Author: Mark Lafler

introduction to paul’s letter to the ephesians

You are reading the Ephesians Project. Read more from this series of articles. introduction to paul’s letter to the ephesians ephesians 1:1-14: greeting and spiritual blessings in Christ ephesians 1:15-23: thanksgiving and prayer ephesians 2:1-10: by grace through faith ephesians 2:11-22: one in Christ ephesians 3:1-13: the mystery of the Gospel revealed ephesians 3:14-21: prayer for spiritual strength ephesians 4:1-16: unity in the body of Christ ephesians 4:17-32: the new life ephesians 5:1-20: walk in love ephesians 5:21-33: wives and husbands ephesians 6:5-9: bondservants and masters ephesians 6:10-20: the whole armor of God Ephesians is one of the best-loved books in...

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why i will not start my OWN church

Starting a new church is popular these days.  Some will get started in a person’s home and over the years evolve into a very influential church in the community.  Others will get started and permanently close their doors within a year or two. When a minister or group of people is unhappy with their current church the temptation is there to start a new work.  If you start a new one you don’t have to put up with all the stuff you disagree with.  You can do things how you think they should be done.  You can have the...

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hope in advent

Hope. It is an easy thing to say.  We hope they get a new job.  We hope the people that suffered during the hurricane are doing better.  We hope the homeless person finds shelter and eventually a stable life. It’s a word we throw around.  Some things we really hope for (like a certain Christmas gift) and somethings we hope happens (but don’t really give it much thought). Well, the Christian season of Advent is full of hope.  In advent we wait for the savior to be born.  It is a time of expectancy and patience.  A time to...

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i’m glad to be alive

I sat in the car wondering what was going on. My side was in great pain and I couldn’t stop sweating. My vacation was not supposed to go this way. We had just finished lunch and were going to visit a few shops and suddenly this great pain to the right of my stomach started. I wanted to spend time with my wife and three children. Now I didn’t know what was happening. We drove to our hotel hoping I might feel better if I lay down. All I could think of was how much I loved my family,...

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worship: something that music is just a part of

I sat at my chair and read the dictionary definition of worship tonight.  Some words stood out to me: reverence; rites; ceremony; adoration; devotion.  However, one popular word was missing – music.  It was not in the dictionary definition. Nothing too complicated here, but it is a bit surprising when one considers contemporary semantics in the church world. In many churches today the word worship is synonymous with music.  People may suggest that their church service has three major parts: the preaching, the announcements, and the worship (in other words the music).  In fact, in many traditional denominations if...

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greatness

What is greatness? In North American society we typically measure greatness with wealth, fame, Facebook friends or Twitter followers.  Even in the church we usually measure greatness by the size of the congregation. However, Jesus had a different measure for greatness and it did not have anything to do with what we usually measure greatness with. In Mark 10:35-45, James and John ask Christ Jesus if they can sit at his right and left hand.  They were asking for power and authority.  We use similar expressions today for example “He is my right hand man.”  But Christ took the...

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worship space theology

I’ve worshipped in many church buildings from different Christian denominations over the last five or six years.  From this experience I’ve noticed that the structure of the worship space makes a difference in my worship experience. I want to discuss how the church building impacts the local church.  First, I want to give the theological basis for why church building architecture is important.  Second, we will look at how the worship space impacts our experience. I have certainly noticed some trends among denominational styles of worship.  One of these trends is the modern preference for a large gymnasium like...

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