Blog Posts

How to Validate God’s Call…

God’s will—how do you know when and how to step out in faith? God’s will is big. It’s also unknown. It’s wonderful. It’s also scary. And being certain that you are in God’s will is critical having the confidence to go forward. Perhaps you’re standing on the shore-line, looking out at the vast unknown that represents “God’s…

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How to Down-Size Your Problems

“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12) Have you felt overwhelmed by problems you can’t solve? Have you struggled to find solutions to issues you can’t wrap your brain around? Have you been crushed by…

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Remember and Pray—Reagan On Memorial Day

On May 26, 1986, President Ronald Reagan shared these stories: “Here in Arlington rests a sharecropper’s son who became a hero to a lonely people. Joe Louis came from nowhere, but he knew how to fight. And he galvanized a nation in the days after Pearl Harbor when he put on the uniform of his…

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How Leaders Can Foster Resentment

If you are a leader, you’re probably not planning to foster resentment or to hurt people. But you might be on a road that leads there, and not know it. May I begin with this quantifier: resentment is always a bad choice and never justified. Those who become resentful are making a choice to respond wrongfully. Never-the-less, do…

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My Non-Endorsement, Election-Season Gut-Check

(Note: You will not find an endorsement, a political agenda, or any mention of current politicians in this post. This is purely a biblically objective “gut-check” to challenge our thinking and encourage our hearts, lest we lose our minds and emotional sense amidst the constant flurry of election-season opinions. This is probably more for myself than…

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Make Meetings Great Again!

Ministry involves a lot of meetings. We meet for church, for fellowship, for planning, for relationships, for outreach, for discipleship. We meet with church family, with staff, with guests. We meet for lots of reasons and in lots of contexts. How are your meetings? Do people want to attend? Are they well done? Well planned?…

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Old Testament Giving and Real Christian Living

This post is a bit outside of my normal subject matter, but I invite you to hang with me! (This is a simplified view of old Testament offerings, not designed to be a comprehensive study.) Have you ever been mind-boggled by all the terms and varying kinds of sacrifices and offerings in the Old Testament?…

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Hope for Our Hurt

Nearly every Christian I meet has been hurt on some level in some context, and many have been hurt in spiritual contexts—environments and relationships that promised to be a haven from hurt. Hurt is not the exception, hurt is the norm. Everyone has a story of someone who hurt them at some point, or many…

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Help Your Graduates Prepare for the Future

A Tool to Help High School Grads Understand Their Own Hearts and Direction This is a repost that I pray will spur some ideas related to your teenage graduates as they chart their course forward. I want to encourage those who work with students to have a “senior appointment.” We have sit down appointments each…

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The Paradox of Sorrow and Joy!

The themes of joy and sorrow have been on my heart and mind these past several days and nights. I’m sure, to some degree right now, you have some level of sorrow in your life. How would I know that? Because sorrow is a given. It’s a part of life in a fallen world. It’s…

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Why Nobody Can Rationally Deny Jesus’ Resurrection

Here are TEN quick reasons why nobody can really, rationally deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is absolutely plausible… 1. Nobody expected it—not even His closest followers. 2. Nobody would have invented it—The cleverest fiction writer wouldn’t have contrived this story, and least of all a bunch of uneducated, perplexed disciples….

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If You’re Suffering, Jesus Knows How You Feel

The week before Easter, for most pastors and Christians, is a week of meditating upon the cross of Jesus Christ. Our next three church services will be focused on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. There is not a topic more sobering. This week, I hope you will consider deeply what Jesus suffered for you. Isaiah prophesied,…

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Help Your Guests Overcome Fear at Church

Stepping into a church for the first time is a terrifying experience for an unbeliever. Recently, I was on my way to connection group when I saw a young a single mother coming into our lobby. Most people were already in class, except for the greeter at that door, so I walked over and said,…

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How My Heart Responds to EBC’s 100th Anniversary

This week, Emmanuel celebrates 100 years of gospel ministry. I write this post for two reasons: First, I ask that readers please pray for our special weekend as we lift up Jesus to many guests and give God glory. Second, I want to reflect on the personal aspects of God’s work in my own heart…

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How to Encourage Your Heart

Down days are part of every Christian life. Every spiritual leader, every pastor, every growing Christian wrestles with times of discouragement. Should it surprise us? No. Should we feel alone in it? No. Should we pretend we never deal with it? No. We should simply respond biblically and patiently. Emotions are shape-able. The heart is…

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10 Ideas for Enjoying God’s Word

Do you want to read God’s word consistently? More importantly, do you enjoy reading it? Or perhaps, like most Christians, you get stuck in the “duty and obligation” of the “ought to” attitude. Sure we “ought to” read God’s word, but there’s a better way! Reading, understanding, and applying the Bible is a “get to”, “want…

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The New Year Plan that Trumps All Others!

The Single Greatest Value for an Effective New Year Six years ago this week (2010), Dana and I were driving home from my chemotherapy appointment, listening to Christmas music. We were still recalibrating our lives and emotions to the seeming “invasion” of life-threatening illness. I was feeling sick, she was being supportive, but generally life was…

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Because of the Gospel…

Because of the gospel… The world can be falling apart, but my heart doesn’t have to. The world can persecute me, but that won’t destroy me. The world can mire down in political confusion, but I can press on in joyful clarity. The world can despair, but my joy can remain. The world can spite…

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Counter-Intuitive Church Development

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Matthew 5:13) I’m not a fan of the term “church-growth.” It’s God’s job to build His…

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Brand vs. Belief

Are You Perpetuating a Brand or Passing Forward Belief? What is your cause? What is your flag? What are you passionate about advancing? If it’s less than Bible truth, then perhaps it’s a “brand.” Belief is greater than brand. The perpetuation of biblical truth is far more critical than the perpetuation of a brand. And…

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