church. How exciting is that? Then after they leave, questions like these flood your mind. “Are they going to come back? Are they Christians? What prompted them to come?”

Let’s be honest, a lot of people that visit your church for the first time will never come back again. It would be great if all of them became members and chose to serve in the local church. But like one person said, “That just ain’t going to happen.”

What I would like to do is pass along four ideas that may be a help for your church in the area of follow-up visitation.

1. Follow-up Should Be Made Immediately

Every avenue of communication should be used to follow up with your visitors. You want to thank your visitor for coming to church while it is still fresh on their mind. This can be done through email, text message, snail mail, etc. The earlier, the better (preferably Monday).

Herb Miller in his book, How To Build A Magnetic Church writes:

Research demonstrates that if lay people will make a 15 minute visit in the homes of first time visitors within 36 hours of their visit to the church, 85%of them will return the following week. If the lag time is 72 hours the return rate drops to 60%; and after one week it slips to 15%. If the pastor makes the visit instead of lay people, the percentage of return is cut in half. Herb Miller, the specialist who did this research, said, “No other single factor makes a greater difference in improving annual membership additions than an immediate visit to the homes of first-time worshipers.”

2. Follow-up By Face-To-Face Visitation Is Highly Effective

Before you make a visit, you need to decide if it would be better to schedule an appointment or to make a random visit. Everybody is different, so it’s best to understand your visitor as best as you can. You want to know their name and hours they work. Pray before you go so you can be led of the Spirit.

NFL hall of Famer Jerry Rice played football for the San Francisco 49ers. He is considered by many experts to be the greatest wide receiver of all time. Interviewers from Black Entertainment Television once asked Rice, “Why did you attend a small, obscure university like Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, Mississippi?
Rice responded, “Out of all the big-time schools, such as UCLA, to recruit me, MVSU was the only school to come to my house and give me a personal visit.”
The big-time schools sent cards, letters, and advertisements; but only one school showed Rice personal attention.

3. Follow-up To Help The Person

How often have you invited people to church and they said, “Okay” and they never came back? One of these days I’m going to designate a “Someday Sunday” where everyone who has ever made a commitment to church will all come on that day.

I have recently learned an important lesson that I have applied to my ministry. It’s so simple, yet the principle is helpful. Here it is: People are more likely to resist your follow-up visit when they perceive you want something from them, but they will open up when they think you are there to help them.

For example, if somebody is not saved, you can ask the person, “If you could be 100% sure that you were going to heaven, you would like to know, wouldn’t you?” Then go into your gospel presentation.

If somebody is sick and tired of religion, agree with the person and then tell them, “Christianity is more than a religion, it’s a relationship with God. You would like to build a better relationship with God, wouldn’t you?” They would agree and then you go into your gospel presentation.

If the visitor is a Christian, ask them, “You would like to better understand the Bible, wouldn’t you?” When they agree, then ask them, “How are you going to accomplish that.” You want to establish some goals. When they mention church attendance, then tell them, “All right, let me help you out. I’ll give you a call on Saturday night to remind you about church, okay?”

If they are a dedicated Christian and are looking to grow in their walk with the Lord and serve in the church, ask them, “Spiritually speaking, where would you like to see yourself in 6 months to a year? Let me help you with your walk with God. We have a wonderful Sunday school class.”

Let me also suggest that you ask your church members to make you aware of anyone who is in need (E.g., Financial hard times, loss of a loved one, hospital visit, in need of counsel).

4. Follow-up With An Incentive

Have you ever thought of sending a gift to those who visited your church? For example, at the church I pastor, we send a $5 gift card to every first-time visitor that they can use to pay for the gas in coming to church. By doing this, it helps build a relationship with the visitor. You may not use this approach. Instead you may offer to take the visitor out to eat if they come to church. Whatever you do in visitation, know that you are not changing your message, but you can change your approach. I hope these four ideas were a help and a blessing to your ministry. Feel free to let me know of any ideas you are using with your follow-up visits.

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Posted by on March 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Pastors May Lose Housing Allowance?

The following is a letter that the Alliance Defending Freedom sent recently. Please read down below:

Dear Pastor,

You may have heard that a federal district court in Wisconsin recently declared the minister’s housing allowance to be unconstitutional. The ruling was in response to a lawsuit brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and if it stands, will affect countless pastors who have claimed the housing allowance as part of their compensation package from the church where they serve.

Thankfully, the district court stayed its ruling until all appeals in the case have been exhausted, so the housing allowance remains intact, for now. I am writing to make you aware of an opportunity to allow your voice to be heard on this important issue.

Alliance Defending Freedom is preparing a friend of the court brief (also called an amicus brief) in support of keeping the minister’s housing allowance. We are seeking churches to represent in this amicus brief. This simply means that churches interested in taking a stand on this issue would be listed on the brief.

If you would like your church to be represented, all you need to do is email us at pastors@alliancedefendingfreedom.org. Put your name, the name of your church, and your contact information in the email and indicate that you would like to be a part of the amicus brief on the minister’s housing allowance. We will then list your church as one of many churches who wish to be heard before the Court on this important issue. We will need to hear from you no later than end of day on Friday, March 21 if you want to participate. Unfortunately the Court’s schedule is such that it demands a short turnaround. Thank you in advance for giving this prompt attention.

The minister’s housing allowance is constitutional. It has been a part of federal law for a very long time and should remain so. However, this ruling illustrates the need for the Church to be active and have its voice heard. Remember, the laws we pass are only as good as the judges who are appointed to apply them. Put another way, elections have consequences that matter to real people.

Make your voice heard, and email us at pastors@alliancedefendingfreedom.org to be listed on the amicus brief to the Court of Appeals.

May God bless you as we stand together for freedom.

Erik Stanley
Senior Legal Counsel
Director, Church Project
Alliance Defending Freedom

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Who Was The Real St. Patrick?

When most people think about St. Patrick’s Day, they usually think of leprechauns (I want me pot of gold), pinching people if they’re not wearing green, the Irish, and getting drunk. Wrapped up in all the mythological tales about Patrick, he was a real person who was a Bible-believing Christian. His name was Surat, not Patrick (for simplicity, I’ll use Patrick throughout the message). He was Scottish, not Irish.

About fifty years before Christ was born, the Romans invaded the British Isles. During that period many of the Welsh soldiers joined the Roman army and visited there. At this time, the Apostle Paul is under house arrest. For two years he preaches the gospel and sees many people saved. In A.D. 63, Pudence and Claudia his wife, who belonged to Caesar’s household, were converts along with other Welshmen among the Roman soldiers. These folks along with missionaries sent out of Asia Minor (Turkey) went to the British Isles and preached Christ among them.

While Europe slipped into the Dark Ages (A.D. 400-1400), Britain was having revival. The factor most responsible for this was the barrier known as the English Channel. The British enjoyed a rich Christian history for centuries. Roman Catholicism did not arrive in Ireland until at least 100 years after Patrick died. A military invasion by Roman Catholicism was sent to subdue the Irish churches to submission to the Pope of Rome in A.D. 597. So here’s my point: Patrick was a saint, but not that good of a saint to be canonized.

There are three documents that everyone agrees that Patrick wrote. This is where I’m basing my information on his life.

Patrick was born in the late 4th century in the town of Dumbarton on the river Clyde in Scotland. His father was a deacon and his grandfather was a presbyter (pastor) of a church. Even though he was raised in a Christian home, he became very rebellious toward Christian truth. If you grew up in a godly home, you ought to thank God for it. Let them know about it.

At age 16, while Patrick and his friends were playing alongside the banks of the stream, he was kidnapped by pirates and put up for auction on the slave block. Patrick was purchased by an Irish prince, Milcho, and sent to herd his master’s cattle and pigs. What a dramatic change to be the cherished son of a Roman magistrate and soon becoming a slave pig herder. Hungered, clothed with rags, he was the picture of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:11-17).

He was proud, and in God’s humbling way, he had to learn that the Most High rules. During this time of hardship, he became convinced that he was a sinner and eventually trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Of that period, he says, “Frequently in the night I prayed and the love of God and his fear increased more and more in me.” Nobody enjoys going through the valleys, hardships, and trials. How low do you have to go in order for you to be humbled, teachable and surrendered to live completely for God?

After six years of slavery at the age of 22, he managed to escape and found a ship which carried him back home.

In the safety of his home for several years, Patrick trained to be a preacher and began to have dreams of returning to Ireland with the glorious gospel. He wrote this: “Again, I was in Britain with my parents, who received me as their son, and besought me to promise that, after the many afflictions I had endured, I would never leave them again.” Discouraged by his parents, he tried to ignore the call to go to Ireland, but he eventually surrendered to be a missionary back to the country where he was a slave.

Sometime in his 30’s, along with the aid of twelve of his companions, Patrick crossed the sea and arrived in Ireland. His first sermon was preached in a barn. The use of this building was granted to him by the chief of the district, his former master Milchu.

About a year after his arrival in Ireland, Patrick boldly challenged the heathen practices in Tara. This would be the one opportunity for his ministry to be known, for all of Ireland would be there. The Encyclopedia Britannica tells us that he challenged the “royal authority by lighting the Paschal fire on the hill of Slane on the night of Easter Eve. It chanced to be the occasion of a pagan festival at Tara, during which no fire might be kindled until the royal fire had been lit.” Because of this, he and his companions were arrested and brought to the royal court. They preached Christ crucified and risen again with such persuasion, that king Leoghain trusted Jesus as his Savior. We shouldn’t be afraid of telling others of Jesus, even if it meant losing our life. The gospel has the power to change men’s lives. Winning the most well known person gets the attention of a multitude.

Due to the conversion of the king, Patrick was given an “open door” to the hearts of the people in Ireland. His ministry covered a period of 60 years. He founded 365 churches, and a school arose beside each church where young people were trained for the ministry. During his lifetime, he baptized thousands of converts by immersion. Patrick died well into his 90’s and maybe even beyond that.

He died 175 years before his name was even mentioned in Catholic writings. Patrick was canonized by the Catholic church about A.D. 1200. Now it’s strange that he starts out in his Confession with these words: “I, Patrick, a sinner, the rudest and the least of all the faithful, and the most contemptible of the multitude.”

Philip Schaff, in his History Of The Christian Church says, “Patrick never mentions Rome or the Pope; he never appeals to tradition and seems to recognize Scriptures…as the one authority in matters of faith.”

Conclusion: Patrick was a Bible-believing missionary Christian.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Why We Use The King James Version?

Introduction

We believe the King James Version is the inspired, inerrant, preserved word of God. We believe the same scriptures that the 1st century churches possessed are the same scriptures we have today. This is one of the most important messages that will be given in this church. The argument about what version of the Bible is huge. However, the root of the debate is not what Bible version you use, but what Greek text do you hold.

Old Testament Authority

The Lord Jesus Christ said in Luke 24:44, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” The Old Testament was divided up into three parts: the law of Moses, the prophets and the psalms. The Hebrew Scriptures was divided up differently then how it appears in our Bible.

Furthermore, Luke 11:49-51 says, “Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, it shall be required of this generation.” The first martyr in the Old Testament was Abel (Gen. 4:8). Zacharias was the last prophet to be killed (II Chron. 24:20-21). 2 Chronicles was the last book placed in the Hebrew Scripture. In other words, Jesus testified to the authenticity of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is universally accepted around the world. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew with parts of Jeremiah, Daniel and parts of the New Testament in Aramaic, and the New Testament was written in koine Greek.

Hebrew

The Hebrew language comes from Abraham. Now Abraham was from the Ur of the Chaldees. The Hebrew language may be the original language. It is the most descriptive (expressive) language in the world. The names of animals in Hebrew describe the characteristics of animals. Gen. 2:19 says, “Whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

Koine Greek

The koine Greek was spoken worldwide because of Alexander the Great. The world spoke koine Greek in the days of the Roman Empire (New Testament) with Christ and his disciples. John the Apostle wrote the last book of the Bible The Revelation of Jesus Christ in A.D. 95. Around 300 A.D. God stopped the koine Greek. Overnight it became a dead language. God ceased the language so that the meaning of the tongue would not change. You know language does change over time. Koine Greek is different from the modern Greek language.

There is no argument about the Old Testament’s authority. The Masoretics or Jewish scribes were very careful copying the scriptures. This is where we get the term “Masoretic text” of the Old Testament. They were very meticulous as to make sure the holy Word was copied correctly. If one of the scribes made one error copying a page, he would throw that page away, wash himself, and then he begged God for copying the Bible wrong. This is the translator’s attitude. The name LORD Jehovah was holy to them. The original manuscripts were destroyed when the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Copies exists today including the Dead Sea Scrolls as evidence for the Old Testament.

The New Testament books were written to local churches or individuals. They have been copied and recopied through the centuries and distributed throughout the world.

Two Greek texts

Textus Receptus or Received Text (a.k.a. Majority Text or Byzantine text) This Greek text position is what we believe. This position has been held by bible preaching, bible-believing Christians with whom many have been martyred and are separated unto Christ.

Critical Text (a.k.a. Oldest is best theory) This position has always been associated with apostasy and liberalism.

Which Text

Does it matter which text? Oh yes it does. There are over 8,000 word differences between the TR (Textus Receptus) and the modern Critical text. This is approximately the number of words found in 1 and 2 Peter. More than 2,800 of the words in the TR are omitted in the Critical text.

Today there are more than 5,650 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. The vast majority of these contain only portions of the New Testament. 99% of all existing New Testament Greek manuscripts support the Received Text.

Liberals and apostates favor the Critical text. Without a doubt Satan is behind the confusion. But there are also Christians who believe this position as well. Now there is one of two reasons why:
1. They have never been taught
2. Willingly ignorant

We believe that God has providentially preserved his Word through the traditional Received Text. This is where the King James Version comes from.

Ruckmanites

Some who hold to the Critical Text position accuse us of being Ruckmanites. Though we hold to the King James Version for the English language, we are not. Peter Ruckman pastors a church in northern Florida. He teaches that the King James Version translation is superior to the Greek text. They believe in double inspiration. He and his followers believe the Holy Spirit inspired the KJV translation just like the original manuscripts. This is heresy. What’s funny is Ruckmanites do not use the KJV 1611, but the 1769 KJV.

Siniaiticus And Vaticanus

Today there are more than 5,650 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. The vast majority of these contain only portions of the New Testament. 99% of all existing New Testament Greek manuscripts support the Received Text.

2 manuscripts are used to support the Critical Text position. The Sinaiticus was found in a waste bucket of a monastery in 1844. The Vaticanus was found in the Vatican or Catholic library in 1481.

The origin of these manuscripts comes from Alexandria, Egypt. Remember that Egypt is always a type of the world. This famous city has special significance for early church history. From this center came many heresies and false teaching. Arianism the denial of the deity of Christ sprang. An early church leader named Origen first taught that babies were to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. What does that sound like? Roman Catholicism. Constantine the Great from Rome commissioned Eusebius to produce a version of the Bible based upon Origen’s manuscripts. The widely used texts Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus had their origin in liberalism. Alexandria is where almost all the modern versions derive.

In the late half of the 19th century, two British scholars by the name of Westcott and Hort set out to produce a new Greek text of the 19th century. Their work was based entirely upon the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus. These men were apostates who denied the deity of Christ, the verbal inspiration of Scripture, and the resurrection of Christ. The Critical Text was popularized from this work.

Most of the 45 manuscripts that support the Critical Text originated from Alexandria, Egypt. They contradict over 5,600 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament.

Portions of scripture distinctive to the Received Text was quoted extensively by notable church leaders as early as the 2nd century and onward.

The clear historic indication is that the Received Text was the common text of the New Testament used throughout the civilized world from the earliest times of Christianity.

3 Questions Those In Favor Of The Critical Text Ask

1. Erasmus was a Catholic, wasn’t he?

Erasmus never left the Catholic church. He traveled extensively as a scholar throughout Europe. He was widely known to be proficient in the koine Greek and Latin. Erasmus first published the Received Text in 1516. Fully aware of the Vaticanus and concluded to be defective and rejected them. Catholics hated him as his theology changed because of his study of the scriptures. In his later days, his theology became like the Anabaptist.

2. Was King James a sodomite?

No he was in fact a godly man. He trained his son to love the Lord. As a child he memorized great portions of scripture. After King James died, a liberal falsely accused King James of being a sodomite.

3. Can you really trust the King James translators?

There probably has never been assembled at one time a greater group of English speaking scholars of biblical languages. These men were at the zenith in their knowledge of Greek and Hebrew than any other body of English translators before or since. We can see God’s hand in all this. Every one of the translators held divinity degrees and 39 of the 47 held doctor of divinity degrees. All of them were either pastors, preachers, or professors in theological colleges.

Modern Versions

NASB (National American Standard Version)
Take out Lord, Jesus, and that Jesus is Christ.
Dr. Frank Logsdon, Co-Chairman of the NASB translation committee changed his position and admitted the NASB had severe problems and renounced all attachments to the NASB.
Many in the evangelical world have rethought their support of Westcott and Hort and the English translations based upon their work.

NIV (New International Version)
National Association of Evangelicals organized the NIV in 1965. They have been linked with liberalism.
192 verses in the NIV are directly deleted, openly doubted, or have significant portions missing.
NIV translation is loose and a paraphrase, not word for word.

NKJV (New King James Version)
New Testament is based on Textus Receptus
However, the New James translators admit they prefer the Critical Text
Weak and poor translations
Absence of Certain Distinctive Pronouns
Inconsistent in its use of capitizalized pronouns

Conclusion of Modern Versions
Weakened major Bible doctrines such as the Deity of Christ, the Lordship of Christ, Heaven and Hell, Virgin Birth of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ.

The King James Version 1611 Revisions

The King James Version was translated in 1611.
Today we use the KJV 1769 Edition.
The KJV had revisions and did not have any errors.
Dates of the editions are as follow: 1629, 1638, 1762, 1769.

Examples of KJV revisions
Making Spelling Consistent-ex. “hee” became “he”; “shal” became “shall”
Changing old English to Modern-ex. “”bide” becomes “abide”; “farre” becomes “far”
Changing the space savers and space fillers
Changes in italicized words-ex. In Galatians 1:8 “any other gospel” is no longer italicized. No two languages perfectly correspond. Sometimes a word has to be transliterated. Other times it will take three, four, or five words in English to transliterate one Greek word. The italicized words were words used in English because the language did not precisely correspond.

 
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Posted by on March 14, 2014 in Uncategorized