VIDEO What’s Missing in CH___CH?

Now on the first day of the week…the disciples came together to break bread. Acts 20:7


Earlier this year, the American Enterprise Institute released a study showing that since the outbreak of COVID-19, a third of Americans who previously attended church have stopped going.1 Another study last year by the Barna Group found the rate of burnout among pastors rose dramatically between 2021 and 2022.2

If these statistics seem discouraging to you, remember this—you can do something about it! You have a vital part to play. Fighting against the changing of culture can be difficult, but gathering with other believers allows us to encourage each other to stand strong for Christ. What a blessing to be part of the Body of Christ in times like these!

Go to church on Sunday. Get involved in a small group. Pray for your pastor and church staff. Invite someone to join you at church. Find a personal ministry to pursue. You’ll be following the great pattern anchored in the glorious pages of the book of Acts.

Christians cannot grow spiritually as they ought to in isolation from one another. Gene Getz

1 David Roach, “Church Attendance Dropped Among Young People, Singles, Liberals,” Christianity Today, January 9, 2023.

Jeff Brumley, “Yet Another Study Confirms: Many Pastors Are Hanging on by a Thread,” Baptist News Global, April 28, 2022.

Acts 20:1-17 – Sleeping in Church

Life Everlasting

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

“Don’t be afraid of death, Winnie,” said Angus Tuck, “be afraid of the unlived life.” That quote from the book-turned-film Tuck Everlasting is made more interesting by the fact that it comes from a character who can’t die. In the story, the Tuck family has become immortal. Young Jesse Tuck, who falls in love with Winnie, begs her to seek immortality too so they can be together forever. But wise Angus understands that simply enduring forever doesn’t bring fulfillment.

Our culture tells us that if we could be healthy, young, and energetic forever, we would be truly happy. But that’s not where our fulfillment is found. Before He went to the cross, Jesus prayed for His disciples and for future believers. He said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Our fulfillment in life comes from a relationship with God through faith in Jesus. He’s our hope for the future and joy for this present day.

Jesus prayed that His disciples would take on the patterns of new life: that they would obey God (v. 6), believe that Jesus was sent by God the Father (v. 8), and be united as one (v. 11). As believers in Christ, we look forward to a future eternal life with Him. But during these days we live on earth, we can live the “rich and satisfying life” (10:10 nlt) that He promised—right here, right now.

By:  Karen Pimpo

Reflect & Pray

Where’s your joy and contentment found in this life? In what ways do you exhibit new life in Christ?

Jesus, help me take hold of the abundant life that You’ve given to me.

Christ in You

Our salvation is the work of Christ, and so is our sanctification every day that follows Colossians 1:24-29

Paul wrote to the Colossians, “I rejoice in my sufferings” (1:24). Can you imagine yourself saying that? It’s a difficult claim to make, much less to adhere to day after day. In fact, that would be impossible for us to do on our own. 

The apostle was able to have such an attitude only because he drew from Jesus’ strength—and the same is true for us. We can try to live the Christian life by our own efforts, but we won’t succeed. Jesus Himself told the disciples, “The one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

To live a healthy spiritual life, it’s essential to recognize that power has nothing to do with us; it comes from Christ in us. Our salvation is the work of God, as is every bit of our sanctification throughout the rest of earthly life. Not only does He transform us; He’s also the one who empowers us to obey and serve as we rely on Him. Paul understood how our responsibility and God’s power intersect. In verse 29 of today’s passage, he expressed it this way: “For this purpose I also labor, striving according to His power which works mightily within me.” 

Prerequisites for Christian Unity

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” (Philippians 2:1-2)

Churches haven’t changed much in 2,000 years. The call to unity in these verses is as needed now as it has always been. Let us examine the prerequisites for unity found here.

Consolation in Christ: The Greek word translated “consolation” is frequently translated “exhortation,” and that seems appropriate here. The “exhortation in Christ” immediately follows this passage where His beautiful life of humility becomes the exhortation to unity among believers, since disunity ultimately comes from pride (v. 3).

Comfort of love: Comfort could be rendered “encouragement,” implying a tender act of incentive. The agape love that the Holy Spirit produces in the life of a believer produces the incentive to unity. When believers truly love one another in this fashion, unity prevails.

Fellowship of the Spirit: The Holy Spirit makes possible a precious relationship between believers. Through the Spirit’s empowering, our wills can be molded into Christlikeness, enabling us to live in unity with our fellow saints.

Bowels and mercies: In the Western world, the heart is referred to as the seat of our innermost affections, here called “mercies,” or, literally, “compassionate yearnings and actions.” When Christians have tender compassion for one another, divisions cease.

The four prerequisites for unity are then Christlike humility, Spirit-produced agape love, a yielding of the will of each believer to the Spirit, and tenderheartedness toward one another. May God grant that they will know we are Christians by our love. JDM

On Staying True To Your Spouse

Few who are married would deny the fact that from time to time they encounter people of the opposite sex whom they find attractive (other than their spouse).

The attraction itself is not the critical issue. How we deal with it is.

Every marriage is a mix of profoundly deep bonds of love and intimacy, coupled with periods of frustration and dismay. Even anger. It may be during these times of stress that we find ourselves particularly attracted toward another person who appears on the scene.

In fact, we may well be surprised and chagrined; even alarmed at the power of the attraction, and at the fertility of our imagination.

The trouble begins when we cross the line by allowing the other person entrance into the sacred place of emotional intimacy rightfully reserved only for our spouse.

To cope with that attractive other person, let me put forth two resolves:

  • Flattery: “I resolve not to allow the slightest seed of flattery or manipulation to occur between myself and that other person.” In the case of men, to treat other women as sisters (1 Timothy 5:2).
  • Imagination: “I resolve to control my imagination by bringing every thought under Christs Lordship.“(2 Corinthians 10:5)

To strengthen the bonds of our marriage, let me put forward three resolves:

  • Commitment: “I resolve to remain faithful in spirit and body to my spouse. No person other than my partner will be allowed entrance into the sanctuary of intimate emotions that is to be reserved solely for the two of us.”
  • Communication: “I resolve to work daily at maintaining close and meaningful dialogue with my mate. I will choose to listen from the heart.
  • Affirmation: “I resolve not to take my beloved for granted, giving him (or her) reassurance through regular expressions of gratitude, deeds of kindness, and tender touch.”

A man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away.“(Proverbs 6:32, 33)

“Let us not be desirous of vainglory.”

Numbers 16:1-4, 16-24, 26-34

Numbers 16:3

Moses gained nothing but trial and trouble by his leadership, and yet there were traitors in the camp who would have raised a rebellion against him.

Numbers 16:17

This was an appeal to God that he might himself decide who were the authorised priests and leaders.

Numbers 16:22

How ready they were to intercede! How free from any trace of a revengeful spirit!

Numbers 16:23, 24, 26

If we would escape from the doom of the wicked, we must flee from their company.

Numbers 16:27-34

Thus, by terrible things in righteousness, did the Lord uphold the power of his servants; how much more will he maintain the throne of his Son. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.”

With humble love address the Son,

Lest he grow angry, and ye die;

His wrath will burn to worlds unknown,

If ye provoke his jealousy.

His storms shall drive you quick to hell;

He is a God, and ye but dust;

Happy the souls that know him well,

And make his grace their only trust.

The Interpreter: Or, Scripture for Family Worship.

Holy, Holy, Holy: Kneel at Jesus’ Feet

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. James 2:1

A system of literature has grown up around the notion that Christianity may be proven by the fact that “great men” believe in Christ!

A magazine article carries the caption that “Senator So-and-So Believes in Christ.” The implication is that if the senator believes in Christ, then Christ must be all right.

When did Jesus Christ have to ride in on the coattail of a senator, or a governor, or some other well known man?

No, no, my brother! Jesus Christ stands alone, unique and supreme, self-validating, and the Holy Ghost declares Him to be God’s eternal Son. Let all the presidents and all the kings and queens, the senators, and the lords and ladies of the world, along with the great athletes and great actors—let them kneel at His feet and cry, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!”

Only the Holy Ghost can do this, my brethren. For that reason, I don’t bow down to great men. I bow down to the Great Man, and if you have learned to worship the Son of Man, you will not worship other men.

The Holy Spirit is God’s imperative of life. If Christ is to be the Christ of God rather than the Christ of intellect, then we must enter in beyond the veil, until the illumination of the Holy Spirit fills our hearts and we are learning at the feet of Jesus—not at the feet of men!