Blog Posts

How to Bring Someone to Jesus this Easter!

Resurrection week is one of the BEST weeks of the year to bring someone to hear the clear gospel of Jesus Christ. If you live in New England, 57% of the population said they would respond positively to a FRIEND inviting them to church. How cool! That’s a pretty amazing open door. So, I challenge you to be intentional and strategic about bringing someone to hear about Jesus on Easter Sunday. Make Easter about more than family and your personal world. Make it focused on what matters—a Saviour who really rose again, and a lost friend who needs to “get…

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Passion—Life-Changing Lessons from Caleb!

Recently, in conjunction with our Sunday evening series from Joshua, I’ve been studying Caleb. Man, I love this guy! He just didn’t stop. He was a powerful picture of biblical, God-orientated passion in action. In Joshua 15, Caleb is 85 years old, and he’s waited for more than forty years to receive his promised inheritance. He’s one of the quiet “good guys!” He wasn’t front and center for most of his life, but he was passionate and faithful. He grabbed ahold of God and never let go. By the time we come to Joshua 15, Caleb is finishing strong. His…

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Best Books for Christian Parents!

Frequently someone asks what books I would recommend on youth ministry or parenting. They are generally the same books. While there are some good books on youth ministry, the most helpful to youth ministry are those on the family. Whether you are a parent, a youth pastor, or a pastor, I would urge you to read everything you can on biblical parenting and working with young hearts. Over the years, these are a few books that have been profoundly helpful to me as a parent and youth pastor. I encourage you to read and pass along the information found in…

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Who’s Doing Your Thinking?

Pharisees say “Don’t think!”  A manipulative person says “I will think for you—listen ONLY to me.” A spiritual leader leads you to think biblically for yourself, with discernment. “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men…” (Matthew 23:13) “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9) Jesus says, “Think deeply!” Come and see! Search the scriptures—see for yourself! Jesus is not afraid of your questions. He expects you to use the brain that He created. “And beginning at Moses and all the…

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13 Critics You Should Listen To…

Critics are a dime a dozen, some should be heard but many are self-appointed sounding brass. The internet and anonymity empowers them. I’ve had my share is covert critics, and generally they are the same—intentionally deceptive and gifted at distortion. One thing is consistent, they NEVER contact me to get the truth. Truth would nullify their game. More than a decade ago I determined some guidelines regarding “who’s criticism I would hear.” Giving a “hearing to a critic is like giving the key to your spirit. You are not obligated to hear every random cynic. You are not under biblical…

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Manage Your Exhaustion for Other’s Sake!

Exhaustion is a physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, and spiritual state. It’s not just one, but all of these. We make a big mistake to think it’s just physical. Responding properly means responding biblically to each dynamic. Exhaustion impacts others—and not in a good way. If you are serving God, raising a family, or meaningfully engaging in 21st century life, you will face exhaustion, if only from pure information overload. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be terminal! Here are some quick suggestions for managing exhaustion for the sake of others… Physical 1. Rest—It’s practical, biblical, even spiritual to rest. Don’t buy the…

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Hopeless Souls—Waiting to be Told!

How often we presume that the world is cold and closed to Jesus. How often we are wrong in that presumption. A cold heart and a desperate heart often appear the same on the outside. It’s easy to confuse one for the other. Until you attempt to love, you never quite know the condition of the heart. Sometimes that love is rejected, but other times it unexpectedly falls onto a heart that is desperately longing.  There’s nothing more wonderful than seeing the gospel of Jesus Christ change lives. One of the 12th grade young ladies in our church and school wrote…

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Like a Cardinal after a Storm

This morning I woke up to snow covered branches and rolling white drifts—the morning after a big storm. Amidst all the white, a flash of brilliant red caught my eye. A cardinal was blissfully darting back and forth from branch to branch across the yard—seeming to almost celebrate his survival. Two things struck me about this beautiful red bird… —He isn’t overwhelmed. The storm came and went. The season hasn’t surprised him. He’s enjoying this day and doing exactly what God made him to do. —He isn’t worried. There’s not a hint of anxiety. His creator is caring for his…

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20 Things You Should Know about Your Pastor

Here are twenty things I believe are true about most pastors I know. I hope you will work together with your pastor for the good of the gospel! 1. He loves God and you a lot. (Be mindful.) 2. He is a painfully limited human being. (Be realistic.) 3. He probably has a pretty low view of his “performance”. (Be kind.) 4. He wishes he were a better preacher. (Be awake.) 5. He really does want God’s best for you and your family. (Be open-hearted.) 6. His work knows no time or locational boundaries. (Be patient.) 7. He hears much…

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On Listening to God (Repost)

Are you listening to God? Are you wondering what He’s saying? Here are a few things I’ve learned recently about listening to God’s voice and discerning what He’s saying: He speaks clearly and wants you to know His will—if you don’t know what He’s saying, it’s either because you aren’t listening, or He’s waiting to tell you. If you are sure you’re listening, then just be patient. He’s not in a hurry. We are. You will know what He wants you to know when He wants you to know it. (See Psalm 27:14)

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Have You Ever Been Hurt at Church?

Have you been hurt somewhere in your past—at church? At the one place on the planet that was supposed to be an oasis, a safe-zone, a place of rest and restoration—were you somehow bruised or broken? While a more brutish person would say, “Get over it and get right with God”—it’s just not that simple is it? That’s the very spirit you ran from to begin with. Church is a bit of a paradox. It’s a placed filled with broken people, but it’s to be a place of love and grace. It’s a place where flesh comes to die. But…

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Crazy Church—Why Christians Fear for Their Guests!

Churches are a study in variety. Some are grace-filled, gospel-centered. Some are judgment-filled and man-centered. Some are controlling and abrasive. Some are safe and healthy for spiritual growth. Some are Spirit-led, some are Spirit-quenching. Some are formal, some are relaxed. Some are stiflingly stiff, some are refreshingly personable. Some are caustic and critical, some are godly and gracious. Some are hostile and some are happy. Some are issue-oriented, some are gospel-oriented. Some are cold and unfriendly, some are warm and welcoming. The list goes on. Funny thing is, no matter the church—ALL the Christians that attend there are just regular,…

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Is This a Book You Would Read?

I’ve never done this. Will you help me out? I’m completing a book project right now about the normal, authentic, daily Christian life. It’s a book about all the misconceptions and misunderstandings that keep us from enjoying our relationship with Jesus. It’s basically the truths that have kept me walking forward with Christ when so often I feel like a failure. The reason I’m writing it is that I have many new Christians in my world, and  I want to hand them something to help them understand that Christianity is a relationship not a religion. I’d like to get your…

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How to Make 2014 Successful in the Extreme!

appy New Year! Thanks for stopping by and reading my weekly ramblings. It’s a privilege to touch your life in this way, and I appreciate you extending to me that privilege. Today begins 2014! Aren’t you glad to be ALIVE?! Isn’t God good?! He probably answered a ton of prayers for you last year—even those seemingly little ones like “Help us to have a good day today…” He probably provided a lot of meals, a lot of oxygen, a lot of heartbeats, a lot of breaths, and a lot of physical strength to serve Him and enjoy life! So, do…

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What Mary Teaches Us About God’s Will

In Luke 1, Mary’s world is disrupted by a Heavenly call. She had well-laid plans and dreams. Love, engagement, marriage, and a future. She had a good name and a gracious character. But God shattered her world with “His will.” You know, that fearful interruption to “our plans.” Why are we so scared by those terms—”God’s will?” Why does the unknown of God’s intentions bring such paralysis and self-protective instincts to the surface of our psyche? Why do God’s interruptions threaten us? And what does Mary’s response teach us about the will of God? Let’s consider it for a moment……

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10 Ways to Strengthen Your Church this Christmas

Do you love your church? Jesus does! Jesus loved the church enough to die. Do we love Him and His church enough to live? To give? To really make His bride a high priority in our lives? Here are ten simple ways that you could greatly strengthen your church this season and in the new year… 1. Really Pray—Really pray for your pastor, your church, your own role in the body. Really pray for God’s provision and power. Really pray that God will take your church forward this Christmas and in the New Year! 2. Really Participate—Many people will casually…

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10 Lessons from Snow

A beautiful white blanket of fresh snow fell last night—which means there was a collective GROANING among the human population. It’s actually audible if you go outside—what sounds like wind, is actually people bemoaning the storm all over the North-East. People think I’m nuts—but I really do like the snow. Other than the timing being bad for church this weekend, and having to shovel it, there’s a lot of reasons to reconsider the “love-hate” relationship we have with this form of fluffy precipitation. God has a lot to say about snow—and He uses it in many ways that help us…

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Pathological Encouragers?

I’ve heard of pathological antagonists before—people who are addicted to conflict, confrontation, and contention. They thrive on it. They love it. They create it, they fuel it, they fester it… and they HATE to resolve it. Resolution to a pathological antagonist is like a kid getting kicked out of his sandbox. It’s where the love to sit and stay. They don’t want to heal. They LOVE their murmurings and disputings. Mental note: get away from these people, you don’t owe them anything… But what about pathological encouragers! As in compulsive, obsessive NICE people? Epaphras was one. Onesimus was one. Joseph was…

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Partnering with New Hope Baptist!

Many readers connect with me often about how they pray for Connecticut and the gospel in New England! We are grateful—beyond words! Thank you for sharing the vision and for asking God to guide and bless. Recently the Lord opened a door for Emmanuel to launch out by faith in a new effort. I wanted to take a moment to update you and ask you, again, to pray. When God called us to New England we came with two burdens. The first was to preach the gospel to the lost in our immediate region from a healthy Emmanuel Baptist Church….

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Can the Gospel Reach North-East Intellectuals?

The North East has a reputation of being hardened and closed to the gospel. Many in this part of the country take pride in their intellect, their academic prowess, and their financial achievement. New England has been documented as the most biblically illiterate part of the country. Read more about that here. At the same time, there’s a Christian revival happening in the North East. Secular media has documented this, and you can read more about it here. In fact, in one study, 57% of New Englanders said they would respond favorably if a friend invited them to church! You…

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