How To Talk About Your Church

  • “Well, I walked into church, and no one spoke to me!” 
  • “Every Sunday, my heart is stirred, and I leave knowing I have met with my Lord!” 
  • “Our preacher (fill-in-the-blank)!” 
  • “All our church knows to do is ask for money!” 
  • “Our kids’ ministry is awesome!”

These and a whole host of other statements, both positive and negative, true and false, have been and continue to be said about the local church. In connection with yesterday’s post, Covid’s Speech Lesson, I want us to consider what is said to others about the local gathering we attend. Let’s look at one of them.

“Our church (or, That church) is so unfriendly!”

There’s a quick remedy for that one. Proverbs 18:24 reminds us, He that has friends must himself be friendly.  Next Sunday, before you get out of your car, pray by yourself or with your spouse or your family, “Lord, I surrender to You, Who dwells in me, to be friendly, compassionate, listening, and caring to all we meet. And, lead us to the seats in the auditorium where You want us to sit today that we may help move folks around one step toward Christ.”

Think about it. If we are given to say that our church is not friendly, then perhaps we are not friendly because we are the church. We as born again believers are the body of Christ. Therefore, when we gather, we are more than just friendly on “the outside.” We desire to go deeper by showing mercy to those around us. We greet others with a firm handshake or a fist-bump or with raised eyebrows (for mask-wearers) and a word of greeting. Try to refrain from the norm, “How you doing?” and move on.

If you are greeting a visitor/guest, stop, speak to them, give your name, listen for their name(s) and use their name(s) immediately so you can begin to remember it. Put yourself in their shoes. Consider how you can make them feel at home; as if they were entering your living room. As you chat with them, don’t be in hurry. Introduce them to those serving at the Welcome Center. Ask questions and give guidance to the auditorium or nursery or fellowship area. Pray with them.

Sometime during the week, send a thank you note or a text or give them a call to let them know you have prayed for them. Make sure they know you genuinely care.

True friendliness is grounded in the person of Christ. He spent time with His disciples and others (John 3:22). He initiated conversations (John 4:7-42). He came to serve others (Mark 10:45). He prayed for others (John 17). He visited in homes (Luke 19:1-10). He reached out to sinners (John 8:1-11).

Since we can do all things through Christ as He lives His life through us, we can ignite a culture of biblical friendliness in our local congregation that will be contagious for Christ and to others!!

“That congregation is so friendly! They are genuine; they really care!”

A Husband’s Assignment

We men are extremely task-oriented. We love to accomplish, conquer, and fix things. Over the years, I have jumped too quick to take care of my wife’s needs and find out that the task would have been simpler if I’d just waited a moment, listen to her further, or best of all, prayed about it. But, I was the man on the job!

When it comes to tasks, projects, and accomplishments, husbands, do know about the assignment God has given you in Ephesians 5:25-28?

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.

This passage is a beautiful word picture of the relationship between Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride. Because Christ is the Savior of the Body (Ephesians 5:23) and gave Himself up for the Church (5:25), He will present her to Himself in awesome, holy splendor as a bride adorned for her husband (Revelation 19:7-9).

Since this word picture uses marriage as its example, I believe there is something very telling in this passage for husbands. Christ has given Himself for us, sanctified us, and will present us to Himself. Husbands, in the word picture, are you discipling your wife in such a way that you could present her to the Lord as a woman of God because you intentionally invested in her spiritual growth? Could you look at Christ and say, “I’ve done my best to help my wife know You, love You, serve You, and walk with You.”?

How can that happen? Here’s some suggestions:

  1. Pray with her every day; before you go to work, during the day from work, at meal times and when you go to bed. Hold hands and meet at the greatest place in the universe—the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:14-16).
  2. Make sure she has time to study God’s Word. If you have young children and her time is maxed taking care of them, when you come home from work, spend time with the kids and give your wife the opportunity to get alone with God.
  3. Give your wife spiritual growth opportunities such as sending her to the Ladies Retreat @ the Wilds or Ladies Prayer Advance (christlifemin.org), and/or making sure she participates in a ladies Bible study at church, and be faithful to attend your local church.
  4. Pray specifically for her to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
  5. Share with each other every day what you have learned from your time in the Word and prayer.
  6. Share how you have seen God at work in your lives.
  7. Read a book together on a date, before you go to bed, after supper, etc. (i.e. Marriage, Christian growth)
  8. Rejoice with her with she sees answers to prayer, and weep with her when her heart is burdened (Romans 12:15).


Men, we have an awesome responsibility to come alongside our wives and grow together in Christ! The eternal things are of far more value than the temporal, earthly things. You take the lead; you encourage; you disciple. Be ready “to present” her to the Lord!

Let’s Read & Grow in 2022

Recently I heard someone say that we need go into 2022 not making resolutions but developing habits.

One action/habit that I have been challenged to make in this new year is to read more books. Not just to read more but to have an intentional plan for reading. While scrolling through Twitter the other day, I came across Scott & Becky Aniol’s G3 Reading Challenge 2022. https://g3min.org/readingchallenge2022/

Consider the following from their blog post:

Whether you’re a voracious reader, an occasional reader, or a wannabe reader, join us for the G3 Reading Challenge 2022. The goal with this challenge is not only to get Christians reading but also to stretch us all—as parents, pastors, parishoners—to read more widely. We hope these categories will motivate you to both complete some books you’ve been meaning to read and also venture into topics and genres that don’t normally make it onto your bookshelf. One thing is certain: You’ll be better for it.

Don’t think you have time to read 12 books? Audiobooks available through your local library or a subscription service will read to you while you drive or dry dishes. Also, statistics tell us that picking up a book instead of scrolling social media could allow the average American to read over 200 books a year! Consider doing the challenge with your spouse, a friend, or a church group to provide community and stimulate healthy conversation.

I’ve accepted the challenge and want to share the books I have chosen for 2022, with a few personal changes to the categories of books.

A Bible Reading Plan

The Lookout Bible Reading Plan (YouVersion Bible app)

A Hymnal

Hymns Modern & Ancient

A Christian Biography (or autobiography)

Courageous Faith, Charles Stanley

Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission The Growth of a Work of God, Vol. 2

A Book about Culture

Christianity and Wokeness, Owen Strachan

A Puritan Paperback (or any book by a Puritan)

The Fountain of Life, John Flavel

A Book about Worship

Sing, Keith & Kristen Getty

A Book by an Inkling

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis

A Book on Pastoring/Ministry

Elders in the Life of the Church, Matt Schmucker and Phil A. Newton

A Novel Written before 1922

David Copperfield , Charles Dickens (1849)

A Book about Gender or Sexuality

Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcy

A Christian Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read

God in the Whirlwind, David F. Wells

A Book on Prayer

Quiet Talks on Prayer, SD Gordon

Will you join me? My heart’s desire is to have several men come along for the ride this year so we can sharpen one another in our walk with Christ and life. What do you say, men? Choose your books, and let’s read and grow!!

Sing With Shiloh!

1 Who is he born in the stall,
at whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is he in deep distress,
fasting in the wilderness?
Refrain:
‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory!
At his feet we humbly fall,
crown him, crown him, Lord of all!
4 Lo! at midnight, who is he
prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is he upon the tree
dies in grief and agony? [Refrain]
5 Who is he that from the grave
comes to heal and help and save?
Who is he that from his throne
rules thro’ all the world alone? [Refrain]

Tears of joy ran down my face Sunday morning as we congregationally sang the rich text of Who Is He in Yonder Stall?. As the full song recounts the life of Christ, the refrain resounds with praise and attention given to the Lord Jesus Christ in His humiliation and kingship! Indeed, He alone is worthy of our worship!

Joy also flowed because this was my first Sunday back in church since November 28th due to covid.

But that’s not all. Joy welled up in my heart in response to the congregation singing! From my vantage point on the back row, it sounded like a full choir seated in the pews ringing out praises to our matchless Savior and Lord!

Folks, that’s the way it should be in every Sunday gathering! Indeed, I am grateful for every aspect of music ministry in a service, but a congregation singing with all their hearts to the Lord is hard to beat! As each believer thinks through the words of each song while focusing their attention on singing to the Lord and to one another, something grand occurs . . . worship, discipleship, praise, presence, conviction, unity, encouragement, emotion and adoration! The issue is not talent but a heart engaged in proclaiming the greatness of our God and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

If you want an example of what I am describing, you need to join me on Sunday morning as my five year old grandson, Shiloh, gives uninhibited praise to God! Yesterday, he joined in as we sang:

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

(Keith & Kristen Getty)

After the service, several folks mentioned to his mom and my wife that they could hear Shiloh singing! Where did he learn to sing like that? By being in church watching others around him as well as the influence of his home.

God wants us to sing, and He wants to hear you sing!

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:1-2)

So, this Sunday, will you join with other believers around the world as well as those seated around you in singing praise to our God? I’m looking forward to singing with Shiloh this Sunday, too!

The White Blazes

We made it!!

If you have ever wondered what it is like to hike the Appalachian Trail, it is apply defined by the words extreme adventure!

As you trod over the well-worn path, one step after another leads to decisions, caution, carefulness, speed, slowness, rest, joy, possibilities, views, varying weight, anticipation, etc.

As I recently hiked a section in Virginia with a friend, the AT reminded me of participating with Christ in living His life, the Christian life! Indeed, when Jesus invites us to follow him (Matthew 16:24), a good synonym would be extreme adventure!

As you hike the AT, there are many items needed such as hiking shoes, back pack, trekking poles, tent, food, much planning, and major will power to make this trek successful. But above all, there is something you must have to make it from Springer Mt. in Georgia to Mt. Katadhin in Maine. What is it? The infamous white blazes. There are approximately 165,000 of these rectangular 2 x 6 inch white markings that are found on trees, posts, and rocks. The distance between each blaze varies but they are the “law” on the trail; they are the surety markers if you are to stay on trail.

In this extreme adventure of following Christ, we have an eternal white blaze that guides us every step in this journey of life, the Word of God (Psalms 23:1-3; 32:8-9; 119:105; John 14:6; Colossians 2:6). Just as I cannot stay on trail without the white blazes, neither can I participate in Christ’s life without His Word (Galatians 2:20).

This life will offer many different side paths to take (e.g. blue blazes) that may or may not be beneficial. There will be rocks, creeks, roots, decisions, caution, carefulness, speed, slowness, rest, joy, possibilities, views, varying weight, anticipation, etc. along the trail of life, but you must daily follow the white blaze of God’s Word. These white markers are surety on the AT; the Word of God is the same in this trek of life.

For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:16-21)

Establish my footsteps in Your word… (Psalm 119:133).

Discipleship & Running (2)

Wow! The smell was rank! It may have been just me or both of us, but the aroma in the car was almost roadkill worthy. But, what do you expect with all that sweat!

You say, “what does that have to do with discipleship?” Well, you may or may not have heard it said, but “discipleship is messy.”

Think of all Jesus dealt with in reference to his disciples. Here He is leading this band of twelve knowing one would betray Him, one would deny Him and they would forsake Him at the cross.

At various times Jesus had to deal with their insecurities, their misunderstandings, their pride, their selfishness, their unbelief, their hasty decisions, their inopportune sleepiness, their parents, their confusion, their rejection of children, their hindering statements, their temptations, their prejudice, their low commitment, their fears, their bad spirit, their doubts, etc. Leading these men was messy.

We and those we disciple are messy, too. As you do life with others, as you get to know one another, weaknesses, sins, and frailties are exposed. We can easily relate to the list in the previous paragraph. Many times, the stories of those we disciple are complicated by sin and its consequences. It’s a mess! And, we too, have paragraphs and chapters in our life that we wish had never been written.

If we stopped right here, it would end like a cheap television talk show. All the gory details, the mess, the sin, the raw display of our humanness, but no solution, no spiritual transformation.

Discipleship is simply helping someone take the next step toward Christ for God’s glory. As you do life together, pray together, read the Word together, serve together, work in the yard together, play ball together, share together, laugh together, eat together, talk together, etc., you will work up some holy sweat as you together exercise unto godliness (1 Timothy 4:7).

The smell of a messy life can be transformed by the grace of God (Romans 5:19-21) into a sweet-smelling aroma for Christ and unto God (2 Corinthians 2:15-16; Ephesians 5:12).

As someone has said, “Let your mess be transformed into a message;” a message of the Christlife being formed in you and lived out of you (Romans 6-8; Galatians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18). That’s a pleasing aroma!

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Discipleship & Running

One of the joys of my life is running on the nearby Tweetsie Trail in Johnson City / Elizabethton, TN. The views of the mountains, the trees lining the trail, the fresh air, the quiet, the deer and squirrels, and the bridges are all way cool!

Another joy is running with my son-in-law. He’s a great encourager as he runs alongside me asking every now and then, “You doing ok?” I’m sure he would run a fastest pace than me since he’s 35 years younger, but he stays right there with me until the last mile. That’s when he moves on ahead to our normal finish line of 4.3 miles.

He and I have run many times on the Tweetsie as well as in other timed races. His question “You doing ok”? is standard fare and reminds me of discipleship in another believer’s life.

You see, we are not okay if we think we can go solo in this walk with Christ. Besides the residency of the Trinity within us (John 14:15-24), we must have one another outside of us asking, “You doing okay?”

When you consider all the “one another” passages in Scripture as well as Matthew 28:18-20 and Titus 2:1-8, it is very evident we need our family in Christ to go beyond the shallow, surface relationships of what has sadly become normal Christianity. We need to seek it out and also offer ourselves in genuine love and transparency to encourage and edify one another in our participation with Christ in this life.

There have been times when Andrew asks, “Are you doing ok?” that I have had to declare, “I’m struggling today!” Or, “You go ahead, I’ve got to slow down. I’ll catch up with you.” Or, “Doing great!” There have also been times that I have done the same for him. We are definitely transparent with each other.

You see, running together makes this question mean something. We are both running for the finish life; we are on the same trail; we are pushing each other; we care for one another; we are involved in each other’s lives; we are sweating together; we know this is good for us! Discipleship is the life of Christ! This is what we are, disciple-makers. This is the core of life!

Who are you running with in discipleship? Who are you honestly asking “You doing okay?”?

(More on this in future posts.)

21 Days of Prayer (Day #19)

Our teen ministry at BCBC is based around this mission, “To produce adults who in their independence live their lives for God (Col. 3:1-4).” This mission makes the decisions for what we do and what we study. Colossians 3:1-4 says, If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

We want the teens as they gain independence into adulthood to be convinced that living for God is better than living for anything else. We try to accomplish this through Five Core Values:

  1. Treasuring God (Matt. 6:21)
  2. Build Strong Faith (1 Peter 3:15)
  3. Oneness in the Body (Eph. 4:12)
  4. Discipleship (Matt. 28:18-20)
  5. Christ-Compelled Service (Mark 10:45)

What should we pray for the teen ministry at BCBC? Pray that our teens would be poured into in such a way that they would be convinced that living for God is superior to living for this world. Pray that each core value would be something that is established in each teen.

I often tell the teens what I hope to see in their life one day. I tell them that I want to come to their weddings someday and see them marrying a godly person. I hope to meet their children who are being taught that living for God is better than this world. I hope to find out that they are being discipled and discipling someone in their church. I hope they are an intricate part of a body of believers. Please, join me in prayer for our teens!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)

Pastor Andrew Isbell

21 Days of Prayer (Day #18)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

“This is the Great Commission—the making of disciples. The touchstone of a thriving church is that it is making genuine disciple-making disciples of Jesus Christ.” (Trellis & the Vine, p. 152)

“The essence of ‘vine work’ (people ministry as opposed to “trellis” ministry which includes the upkeep of the building and running programs) is the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another (or more than one). . . . The goal of all Christian ministry, in all its forms, is disciple-making.” (Trellis & the Vine, p. 153)

The past two days I have asked us to pray for the children and the senior saints. Today, I am asking us to pray again for our children and senior saints and all in between . . . to be involved in the continuation of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is, making genuine disciple-making disciples of Jesus Christ.

When we make the mission of the church simply reaching the lost or growing church attendance or teaching biblical information—or anything other than making full-fledged disciples of Jesus—we form shallow churches, leave people stuck in immature, un-Christlike patterns of living, and fail to be a city set on a hill.

Our mission is disciple making. And making disciples includes two components: evangelism (implied by the reference to baptism in Matthew 28:19) and teaching people to do everything Jesus commanded.

It’s all aimed at helping people become disciples and live as disciples, which means they have to rearrange their life to become like Jesus.

So, here’s a subtle shift in thinking that makes a massive impact on our ministries: Disciple making isn’t something we do; it’s everything we do.

The purpose of every meeting, every program, and every activity of the church is to either help people become disciples or to help them live as disciples.

If we’re making lots of converts who aren’t learning how to do everything Jesus commanded (i.e., live as disciples of Jesus), we’re failing to carry out the mission Jesus gave us.

If we have lots of active, involved church members who are attending, serving, and giving but not becoming like Jesus in character and life mission, then we’re making church members not disciples. And that means we’re failing in the mission Jesus gave us.

We have one mission: make disciples.

Every pastor is a disciple making pastor.

Every volunteer leader needs to see their role as a disciple maker and understand how they can help the people in their charge live as disciples of Jesus.

For every activity we should ask: How does this help people either become disciples or live as disciples?

As Curtis Erskine demonstrated in his substantive blog entitled “Conversion, Theology, and Discipleship,” discipleship is the key criterion by which everything is evaluated.

And this isn’t just true for the church corporately. This is true for each individual disciple as well—we are to live as disciples and seek to make disciples.

Raising kids? One of the greatest discipleship opportunities for our own discipleship and for helping our kids become—and live as—disciples. Martin Luther called family life the “school for character.”

Career? An incredible training ground for becoming like Jesus, and one of the best places to display and impart the way of Jesus to others.

Friends? They are key relationships for spurring one another on to love and good deeds.

Discipleship to Jesus should shape every facet of our life as individuals and every activity in our churches.

It’s everything we do, and it’s the greatest opportunity any human being could ever have because Jesus is the true source of life. (Disciple Making Is Everything the Church Does; John Whitaker)

Would you join with Pastor Andrew and myself in submitting to the Christ within every one of us as believers in Christ by following His mission to make disciples?

  • Pray that BCBC would become more and more a disciple making ministry. (Titus 2)
  • Pray for a greater understanding of what it looks like to be a disciple for Christ. (The four gospels; the life of Christ)
  • Pray for courage, conviction, and concern for people. (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Pray that we will be growing daily in Christ through prayer, scripture, and fellowship with other believers. (2 Peter 3:18)
  • Pray that we will encourage one another, carry each other’s burdens, and work together in order to make known the Gospel of Jesus to the children and families who cross ours paths. (I Thessalonians 5:14)
  • Pray for our discipleship small groups to grow in such a way that it produces more disciple-makers whose desire would be to spend intentional time in conversation with others in the Word of God. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Let’s pray expectantly with surrendered hearts! Who’s all in with me?

Pastor C

21 Days of Prayer (Day #15)

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18).

This third week of our 21 Days of Prayer, we will focus on various aspects of the ministry and people at Boones Creek Bible Church.

Today, on this last Sunday of March, Palm Sunday, let us make supplication for all the saints. In other words, let’s pray specifically for the local body of Christ, the saints, the believers known as the BCBC family.

Let’s pray for the saints, as well as yourself, to . . .

  • Live passionately today for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Die to self so Christ can live His life out of us; to live by His terms, not ours. (Galatians 2:20)
  • Be devoted to the teaching of God’s Word and the fellowship of one another. (Acts 2:42)
  • Be thoroughly given to prayer as Christ is. (Acts 1:14; 2:42; Colossians 4:2)
  • Share, connect, minister and make disciples like Jesus did. (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Be people of genuine praise and thanksgiving. (Hebrews 13:15; Ephesians 5:20)
  • Be daily repenters changing the way we think so God can change the way we live. (Romans 2:4; 1 John 1:9; Revelation 2:5)
  • Worship today in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
  • Be soul-conscious, ready to share Jesus with the unsaved without fear. (Luke 19:10; 2 Timothy 1:7)
  • Be burden-bearers. (Galatians 6:2)

And, let us pray that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:16-21)

Let’s finish this week strong, “on our knees,” as we head toward Resurrection Sunday!!