BA

Why Do You Go to Church?

Why do you go to church each week? To worship God? Do you go to sing and hear the sermon? What about going for fellowship? According to a recent survey by the Barna Group, people say they go to church for two main reasons: to grow closer to God and to learn more about Him. […]

The Glorious Body

In five months I turn 50. Pondering that big, fat number makes me consider that this aging body of mine could be in much better shape. Dr. Justice, our family practitioner, tells me that my blood pressure is climbing. So is my blood sugar. And my cholesterol. I can tell by my belt that the […]

Sing a Hymn about the Church

So far, the hymns featured in this series have followed the annual seasons. This installment, therefore, calls for a fall-related hymn. But the theme of this BA issue compels deviation, providing an opportunity to highlight Samuel Stone’s classic “The Church’s One Foundation.” It is one of twelve hymns published by the English clergyman in 1866, […]

The Dead Church

I think if a survey were taken, I’d not find much support for my title. Everyone wants to be a part of a living, vibrant, growing church. So why am I proud to be a part of a dead church? When we stop and consider the matter, before the church or any of us can […]

Giftedness

My first Lord’s Supper is blazed in my mind. I was nine years old, newly baptized, and nervous. I would finally partake in the great mystery I’d heard so much about. When the plates were passed, I grabbed the largest piece of matzah because I loved crackers. I took the thimble of juice with the […]

Called Out, Sent Out

What is the nature and mission of the church? This is a huge question, but we can start to answer it by envisioning the church in two ways: as a people who are called out and sent out. Sadly, our focus is often exclusively on being called out, with little attention paid to being sent […]

Bare Bones, Fresh Breath

Wherever the Spirit is present, you can be sure that God is up to something. The Bible discloses this truth throughout its pages. Genesis 1:1, 2, with its reference to the Spirit of God hovering over the waters of creation, becomes the inaugural example that fixes the grand pattern of Spirit-work to follow. Another Bible […]

Hope of New Fruit

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).   I trudged up the winding path to the cliffs on a beautiful October morning. The storm clouds had lifted, and clear skies with a […]

Immanuel

Immanuel literally means “God with us.” What a word! What a concept! Isaiah prophesied that a virgin would give birth to a child who would be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). According to Matthew, Jesus fulfilled this prophecy when He came to earth (Matthew 1:23). In Christ all the fullness of God dwelt bodily (Colossians 1:19; […]

Fruits and Gifts

As the Bible moves from the Gospels (especially John) through Acts and into the Epistles (especially Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Galatians), it gives increasing attention to the Holy Spirit. In particular, two aspects of the Spirit’s influence and work — His fruits and His gifts — receive the focus of many paragraphs and even entire […]