All posts tagged biblical living

When God Leads Change…

Note: Please don’t read into this post that people are resisting change at EBC. In fact, they have embraced change, and seen God glorified by that change for the past year. This post is just my effort to help others release the strangle-hold that “SAME” has on their church. If you call a new pastor, you are calling change. I’m not saying things “might change.” I’m not saying “things could change.” I’m saying, he IS change. The new guy IS change. He doesn’t know your context. He doesn’t know “how it used to be,” “how it’s always been,” or what…

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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 us and taken us on a journey we would not trade for anything. God has been glorified at EBC, and He is moving in people’s hearts and lives. That makes the journey worth every step. Yet, the transition has been pretty tough at times—planting new…

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Unbelieving Believers

Our transition to New England has been nothing short of the most tumultuous upheaval imagineable. It’s been shell-shocking, heart-wrenching, and emotionally chaotic. It’s also been abundantly blessed, amazingly grace-filled, and powerfully revealing of God’s heart and goodness. Name the extreme of emotion—from fantastic highs to lonely lows, and yes, we’re there—sometimes both at once! There are two things that surprised me greatly in our transition. The first was the presence of faith in New Englanders toward the gospel. Everywhere I go, I find people who are open to a church invitation and a gospel presentation. I don’t mean politely tolerant—I…

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Trusting God in Tragedy

Seven Biblical Responses to Overwhelming Events This post is simply a resource for those who are hurting or know someone who is hurting. To hear the message from our Sunday morning service yesterday, CLICK HERE. Yesterday we studied “Trusting God in Tragedy”—seven biblical responses to overwhelming events. Perhaps they will encourage you in your time of trial, or perhaps you could share these principles and the message above with someone who is hurting! Here are the responses we studied in the life of Mary as she received tragic but wonderful news that shattered her world and shredded her life plan….

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Why Should We Care About Excellence?

Why should God’s people and God’s servants care about excellence? From the maintaining of a church facility to the order of hall closet—does it matter if we have a standard of excellence and order in our lives and ministries? For many, this is a “self-image thing.” Excellence can be about self-promotion and personal image before others. But biblically, this is a “God’s image” thing. Biblical excellence is about being God’s image bearer to a lost world and letting His glory be accurately seen through us. Let’s explore some reasons we should value excellence as God’s people: God is excellent in…

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The Dust of His Feet

How big is your God? Is He bigger than your burden? Is He greater than your need? Is He mightier than your storm? As I write this post, we (along with 50 million other East Coasters) are bracing for Hurricane Sandy. Our attention is riveted on preparation for whatever this storm will bring to the East Coast. Many friends have messaged me saying, “Welcome to the East Coast!” Hurricane Sandy is presently about 900 miles across—spanning from North Carolina to beyond Maine. It’s massive! This morning, as I watched the clouds and wind passing overhead, and spent time with God, my…

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Passionate Parenting is At Press!

UPDATE: Passionate Parenting is now available through Striving Together Publications. Find out more at this link! The past Spring, the Lord allowed me to complete a book entitled “Passionate Parenting—Enjoying the Journey of Parenting Teens.” This past week, this new 250 page hard-back book is finally at press and will be available sometime around early December. I think this is the scariest book I’ve ever worked on. Why? Because I’m still working very hard at this skill-set! And my kids will be the first to tell you, that their dad is very much a work in progress. I wrestled with…

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Falling Off the Wagon

Have you ever fallen off the wagon? I have. In fact, through all the transition of the past few months, I’ve just about fallen off the “blog wagon.” If you read these posts with any regularity, you know that. (Thanks for hanging with me, by the way!) But falling off the “blog wagon” got me thinking about other wagons we fall off of easily—and our responses to falling off. For some reason, we’re pretty hard on ourselves. We find validation in staying on the wagons of life, and hence we feel like losers when we fall off of one. For…

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The Only Certainty We Really Need

We want to minimize risk. We want to hedge our bets. We want safety. We want predictability. We want a guarantee. We want a “warranty” on our decisions—the sense that it’s all going to “work out.” In short, we want certainty of outcomes. Eg: “If I do this, then things will work out this way…” Aside from being impossible—it removes faith from the equation. Since we can’t see the future, much less control it, any sense of certainty (in and of ourselves) is merely a mirage. It’s a game we play to feel better—to feel “in control.” In truth, we only need certainty…

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Making it Easy to Make it Right…

Not long 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 softened, Christians responded with grace toward one another, kids and parents were reconciled, and hearts were realigned with God’s direction and purpose. Things broken were healed. Lives out of fellowship were restored. God was good through a very tough situation. The whole experience was…

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Thoughts On Blogging…

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word “blog.” It sounded like my friend burped. And the concept sounded about as stupid. That was years ago, and—well, it is self-evident that the concept caught on, not only for me but for millions of others. We live in a day when everybody and their brother has a blog. And like every other form of media or communication—blogging has its positives and negatives in contributing to daily life on earth. Some people blog for business reasons. Some blog for family. Some blog for gossip and criticism. Some blog for platform…

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Christmas is a Gift—Dr. Chappell’s New Book

This week, Striving Together Publications introduced a new, hardback, full-color, mini-book from Dr. Paul Chappell. Christmas is a Gift—Unwrap the Significance of the Season is just over 130 pages, and is filled with encouraging insights from the Christmas story, as well as a clear salvation message. It makes a perfect gift for a Christian friend or a tool for sharing the gospel with someone that is lost. The book is available now, and significant quantity discounts are available. To find out more about Christmas is a Gift, or to order a copy today, visit www.strivingtogether.com! We pray that this resource…

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When We’re Too Busy

Life is busy. Honestly, in a given week or day, there is more stuff flowing at us (in the form of information and opportunities) than we can possibly comprehend, much less accept. Doing the right things in life means saying “no” to a lot more than you could ever say “yes” to. The challenge of the 21st century is saying “yes” to the right things, and accepting the built in limitations of the human condition. We just can’t do it all—though we often wish we could. I’ve noticed something. Busyness is like a snowball. It’s size and magnitude grows simply by…

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Spiritual Weapons for Wayward Kids

What can you do when your grown children begin to stray spiritually? I’ve seen a lot of parents hurt, mystified, and shaken by sudden and radical spiritual changes in the lives of their adult children. I realize, one day I may be one of them—and so could you. In these moments, some parents grasp for control—trying to maintain a mythical strangle-hold of childhood authority. This always escalates a situation to become worse and creates greater distance relationally and spiritually. In a wild swing to the other extreme—some parents abandon their post of parental influence. They mentally, emotionally, and spiritually disconnect with an…

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Repost: 3 Reasons to Get Good Advice

Isn’t it amazing how often people venture into major life-changing decisions without getting any outside, biblical advice. Why do we do this to ourselves? Sometimes we fear that a counselor will have a private agenda and won’t counsel us honestly. At other times, we presume to know what our counselors will say, and rationalize it away without even talking to them. But the most common reason we don’t get advice is because we would rather not hear what we already know. Self deception is a scary thing—we would rather be wrong and fantasize that things will work out, than really…

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How to Pray for Your Pastor

This is another recent challenge sent to me by Pastor Dick Hester—my friend. It was too great not to share. It’s a reminder of why and how we should all pray for our pastors. I hope these things will become a part of your regular prayers for your pastor. He challenges us in praying for our pastors in the following ways: “Allow me to give some suggestions of things I pray for pastors and leaders:

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Book Review: Diagnose Your Spiritual Health

I just completed reading one of the most practical, helpful, well-written books about the Christian life that I’ve ever read. I wanted to share it with you. Coming out of my cancer struggle, the Lord allowed my path to cross the book entitled “Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health” by Donald S. Whitney. It was timely, because I desired to step back and assess my life before the Lord, before I just resumed my “pre-cancer” mentality. I wanted to emerge from the cancer struggle with a deeper walk with the Lord, having grown in His grace through the trial….

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United—Fighting for the Next Generation

The contemporary church is seeing a mass exodus of young adults walking away from their faith in their late teens and early twenties. Some studies say the percentage is around 80% while others estimate it to be much higher. The statistic highlights major failures in many contemporary church ministry on a number of levels, but not all churches are seeing this lack of fruit. While we are never content to see even one young life walk away from the faith, God has seen fit to bless biblical principles in the ministry of Lancaster Baptist Church. He has blessed the application…

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Are You a Builder or a Destroyer?

Two profiles of Christian leaders are spotlighted, center-stage in this tale. Both would call themselves servants of God. The Builder One is a giant—in every imaginable way, a joyful, godly, spiritual giant of encouragement and mentorship—a builder. He has spent his life building. He builds everybody he comes into contact with. He loves, he gives, he encourages, he admonishes, he reproves, he exhorts, he emmulates and embodies the very spirit of Christ in a very joyful and practical way. He inspires others to live faithfully. He encourages them to serve Christ. He challenges them to remain faithful to God’s Word….

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