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Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

Peruse Bible teachings and church happenings

evangelism / outreach

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Tense Conversations & Wise Words

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

In the past 10 days, I’ve been involved in or overhearing close friends in conversations on the following topics: Pride Month, atheism-vs-Christianity, modesty, depression, Christians and martial struggles, Catholicism-vs-Biblical Christianity, and the current state of the Israel-Hamas war. I know I’m stating the obvious here: any conversation on those subjects has the potential for argument, tension, and hurt feelings. They are all places where emotions run high and opinions grow strong.

The combination of all of those has reminded me of the importance of our words. When we speak as Christians, we are called to always speak graciously, with words “seasoned with salt,” so that we have the wisdom to answer each person appropriately in a given situation (Col. 4:6). We’re told that having the thoughtfulness to say the right thing at the right time is like giving the gift of fine jewelry (Prv. 25:11-12). We’re told that speaking the right word at the right time will bring us joy (Prv. 15:23), and that refraining from speaking when it’s right to do that will help us just as much (Prv. 21:23). In any and every situation, Christians are called to be thinking people, so that we will answer in a way that gives true benefit to everyone who hears it.

I’ve been encouraged by the Christians that I’ve heard in these conversations this week. I’ve heard believers speak their convictions, respect the convictions of others, admit mistakes they’ve made, and resolve conflict in healthy ways. I’ve heard them speak up for the truth to others who were holding to spiritual and religious errors. I’ve heard them have the humility to say, “This is what I think, but I could be wrong” when it came to some of the topics listed above. I’ve been encouraged by their examples to speak with wisdom all the time.

I hope and pray that I’ve handled the conversations where I was involved with the grace and wisdom that I should have. And I pray that for all of us—that our speech will always be the kind of gracious, wise, truthful words that Christ himself would speak.

- Dan Lankford, minister

It's Fishing Season

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Jesus’ first disciples were professional fishermen, and Jesus called them away from their jobs to go with him and learn his way of life, saying, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mt. 4:19). From then onward, his people—when we really serve him as we ought—have been on a mission to ‘catch’ people and bring them into the same kind of disciple relationship that we have with him.

A brother who knows our church and our city very well recently told me, “It seems like it’s fishing season in Colorado Springs!” He was commenting on the many opportunities that we have here at Northside: our connections in the local schools, our community’s very active public sports and activities programs, the strong military presence here, and even the favorable location of our church building. That, plus the sincere faith of people here, the passionate Bible teaching that happens here, and the growing connections between members of our congregation all come together to give us great opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus and bring others to know him! Our brother was right: It is fishing season here in Colorado Springs!

Someone has said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather; only bad clothing for the weather you have.” In the same way, there’s no bad season of life for evangelism; only excuses about evangelism in the season that we’re in. We might multiply excuses for not sharing the gospel with others, but let’s put a hard stop on those and get busy doing God’s will together! Even if we’re clumsy about it at first, let’s try to save the people whom we know! We have great opportunities to share the gospel with the people in this community and lead them to being saved. Let’s go fishing, y’all!

- Dan Lankford, minister

We're A Bible Church

Sunday, March 03, 2024

If you ever find yourself describing this church to a friend who attends a different kind of church, you’ll soon realize that one thing which makes us distinct is the high level of attention given to Bible teaching. It’s been my limited experience that many of my friends’ churches only offer Bible teaching in sermons. Their special events feature famous motivational speakers and authors; not Bible teaching. Kids’ programs have a lot of activities, and not much Bible. The Sunday school classes for adults tend to be poorly publicized and poorly attended; increasingly, they’re not even offered. These are generalizations, and there are exceptions, but this is the average.

But here at Northside, things are different.

We have Bible classes offered twice every week for kids and grown-ups. Sermons are based in the Bible every single time. Special events are focused on Bible teaching. Scripture is read publicly often. There’s a devotional talk based in the Bible every Wednesday night. There are articles published twice weekly that reflect on the Scriptures’ teachings for our lives. And we have a daily Bible reading program that we encourage everyone to participate in.

Why so much emphasis on the Bible?

Because it’s the message that God speaks to mankind, and there is no better word that we can hear. Peter once asked Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68). There’s nothing more life-giving for us than to hear the Spirit speak in this way. It’s a blessing the defies valuation, so we continue to seek it day after day, week after week, and year after year.

Now, please don’t hear this as self-congratulatory or condescending toward others, because neither of those is helpful, and Jesus warned against them both (cf. Lk. 18:1 & Mt. 7:1-5). Rather, this is spoken as a statement of conviction and as a commitment to our high view of Scripture. We want to be committed to being a Bible church, and ready to share that with others. We want to have the humility to realize that while we are a very Bible-forward group of people, we still have so much room to grow in our own level of Biblical discernment. We ought to be increasingly engaged in the opportunities we currently have to connect with the Bible (classes, daily readings, home studies, etc). We want to be hear the Spirit of God speak more and more through the written word.

We’re a Bible church, and we’re going to stay committed to that, because there is no-one else we can turn to but God to hear the words of eternal life.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Faith-Building Fridays | The 'Life' Problem

Friday, March 01, 2024

There are several laws of nature and physics that you’ve likely heard of. The Law of Gravity is fairly well known, and you’ve probably also learned about Newton’s Three Laws of Motion. These laws are called “laws” and not theories because they are never broken in the natural world.  One such law is “The Law of Biogenesis,” which is a science-y way of saying that life can only be generated from living things. Rocks don’t generate plants, glass doesn’t generate animals, and dead bodies do not conceive and give birth. Life never comes from lifeless things. 

I hope you can see that there is a fundamental contradiction between the Theory of Evolution and the Law of Biogenesis. The law states that life never comes from lifeless things, but evolution hinges on the belief that the first life form came from something lifeless. Evolution begins with some simple single-celled organism crawling out of some lukewarm, lifeless, prehistoric chemical pond. Scientists have tried for decades (most famously in the Miller-Urey experiment) to prove that it’s possible for non-living things to generate something alive and have had no success. The idea that non-living things are capable of generating even a single living cell is just as fictional as Frankenstein’s Monster. 

It is incredible to me that so many experts, so many academics, and so many regular people have come to believe in a theory that has yet to prove or explain the very first step. It turns out that the Christian worldview perfectly aligns with “The Law of Biogenesis.” Our natural world teaches us that all life comes from a living source, and we believe that all life on Earth was created by a living, all-powerful, supernatural source that we call, “God.” We believe that life comes from life. As we read in Genesis 2:7, “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

- Jonathan Banning

Advice for a Guest Speaker Series

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Next week, we’ll begin a four-day guest speaker series with Kenny Chumbley. Brother Chumbley has a special balance to his preaching that few others achieve: the ability to speak deep, thoughtful truth with clear, understandable simplicity.

There’s an inherent blessing in being able to hear the Gospel spoken by different personalities. In the same way that the different Bible writers’ methods strike chords for different readers, a guest speaker can strike different chords and bestow evergreen insights into the word upon us.

There are a handful of different approaches that people take toward guest speaker events at a church. Here they are, brought out into daylight, for us to consider which is our usual and which is the best approach for us to take to next week’s series:

  • We wonder if the speaker “will be any good.” We think that the event’s purpose is to be impressed with a speaker’s ability, and so if he’s great, we consider the event a success. And if not, then we are tempted to think that our time was wasted.
  • We expect that a single event will revive our personal feelings of excitement that we have experienced at special moments of spirituality in the past. And so if that doesn’t happen—if the very next Sunday feels like most other Sundays—then we are tempted to think that our time was wasted.
  • We expect to learn something new that we’ve never heard before. If we do, then it we consider it a success. But if we cover familiar territory and receive well-timed, needed reminders about faithfully living for Christ… we are tempted to think that our time was wasted.
  • If the speaker does his work with excellence and we do feel a sense of revival, we start to develop feelings of envy and a desire for more than what we believe our local church can offer us. This sense of comparison steals joy from the event and from the long-term relationships with our local church family.
  • But at the end of the day, if the lessons declare the truth, speak it with clarity and reverence for God, help us live more faithfully for God, and speak with sincere love for God and his revealed word… then we’ll know that God is glorified and that our time is well spent.

Events like these should in no way be treated like an exhibition or opportunity for comparison. We should come to this like any occasion where the word of God is preached: with our hearts open wide to receive the truth as revealed by one of God’s servants.

I can’t wait to share these times of learning and worship with you!

- Dan Lankford, minister

Making An Eternal Impact

Monday, May 08, 2023

On Wednesday night, we heard a lesson by the title you see above. It was the plain and powerful reminder that while our lives are limited to time, our choices can affect eternity both for us and for others. So, if we want to have an eternal impact, there are four things that we must do:

Believe courageously. Paul said that the most important thing that we can attain to is the resurrection of the dead (Phil. 3:7-17), and so we must forget what lies behind and strain forward toward that eternal goal, believing all along the way in the one person who has already been resurrected and perfected—Jesus, our Lord.

Love impartially. In James’ letter, believers are given a straightforward warning against showing partiality to others (Jas. 2:1-9). We must love all people in the same way that Christ would love them—seeing that they are a soul with the same greatest need as ourselves: to attain to the resurrection of the dead.

Pray fervently. Several New Testament passages could be referenced to teach us that the power to convert hearts and change the world does not come from within ourselves, and so we should pray to God seriously and frequently for his power to continue to work in his good world.

Speak consistently. Making an eternal impact means continually sharing the gospel with others, because their eternity depends on their having authentic, obedient faith in Christ.

The activities of our workaday lives matter a great deal, but let’s not let the immediate overshadow the importance of the eternal.

- Dan Lankford, minister

We All Have Ministry Work To Do

Sunday, April 30, 2023

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…” (Eph. 4:11-13)

In the church, who is supposed to do the work of teaching children, caring for older saints, counseling young married couples, praying with sick people, evangelizing our community, showing hospitality, giving to the poor, helping new saints arrive & get settled and feel welcome among us, taking food to those who are grieving, and many other related activities? Is it the preacher? The preacher’s wife? The elders? Their wives? Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to be doing the work of ministry?

The passage quoted above makes it clear that all Christians are meant to do these works of ministering to others. Obviously, that includes preachers and their wives, elders and their wives… but it includes them simply because they are Christians and ministry is all Christians’ work.

A capable and passionate group of church leaders can accomplish a lot. But a passionate church can accomplish so much more together, and that’s what the Spirit would have us to be. We should all be doing the work of ministry—caring for each other, guiding others to closer fellowship with Christ, and reaching out. Ministry isn’t just what happens in the church building or in our assemblies, so look for opportunities where you can serve as a Christian this week.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Guest Speaker Series w/ Dennis Allan — Reflections

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed our time this past weekend with Dennis & Benita Allan. I enjoyed it, and I was greatly encourage by them. Here are just a few of my reflections on the event:

  • First, I was encouraged by your interest in the presentation about Brazil on Saturday. It did my heart good to know that so many among us are concerned with the state of the church in other parts of the world. That’s a characteristic of Christians that we share with our earliest brothers and sisters in the faith — the saints from Jerusalem, Corinth, Galatia, and Antioch who sent care and aid to their brothers and sisters at various times all throughout the New Testament. Let’s keep praying for the Allans and for our Brazilian brothers and sisters.
  • Second, I was actually encouraged by thinking about how long it can take for God’s kingdom to grow. Hearing our brother describe the wonderful numbers of people who’ve become Bible-believing Christians, and then in the next breath hearing him say that those represent such a tiny fraction of all the contacts that they make, and then hearing the general sense throughout  his talk that there is every intention of persevering in the work of discipling the Brazilian people… It all reminded me that we have every reason to be evangelistic—to keep teaching others, even if it seems like we are getting few conversions or little interest. Because the word of God does work to change people’s hearts, and so we—Christ’s faithful ones—will continue to serve him faithfully by sharing the good news over and over and over again. Because it can take a long time for God’s kingdom to grow in this world, but it will grow
    • You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:14-16)
  • Third, I was tremendously encouraged by the sermons that our brother presented. He pointed us to the word and then humbly stepped aside so that we could see its truth clearly. And more than that, he subtly reminded us of the importance of the whole of God’s word by bringing us lessons from Old Testament passages which we otherwise might rarely contemplate. There are rich lessons to be learned from the moments when someone tears the clothes in the Bible, from the ending(s) of Judges, and from something as simple as the number of ox carts that God assigned to a group. And I’m glad that we had someone to shine the light on those for us.

Now that we’ve all got a little bit more personal connection with the Allans, I hope that you will feel an increased interest in the work that they do and that you will include them regularly in your prayers. If you’d like to share his lessons with others, you can find them on our website. Thanks to our elders for putting together this opportunity for all of us to hear and grow.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Christianity Beyond Our Culture

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

In the decades just before and after the turn of the twentieth century, Western believers of all types felt a strong urge to teach the gospel all over the world. Mission organizations sprang up, congregations commissioned members to go overseas and plant churches, and religious colleges poured vast amounts of energy and funding into training missionaries.

And throughout that era, many hymns were written give voice to Christians’ passion for turning the world upside down (cf. Acts 17:6). Many of these hymns are still sung among Churches of Christ. A few examples: The Gospel Is For All (1921), Bringing In The Sheaves (1874), If Jesus Goes With Me (1908), and Send the Light (1890). The last one in that list has a meaningful connection to the apostle Paul’s calling to bring the gospel to Macedonia (cf. Acts 16:6-10). Coupling the account from Acts with the lyrics of the hymn reminds us that the world needs help. ALL people—both near and far—need the gospel because we need God to save us from our sins.

This weekend, we’re going to hear our brother Dennis tell how our Christian family members in Brazil are living out their mission to share the truth of the Word in their country. As we listen to presentations like these, we would do well to think about more than just the cultural differences that we will inevitably notice between our lives and theirs. We sometimes tend toward thinking that our fellow saints live lesser lives if they live in poverty or if their cultural norms are different than ours. But we need to remember that the richness of faith in Christ is not determined by any level of wealth, education, comfort, or modernization. The Gospel didn’t come first among American culture, and there are plenty of people who are living it out richly (in many cases, more richly than we are) in their own varied cultures around the world today. We need to remember that the higher realities of salvation, fellowship, and holiness are true beyond the scope of time and place and culture. On Saturday, we’ll be hearing about people who are our brothers & sisters—people who share our faith. And we will do well to be grateful for [and often to learn from] their example of love for our Lord and faithfulness to him.

Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in other countries that they will continue to grow and thrive in their faith. Let’s pray the same things for us. And let’s be sure to think with the higher ideals of Christians as we do that. We’re looking forward to hearing about the Christian mission to share the Gospel of Christ in Brazil, and it’s my prayer that we are aware of how powerfully God works when his people send the light.

- Dan Lankford, minister

Fierce & Gentle

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Mt. 10:16)

When Jesus sent out his apostles to teach the lost sheep of the house of Israel, he gave the admonition quoted above, and it’s a very provocative way to make the point. Snakes have a fierceness about them that manifests in their ability to get into tight spots and exploit the weaknesses of their prey. More than just ruthless hunters, they’re very clever. But on the other side of the coin you have doves, who do no harm to anything or anyone. It’s a wonderful ideal for Jesus’ apostles: a group of men, delivering a message that would reshape the world, and doing it with both the unassailability of truth and the sincerity of truly caring for the eternal condition of others.

How do we engage the world like with that same balanced approach? How can we “tear down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4) and also become “all things to all men” so that we might save them (1 Cor. 9:22)?

It starts with speaking the truth. In the modern world, this is where most believers go wrong. We are often gentle as doves, but not wise enough to tell people the hard truths they need to hear. We must be willing to say, “That’s not right. You shouldn’t do that. You can’t be saved or find true joy in anything other than Jesus.” And then, once we’ve learned to speak the truth, we can start mastering the art of dove-like gentleness. And if we do that, then people will hear and they will turn toward Christ, just as when they heard his apostles teach.

When we can put those two ideals together, we’ll not only convict the world of their sin—we’ll turn their hearts toward the God who will save them.

- Dan Lankford, minister

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