All posts in christian life

Faith Eats Feelings for Breakfast!

Have you ever faced a moment when you felt like you were “losing faith?” Almost always those moments are connected to times when God did not behave as we expected Him to. He didn’t come through “when,” “how,” or “as” we expected. In those times, we face a crisis of belief. Has God let me…

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A Value-Driven New Year

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” How about some “new year values” instead of some “new year plans?” Plans are fine, but over 30 years of ministry and life planning, my takeaway is plans are often overrated. Many years I over-planned. Some years I under-planned. Some years…

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10 Ways to Win Over Winter Emotions

Ready for winter? If you don’t live in a “wintery place” move along—there’s nothing to see here. For the rest of us—I happily send you these 10 ways to win over winter emotions (plus a bonus!): It’s taken me seven New England winters of experimentation to understanding the weather’s impact on my mind/heart. Perhaps you’re…

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A Letter to the Pastor Taking (un)Friendly Fire…

What story will be told ten years from today? Early this morning I read a long document from seven years ago journaling the turmoil of God’s disruptive will in my life. At the time, I was recovering from cancer, and God was plowing up my heart and calling me into a blurry, fearful future. That three-page document details deep…

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Eight Demons Pastors Fight…

To stay in the ministry any length of time, a pastor needs to learn to fight some predictable “demons.” For instance, Monday mornings for pastors and spiritual leaders are unique. They bring with them an adrenalin crash that feels like you got hit by a train (emotionally) during the night. Sunday’s expenditure of energy—physically, spiritually,…

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How to Reclaim 40 Hours a Month

How would you like to find another 40 hours in your month? What could you accomplish with that time? Get an advanced degree? Read the books you’ve been wanting to get to? Develop an interest? Sharpen a skill set? Think about the impact of this. I’m late to the game on this, but still felt…

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How to Bring a Friend to Jesus this Easter!

Resurrection week is one of the BEST weeks of the year to bring someone to hear the clear gospel of Jesus Christ. If you live in New England, 57% of the population said they would respond positively to a FRIEND inviting them to church. How cool! That’s an amazing open door. So, I challenge you…

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“Pastor, I’m Just Struggling!”

Why we struggle. How to struggle. Finding Hope in Struggles. On average, probably more than twice a week, I hear from another pastor who, in a moment of painful transparency reaches out to me saying, “I’m struggling.” It’s so common, I believe pervasive is a more appropriate word. I hear the same from church family…

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A New Year with Jesus as Center

I’m a “story buff”! From Narnia to the Shire to the planet Tatooine to Oz, I love a good story, and I’m not alone. It’s a human thing. Present-day Americans spend many hours every week consuming stories—from books, to movies, to TV—for good or bad, we are a story-craving people. Why? Often, it’s an escape…

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Jesus is Emmanuel—God with Us!

“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23) Jesus is…  God enough to judge, but good enough to save. Big enough to execute cosmic justice, but small enough to cry from a manger. Dreadful…

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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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