Sermon Links:  Browse By Book By Topic By Series Search

Below are the articles written by Steven J. Cole, pastor at Flagstaff Christian Fellowship.

Of Football and Love

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Defense-Of-The-Green-Bay-PackersWith football season behind us (that high church holy day, Superbowl Sunday, is now past) and Valentine’s Day just ahead (as I write), maybe it’s a good time to put in a word for marriage, especially to husbands coming out of “football hibernation” (that period of winter when husbands’ bodily functions slow down as they sit for months in front of the tube watching game after game). Some of you wives may need to read this to your husband if he’s forgotten how during the football season.

The combination of football and marriage reminds me of a true story I read in Reader’s Digest. A woman married for 34 years to a coach said that she had learned that a ball game always has top priority. But one particularly frustrating day she burst out, “Frank, you’d miss my funeral to go to a ball game!”

Very calmly her husband the coach replied, “Roberta, what ever made you think I’d schedule your funeral on the day of a game?”

Overview of John Bunyan's Life

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

John-BunyanJohn Bunyan lived from 1628-1688 in or near Bedford, England (north of London). He is most famous for his allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, which Spurgeon read over every year. He authored 59 books, including his story of his own conversion, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. He spent 12 years in prison because he was not a member of the established Anglican Church, and he refused to stop preaching without the required license.

Bunyan was born into a poor family and was not highly educated. He served for a brief time in Cromwell’s army and then worked in his father’s trade as a tinker, a repairer of pots and pans. As a young man, an ungodly woman heard him cursing and scolded him that he was the most ungodly fellow she had ever heard and that he would spoil all the youth in town if they came into his company. Her rebuke made a more indelible impression on him than all of the sermons that he had heard up to that point. God used this unlikely woman’s rebuke as a seed that eventually led this young, foul-mouthed boy to bitter repentance.

Preaching is Hazardous: The Gospel Boomerang

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Integrity-honor-trust-virtuePreaching, I have discovered, is a hazardous occupation.

I first learned this a short time after starting in the pastorate, when I made the mistake of preaching a series on the Christian and his money.

I did not consider the subject personally threatening. My finances were above reproach. I sought to live a simple life style. I was not in debt. I was tithing my income to the Lord’s work. I was honest on my income tax.

I also was not blind. I had seen the nice cars in the church parking lot and the VCR’s and computers in people’s homes. “These people need to learn what God has to say about this important subject,” I thought. “They’re victims of living in materialistic America.”

I chose my texts as carefully as a hunter selecting his best arrows.


Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

the-word-is-the-swordPromise Keepers (hereafter, PK) began in 1990 through the vision of then Colorado University football coach, Bill McCartney. Aimed at discipling men, PK “is a Christ-centered ministry dedicated to uniting men through vital relationships to become godly influences in their world” (from their purpose statement). They have an orthodox, though brief, statement of faith. They have attracted ever-increasing crowds of men to stadium-filled rallies around the country. They also provide leadership seminars for pastors and lay leaders, along with various training materials (video & audio tapes, a monthly magazine, and various printed materials).

Separation Versus Cooperation

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Graffiti-on-the-old-berlin-wallSome Thoughts on the Limits of Cooperation with Other Christians & with the World

One of the difficult issues for every Christian to work through theologically and implement practically is the degree of separation from professing Christians and from the world. All Bible-believing Christians would acknowledge that Christians are called to be in the world, but not of the world, even as our Lord was (John 17:14-17 ). He Himself had that perfect blend of grace and truth which enabled Him to be the friend of sinners without becoming stained by their sin. And He has called us to be like Him. We are to be known by our love for our fellow Christians (John 13:35 ); yet we are to come out and be separate from evil persons and activities, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 6:14-71 ). We want to be known by what we witness for, not by what we witness against, and yet we must witness against certain things in order to witness for the Lord.

Should Christians Endorse War?

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

our-soldiers-show-compassionAren't Christians supposed to turn the other cheek? Didn't Jesus say to love your enemies? So how can a Christian endorse war, even if it is against terrorists?

This is a fair question. Let me make it clear that I do not endorse war indiscriminately. Many wars have been wrong. Often there are multiple factors that make it difficult to sort out the moral issues involved.

Some Thoughts on Consensus Leadership and Decision-making

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .


Consensus leadership refers to the process in a local church by which the elders make decisions by seeking the mind of the Lord, not by “voting their own mind.” The mind of the Lord will be revealed by an uncoerced unanimity among the elders, reached after thorough, biblically-based discussion and prayer. In some decisions, individual elders may not be in full agreement, but they may not have such strong disagreement as to prevent the group from taking action. But if an elder disagrees strongly or has a strong hesitation, either on biblical grounds or based on an inner sense that a decision is not from the Lord, then the rest of the elders should recognize his disagreement or hesitation as a check from the Lord and should withhold action. Then they must work through the matter with further discussion, prayer, and seeking of God’s will through His Word.

The key is corporate sensitivity to the Lord as He reveals His will to fellow elders. The Lord promises, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Ps. 32:8-9.)

Spending the Days of Your Life

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

mirror3What if Uncle Sam issued a sum of money to each citizen at birth? You would know the average national allotment, but not how much you had been given. It could be average, above average, or below average. You don't know. But what you're issued is all you get. You can't earn any more. When you run out, you're out! And you don't know when your allotment runs out until that moment! I'll bet you would spend your money carefully!

Steak And Arsenic: A Review of Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Neil-Anderson-Victory-Over-DarknessReading Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness [Regal Books, 1990, 245 pp.] is like eating steak laced with arsenic. The steak tastes great and makes up the major portion, but the arsenic, imbedded throughout, will kill you.

First, the steak: Anderson strongly sets forth the believer’s position in Christ and the beneficial effects of believing this truth. He underscores the many Scriptures affirming that believers are saints, new creatures, forgiven, righteous, etc. Certainly these are crucial truths for every Christian to believe and act upon.

Anderson rightly affirms that right thinking produces right emotions: “... feelings are a product of the thought life.... Anger, anxiety and depression are usually the result of a faulty belief system. The greatest determinants of mental and emotional health are a true knowledge of God, and acceptance of His ways and the assurance of His forgiveness” (p. 236). Amen!

Sadly, though, the book is laced with arsenic. An undiscerning reader will swallow the poison with the steak. The outcome will be worse than not eating the steak at all!

The main error is that Anderson repeatedly asserts that believers are not to view themselves as sinners, not even as sinners saved by grace, but as saints who occasionally sin.

Steven Cole's Master Thesis - Dallas Theological Seminary

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Steve-cole-canyon pdfClick to view and download the full Thesis text

A Thesis Presented to The Faculty of the Department of Biblical Exposition
Dallas Theological Seminary

May, 1976


The Need for the Study

One of the first and most important issues facing a person entering socalled “full-time” Christian work is the question of financial support. Whether he is a seminary graduate entering a pastorate with a monthly salary of a person joining a missionary or evangelistic organization which requires him to raise his own support, the issue must be faced. It is an obviously crucial and key factor in Christian service, and one of inherent practical significance.

The Basis for Christian Unity

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

christian-unityChristian unity is a hot topic. Here in Flagstaff, there have been a number of inter-church "Unity" services and other cooperative events which often include both Catholics and Protestants. I recently received an invitation to attend a worship service being held at the Nativity Catholic Church, where Dr. Emilio Castro, former General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, spoke on, "Together on the Faith Journey." In 1993, several prominent evangelical leaders signed a document,

The Best Show in Town?

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Crowd-of-peopleSay, Mary, how about if we go over to First Church this Sunday morning? I see in the paper that they’re having that famous Christian speak.”

“Well, honey, I don’t know. I noticed that Second Church is having that recently converted rock star, and I think the kids would enjoy that. And we can catch the sacred concert and prophecy film over at Third Church in the evening.”

Let’s face it: we live in a spectator society. From football to the movie theater to the ubiquitous American altar known as television, we are programmed to sit passively while the performer croons, “Let me entertain you.”

Quite often the church unwittingly caters to this mentality. We assume that we are called to compete for spectators. So we attempt to put on a better show. We advertise in the papers, we put our current attraction on our marquees, and pray for a packed house.

The Inefficiency of God

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Time-Management-ConceptAs I was speed-reading the latest book on how to be a more efficient executive, I realized that God is terribly inefficient. I say it reverently, of course. But really, the Lord could have been much more efficient in the way He administered His eternal plan. I’m not sure the Lord would do well in modern America.

We live in a culture obsessed with efficiency. We have instant everything: instant photography, instant coffee, instant copy machines, and instant information available on almost any conceivable subject. Computers can do in seconds what took a whole office full of people weeks to do a few years ago. We have the one-minute manager, oneminute Christian executive, and even the one-minute Christian father! If something is more efficient, we want it.

The Real Shock in the Presidential Scandal

Written by Pastor Steve Cole on .

Bill-Clinton-weddingArizona Daily Sun, October 9, 1998

The real shock for me in the current presidential scandal is not the President’s behavior, as bad as that is. The real shock is the public reaction to the scandal. The Arizona Daily Sun recently ran the responses of a random sample of Flagstaff residents. One 27-year-old woman said, “I think it’s much to do with nothing. He gets (oral sex) in the Oval Office—so what? I don’t understand the uproar. Why is everyone making such a big deal out of someone’s sex life? I don’t care who Clinton had sex with.”

A retired U.S. District Court judge basically concurred and added that his friends abroad cannot believe that America is willing to destroy its president because of an extramarital affair, especially when the country “is doing so well economically.” A recent National Public Radio report echoed the judge’s sentiments. It said that people in France don’t understand why are Americans so upset over a little adultery. That country used government funds to support former President Mitterand’s mistress and her child by him.