All posts in christian life

Still Off Script—A Thanksgiving Reflection

Seven years ago, today, I was one treatment into nearly a year of chemo and radiation, wondering what God was doing. I was praying treatment would work. Six years ago, today, cancer treatments were successful and cancer was in the rear-view mirror; but God was calling weak-me to follow Him away from everything I knew….

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Processing Tragedy God’s Way

“Something about this being a church just strikes deeper at the core of our hearts,” she said, searching for some way to process the tragic shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Her name is Jennifer, a reporter for channel 4 news in Hartford, and she came by the church this morning asking me for a short…

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Enlargement of the Heart

How Grace Generates Generosity and Joy One of the most amazing accounts in all of the gospels is found in Luke 19 when a greedy little traitor named Zacchaeus has a saving encounter with Jesus. When I think of Zacchaeus, I always think of Gollum—the sniveling, back-stabbing, mutant Hobbit of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Gollum only thinks…

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Why I Struggle with “Subjective Separation”

What is subjective separation, and what is biblical separation? I believe in one and reject the other. Let’s break it down. Biblical separation is discerning and emphasizes what the Bible clearly says. Subjective separation is undiscerning, and creates issues where the Bible is silent or where God gives space for conscience. In this post, I’m…

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Lessons from Five Years at Emmanuel

Celebrating a Five-Year Journey… Five years ago yesterday, we officially began our journey of renewal and gospel ministry with the Emmanuel Baptist Church family. The months prior had been laced with many late-night wrestlings with God over His call and a lot of biblical counseling with godly, objective advisors. By May 2012, His word and…

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Standing in the Way of God’s Blessings…

This morning I read a great thought from Oswald Chambers in regard to obeying Jesus: He said, “If when God said ‘Go,’ you stayed, because you were so concerned about your people at home, you robbed them of the teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all consequences to God,…

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Giving Grace in a “Gotcha” Culture

We’ve been studying the Gospel of Luke on Sunday mornings at Emmanuel—for 18 months. It’s been, for me, a life-changing and heart-shaping study. The journey of examining Jesus’ heart and ministry up close has been wonderful. So many aspects of His life rise to the surface—qualities you wouldn’t see by speed-reading the gospel. One particular…

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Make Sunday More Meaningful…

Make Sunday More Meaningful for Your Soul… Going to church tomorrow? I hope you will be in a healthy, thriving, gospel-centered, substance-rich environment. A healthy church is the most beautiful organization on earth, and makes Sunday the BEST day of the whole week. I hope you can anticipate Sunday! I hope God has placed you…

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11 Questions to Diagnose Church Health

What does a healthy church look like? How does a healthy church function? Between examining the New Testament Church in God’s word, my personal experience in healthy church families, and then seeing/experiencing healthy churches—there are biblical qualities of health that clearly rise to the surface. In the list below, the operative words are: growing, increasing,…

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When You Don’t “Feel Like It…”

Do you ever have moments where your heart sort of just “crashes?” You hit a wall spiritually. Suddenly, you don’t feel like going to church. You don’t feel like reading God’s word. You don’t feel like caring. You don’t feel like exercising. The list goes on. What do you do in that moment? Do feelings…

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Wanna Get a Cake?

A few years ago, my son, Larry, and I were on a preaching trip in Maine. I preached in the morning, and had a break in the afternoon, so we decided to have some “father/son time.” It was a very masculine thing—hang out, watch an action movie, and eat snacks. Total awesomeness. So on the way…

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The Most Powerful “THRIVE” Factor for 2017!

Are you ready to THRIVE into 2017? Have you considered recently the power of attitude—how much our attitude toward life and circumstances determines so many of our outcomes. I really believe my attitude toward a challenge is 90% of the battle of growing through that challenge. Attitude determines whether I see an obligation or an opportunity,…

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Christmas Invites Us to Wait…

Decorations are up, trees are trimmed, cookies are baked, gifts are purchased, lights are glowing, music is playing—Christmas eve is here. We’re making our last-minute runs to the grocery store for a few missing items, or making a quick dash to the mall to redeem that awesome coupon or pick up a final gift or two. Christmas…

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Take On Winter Like a Boss!

Do gray days ever get into your head? Maybe they do and you never thought about it. Maybe the gray days impact you emotionally in ways that never occurred to you. Wintery, gray days have provided an amazing learning experience for me in regards to the management of my own emotions. Prior to living in…

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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…

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Live Lighter, Love Better is Available!

It is exciting to announce that Live Lighter, Love Better is available tomorrow morning! (Nov. 30) What a privilege it is to work with the Striving Together publications team to make this project available! I’m grateful for their excellent work. I received my advance copy this week and was excited to see the beautiful quality of…

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My Post-Election Considerations

The morning after a long night of election results, I confess, my heart is neither more or less joyful than it was the day before. The source of my hope remains in Jesus and the gospel. Some aspects of the election encourage me, but others equally alarm me. Of all the elections of my life…

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10 Election Week Resolutions for Bible-Believers

I know you’ve had your fill of election blogs and opinions—personally, I’ve read so many good and encouraging thoughts from godly voices. Yet, I could not get away from the leading of God to share with you the resolutions of my heart as this week approaches. I pray you will approach this time in light…

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The New Book—Live Lighter, Love Better!

Over the past six years God has performed a complete rewiring of my internal value and motivational system. He began with the blessing of a battle with cancer. He graciously disrupted my busy and blessed “comfort zone” with a vivid reminder of the brevity of life and of my own expendability. He lovingly showed me…

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Keeping Sanity in an Insane Election Season

In Luke 21, Jesus taught His disciples how to keep their sanity in the midst of cultural and societal upheaval. Would you like to keep yours? Me too! Here’s how… Expect a temporary fallen world to be inherently unstable— in verses 10-12, Jesus describes the end times as being characterized by the rise and fall…

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