Late at Night, Wide Awake

Sometimes at night I find myself awake, wide awake, hopelessly awake. In these moments I am confronted with piercing clarity about past sins, the stupidity of thinking I had a good reason to trust my flesh and ignore my God. I remember the allure of self-justification, of the fog of self-pity. Why could I not have had this awareness of the deceitful awfulness of sin forty years ago, twenty years ago, twenty hours ago?

The Fork in the Road

Each day you have a choice, you can follow the path of death or follow the path of life. Sound dramatic? Actually, no, it is just reality. The whirlpool of death swirls all around you. It is easy to be confused into thinking that it is just the hectic pace of life that keeps you feeling unsatisfied. "I'll figure it out tomorrow." But tomorrow turns out to be just like today, and so it goes.

Pleasant Words and Christ

Somehow the idea of pleasant words combined with discipline or instruction seems a little strange. Most memories of being corrected don't evoke happy or pleasant thoughts. Often correction means stern or harsh warnings, even when given with the best of intentions. However, in the Proverbs instruction is to be received as precious jewelry, something to be worn with honor. How does this happen?

10 Things You Should Know about Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

In an earlier installment of the “10 Things You Should Know” series, we looked at Ephesians 5:18 and what it says about being filled with the Spirit. But here I want to look more closely at the issue as it is found in other portions of God’s Word. I’ve found that the best way to help people understand what it means to be “filled” with the Spirit is to compare and contrast that experience with being “baptized” in the Spirit.

The Burial of Jesus

Oh, how times have changed when it comes to the execution of a criminal. When the Supreme Court of the United States first banned capital punishment, part of the reason for that decision was that it was deemed to be "cruel and unusual." The crucifixion of a condemned man in the first century, under Roman law, on the other hand, was deliberately cruel and unusual. It was intentionally both torturous and humiliating. Crucifixion was chosen as punishment for slaves and social outcasts not becaus

In Seeing Jesus, We’ve seen The Father

Of the twelve disciples of Jesus, we probably know the least about Philip. His name figures prominently in John 14 when he makes this request of Jesus: "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us" (John 14:8). Jesus responds with the famous words: "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).

7 Considerations of Whether You’re Ready to be a First Chair Leader

Previously I wrote a post on how to create environments which attract and retain first chair leaders in a second chair position. Read that post HERE. The post was well received, but as expected, I received numerous questions after the post. The most common had to do with how to spot a first chair leader - or when a second chair leader should consider being a first chair.

The Jesus Conversation: This is likely the last Christian Generation

NEWPORT BEACH, CA (ANS - November 8, 2016) -- Ten years ago, Josh McDowell and David Bellis wrote a book entitled "The Last Christian Generation". The title resonated with me, but not for the reasons they offered. They articulated the massive exit of our children from the Church and Christianity and they viewed the answer to the problem is to do a better job in teaching our children the reasons for the faith.

Rejoice in Judgment!

To rejoice in judgment seems a strange idea. Normally judgment carries the idea of revenge or retribution for evil. For those who have done wrong judgment is something to fear. And as we examine our own hearts, even though we may attempt to avoid the thought, we know judgment is coming. Then as we look around our neighborhoods, our cities, our country, our world what is good is overshadowed by what is evil. Even the creation itself suffers under godless disregard for the treasure that it is. Jud

Seven Ways to Discover more “AWE” in your Life

GROVE, OK (ANS – November 6, 2016) -- “Who is like you among the gods, O LORD? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” -- Exodus 15:11 (NASB). Awaken the aweTwinkling lights filled the dusky evening skies. Filled with excitement, I exclaimed, “Fireflies,” to the friend on the other end of the phone line. While many might take the sight for granted, I’d not seen fireflies in such large numbers in many years -- at least more than a decade

Ignatius Loyola and the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)

This week we've been looking at various features of the Protestant Reformation. I'm quite certain that as October of 2017 approaches, marking the 500th anniversary of Luther's posting of his 95 theses, we will hear and read even more. But we should not overlook some of the more significant efforts at reform found in the Roman Catholic Church. One of the more lasting movements that emerged was the formation of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits, under the leadership of Ignatius Loyola.

10 Suggestions to Welcome a New Pastor

I frequently receive questions from churches who want to welcome a new pastor and do it well. I've written extensively about some of my own transitions. I assume people think I might have advice to give a congregation for how to best help the pastor and pastor's family feel welcome and acclimate. And, the fact is I do have some thoughts. More than my usually seven.

Hypothetical Universalism and the Theology of Moise Amyraut

I'm often asked the question by those with an interest in historical theology: "Who was Moise Amyraut? What is Amyraldianism? What did he mean by 'hypothetical universalism'?" If these are questions that interest you, read on. The Protestant Reformation initially reached France through the influence of Luther's writings. Protestants there were severely persecuted, the culmination of which came in the infamous St. Bartholomew's Day massacre (August 23-24, 1572) when nearly 20,000 were martyred

The Gift of God's Judgement: Our Election Crisis and Opportunity

To begin with, we need to remember that decisions about voting are a matter of prudence and wisdom. Biblical truths and principles must be brought to bear, but when we're dealing with applying convictions in our twenty-first-century context, we're making decisions upon which Christians can (and will) disagree. We may disagree strongly; we may try to persuade and exhort others to see things our way, but there is no "Thus sayeth the Lord" about what action to take this November. (For a fuller pers

10 Things you should know about Interpreting the Bible

Today we look at 10 things we should know about how to interpret the Bible (or conversely, hownot to interpret it). But before we begin, it's important to remember that the Bible is not an answer-book that provides ready-made explanations for all problems or solutions to puzzling questions. When I run into a problem with my computer, I click the Help button and find a topically organized list of solutions to virtually every difficulty I may be facing. But the Bible did not come to us with an Ind

Repentance or Regret

One day a man returned home exhausted and famished from a hunting trip. As he neared the camp he caught the smell of a meal that his younger brother was preparing. Convinced he was about to die, he pleaded with his brother for some food. His brother was an enterprising sort, so he offered to exchange the food for the birthright, the blessing which belonged to the first born. Driven by hunger, the older brother greedily accepted the offer. It was a decision he lived to regret.

10 Things you Should know.....

10 Things you Should know about the Trinity As someone once said of the doctrine of the Trinity: "Try to explain it, and you'll lose your mind. But try to deny it, and you'll lose your soul!" With this in mind, let's examine 10 things we should all know about the Trinity.

5 Ways Ministry Has Changed...

5 Ways Ministry Has Changed in 20 Years I began this blog a number of years ago for one primary reason of encouraging other ministry leaders. I came into ministry later in life - after a long business career - and, so I've always seen the role differently from some who have been spent their career in ministry.

Thought for the Lord’s.....

Thought for the Lord’s Day People were designed by God to worship. At the fall man lost his ability to know whom to worship. So, we worship counterfeit gods. This is the worship we were born to as fallen creatures. It is the enemy's scheme that when we participate in corporate worship we do so to earn God's favor. But our God is a jealous God. He will not share his glory with counterfeit pretenders.

If God Gives You Influence…

If God gives you influence the enemy gives you attention! We shouldn't be surprised when we see pastors and church leaders struggle. They are human - imperfect humans. I have witnessed over the years - watching others and with my own experience - it's often in the seasons where everything seems to be going so well when temptation is greatest.

Exploring what’s New about the “New” Commandment in the First Epistle of John (1)

In the previous article we began by looking at the "new" commandment given to us by Jesus in John 13:34-35 that we love one another as he, Jesus, has loved us. The Apostle John, who was leaning against the breast of Jesus when our Lord spoke these monumental words about loving one another, took them to heart in a way that we see nowhere else in the NT. This "new" commandment of Jesus had a profound and life-changing impact on John. We know this to be true because it becomes the most important po

What's New About The “New” Commandment?

The commandment of God that his people are to love one another is not new. Everyone was familiar with Leviticus 19:17-18. There God spoke to the children of Israel and said: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord" (Lev. 19:17-18). So what did Jesus mean when