I want to be brutally honest about myself. I constantly say I want to be a better disciple, a better husband, a better father, a better preacher, etc. but I don’t always do the things necessary to experience the growth that I claim I want to see in my life. An athlete can say, “I want to run faster,” but unless he does something to improve his speed, it’s just talk.

Here are some things you and I will do if we really want to grow as Christians.

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Occasionally, because of articles I’ve written, I’ve been accused of “condemning” my brethren for the way they live or the way they worship. This has never been my intention and I sincerely apologize if I have ever come across this way. I’m sure I have made many mistakes in this area.

But that being said, I think we need to recognize the important distinction that exists between criticizing and condemning.

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Many people are pretty proud of the fact that they know the difference between a “pastor” and a “preacher.” However, just because you don’t call your preacher, “pastor,” doesn’t mean you really understand the biblical role of the preacher. Here are a few things we need to understand about the biblical role of the preacher.

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Personally, I get so tired of labels in the church: conservative, liberal, progressive, traditional, etc. It wears me out. These labels are so subjective and are often thrown around in an attempt to be condescending toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.

But to me, the worst part is that many of us believe we are biblically “conservative,” but are only fooling ourselves.

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The term “pharisee” gets thrown around a lot today. As you can imagine, I get accused of being a pharisee constantly. I can’t tell you how much this word hurts me when others carelessly throw it my way. I also can’t help but wonder if those who are so found of using this slur really understand the historical and spiritual implications of such an accusation.

I hope this will cause you to think twice before calling someone a pharisee.

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Recently, a congregation in the city where I preach decided to start using instruments in their worship assembly. Apparently, even the community realizes that among churches of Christ, this is a big deal because the local news and newspaper have done stories on it. Obviously, I love my brothers and sisters in congregations that make this decision, but the question I have is, “Why must you use instruments to worship?” You see, the burden of proof is not on me to prove why I don’t believe in using instruments in worship; the burden of proof is on them to prove why they feel it is necessary to use instruments.

Here’s why I don’t think any congregation’s arguments for using instruments hold water.

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I want to make a confession to you, I have always been judgmental toward those who lift their hands during worship. It isn’t so much the practice itself that I have judged, but the motives behind the practice. I have thought to myself, “How selfish. She is obviously just trying to draw attention to herself.” Or, when an entire congregation seems to participate, I’ve thought, “This group has gone off the deep end.” But I am wrong on this, friends. I have absolutely no right to judge someone for the position of their hands during a song or a prayer; and neither do you. Here’s why…

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One of the greatest problems we have in the church is an epidemic of apathy. Christians have a greater passion for professional sports, reality television shows, politics, and the release of newest iPhone than they do for God. What a shame! So how do we stem this lukewarm tide? How do we light a fire in the hearts of Christians? I believe this Bible class material may be a great first step in doing just that.

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With all the problems technology presents, there are lots of benefits as well. I love the information my iPhone puts at my fingertips. I also love how it helps me remember things that need to be done. One thing my phone helps me do is pray. I recently found an app that’s really helped my prayer life. It’s called, “Echo” and I would encourage you to check it out.

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Three times this week I’ve had the same conversation with various Christians. The conversation has revolved around the fact that we all know sincere people who are admittedly smarter and more educated than us, but seem to be overlooking a very obvious truth that we see and they don’t. For instance, I listen to many denominational preachers who are brilliant, but when they talk about subjects like baptism, I think, “As smart as you are, how could you possibly miss that?” Which leads me to wonder, what am I missing?

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