The Life-Transforming, Heart-Healing Power of Praise

Our worship of God does not make him more powerful. Neither does it compel him to act. But God is pleased by praise. He loves to act on behalf of his people when his people exult in him and exalt him in worship. Praise is where God lives (Ps. 22:3)! It is his home! That is why when we worship, things happen: the spirits of the discouraged are lifted and refreshed, sick bodies are healed, unsaved souls come to faith, the Spirit's voice is heard, relationships are healed, hope is restored, the Wor

10 Things you should know about the Postmillennial view of the Kingdom of God

Before I delineate the 10 things all of us should know, let's look at a definition of postmillennialism by one of its advocates, Lorainne Boettner. He describes postmillennialism as, "that view of the last things which holds that the Kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the Gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of individuals, that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ is to occur at the close of

Three Lies we might easily believe

The following brief article was written by my friend Ray Ortlund and posted on his blog on February 28, 2017. I was deeply moved by it and thought it should be made available again to those who may not have seen it. It is very much in the Devil's interests that we despair. If he can get us to believe any of these three demoralizing lies that he loves to whisper into our thoughts, our powers for Jesus are greatly diminished. And each one seems to us quite plausible.

Undistracting Excellence

The psalmist exhorts us to worship "skillfully" (Ps. 33:3). Does this simply mean with technical precision or is there something more involved? I would like to suggest that what the psalmist likely had in mind is similar to what John Piper calls "undistracting excellence." Here is how he defined it: "We will try to sing . . . and pray and preach in such a way that people's attention will not be diverted from the substance by shoddy ministry nor by excessive finesse, elegance, or refinement. N

10 Things you should know about Marijuana and the Christian

I need to make a confession right up front. I've never smoked marijuana. I've never been drunk with alcohol. In fact, I've never used an illicit drug of any sort. I mention this because I'm quite sure that some will object to what I say in this article by insisting that I have no right to speak about an experience in which I've never personally indulged. I think that's ridiculous. Whether or not I've ever been "high" (and again, no, I haven't), is irrelevant to the question of whether or not Chr

Dare to hope!

Early this morning the Sun passed directly over the equator on its journey towards the Tropic of Cancer. Most of us did not stop to think or be thankful for this particular demonstration of God's care. The reality is that he will be faithful whether he is asked to be or not. Because God is who he is, he can't be anything but faithful to his promise he made to Noah thousands of years ago and to all of his promises.

Is God Silent?

Is the weather personal? But before you answer that here are some more basic questions. Is your everyday world controlled by a personal God who has a purpose for all that you encounter? Or is life on earth just a matter of random chance? Or is your life governed by impersonal forces that take no account of the moral decisions that you make each day? If you decide for either random chance or an impersonal force then you must conclude that God is silent.

5 Really Bad Reasons to Plant a Church

I love church planters. When I moved into church revitalization part of the concern I had in doing so was I might not have a foot into church planting. That would be tough for me. After two successful plants and having worked with literally hundreds of planters, I think it's in my blood. (Interestingly, I learned a few years after my first plant that my mom served on the core of a church plant during her years before marriage. It's truly in my blood.)

5 Ways I Expand My Leadership Potential

It takes an intentional effort to improve as a leader. I think the best leaders expand their influence and leadership potential by continuing to learn and grow in experience. You can read books, follow blogs and Tweets, attend conferences, and hang out with other leaders. These are all good practices to improve as a leader.

7 Ways to Be a Community Building Pastor

I have a theory of pastoring successfully today. To be a kingdom building pastor you MUST be a community building pastor. I admit "must" is a strong word - and there are few things I'm emphatic about unless they are Biblical, but I do believe in order for us to reach people today we have to get outside the walls of our church buildings. And, this means we MUST do something intentional to make it happen. The community has to know - and believe - we really do care for them.


Finding Beauty in the ashes of Life

GROVE, OK (ANS - March 19, 2017) -- "To all who mourn in Israel he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory" -- Isaiah 61:3 (TLB)

He became an Addict as a USC student, then God brought Intervention

CARBONDALE, CO (ANS - March 18, 2017) -- He walked away from the faith of his childhood and became a drug addict and alcoholic amidst the rollicking party scene at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. But years later, God's love drew him out of the darkness and he became a drug interventionist and counselor for Pete Carroll's Trojan and Seahawks football teams. "I grew up with a very good, solid relationship with Christ," says Dirk Eldredge, now the CEO of Jaywalker

7 Things I’ve Learned about Following God

For the last 30 years or so, I've attempted to listen to, obey and follow the voice of God. I have never heard it audibly but I have had it for only impressed upon my heart and mind. I have actually been a believer for over 40 years, but I got serious about my faith in my early 20's. It's been a long road, and I'm still a pilgrim in the process, but I've learned a few things along the way. These are based totally on my personal experience.

The Leader’s Crisis of Belief

Every leader at some point faces a crisis of belief in their leadership - or what her or she is attempting to lead. Questions such as: Will this work? Is there a better way?

Why is sin Attractive to your Children?

Selfishness, lies, anger, self-pity, cruelty, come naturally to your children. On the surface these sins appear out-of-character for the infant in your arms who just wants to be warm, fed and held close. So, when the ugly indicators of a dark heart emerge, it is easy to be surprised and taken aback. Too often the response to dark hearts is to increase creature comforts, to focus on the external issues as if children were still infants needing to be warm with full tummies and a clean diaper. Thus

The Earthquake that was my Life until I found Christ

ROCHESTER, NY (ANS - March 17, 2017) -- My story begins in "Surf City," Huntington Beach, Southern California, where I was living at the time. On that fateful morning of June 28, 1992, my daughter and I were soundly sleeping, that was until at 4:57 AM, when apartment building where I was living, started to shake. It grew stronger and stronger and for that minute, my daughter, Tiffany, and myself, had by now jumped out of our beds, and stood shaking between the bedroom door jam on the secon

It's Time to Quit Talking to ourselves

CARROLLTON, GA (ANS - March 13, 2017) -- It was good to see an article in a recent issue of the Guardian Weekly (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/12/my-neighbour-murdered-my-family-now-we-are-friends-rwanda-genocide) which pointed to the pioneering work being done by Prison Fellowship Rwanda to bring reconciliation to that country which still suffers the psychological pain of a mass genocide 22 years ago. What was refreshing, in addition to the delicate but successful work of the ag

Tale of two Disciples

DONCASTER, UK (ANS - March 13, 2017) -- I never expected to have something in common with tough-guy movie star Sylvester Stallone. But it turns out that -- in more ways than one -- we have walked the same path! Both of us have slept at a bus stop at a rough stage of our lives, and we are both now following Jesus as the Rock1 (foundation) of our lives. In the case of the "Italian Stallion," the journey from a bus terminal to rediscovered faith took him many years; for me it took just seven

When things go wrong, GOD still has a Plan

GROVE, OK (ANS - March 12, 2017) -- "A person's steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?" -- Proverbs 20:24 (NIV). To do list 2For nine months, I argued with God. I didn't want to move from the area where I'd lived for 35 years. I'd taught school there for 30 years. Planning my retirement, I wanted to write newspaper and magazine feature stories for local, state and national publications. I'd also planned to grow my professional photography business of 20

Celebrating the Unsearchable Greatness of God: Reflections on Psalm 145 (Part Two)

In the previous article we looked at the unsearchable greatness of God. So, how does one respond to such a God? Needless to say, such splendor, majesty, mercy and call for the loudest and most passionate of praise. We are to extol him (v. 1a), which literally means "to be high." God is high and we acknowledge and declare it so. We don't make him higher than he already and always is. But we can declare him to be infinitely high and worthy of praise. Thus to extol is to exalt above all others,

Celebrating the Unsearchable Greatness of God: Reflections on Psalm 145

You can't not worship. Ignore my use of the ungrammatical double negative and try to understand what I'm saying. You can't not worship. Or to put it yet another way, "we can't not love something ultimate" (James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love, 20). You may choose not to sing. You may choose not to bow down. You may choose not to lift your hands. You may choose not to give any outward or physical expression to your devotion, but you can't not worship.

In Faith Leadership, Some Days We Walk Blindly

Recently I came across a journal entry from January, 2005. I talked about some of the goals I had for the year and my progress and lack thereof towards meeting them. I shared some current frustrations I was having in ministry. I then asked God to help me be more disciplined. Then I read the last sentence of that day's journal. I wrote, "God, at 41 years of age, some days it feels that I'm not accomplishing anything."

Turning the Tables!

DONCASTER, UK (ANS - March 8, 2017) -- As Iran's supreme leader calls for a "holy intifada" to eradicate Israel, Jews everywhere can be encouraged that the tables were turned on a man from the same part of the world when he made a similar threat. As we approach the annual Jewish feast of Purim, we recall the plot to destroy all Jews living in the ancient and far-reaching Persian Empire. The man behind it was Haman, political aide to King Xerxes, but thanks to the intervention of Queen Esther,