Blog Posts

5 Simple Ways to Bring a Friend to Church Sunday

Everything you are about to read is based upon the assumption that you attend a church that is “guest friendly.” I’m assuming you attend a church where people are intentionally friendly to new faces and gracious in spirit; a place where the worship is Christ-centered, and the gospel is clearly preached in grace and truth. This is the type of church every Christian WANTS to bring friends to. The truth is, recent studies show that a large majority of people are open to being invited to church by a friend or family member. If you have a healthy church, you…

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15 Encouraging Thoughts for New Pastors

Last week, and young pastor who is about to transition to New England wrote to me asking for advice. This post is simply the first random fifteen thoughts that came to mind when looking back on my own transition. I’m admittedly NO expert! I’m still limping my way along, trying to be faithful in all the areas I need to grow. But, perhaps, if you are a young pastor (or older) pastor facing a transition, these thoughts will encourage you. Fifteen random thoughts about transition into a new pastorate: 1. Every state or region is a very different culture, so…

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Six Steps to Kill a Church

I recently came across a powerful quote from an 18th century English pastor named Job Orton. Ironically, he wrote to the ministers of his day about doctrinal compromise. The struggles of churches nearly 300 years ago are the struggles of churches today. Read what he says: “I have long since found (and every year that I live increases my conviction of it), that when ministers entertain their people with lively and pretty things, confine themselves to general harangues, insist principally on moral duties, without enforcing them warmly and affectionately by evangelical motives; while they neglect the peculiars of the gospel,…

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The Church I Dream of Pastoring

Joy and optimism ought to characterize every Christian and every church family. The fact is, a lot of Christians are miserable and they show it—they project it. Their lack of joy is like a giant negative billboard for Jesus, the gospel and His church. The same could be said for many churches—they radiate defeat, judgmentalism, and carnality. If they preach a gospel, it’s a joyless, unattractive gospel. The gospel is attractive! Jesus is wonderful! Peace with God is astounding! The grace, love, and community we enjoy, as Christians, is untouchable! It’s like nothing to be found anywhere else in the…

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Understanding Anointing…

Do you ever feel called to responsibilities that are BIGGER than you? Do you ever cry out to God, “I can’t do this!” You’re not alone! Think Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. Much of my Christian life I’ve heard the word “anointing” presented in public contexts. Few Biblical words are so skewed and misappropriated than the word “anointing.” Can we explore it for a minute? Go with me. (And thanks for giving me some time to speak into your life.) If you ever bounce between feeling completely self-sufficient and feeling utterly insufficient—these words will encourage you! Jesus said to His…

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How God Revives a Dying Church

Recently, I fellowshipped with a missionary couple who served for more than 40 years on the foreign field. A huge portion of their focus, for many years in the UK, was to help restore dying churches. In post-Christian America, in this and coming generations, we must not only plant churches—we MUST see older churches renewed and restored by God’s grace. Recent studies from those who track church closures would indicate that we couldn’t plant churches FAST ENOUGH to replace the churches that will die in the coming decade. I believe God is raising up a generation of young leaders with…

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New Book—Real Christianity, Available!

Purchase now and receive the digital copy immediately, for free! My friends at Striving Together Publications have announced the “pre-release” of the new book “Real Christianity.” The physical copy of the book ships on Monday, but you can purchase it starting today, and receive the digital copy immediately for free. Also, quantity discounts are available for the next several days. For more information about the pre-release offers or to purchase please CLICK HERE. I haven’t said much about this book on this blog, so allow me to share a little about it. It’s a 240+ page paperback book with four…

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The Crisis of God’s Call

Examining the Disruptive Call of God… Not long ago a young ministry leader facing a clear call wrote to me and asked about dealing with the painful reality when God’s call collides with everyone and everything you love and have given your life to. He is being called to leave people he dearly loves and a life he has spent years building by God’s grace. Now God is saying, “Follow me…” In my opinion, and personal experience, there are few things so difficult in life as that moment when God calls you away from good things. It’s truly a “lovest…

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15 Reasons Spiritual Leaders Should Rest

Ministry doesn’t stop—EVER. When do the needs of people “clock out?” When does opportunity to witness “pause?” When do emergencies take a “break?” When are all the church members fully discipled? It doesn’t happen. Therefore, there are only two ways to find durability and sustainability in ministry. The first is to be Superman. (Notice I didn’t even say Jesus—because He actually needed rest.) The second is to deliberately, intentionally, strategically REST. I’m preaching to myself in this post. Resting is hard! But NOT resting is harder! Resting is humbling. It is dependence. It is submission to God’ authority and control….

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Are You a Spiritual Leader or Fleshly Leader?

Several years ago, I had a conversation with a wonderful servant of God who has worked for several “high-profile” Christian leaders in the past two decades. This is a person for whom I have the utmost respect—an individual with a very gracious spirit, incredible gift mix, and true servant’s heart. And this is a person who has expended sacrificial service to the Lord with great poise and faithfulness. Yet, in our conversation, I was sad to discover the mistreatment and disrespect that this person had endured from a well-known evangelical leader. The conversation was brief, appropriate, and rather vague, but…

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10 Ways to “Force-Restart” Your Heart

Do you ever find your heart (emotions) at odds with your circumstances—in need of an “attitude adjustment?” It happens to all of us. Maybe you got some bad news, ran into a grumpy person, remembered some burden, picked up an anxiety, or just generally slumped into self-pity. Gray days and emotional lows are a part of our spiritual journey, and they are always deceptive! They always blind us to what’s really important, and what’s really good about our lives. A tweaked spirit can manifest itself in many ways—sadness, despair, discouragement, irritability, frustration, anxiety, self-pity, argumentativeness, anger, relational tension, and more….

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A Story of Guardians and Innovators

I was wonderfully surprised and grateful for the overwhelming positive response to Thursday’s post about Millennials. I believe understanding these generalizations is critical to benefiting from godly relationships and growing in effective ministry in our day. Thank you for your kind responses and encouragement! I was surprised that what I wrote resonated so intensely, and was deeply grateful that it did. Now, onward to the follow up… Spiritual leaders of all ages are my dearest friends, mentors, and counselors. There’s nothing in my last post or this post that wasn’t TAUGHT TO ME by godly men older than me. I…

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Things that Discourage Millennial Christian Leaders

I believe in the millennial generation—perhaps because I worked with young adults for over two decades! Because of my age, I regularly find myself on the receiving end of “concerned” conversations from two generations. Those older than me are fearful of where the millennial’s will take the gospel and biblical Christianity. Those younger than me feel they aren’t being given a fair shot—they are discouraged by and often feel compelled to run from unbiblical attitudes and hostile dispositions of previous generations. I’m not referring to doctrinal concerns—the millennial’s that I know are committed to gospel purity and biblical integrity. They…

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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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