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6 Simple Words to Navigate God’s Call

Are you facing the possibility of a call to ministry? Or a call to the pastorate? Are you wrestling with God at the depths of your soul? Entering the ministry or the pastorate is not a light thing, and discerning that call and its implications can be a gut wrenching process. It was for me….

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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…

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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…

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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….

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Cancer (Hardship)—A Gift of God’s Grace?

Are you facing a hardship? It’s a gift. Sounds crazy, I know. But go with me for a moment. It’s been 29 months since my last cancer treatment. But the fruit (the effects of the journey) are visible nearly every day. Somehow in the middle of that battle, God said, “Your life will never be…

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Top Ten Thanks!

Here are the top ten things that come to mind when I think of giving thanks! 1. Jesus—Saviour, Redeemer, Counselor, Mighty God, Creator, Healer, Advocate, and Friend. The best thing in life is to know Jesus, rest in Him, trust Him, and enjoy His unconditional love and absolute acceptance. “…and his name shall be called…

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The “Heaven’s-Eye-View!”

Looking into a fog? Struggling to see a solution? Confused, frustrated, wanting God to “make the crooked places straight?” Facing a difficult decision? Trying to untangle a messy place in life, marriage, family, or ministry? Is it complicated? Be careful. Wait. Step back. Breathe. Pray. Pray some more. Respond—don’t react. Oh, how we hate to…

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Do You Have a Problem Saying “No?”

Do you ever real trouble saying “no”? Many people do. And those same people are often overwhelmed with commitments to others and expectations of others. Saying “no” for some people is nearly impossible. If this is you, take a moment and consider a few things: Why do you say “Yes”?  There are likely several reasons…

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The Power of Your Words…

Have you thought about your words lately? They are powerful! They either build or destroy. They either encourage or discourage. They either pick up or put down. Words are weighty—powerful influencers. Words stay with people—for a long, long time. James compares words to fruit and water—things that are consumed and digested. What takes seconds for…

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When You Don’t Know What to Say…

A friend of ours has gone through unthinkable hardship in recent years. In fact, this hardship is so massive and so devastating that, when I see this friend, I really have no idea what to say. And so the temptation is to avoid the conversation. To say nothing. Don’t ask. Don’t call up the emotions….

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How to Survive a Tough Transition

One year ago, our family began the most difficult transitional challenge of our lives. God called us away from comfort and security, and into a journey of seeing a hurting church revitalized by His grace. We were terrified. In many ways, we still are. But a nearly a year into it, God’s grace has sustained…

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What Happens to Our Youth Group Grads?

It’s the time of year when many of your teenagers are graduating from high school and from the church youth group! What’s next for them? I mean—what’s next for them at your church? What’s next for them in ministry? Some go away to college. But many stay close to home. Is there ministry for them…

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8 Ways to Help Those Who Grieve

This week our ministry has experienced a devastating loss. Angie Larson—one of the sweetest Christian ladies I’ve ever met, and a joyful servant at Emmanuel Christian Academy, was suddenly taken home to Heaven on Friday morning. For Angie’s husband, five children, and our ministry family, this loss is indescribably painful. And the grieving process has…

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Five “Ministries” That Kill Real Ministry

(I use the word “ministry” in this post tongue in cheek.) It seems that some leaders and Christians have appointed themselves to unhealthy “ministries.” These are “ministries” that stifle the gospel, oppose growth in grace, quench the moving of the Holy Spirit, and kill the body life of a healthy local church. These are “blinding”…

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