All posts in christian life

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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Monday Encouragement for Ministry Friends

It’s Monday morning. For a pastor, that’s a low time of the week—generally speaking. The typical demons of doubt and second-guessing attempt to do their work— “Did anything I said yesterday make sense?” “Did anything in the message actually help people?” “Were they thinking of the truth or the time?” The accuser tries to get…

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Losing Our “Learned Helplessness”

Psalm 81:6 begins with these words “I removed his shoulder from the burden.” This is God speaking regarding his deliverance of the nation of Israel. What’s amazing about it, is that God’s deliverance often had temporary negative aspects or impact. Think about it. He took Joseph to Egypt through slavery and prison, only to elevate…

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Tell His Story through Your Story…

There’s hardly a scarier and more intimidating thing to do in the Christian life than to speak up and share your faith with a lost person. Every Christian believes that the gospel should be shared with every person on the planet, but also, most Christians struggle with actually “sharing it.” There is perhaps no greater…

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Strengthened In Your Storm!

Has God led you into a storm? Are you seized with worry, fear, confusion as the winds howl around you and water builds up in your boat? Feel like you’re sinking? Read on. This post just might be for you! This past Sunday we marked our 4th anniversary at Emmanuel Baptist Church. It’s hard to…

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14 Toxic Qualities of Leadership (Part Two)

In part one of this post, we explored the first seven qualities of toxic leadership. Are you ready for the next seven? We are discovering “what not to be” when it comes to spiritual leadership. For leaders, these are fleshly tendencies that can arise within any leader. By God’s grace we can be grounded in…

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14 Qualities of Toxic Leadership

Leadership is hard, and biblical leadership calls for gospel maturity more than many leadership roles. I’ve been exposed to many Christ-like and some toxic leaders. The road of toxic leadership is a bad one. The stories don’t end well for either the leader or those he leads. Eventually, the leader implodes; and those he led…

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Make It Easy to Make It Right

Some years ago, God gave us the privilege of helping some young people and their families through difficult trial. Satan had laid a cleverly disguised trap, sin had occurred, and as a result everyone involved was hurting. To make a long story short, God gave a wonderful victory over the period of many weeks. Hearts were…

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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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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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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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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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