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Articles by John Revell

Found 27 Articles by John Revell

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Making Disciples in the Home

Pastor, how much time do you spend each week in prayer — for your sermon, the church, the salvation of the lost who have visited your church, those marriages that are struggling, your own spiritual growth? Unquestionably, prayer is essential to the effectiveness of a pastor's ministry. We pray for wisdom, direction, insight, protection, and victory — and rightly so.

But consider this sobering prospect: what if God were ignoring those prayers? The possibility of such a scenario should horrify us, shaking us to our very core — what if all of our energies devoted to prayer were wasted? Yet, according to God's Word, if we do not fulfill our biblical responsibilities to our wives, our prayers are in fact "hindered." Consider 1 Peter 3:7:

Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered (HCSB).

Making Disciples in the Home

There is a troubling contradiction between what is preached from the pulpits and what is practiced in the marriages of many pastors today. Because pastors handle God's Word weekly, if not daily, it seems we would be especially sensitive to the passages pertaining to marriage. We study those passages, and even preach from them in our annual sermon series on the family. We are careful to exegete and explain the verses, making sure we give proper attention to husbands' and wives' responsibilities to each other. We know and understand what God expects of us as husbands.

The tragedy is that we so often and easily forget to apply these passages to our own marriages.

A representative of LeaderCare for LifeWay Christian Resources concluded, after years of conferences and consultations with pastors and their families, that 80 percent of pastors' wives are unhappy with their marriage. They consistently reported that they feel they must compete with the church for th...

Southern Baptists' Conventions and Associations

In 1897, while on a prolonged visit in London, Mark Twain received an unexpected visit from a reporter representing the N.Y. Journal. It seems that a report concerning the illness of Twain's cousin had been misunderstood in the States, and some had wrongly concluded that Twain himself was at death's door. On that occasion, the irrepressible author penned his now-famous response:

The report of my death was an exaggeration.

In recent days it has become somewhat chic, even among some Southern Baptists, to opine that denominationalism is dead, and therefore irrelevant. Certainly, some mainline denominations have clearly shown inarguable signs of irreversible demise, and in some cases that fate might be appropriate. When a denomination en masse jettisons its God-ordained responsibility to fulfill the assignment of Acts 1:8 — when it refuses to even acknowledge the authority and validity of the very source of that command, the Word of God &mdas...

The Cooperative Program

Face it — most of us can quote Acts 1:8 forwards and backwards. Throughout the history of Christianity, this passage has served not only as the challenge of evangelism and missions, but it has identified the scope of our evangelism and mission endeavors as well — and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (HCSB). Over the comparatively brief history of the Southern Baptist Convention, we, too, have repeatedly appealed to this foundational command from our Lord and set our denominational course according to this scriptural compass.

This command is foundational to the very existence of the Southern Baptist Convention. It reflects our heritage, our mission, and our passion.

We've all heard countless speakers at annual missions and evangelism conferences who have passionately reminded us that the Lord's mandate just prior to His ascension was not a matter of personal preference — that ...

If you are particularly astute, you may have noticed a glaring absence in last month's issue of SBC LIFE. Starting in January 1996, for ninety issues, readers could find the name A. William (Bill) Merrell above the title Editor on page 2. In the January 2005 issue, Bill Merrell's name was missing from the masthead. The alteration was especially poignant for those of us in a position to take notice. The absence was not an oversight or an editorial error; rather it marked Bill's completion of one strategic and dynamic ministry and his bittersweet transition into another.

Evangelicals have a pitiful record when it comes to voting. Over the last twenty years, on average only half of eligible evangelicals took the time and made the effort to go to the polls. This in itself is sobering, but White House aide Karl Rove has repeatedly lamented that only 15 million evangelicals bothered to vote in the last general election. That might not sound too bad ... until you consider the fact that there are an estimated 60 million evangelicals in our nation! By some estimates, only 25 percent of all evangelicals went to the polls — and less than half are even registered to vote!

Only one quarter of like-minded brothers and sisters voted in the last election. It's fair to ask, "So what?" Does this really matter to God?

At one time I had concluded that perhaps it didn't. I knew God absolutely was concerned about moral issues in our nation, such as abortion and homosexuality, and as a pastor I passionately represented those concerns in ...

Roused from his sleep by the sudden jolt of waves crashing against the ship's hull and the roar of gale-force winds, and scrambling from his hammock as his cabin started to fill with seawater, he heard a shipmate on deck scream that the ship was sinking. He raced up the ladder to the deck but met the captain who shouted for him to bring a knife. As he rushed back down to retrieve it the man who had been behind him went ahead and was instantly washed overboard.

When John reached the deck he found chaos as the crew raced about the vessel making frenzied repairs, bailing water, and fighting to stay on board as the relentless swells swept across the deck. Several manned the pumps feverishly, but the rising water was gaining on them. Their cargo was beeswax and wood, both lighter than water, otherwise they would have been doomed.

An hour later the sun rose and the winds started to subside slightly, allowing the crew to make limited progress. All day they desperately patc...

Youth appear to be abandoning churches in droves. According to some estimates, 88 percent of teens attending evangelical churches will forsake their church, if not their faith, by the time they reach age 18.1 But worse, according to those same estimates the departure rate among pastors' children appears to be no different. It seems if any group should buck the national trend, it would be these children. Instead, their exit from church and departure from the faith illustrate the crisis facing so many pastors' families today.

Years ago, when my wife and I attended a conference for church planters, she participated in a session designed to encourage pastors' wives. However, after the first meeting she was troubled at what she had encountered. She explained how some of the "veterans" in the group — those who should have been a primary source of encouragement for the younger women after years of fruitful and fulfilling ministry — ...

Lessons from Habakkuk

When my father pastored a small Southern Baptist church in rural Northeast Mississippi, we lived in the pastorium, an old stone house that was full of character. The floor plan was consistent with the older homes of the area - it had one long hardwood hallway running from the front door through the center to the back of the house, with bedrooms, living room, one bathroom, kitchen, and dining room branching off to either side. The rear of the hallway served as the utility room, where the washer and dryer were installed facing the front entrance.

While living in that home, we collected an assortment of pets, including a slightly aloof, highly opinionated, and intensely curious Siamese cat named "Cat-two." (We had another Siamese cat before this one. Her name was "Cat" - we were pragmatic when it came to naming pets.) One day, Cat-two's curiosity led to an extraordinary encounter with our new dryer at the end of the hall.

My mother had just taken a lo...

Preparations are being made across the nation for the millennial calendar roll over. Major businesses, the entire banking industry, and governments at every level have spent billions attempting to prevent a millennial meltdown and prepare contingencies for potential Y2K-related crises. Government and private emergency management agencies have warned citizens to prepare for one to two weeks of disruptions in utilities and food distribution.1

If one is inclined to make decisions based on objective data and reason rather than mere emotion, such information should justify preparation, and thus prevent victimization at the hands of Y2K.

There are, however, at least three categories of potential Y2K victims within our church families that may need special attention: the misinformed, those inclined to panic, and after January 1, 2000, those facing shortages in food, water, and other basic necessities. These need not become victims of the hype, hysteria, or realities of ...