All posts in leadership

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…

Top

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…

Top

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…

Top

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…

Top

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…

Top

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)

Top

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…

Top

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,…

Top

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…

Top

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……

Top

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…

Top

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…

Top

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….

Top

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…

Top

Lincoln’s Original Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation. The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes…

Top

27 Ways to Communicate Better

ne of my greatest passions in life is to communicate God’s Word more effectively. I have a very long way to go, but here are the things I see effective communicators do to strengthen the impact of Bible preaching or teaching. All of this is assuming that prayer, dependence upon God, and integrity are already in place. These are practical points you could implement immediately. This is what HOLDS MY ATTENTION, CHANGES ME, and RIVETS ME to God’s truth as a listener. Maybe a few of these things will trigger something to strengthen your own communication skills: 1. Study great…

Top

Shattering Pastoral Caricatures…

Every day I meet people from a variety of religious and non-religious backgrounds. They all define “pastor” with different mental caricatures. As a pastor, I am “mantled” with these caricatures before I even know it—subtly, silently, in the background of each new relationship. I don’t get to have my own persona. Every new relationship is begun “under water.” It’s a stark realization. I’m fighting a huge uphill, relational battle—thanks to the title “pastor.” From false teachers, to varying religious structures, to bad ambassadors, to ethical failure and scandals—the title “pastor” has a pretty bad wrap in 21st century minds. Fortunately,…

Top

Repost: Skeptics, Spectators, and Servants

In John 11, the amazing story of the raising of Lazarus unfolds. Not long ago, I was studying this passage and it occurred to me that there were three distinct groups of people at this resurrection, and those groups are still pretty much “alive and kicking” in today’s local churches. Picture the scene—Jesus has waited for Mary outside of town, and “the Jews” have followed her, weeping (John 11:32-33), as she goes to meet Him. Then together they go to Lazarus’ grave, and the Jews follow. In the next few moments an unbelievable miracle occurs—Jesus raises a man from the…

Top

The “Luxury” of Disunity…

It’s the first century. James is Jesus brother. He’s pastoring the church at Jerusalem. It’s big. Lots of people have believed in Jesus—and a very diverse group. (You’ll see that in Acts.) James was a leader—a religious man, well-connected and well-respected. The politics of the day were complicated (to say it simply)—more like a hornet’s nest of complexity and power-play—Jews vs. Romans, Jewish sect vs. Jewish sect, Jews vs. Christians, Romans vs. Christians, Jews vs. Jews, Rulers vs. Commoners… on and on. In the middle of all this the gospel was exploding! Poor people believed. Rich people believed. Religious leaders…

Top

Setting a Sustainable Pace…

How long can you sustain the pace at which you are living and leading? If you are sprinting through life, then probably not long. How often have I tried to run ahead of God—impress Him with my ability to “get His work done.” Funny when I think about it. I seriously doubt He’s ever been impressed. Pleased? I hope so. But I don’t think God has ever been wringing His hands in suspense, wondering if I was going to “come through” for Him. Sustainable pace. Those you love and lead need you longer. They need your influence over years and…

Top
1 2 3 5 Page 1 of 5

[email protected]

Thank you for reading Encouraging Words!