Emmanuel: Why Christmas is Essential to Biblical Faith

Christmas. What about it? Some Christians will say things like: “we are never commanded to celebrate the birth of Jesus,” “Christmas has nothing to do with salvation,” “Christmas is paganism and from Constantine.” These brothers or sisters are often well meaning though misinformed doctrinally and historically. (On the perpetual myth that Christmas has pagan origins […]

Herod Understood

When the wise men came to Herod and told him a new king was born, Herod knew exactly what that meant. His sovereignty had been called into question. Paranoid Herod did what paranoid control freaks do – he tried to have the newly born king killed before he was a threat. Let him grow up […]

December 2018 E-news from the Siburt Institute

The Really Big ThingAs the year winds toward a close, I find myself musing about what really matters for leaders in congregations. I certainly know that, for most church leaders, a hundred items clamor for attention. Everything from a new health crisis for sister Maggie to a dilemma with a mission in the Congo to […]

Luke 19

If you’re doing the December Reading Plan in Luke with me this month, then today you found yourself in Luke 19. One of my favorite stories is here. Zacchaeus the dreaded tax collector. If you were to ask the local church people, you would have been told he was he a crook, stole from the […]

Book Review: Still Wrestling By Les Ferguson Jr

Many of you are familiar with Les Ferguson, Jr. He writes regularly here at Wineskins and at his personal site. Les wrote a book this year titled, “Still Wrestling: Faith Renewed Through Brokenness” and I want to tell you a little about this book and how it could be a real blessing to your soul. […]

Examining the Role of Elder in Acts 20 & 1 Peter 5

What does it take to be a good elder? When you think of selecting new elders what kind of person are you looking for? Of all of the words used for an elder in the Bible the one that is most descriptive is a shepherd. They say the best predictor of future behavior is past […]

Leadership Will Always Cost You

It seems to me that much of what is holding a lot of churches back today are leaders who aren’t willing to have leadership cost them anything. We get too caught up in making everyone happy, which isn’t actually everyone. The everyone we think we are making happy is actually a smaller set of people […]

Midnight: The Apocrypha and Christmas Traditions

When I close my eyes and imagine the first Christmas, the one with Mary and Joseph, certain images come to my mind. I see the couple huddled in a stable. I see the baby in a manger surrounded by animals. I see wise men, shepherds, and a star. Since there is a star it is […]

December 2018 Theme: We Are Shepherds

It is hard to believe 2018 is almost over and we are about to start another year. As we end this year, let’s discuss the state of Christian leadership in Churches of Christ. I really have more questions than I have answers. What are the advantages and disadvantages of our model? Is it biblical? Could […]