Posts

The Missing Piece in Modern Youth Ministry

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By Ryan Itzel          Throughout the years, God has blessed me to participate in multiple areas of ministry. One aspect of ministry in which God has used me, is youth ministry. It has been a blessing to serve at Bible summer camps, after school programs in Christian schools, and lead youth groups through internship programs, cumulatively adding up to nearly 10 years of youth ministry work. I have loved every moment of teaching the Scriptures to young people, pushing them to dive deep into the Word of God, and urging them to respond to the commands given by our Lord for faithfulness. But through all the joy of discipling students from the Word, I have found there to be a serious issue that has plagued much of modern youth ministry. It is a problem that, if left unchecked, will be destructive to the church for generations to come. The issue is the rejection of the sufficiency of Scripture. Examples          My experiences as a youth leader was truly a blessing. This was not because it …

Building a Worship Team that God Wants to Listen to

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By Bill Itzel
Steward.  It’s a word that means “House Manager”.  Biblically, it is the designation of those entrusted with the care of Christ’s bride.  Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2), and gives further insight as to what that means to Titus, “For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” (Titus 1:7-9). As a worship leader for over 30 years, I have made it my sole purpose, to lead His people in the kind of worship that will please the Master of the house, not the servants.  Oh, those who are true servants of the Master will also be pleased by true worship in sp…

Worship in the Psalms - A response to COVID-19

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By Matt Auxt
As our churches return to "in person" services it is a good time to be reminded of the true basis of Biblical worship. With the advent of live stream, many churches have radically changed much of their worship to sound like the megachurches they desire to imitate. As we begin to gather again to sing, I want to remind the congregants about the right attitude of worship. There is much conflict within the evangelical church in America about what worship really is, so I want to share with you ten principles of Biblical worship from the book of Psalms. There are, of course, other principles and passages that will support these ten points, but I want to focus on what the psalter says about worship and how we are to worship. God’s Word describes how God wants His people to worship Him.  Biblical worship requires an understanding of God’s glory, God’s providence and sovereignty, the authority and need for God’s Word as a whole, our satisfaction with God alone, man’s tota…

Is the U.S. a Valid Mission Field? - Our Call to O.A.C

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By Ryan Itzel
            When I was fifteen years old I spent six weeks with my church learning the ins and outs of open air evangelism ministry. As an extremely shy teen, this seemed like a terrifying idea. I was quiet. Really quiet. Yet, that summer changed my life. I began growing in my understanding of the necessity for evangelistic missions. I saw the mandate for local and global discipleship, the need for theologically based evangelism, and the urgency of our world’s condition. As my wife Tasia and I now begin our journey of service to God through Open Air Campaigners (OAC), I hope to encourage you to see the command to fulfill the Great Commission for all Christians, and the necessity to participate in both local and global missions.
The Biblical Mandate
Scripture is not lacking when it comes to passages on the Biblical mandate to make disciples of all nations. One of the greatest directives comes from 2 Corinthians 5. Here, Paul lays the foundation of salvation and the mission o…

Rethinking "Reckless Love"

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By Bill and Karen Itzel
Two years ago, I wrote an article in my series of Exegeting the Hymns where I looked at the lyrics of “Reckless Love” and concluded that we’d never sing it at the church where I led worship.  That article took a lot of heat because there were so many strong feelings about the song and many in our church wanted to sing it.  However, now that time has passed and I have heard many stories of how that song was such an encouragement, I have decided to look back over the lyrics, and see if I was being overly-critical. In doing so, I feel as though I made a mistake.
I believe I was not as thoroughly bold as I should have been in my criticism.  
At that time, there were several reasons why I had to tone down my warning to the church, but I plan to remedy that here.  I want to make it clear why I feel I need to write this.  Many wonderful, caring pastors and worship leaders spend hours pouring over their song choices every Sunday to make sure God is worshipped in spirit an…

Showing Grace to Grace: Thoughts on the Re-opening of Grace Community Church

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By Ryan Itzel
            On July 24, 2020 John MacArthur and the rest of the elders at Grace Community Church released a statement that they would gather as a church, defying the state’s restrictions on assembling in their building.[1] At the release of the statement, many took to social media to weigh in on the decision to reopen. Some applauded at the firm stance that Christ is the head of the Church, not Caesar, while many disagreed with the decision, believing it was unwise and irresponsible. I wanted to share some thoughts on the matter but thought it right to take a week and contemplate before writing a post here on the situation. I pray that these few thoughts I share will encourage you and cause you to think about the situation from a Biblical and gracious perspective. My desire is for believers everywhere, whether you agree with Grace Community Church’s decision or not, to show grace to Grace.
A Changing Context
            First, one of the most common complaints with Grace Co…

Black Lives Matter Movement: The Anathema of a Different Gospel

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By Matt Auxt
Imagine for a moment that you are back in the good old days of 1912. It’s early April and you decide to take a well-earned vacation to feel the cool breeze of the North Atlantic. You step onto the most advanced luxury ship of the century, the RMS Titanic. In the early hours of the morning, you suddenly wake up in your cabin due to a loud crashing sound and blood curdling screams of passengers and crew members shouting abandon ship! As you head to the life boats, hundreds of people flock ahead of you, scrambling to save themselves. Panic and chaos grow increasingly. Fear takes hold of every soul as the ship slowly sinks into the cold black sea. You know that not everyone will make it off the ship. You know that people will die today. What do you do? Do you clean the handrails? Do you start preparing meals for the passengers? Do you give someone your job? No! You point the people who are perishing to the lifeboats. In this post, my goal is to show you that the world is sinki…