21st Century Temptations and Distractions Facing the Church – Panel Discussion

What are some distractions and temptations the church is facing today? Join these four men along with Nathan Overholt as they wrestle with these four topics relevant to our day.

“Are you infinitely distracted,” Trent Eikenberry asks us, “with up to the minute news from the other side of the world?” He suggests that this relatively new phenomenon is keeping us from seeing real needs and lost souls right around us. How much should we be “in the know”?

Next, Elisha Byler introduces what he calls “pop up theology”. This is old heresy covered with a skimpy varnish of Christian terminology that spreads quickly through social media platforms. These half truths we are bombarded with can distract us from deep genuine Bible study. How are you combating this distraction?

What about materialism? Philip Showalter tells us that far too often our souls are lean and sickly and we lack the power of God, but our bank accounts are fat and our businesses are flourishing. Hard work and industry are good, but the problem is our accumulation of money. He challenges us to stop justifying materialism and to repent of our love for money. What is first place in your life?

Lastly, Kevin Brechbill calls out the sin of gossip. A gossip is a person who habitually reveals personal and sensational facts about others. Churches are struggling to be united because of this root problem of massive gossip. The most effective way to combat gossip is to talk a good report about others. Ask your brother or your sister to tell you when you are gossiping. Are you building others up or tearing them down with your words?

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The Practice of Spiritual Disciplines

How much do you want to get done in life?

How can we be useful vessels that God can use to get a lot done in His kingdom? Self-control, one of the fruits of the Spirit, is an essential element in our lives if we want to be fruitful Christians. We make a firm decision, and the Holy Spirit gives us the power to live it out. Spiritual disciplines such as prayer, daily morning devotions, and a pure thought life will make us vessels that God can use. As we find victory from things such as lust, idolatry, grumbling, and addictions, we can be a soldier in God’s Kingdom. In this message Elisha Byler shares from the things he has learned in his journey with the Lord and from his years of experience working among an indigenous group in Mexico.

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Spiritual Preparation for Kingdom Work

Elisha Byler emphasizes personal surrender and the practice of spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, and Bible reading. These practices fortify us for the experiences in kingdom work that feel like going through a meat grinder.

This message was given at the Church Growth Seminar 2023, which is a segment organized by the Church Planters’ Forum.

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