Jump Start # 2017

Jump Start # 2017

1 Thessalonians 5:14 “And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.”

This passage shows us what things were like in those early churches in the first century. It reminds us that we are not all at the same place spiritually. Like cars traveling on a highway, there are some ahead of us, some beside us and some behind us. Different reasons and different levels of faith causes challenges for congregations. Paul was directing different kinds of spiritual help that was needed to meet these challenges. Patience, encouragement and admonishing were just some of the things that Paul was directing toward those internal challenges that the Thessalonians faced.


What challenges do congregations face today? Times change. Needs change. People have different challenges. What does today’s church face. Here are a few things.


  1. The challenge of the special needs child. Our school systems have done well to develop special ed teachers who are trained to work with and help the child who has unique learning difficulties. But we are missing that in congregations. Often, the Bible class teacher is a mom who has stepped up and she may know the Bible, she hasn’t had any formal training in education. With a special ed student in the class, she now becomes frustrated and discouraged because of the demands, needs and help that is often missing. The special needs child draws all the attention. He is a handful for the Bible class teacher. She doesn’t know what to do other than pass him on to the next round of teachers. But the learning that ought to take place, often doesn’t.


What can be done? First, the parents of the special needs child ought to explain things with the teacher and possibly even the elders. They ought to share what works and even offer to help out in the class. Second, many congregations have professional special ed teachers. Get with them and learn from their experience and knowledge. Too often, Bible class becomes a nightmare for teacher and students because of these challenges and no one knows what to do.


  1. The challenge of paying a preacher’s salary. There was a time when a congregation, numbering around 50 in size, could fully support a preacher. Salaries for all of us in America are much higher than what they were for the last generation. This includes the preacher’s salary. Every congregation wants a preacher. A smaller group has to realize that they may not be able to supply what a man is worth and needs.


What can be done? The first thought is for the preacher to find support from another congregation. There is Biblical pattern for this, but this is hard, tedious and very shaky. One’s income can drop in a month’s notice because of circumstances beyond his control. Supporting churches ought to make a year or two commitment when supporting and keep that commitment. Second, there may be a shift from what we term full time preacher to part time preacher. Smaller congregations may find men who are willing to preach but who also have secular jobs. These congregations must be flexible with their expectations. Sure in the ideal world, a church would have a preacher who is on the job all week long. But if a church can’t afford that, then they will have to make some adjustments. It is a challenge.


  1. The challenge of finding in-house media experts. Most congregations have men among them that can fix the building, do painting and odd jobs. But as churches become more and more advanced with technology, live streaming, websites, Facebook, Twitter, many congregations are coming up against a wall. No one knows how to do that stuff. Often it falls to the preacher’s lap and he is either so busy or he, too, doesn’t know how to do things. We are blessed where I am at with amazing guys who know so much about IT, media and software that we can do about anything we want. We are rare. Most congregations are not blessed this way. It’s a challenge. Today’s world runs on videos and social media. Does a church have to have those things? No. But many are realizing that there are great opportunities and wonderful ways to reach more through those avenues. I’m hearing more and more churches wanting to do things, but they don’t know what to do. They don’t have the people among them to set up, operate and fix the bugs that come with high end technology.


What can be done? First, be patient. Like a young couple getting married, they can’t have the things in their house that thirty years of marriage and working has provided in their parents house. Come up with a game plan as to what you want to do first. Second, seek out brethren from other places who may come and help you. If you do not have the people among you, find out who does. Be professional about this. Everyone has family and time is important. If you are borrowing a guy for a Saturday to set up your website, get your CD copy machine working, establish your Twitter or Facebook presence, pay the man! Use the talent you have in your area. Third, hire someone from a company to get what you need. Often, the outside world may not fully understand what you want, but work with them and you can get things rolling. Learn from others.


One of the things I have witnessed through the years is that often one person can do a certain job, but no one is ever trained by that one person. So, if that one person is sick, moves or dies, what he was doing stops. No one knows what to do. I have visited churches that had all kinds of great audio sound boards, CD machines and cameras, but no one there knew what to do with them. The preacher before sat it all up, used it and then when he moved, it sits, gathering dust. Train others. This is the challenge of legacy. You may know what to do and how to operate things, but you won’t be here forever. Read those Scriptures. We all have a divine appointment coming. Get others trained to do what you do so well. Work with them so they understand things. Let them see you do things. All of this involves forethought and that is a challenge as well.


Every generation and really, every congregation has their own unique challenges. Some of these challenges can cripple a church. Other challenges present opportunities and from that even greater things happen. How we deal with our challenges and what these challenges do to us can make all the difference.


Could you name the challenges your congregation faces? Are you aware of them? How are these challenges being addressed? This begins some valuable conversations.






Jump Start # 2016

Jump Start # 2016

2 Peter 1:21 “for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Something interesting happened over the weekend. It brought to the forefront something that has been on my mind for a while but I never really gave it much thought. It’s a bit of a story but there are connections and bridges.

On Friday night, it was cold, snowy night so I watched two music documentaries. One about the group Chicago and one about the group The Eagles. I wouldn’t recommend those as decent watching. Language was raw and rough. Saturday evening it was off to the orchestra. The feature piece was a violin concerto by Tchaikovsky. It was really good. Saturday night I went to bed thinking about a teen devo I needed to lead on Sunday night. I didn’t have a clue. Everything I thought about was too heavy. I went to sleep thinking I’d get to the church building early and go through some files and sermons that I have done at youth lectures. Surely, I’d find something in there.

Here’s the interesting thought. In the documentary about Chicago, Robert Lamb, one of the main forces and writers behind Chicago, talked about one of their biggest hits. “It just came to me,” he said. The next show, about the Eagles. One of their biggest hits, the lead singer said, “It just came to me in the night.” Then, at the orchestra, I’m reading the program about the violin concerto, and Tchaikovsky claimed, ‘It just came to me.” I have heard Paul McCartney same multiple times in interviews that his big song, “Yesterday,” the most recorded song of all time, just came to him in a dream. In fact, he ask the rest of the Beatles if they had ever heard that song before. He was certain it was some other tune. They changed the title, but it became a huge hit.

And, now, me. I woke up Sunday morning we a great idea for the teen study. Forget digging through those old files. I’d show them a video of Steven Covey putting large rocks in a jar, followed by little rocks. It’s a lesson about priorities, organization and doing the important things first. We did that, and it was a great lesson for the young people. That idea just came to me in the night.

Now, what’s behind all of this, “It just came to me in the night?” Many of my Jump Starts have been that way. I’d go to bed without a clue or an idea about what the next mornings Jump Start would be. I’d wake up with an idea and the thoughts would just flow. It just came to me. Inspiration? Heaven sent? Many would go there. Many would go so far as to say that “It’s divine.” So, I’ve had this “it just came to me” thinking on my mind. How does that work and what’s behind it?

From the two rock documentaries, the period in which both Chicago and the Eagles wrote those huge hits were also times of extreme drug use and lots of fornication. The volume of drugs that were being consumed would have killed most of us. It’s hard to imagine Heaven helping rebellious and sinful lifestyles without at least pointing them toward Christ. In the case of my Jump Starts, if they were truly Heaven sent, inspired, then I wouldn’t go back through them and find wrong words, missing commas, tense inconsistencies. Obviously, Heaven didn’t help the grammar.

How do you explain the idea for the teen devo? Years ago, I actually taught a teen class and had them put rocks and sand and so forth in buckets as an illustration. That was tucked away somewhere in the files of my mind.

Our verse today, talking about true inspiration from Heaven, the writing of the Bible, tells us that it was made without an act of human will. Man’s desire, editing, discussing, rewriting, changing, improving, all the things that go into writing a song, a story, a Jump Start, a Bible class, wasn’t done with the Bible. It came out complete. It came out a finished project. It came out perfect. It was and is God’s words. God’s word always connects to the rest of His story. It always leads to Him.

Paul told the Galatians that the Gospel he preached was not according to man. He said that he did not receive it from man nor was taught it from a man but it came by revelation of God. To the Ephesians he said, the revelation was made known to him. It was a mystery, but now it was reveled.

There is a big difference in ideas coming to us, even in the night and what God did through the prophets and apostles. Many popular religious writers today do not understand nor make that distinction. They leave the impression that God is leading them to write things and is leading them to certain passages, just as He did the apostles. Yet, the way they worship is not in the Biblical plan. You’d think if God was truly leading them to passages, He would lead these influential writers to walk more closely and accurately with His given word. Inspired, maybe, but not in the Biblical fashion. Song writers who live, eat and sleep music, including classical composers, have minds that are always searching and working around music. It isn’t surprising that a song comes to them. It never comes to me, because that is not my world. But everyday for the past seven years, I have written Jump Starts. I’m always looking, thinking and my mind is in that world. It isn’t surprising that I wake up with an idea. My teen devo, I went to bed thinking and searching for an idea. It’s not surprising that one came to me. Did God help me? That I don’t know. Was it inspiration? Not like what happened to the apostles.

The human mind is a complex thing. Why do we dream what we dream? Why do some have such noble ideas and thoughts, while others can have such evil and dark thoughts? Much is what we feed ourselves mentally. Much is our social environment, who we hang around with. What are we filling our days with? All of those things influence our thinking.

Many of my fellow preachers have told me, “I could never write Jump Starts like you do.” Actually, they could and most would a better job. It doesn’t just come. But doing this day after day after day, one gets into a routine and more so, they get their mind in a routine of thinking.

So, when we come to passages such as Phil 4:8 that tells us to let our minds dwell upon what is true, honorable, lovely, pure and right, that will influence, lead and shape my thoughts. When we find verses like, Col 3:2, “Set your mind on things above,” again, that’s a choice. But that choice is going to color the way you see things. That will influence your attitude. That will influence your language. That will influence your other choices. Our minds can be trained. Our minds can be set on a certain course. Left to run free, our minds will think about whatever crosses our path. Some may be dark and evil thoughts. Dreams may be ugly and frightful. But, like the reins of a horse, you control that mind and purposely take it to godly and righteous places, and then you will find your whole life taking on a different look.

I’ve had people flat out ask me, “Why do I think this way?” My answer is, “I don’t know. Why do you think that way?” Some think the worst. Some lean toward the negative. Some are the half empty, rather than half filled thinkers. Fill your mind with wholesome things. Meditate upon the word of God. Think about Heaven. Think about how you can help others. Think. Don’t let your mind be behind the wheel of your life, you control your mind. In doing so, good thoughts will come to you. Good ideas will come to you. Using your mind in a godly way, influencing your mind with godly things, your mind takes a turn toward Heaven.

It just came to me out of the blue…maybe. But I’d expect that mind was leaning that way in some way. The take away from all of this is quite simple. Fill, feed and lead your mind in the right way and you’ll have good thoughts and a good life. Let your mind go where it wants, allow it to be filled with filth and junk, and you’ll struggle with negative, disturbing and even sinful thoughts.

Who is behind the wheel?



Jump Start # 2015

Jump Start # 2015

1 Corinthians 1:11 “For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you.”

The Corinthian church was a mess. There are not many of us that would have liked this congregation. There was trouble on every page. Division. Immorality. Favoritism. Abuse of the Lord’s Supper. Suing one another. It was a nightmare. Most preachers would have run screaming from this place. It’s enough that most elders would have resigned and moved. What a mess. Where does one start? Is there any hope?


There are many lessons to be drawn as one takes a look at Corinth, especially from a distance. The lessons from Corinth are the very lessons that we need today.


First, because some were not living and behaving right, it did not mean the plan was wrong. It’s easy to throw the whole towel in on Christianity and believe that no one can do it. The world looks at how we treat each other as a measurement of the theory of Christianity. When they see us fighting, judging and condemning one another, they conclude that all of Christianity is broken and a failure. Such is not the case. The plan is perfect, even if we are not. We sometimes forget that others, especially in the family, see and hear what is going on.


Second, there are surface issues that are caused by deeper faith issues. Often, we see trouble on the surface and apply what we feel is the best answer, without addressing why did these things happen. It’s like putting a band-aide on cancer. The problem lies below the surface. Their divisive attitude and arrogance stem from a lack of a servant attitude and a lack of understanding Christ. Look to Jesus. Look to the Gospels. Look where Jesus was at. Look who Jesus helped. Build that compassion and that faith. This is what is missing. When people are divided, simply having a pot-luck isn’t going to solve the problem. Putting them in the same room won’t solve the problem. There are some core faith issues that must be dealt with.


Third, Paul never suggested ending the Corinthian church. He never encouraged some to start another congregation. The same could be said of Rome, where some were eating meats and others were not. How easily it would be to have the meat eaters church and a veggie church. Didn’t happen. Nor, at Sardis, where some were dead and a few were alive. The few didn’t leave the rest. That is our culture today. If I don’t like things at church, I will rally a few family and friends and convince them to start another church with me. Preachers do this. It’s time to leave, right or wrong. But instead of leaving, they start another church in the area and damage the work that already existed. There may be a time one has to leave because of doctrinal issues or else there is no hope of surviving spiritually in that atmosphere. But too often, it’s hurt feelings, it’s bruised egos, and it’s not getting your way that leads to splitting up a congregation. Much like a divorce in a family, church splits don’t go pretty. Fellowship and friendships are ruined. People who once worshipped, worked and hung out together, now no longer like each other.


Fourth, it’s easy to assume that the whole church was wrong. The problems stand out. The problems are what everyone sees. What we don’t see is the good that is still being done. What we don’t see is the love, devotion and dedication to the Lord that remains. Generalizations are often not the true picture. Women will say, “All men…” And men will say, “All women…” White people, black people, urban people, country people, young people, old people—it’s easy to bunch up these groups and assume everyone single person in that group is the same. Religiously, we say, “Liberals, they all…” Or, “Conservatives, they all believe…” Wrong. False. Not fair. It’s not true. When we are upset, especially with things down at the church house, we can feel like Elijah and declare that we are the only one that is doing right. Hiding in our cave, discouraged, disgusted and ready to quit, we grow tired of doing everything. We are always teaching. We are always cleaning the church building. We are the only ones. Elijah didn’t know about 7,000 others. That’s a bunch. We may forget about others who are praying and doing things that we don’t even know about.


Fifth, there lies a temptation when churches become like Corinth, to be angry. Angry sermons. Finger pointing. Angry emails. Angry one on one discussions. Bust the chops and break the knee caps, is how we can come across. You don’t get that from Paul. He was firm. He was direct. He was Biblical. But he was also, hopeful, pointing to Christ and helpful. Fix the problem and do not destroy the people. Stay true to the Biblical principles. Ranting doesn’t accomplish positive results.


Six, do what you can. Our verse reminds us that Chloe’s people sent word to Paul about the problems. Other letters came with questions that Paul would answer. These folks were not gossiping. They were seeking help. The N.T. was not formed yet. Today, the answers lie within our hands. Back then, they sought apostolic answers. They sought help from Paul. They cared. They wanted things to be better. They didn’t give up. Turning to the Scriptures is the answer. Having hearts that want to follow the Lord is the key. The big picture must be kept before us. Remembering Christ, the purpose, the goal, and our responsibilities is important. Like a marriage, it’s easy to want the other person to change. Holding up a mirror and looking at ourselves is the first step.


Messes are made and messes can be cleaned up. It’s hard work. It takes time and effort. But it can be done. Do we want to do that? Some are waiting for someone else to do the work for them. Some are content just to have things as they are. But there are others who understand and know how things can and ought to be. They will teach, influence, preach and show how we ought to walk with the Lord. It’s easy to make a mess. Any child can do that. Cleaning it up, now that takes some work!





Jump Start # 2014

Jump Start # 2014

Psalms 27:3 “Though a host encamp against me, my hart will not fear. Though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident.”

It’s a terrible thing to be afraid. I’m not one that likes horror movies, haunted houses and things that scare me. I don’t like being scared. I really don’t like paying money to be scared. It’s one thing for someone to jump out and frighten you, but there is another fear that is much worse. It’s an internal fear. It’s a fear of the unknown…the fear of death…the fear of the worst happening. Those are the things that keep us awake at night. Those are the things that do not seem to leave us.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about something I read from my grandma’s diary in 1931. Her entry, after stating that all the banks in the state had closed, was “I don’t know what will happen next.” That statement prompted some to ask if I would write more on that. Just what will happen next?

It is easy to say, “I don’t know.” No one knows what will happen next. But that’s not exactly right. There are some things that we do know. We can be sure of some things that are coming down the pike.

We know, if we continue to live long enough, the outer man falls apart. Ecclesiastes says this. Corinthians says this. And all we have to do is look around to see this. There are not very many twenty-year-olds, that are using walkers, wearing hearing aids, and take mountains of medicine every day. But given enough time and that used to be twenty-year-old will age and those will become part of his life. “It’s not fun, getting old,” is something I’m told often by the senior citizen crowd. Too many miles on the body and things just wear out. We’re not living forever here in this body, nor in this place. There is a divine appointment coming with death. For the disciple, Christ has taken away the fear of death. Death is merely going through a doorway to get into the room where we want to be.

2. We know, Jesus is coming. That’s a promise that is found throughout the N.T. Jesus is coming! In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, the groom returned. In the parable of the talents, the master returned. Jesus is returning. When Jesus returns, everything will change. The dead will be resurrected. This earth will cease to be.

3. We know that we will be judged someday. That’s another promise that is found in the N.T. We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. It is God’s grace and our faith that will make all the difference. Mercy meets justice and God will determine the eternal destiny of each person. That’s coming. That’s a promise.

But there are other things that we do not know. Maybe we wished we did, but I tend to think that for most of us, we are glad we don’t know.

We do not know what our life will be like tomorrow, so says the book of James. We make plans for tomorrow. Our schedules are full. We have a lot to do and a lot of places to go. But we do not know what will happen tomorrow. A child gets sick, and needs to go to the doctor, and suddenly that changes the plans. Had we known that, we would have not made the plans. We did not know what would happen tomorrow. There are days the car may not start. That changes things. There are days that other people don’t keep their schedules and that intersects and disrupts your schedule. We don’t plan to have car accidents. We don’t plan to have emergency runs to the hospital. We don’t plan to get the flu. There are days computers don’t work. There are days the internet isn’t running smoothly. Life has a way of messing up your life. We plan. We hope. We pray. But we don’t know what will happen tomorrow.

We don’t know when our time here is up. That’s a good thing. If we were told the actual date of our death, most of us would be upset, obsessed, and not able to do much good. We’d think about that date all the time. There would be a app counting down the minutes you have left. We would become a worried mess. As it is, we live as if each day is our last. We live with one foot already in Heaven. We make plans if we are here, and we make it our ambition to please the Lord, so that if we are not here, we are with Him. We can look at stats, read about the best places to live, eat well, exercise often, but in the end, no one knows when their last day is here.

Along with this last thought, we don’t know when Jesus is coming. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins ends with, “you do not know the day nor the hour.” They were to be alert. Multiple times the coming of Jesus is likened to a thief in the night. No one knows when the thief comes. Some like to predict dates. Some watch the news and think what happens with foreign governments is a tell-tell sign. Jesus is coming, we just don’t know when.

Our verse, one of many from Psalms that reminds us to not fear. The Psalmist was confident. The enemy encamped around him. There were wars. Yet, he did not fear. We remember the famous, Psalms 23 that declares, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and They staff; they comfort me” (v. 4). I will not fear.

I believe one of the best expressions comes from the passage about the virtuous woman. There among those magnificent qualities, we find, “she smiles at the future” (Prov 31:25). How could she do that? She didn’t know what the future holds. In the words of my grandma, “she didn’t know what was going to happen next.” It’s easy to smile at the past. Get out some old photo albums. That’s all you need. It’s easy to smile at the present. Get some people together and the smiles, laughter and happy times flow. That’s easy. But to smile at the future? How can one do that when we don’t know about wars, economies, storms, trials and hardships?

How can we not fear? How can we be confident? The answer is simple. It lies in a deep faith that trusts in the Lord. Do you remember the things that you worried about and kept you tossing and turning about five years ago? Probably the kids. Probably finances. Probably people. But to be specific, most would say, “I don’t remember.” We got through those dark days. We moved on. There has been other issues, problems and things to “encamp” around us. But in looking back, there were prayers. There was trusting God. There was worship. There was looking deeply into the Scriptures. We made it to the other side and we have forgotten those troubles. This is how we do it today.

What’s going to happen next? Not sure. But God will be there. God’s already in the future. He’s beaten us there. He’ll be waiting for you. He’ll be on the throne. He’ll be in charge. God will be there to listen to you. God will be there to help you. We don’t know what’s going to happen next, but He does. And, as long as we keep walking with Him, it will be ok. There has been Egyptian slavery, Babylonian captivity, Roman dominance, famines, storms on the sea, sickness, disease, earthquakes and wars. Big wars. Long wars. World Wars. Civil Wars. Wars to end all wars. Those things have come and gone. And, still, He remains on the throne.

No fear, but confidence. Smiling at the future. With a faith in God, we know things will only get better. That’s the key to living when we don’t know what will happen next. I expect if my grandma could say something, she’d say, “It’ll be ok.” Just keep believing…keep walking with Him…keep trusting.

It’ll be ok…



Jump Starts # 2013

Jump Start # 2013

Revelation 2:5 “Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place.”


The seven churches described in Revelation’s introduction were all different. Different problems. Different opportunities. Different challenges. A common word that is thread through most of the seven churches is repent. The new year is still fresh. Many are still on their resolutions, they haven’t given up on them yet. The very idea behind a resolution is change. I want to look better. I want to save more money. I want to read the Bible more. I want to spend more time with my family. Change. I want to do things better.


One of the things we learn from our passage is that a congregation can change. The Lord was counting on this. If there was no hope, no possible way of changing, why put out the plea to repent? Ephesus, which our verse today is talking about, could once again embrace in faith and passion their first love. They were guilty of leaving their first love. They could get it back. It was possible.


So, all around us, this sparks hope and a brighter future. Things do not have to stay the way they are. Change is possible. Things can be better. Dead churches can come back to life. Churches that seem to have lost their purpose, can find it again. Just this week I received word about a congregation that has appointed more elders and they are set on course to get back to the Biblical pattern of shepherding. This is a dramatic change and a bright future for that congregation. It’s a huge change for them and it will set forth a legacy of compassion, faithfulness and diligence that will help lives for a long time. Change, it’s possible.


How does a church change? How would a loveless Ephesus turn directions? How would a dead Sardis, find life? Here are some thoughts.


First, it doesn’t happen overnight. Patience, staying the course and influencing and teaching are important. We see things that are not right, and immediately we want to fix it. The expression “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” reminds us that people tend to get comfortable in their ways and change involves doing things that hasn’t been done. The easy thing to do is to do nothing. The easy thing to do is to wait for others to change things.


Second, change must come from within. Waiting for your Superhero to fly in and right all the wrongs is not going to happen. An idea can begin from a book, a visiting preacher, a conversation, but those ideas must hit the pavement and slowly, with the Bible, people must see a better way and a Biblical way of doing things. I have found in many places that people recognize that things could be better, but no one wants to do anything about it other than talk. Years roll by and things remain the same. Hearts become stubborn. People get used to what is going on and they give up on things ever being better. Change at Ephesus had to come from the members of Ephesus.


Third, threats and bombastic attitudes most often backfire. People need to see before they will change. They must understand why they need to change. They need to see in the Bible what they are missing. Forcing people to do what they do not want to do, leads to rebellion, mutiny and division. Keep teaching God’s way. Keep showing what is the better way. Keep bringing ideas. Keep encouraging. Show, one by one, how things can be. Just as false teaching can spread through a congregation, most times, not from the pulpit, but member to member, influencing one another, the same is true of truth. Showing and using God’s word, one by one, in classes, from the pulpit, the ideas get across. God told Ephesus to “remember.” That’s a great starting point. Remember how excited you once were about worship? Remember how you couldn’t wait to invite a friend? Remember how busy we once were in teaching, helping out and doing things? Remember. Remember those hours we poured in getting things ready for VBS? Remember getting down to the church building on a Saturday morning to clean it up and polish it before a special meeting? Remember? We can do that again. We’ve done it before. Will you help me? I’ll be there, will you come?


Fourth, don’t expect others to change if you are not willing to change and lead the way. Many will follow, but few will lead. Telling others what needs to be done doesn’t go very far. But rolling up your sleeves and doing what you can, often will get others to do the same. If Ephesus was to change, someone had to start it. Who would be the first to repent? Who would show others the way to follow? I have talked to elderships before, and they were not happy with the way they were doing things. Yet, no one would take that first step that leads to change. They were waiting for someone, but it wasn’t going to be any of them.


Fifth, expect some resistance. Some do not want to change. Some in Ephesus were probably happy with the things as they were. Why change? Change means doing things differently. Change means more work. Change means changing. Some will do all that they can to keep that from happening. They will challenge whether or not change is needed. They will question the direction that some want to go. They will fight, dig their heels in and resist. Some never will change. As the church gets back to where it should be with the Lord, some even in Ephesus, would hold on to not loving their first love. They are content with things just as they are. Those folks will miss out. They will not experience the depth of spiritual growth that others will know. Sometimes, in some places, the majority, at first, is content to keep doing what has always been done. No goals. No legacy. No plans. No challenges to improve. But, one by one, their eyes are opened and things turn. Repentance, change and doing things right is possible.


There are many places that are taking a serious look at what they are doing. They understand the difference between the Biblical model, which can never change, and the generational model, which is how the Biblical model is implemented. How often to meet on Sunday? How many Gospel meetings to have and what length they should be? Every year do the same or find better ways to connect, teach, and encourage.


Changing a congregation is possible. It must be changed for the right reasons and they must always be in line with what God says. But to sit on the sidelines with a hopeless spirit that nothing will ever change, is nether good nor right.


There is a story of Alexander the Great inspecting the troops on day. One soldier was not right. His uniform was messy and he wasn’t standing as he should. When asked his name, he proudly said, “Alexander, like yours.” He was told, either change your ways or change your name!


The Ephesians were told to repent.