Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Top 3 Reasons to Go to Bible Conferences

Challenging Preaching from the Word of God
Bible conferences always have fabulous preaching, often from several different speakers. Some conferences choose a theme, such as "Walking in the Old Paths." Each speaker interprets the theme in a fresh way, which really broadens your understanding! We can be inspired to apply the Bible to our lives in new ways. Our hearts can be refreshed by hearing so much truth in a short amount of time. Often, I have left a conference feeling so much closer to Jesus than when I arrived. Preaching is definitely the central focus and such a huge blessing at Bible conferences.

Fellowship with Other Christians
At Bible conferences, we meet such a broad range of Christians, from every age group and social stratum. Meeting believers is wonderful because we have an instant common ground in Christ. If you’re on His side, you’re family to me! We can encourage one another spiritually, pray for one another, and develop relationships that go beyond conference times. At a Bible conference, you can also meet people who can help with your local ministry. Much good can be done when individuals from one church volunteer to serve in outreach and maintenance/building projects at sister churches. In fellowshipping with others, we can learn from their successes (and failures) and benefit from their wisdom. We can share Christian resources  with each other that we wouldn’t otherwise know about. At Bible conferences, we can encourage fellow believers and form valuable ministry friendships.

A Greater Vision
When you are standing in a packed conference room singing “When We All Get to Heaven,” and the rafters are trembling just a bit, you get a little glimpse into the reality of what Heaven will be like. In Heaven, we will get to fellowship with Jesus and our brothers and sisters forever. This truth encourages you to pursue fellowship now, too. You also realize that you are not the only ones serving God. Others are struggling, working, serving, praying--in little churches, just like yours. This truth encourages you to be faithful. You realize that God really does have a lot of people. And He can use them to do pretty awesome things. You are just a little cog in the mighty wheel of His church. This truth encourages you to be available for His plan. At a Bible conference, you don’t just get to see awesome people. You get to see an amazing God!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Tale of Two Roads

In the journey of life, God gives us many choices. We face one important choice between two roads every day.

Before us lies one road, shiny and appealing. This road curves with smooth asphalt, neat lines, and signs that read, “My Way” and “Grievance Office Ahead." When problems arise, this road looks appealing, even reasonable, to us. This is the Road of Complaining. It is comfortable, allowing us to blame others while sidestepping personal responsibility. “If they had only…” This road assures us that yes, we deserve better, and life has treated us very badly indeed. On this Road, we find common ground with others and complain together.  For a while, we may enjoy the ride(driven in the limo of Self-Pity). When we arrive at the road’s end, however, we are dismayed to find ourselves trapped in a miry swamp of Bitterness. Complaining leads surely to bitterness, which can ultimately destroy us.

Another road beckons us, too. It wanders through the forest, strewn with leaves and punctuated with potholes. Our car may be jarred by bumps, causing an uncomfortable ride. On this road, we read signs like “Keep on the Right Way” and “Rewards Ahead.” This is the road of Thankfulness. Sometimes, it floats over hilltops of joy. But it also leads us through dark valleys of testing. Along the way, our eyes are opened to see even the smallest of our Father’s gifts. At times, we may feel alone in our choice to give thanks. We are tempted to give in and return to the other Road. Some of our friends are on that road, and this one is just got too hard! Often, we can’t see past the top of the next hill. Washed out bridges, thick Atlantic fog, and derelict barns can dampen our spirits. However, we choose to trust that this is the right Road and continue. At its end, we step eagerly into Contentment, a beautiful garden of delight in the Giver of all good gifts.

Will you choose the Road of Complaining or the Road of Thankfulness? One leads to the swamp of Bitterness, and the other leads to the treasure of God’s Contentment. Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 point us to the right choice.
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 

Will you choose the Road of Thankfulness? Learn more from the Word of God each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sundays at 11:00 am. 
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Makes God Happy?

Too often, we think of God as a stern Judge looking to find fault. In reality, He is a loving, happy Father. What makes Him happy? Lets look at Jeremiah 9:24 to find the answer.

"But let him that glorieth glory in this...that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

First, God rejoices in lovingkindness. Psalm 107 describes how God shows this lovingkindness. He redeems His people from the enemy, leading them to safety. He shows mercy and hears the pleas of repentant fools(anybody else need to raise a hand here?). He delivers sailors in danger. He humbles proud rulers. He blesses the needy and gives them large families. In every act of His lovingkindness, God enjoys Himself! He delights in blessing His children. 

Secondly, God rejoices in judgment. The perfect Judge, He never makes the slightest error or has the slightest doubt. As the Creator of the universe, God alone has the right to judge everyone. He alone knows all possible and actual thoughts, motives, words, actions, and events. Since He is perfectly just, He rejoices in carrying out justice. God’s most stunning and beautiful judgment occurred about 2,000 years ago on a Judean hillside. When Jesus died, every person who believed on Him(past, present, and future) was identified with His death. God looked at us, covered by His Son’s blood, and pronounced us justified. He accepted Jesus’ death to atone for our sins and pronounced us righteous. God delights in His perfect judgments.

Third, God rejoices in righteousness. God’s righteousness has two sides. On one side, He is morally perfect. Every action God does is righteous. He gave mankind the law, showing His perfect standard. On the other side, He is free from guilt and sin. Jesus never broke God’s laws, even though He could have done so. God also rejoices in His children’s righteousness. God delights in “they that deal truly”(Proverbs 12:22) and their prayers(Proverbs 15:8). 

In Isaiah 66:4, God condemns the wicked because they “chose that in which I delighted not.” Do we choose the things that make God happy? We can make Him happy by loving others as He does. We can make Him happy by trusting God’s perfect judgments. We can make Him happy by obedience. When we choose the things that make God happy, we too find true happiness in Him.

Are you choosing the things that make God happy? Learn more from the Word of God each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sundays at 11:00 am. 
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Keep Your Tools SHARP - Three Must-Dos to Work Smarter Not Harder

While reading Ecclesiastes, I encountered this fascinating passage.

“…he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.” (Eccles. 10:9-10)

When a man cuts wood with a blunt axe, he must work harder than usual. With one simple change, he can transform the axe…by simply sharpening its edge. 
If you have to chop down a tree in ten minutes, you should spend the first five sharpening your axe. In life, we too can accomplish much more when we sharpen our tools. How can we do this? In verse 10, Solomon declares, “…wisdom is profitable to direct.” Wisdom is the secret to sharpening our tools and working smarter, not harder.

Let’s look at 3 must-dos to sharpen our tools with wisdom.

1. Never stop learning. Study practical knowledge by reading books. Learn new skills by watching Youtube tutorials and asking advice from skilled people. "The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15) Skills open the door to greater opportunities of service and ministry to people who need Jesus. Focus on sharpening natural talents that God has given you. If you keep learning, you will be a much sharper tool in God’s hands.

2. Choose wise friends. "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”(Proverbs 27:17) If you follow God, you cannot be a close friend of fools. They will discourage and hinder you. But wise friends encourage you to pursue wisdom, invest your time profitably, and give you much-needed reality checks. “You’re going to do WHAT?!” Be open to wise friends’ advice. They can sharpen you effectively.

3. Seek wisdom in the Word. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) Reading the Bible will convict you of sin, direct your steps, and encourage you. It is the best grindstone you could ever use for daily sharpening.

What is the secret to keeping our tools sharp? It is wisdom. Since we know so little of God’s wisdom, we constantly need sharpening. Daily, we must sharpen our tools at the grindstone of the Word. Wise friends and continued learning will also sharpen us. We don’t have to struggle through the jungle, hacking away with dull axes. Keep your axe sharp, and you can blaze a fresh trail through the forest of life.

How sharp is your axe? Learn more from the Word of God each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sunday 11:00 am.

For more information call (902) 736-6465 or email

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Church in the Gig/Global Economy

It isn't a surprise to anyone who has been watching such things, but our economy is not what it used to be. For many areas across the country, jobs are scarce. Other areas are decimated in regard to work, and the young families of the workforce are moving to cities for employment and educational opportunities. For those churches in the city-centers, the effects of this trend are not felt as harshly as is experienced by churches that are outside of the urban sprawl.

The truth is that our economy has moved to a "gig economy" in a global environment. No longer do young people expect to go to college, get a career, and work one job until retirement. The average "careers per lifetime" sits somewhere north of three. That means that you are unlikely to be still working in the same field as you are now in ten year's time.

The offset of this "gig economy" is the "global economy". No longer are the members of our church vying for a limited pool of employment in their small town. Now, they apply for and accept positions across the country, and even around the globe - and move to take those jobs.

Part of this global economy is a vast pool of "freelance" workers that gain their income working online in everything from writing and coaching to graphic design and journalism. This is where things get interesting for a church family that wants to take advantage of global trends to reach the world.

This gig/global economy combination offers the local church some significant global opportunities.

Online freelance work can:

  • Provide work and keep church members in town working from home rather than moving away.
  • Allow a small church to get secretarial, design, translation, and a multitude of other helps at a reasonable cost from Christians located in other parts of the globe without hiring full or part-time.
  • Give missionaries who need to work to supplement their missions support the opportunity to work online, from the field, without breaking the laws of the nation in which they reside. (Most missionaries cannot work where they live because their host nation sees that as taking a job from a native of that country. However, online work originating in North America is seen differently.)
  • Allow the possibility of tent-making in remote areas of the country to become a very real opportunity.
  • Give church members the opportunity to serve Christ by serving other churches in distant / remote places. 
  • Open the door to part-time and seasonal foreign missions as gig/global employees work from international locations while helping full-time missionaries.
  • Enable churches at home to give work to members of missions churches in foreign countries.
Whether the gig/global economy will last till Christ returns is hard to say, but it is certain that this is not going away anytime soon. Because of this, we should seriously consider some of the positive ramifications of this new global dynamic and the doors of opportunity that are opened up for both the local church as well as foreign missions. 

God bless you. Please take a second and sign up for my email updates!
Jason Homan

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Walking With Those Who Walk Away From Your Church

leaving church

There are few things that are more disconcerting to me as a pastor as those folks who, for whatever reason, decide that they no longer want to walk with and worship with the rest of the congregation.

Sometimes they make a big fuss about one thing or another and leave damage in their wake. At other times they leave civilly with love in their hearts and kindness toward those with whom they disagree.

My question today is this. How do we walk with those who walk away? How do we show both the truth of the written Word (Bible) AND  the love, intent, and spirit of the living Word (Jesus)?

As I have thought on these things over the past week these are the conclusions to which I have come:

1. Jesus taught us to love everyone regardless of their kindness toward us and agreement with us. 

We are even to love our enemies. Having said that, I do hope that we do not allow our relationships with those who walk away from our local congregations to become an "enemy" situation. That is what satan wants.

Luke 6:27  But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

2. We are to "do good" even to those who hate us. 

Read this verse:   If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:  For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. Proverbs 25:21-22

So, even if the situation with those who have walked away has devolved to the point where either they see us as enemies or we see them as enemies the command of God is simple: Love and Serve (do good).

3. We are to walk together.

What about the verse that says, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3)

This verse has often been the "go to" verse for those who want to absolve themselves of responsibility for deteriorating and difficult relationships. They say, "Well, we don't agree on __________ so we cannot walk together." What they usually mean by this is that "I can't handle that they won't admit that I am right. I refuse to talk with them about anything except our disagreement. Therefore we have nothing to talk about. We don't agree and cannot walk together. I'm cutting them out of my life."

Let's look at this:

Look at the context of Amos 3:3 instead of just using it to justify cutting people out of your life. In Amos 3:3 God is speaking to the children of Israel. They had disobeyed again, and He had to punish them again (note: punishment is not our job as individuals, but God's job). In this context God gives them a list of common sense situations in which effect follows cause to show that consequences follow sin.

For example: Two people can't walk together (they will part ways) unless they agree on where they are headed and what road to take, a lion roars because it catches food, and if there is no trap, a bird does not fall to the ground. -- cause and effect scenarios

In Amos 3:3 God is not telling the children of Israel, "You don't agree with me on every little thing therefore I am ending this relationship." In fact, the opposite is true. God walked with the children of Israel, loved them, cared for them, and helped them despite their many disagreements and rebellions. He walked through the deep water and difficult times of sin and rebellion with them (without partaking in their sin) until they came to the place where they repented and were restored. So what was God telling them in Amos 3:3. It is simple. He was telling them that there is a cause and effect relationship with sin. He was telling them, "You sinned and I am going to have to punish you."

So, how does Amos 3:3 play out for us? "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" Simply this. In order to walk in Christian fellowship with someone who is walking away from the local congregation that I happen to attend we have to agree on two things.

  1. Where are we going? (destination: Heaven)
  2. How do we get there? (Jesus: by grace through faith).

We make a great mistake and lose the opportunity to be a positive influence in the lives of those who walk away from our congregations when we pridefully think that they must agree with us on everything in order to "walk together" (read this, "be my friend"). Why is this attitude prideful? Simple. It assumes that we are right in everything and therefore they (those who walk away) must agree with us in every little thing in order to earn our love and friendship. Doesn't sound so "godly" when we put it that way does it?

4. We are to still walk with those that have sinned and remain in rebellion - but that walk is different. 

Yes, unfortunately there are those who leave the local church because they have sinned and do not want to make those things right before God and others. It is terribly sad, but it happens. So what then? How can we walk with those who have either left the congregation to avoid church discipline or because the congregation has rightly enacted (and "rightly enacted" is important) church discipline in an effort to help the person realize their wrong and return to a right relationship with God and with those who they have injured with their sin?

While walking with a person in sin and rebellion does not look the same as walking with someone who has simply left our congregation in favor of another, it is still a relationship that cannot be tossed away because it is tough and messy.

Look at these three verses;

Matthew 18:17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Jesus tells us to treat those who have sinned and refuse to respond properly to the correction of church discipline as "a heathen man and a publican." We take note here that our example in this is to be Jesus himself. So, how did he treat the heathen (unsaved) man? How did he treat the publican? It is apparent from the gospels that He treated them with love, respect, charity, kindness, and a hope for their reconciliation with the Father.

Colossians 4:5  Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Here's a good verse for this topic. We can walk with those who are "without" (the heathen man, the publican, the unsaved, the Christian who is in rebellion). According to this verse we are to walk "in wisdom" and with speech that is tempered with grace.

Galatians 6:1  Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

Restoration is a process. It takes time for people to get beyond their sin, and pride and be willing to admit that they are wrong. It is disturbing to me that there are those good Christians who go for coffee just once with someone walking in sin against God, make their case for the repentance of that individual, and then cut that individual off from their lives because they didn't repent right away. I am so glad that God doesn't operate this way. Restoration is a work of God in the heart of an individual over a process of time. You can be used in that process, but only if you wisely are willing to maintain a loving and serving relationship with that individual that God loves (despite their rebellion). 

In conclusion: 

There are three groups that walk away from the local congregation:
  1. People that walk away for good reasons. (like a move to another town)
  2. People that walk away for their reasons. (like a shift in their thinking in regard to some teaching or church practice)
  3. People that walk away for sinful and rebellious reasons. They have sinned and do not want to deal with it.
Although our walk with these three situations does differ somewhat according to the situation, it is clear that civility and loving action and speech must be the guiding truth of our interaction with others as we walk with those who walk away. We cannot ourselves be carried away with any error, but we can be mature in our walk toward others.

Ephesians 4:14-15  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love...

Here's the point. In order to speak the truth in love you must be on speaking terms. Before anyone will listen to what you know they have to know that you care.

Thanks for taking the time to read ALL THE WAY TO THE END! 
Please CLICK HERE to receive my email updates!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Millennials: Switching Churches & Leaving Friends

"Why aren't you my friend anymore?" This is what I so often want to ask those of the millennial generation that have chosen church hopping as their spiritual path. I tried to understand and be loving when they left the church of their childhood where we both grew up. I tried harder to understand and be loving when they abandoned the "denomination" (read this 'doctrine') that they had learned and professed since childhood. But what has hurt and puzzled me to a great extent is that in their search for the love and acceptance that they believe will be found in a different congregation and denomination they have systematically isolated themselves from those that they had once called their friends.

Yes, the answers that I have been able to pry out of my millennial church hopping friends and decipher from their cryptic social media posts range from "my old church is unloving" to "my old church was boring". Okay, so instead of waiting their turn to be in leadership and affecting the change they believe is necessary, they have chosen to walk away from the congregations (the friends) that have loved, supported, and encouraged them since birth. The truth is that their departure of protest makes little impact and is not remembered for long. While the millennial church hopper believes that "I showed them", the truth is that people have a short memory and life goes on.

So, because some of my millennial friends (though not all) have decided to cut me out of their lives because they are no longer a part of the same congregation or "denomination" that I am.  I have to ask myself some questions.

1. Did I do something to them? - I don't think so... If I have, they have never come to me and said, "Hey friend, we need to talk. You hurt me." You would think a friend would do that, right?

2. Am I "unloving and not accepting"? - Yes, at times. I admit it. I try not to be. But that knife cuts both ways, I am not the only one that can be and act in a way that is unloving and not accepting. (that's everyone)

The other truth is this: Acceptance and approval are two different things. We can accept where the other person is in life and who they are as an individual without necessarily approving of the position the other takes. In addition, acceptance of the person does not necessitate your acceptance of the other person's positions. After all, isn't your relationship bigger than the differences of opinion you may have? Take politics for example: You can accept someone that belongs to another political party - even love them - without subscribing to and approving of all of the facets of their politics.

3. Am I "no fun"? - NO! I'm a barrel of laughs! - Well maybe not, but I am not totally intolerable. :-)

Okay, assuming that I didn't run over their family's puppy with my truck what is the difference between those that have left the church/denomination of their youth and retain their friendships from their "old church/denomination" and those that turf their old friends in favor of the hopes of new, better, shinier ones?

As I have thought about it I came to the following realizations:

1. Maturity - The ones who have retained and maintained the friendships from the church/denomination of their youth show the maturity to be able to separate the individual (friend) from the institution (the church/denomination they left).

2. Wisdom - The millennials that have retained and maintained those friendships from their "old church/denomination" understand that it is not wise to burn bridges.

3. Understanding - Those millennials who have taken the time and thought to understand how culture (especially the culture of social media) affects them have opted for more permanent relationships and holding on to friends. (Even ones that differ from them and at times drive them crazy.) Those who have not thought through the huge affect that culture has had on their mindset are just as quick to "unfriend" a person in real life as they are online.

4. Appreciation - Those millennials that have a deep seated appreciation for the investment of love, time, finances, and friendship of the church family of their youth are more likely to retain and maintain those relationships - even if they leave that church/denomination.

5. Vision - Those millennials that see beyond today to a day when they will be the majority in the church and in leadership positions understand that retaining and maintaining old friendships is useful, if only for a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen.

6. Value - Those millennials that have retained and maintained the friendships of the church/denomination of their youth understand not only the value that others bring to their lives, but also they understand the value that they contribute to the lives of their friends in their "old church/denomination".

7. Humility - Humility says, "This is the direction that I believe is the right way to go, but I am open to the possibility that maybe I am wrong." The millennials that have nurtured their old friendships while making new ones in their new church setting have grasped this concept of humbly walking their path while being open to being shown something different.

Sure, it is emotionally easier to cut everyone off, compartmentalize that stage of your life (old church and old church friends) and begin fresh all over again, but the loss to you is huge and the relationship potential that will never be realized is massive. There is something about the relationships that were forged in the teamwork of Christian service and a long history of shared personal challenges that cannot be replaced by the surface interactions with "my new church friends".  History matters. New is flashy and fun, but new and novel will never truly replace faithful, tested, and invested. 

It's kind of like puppies. Everyone likes the new puppy -- until they make a mess on the floor, tear up your couch, and bite your two year old. Then you wish that faithful (and well trained) "Buddy the Dog" hadn't died. That brings me to my last thought. Grab your friends. Hold them tight. Nurture your relationships. You never know when they will be gone for good.

Thanks for taking the time to read ALL THE WAY TO THE END! 
Please CLICK HERE to receive my email updates!