All posts in christian life

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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The New Year Plan that Trumps All Others!

The Single Greatest Value for an Effective New Year Six years ago this week (2010), Dana and I were driving home from my chemotherapy appointment, listening to Christmas music. We were still recalibrating our lives and emotions to the seeming “invasion” of life-threatening illness. I was feeling sick, she was being supportive, but generally life was…

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Because of the Gospel…

Because of the gospel… The world can be falling apart, but my heart doesn’t have to. The world can persecute me, but that won’t destroy me. The world can mire down in political confusion, but I can press on in joyful clarity. The world can despair, but my joy can remain. The world can spite…

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Brand vs. Belief

Are You Perpetuating a Brand or Passing Forward Belief? What is your cause? What is your flag? What are you passionate about advancing? If it’s less than Bible truth, then perhaps it’s a “brand.” Belief is greater than brand. The perpetuation of biblical truth is far more critical than the perpetuation of a brand. And…

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A Gospel Testimony You Will Love to Read!

The gospel still works! If you ever get past the gospel, you’ve gotten past God’s Word—from the first page to the last, the Bible is about the good news of Jesus. One year ago, a terrified single mom stepped into Emmanuel Baptist Church, and her story of salvation and growth has encouraged me greatly. Perhaps…

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Life Lessons from 25 Years…

Twenty-five years ago, Dana and I were newly-weds starting out in ministry. Looking back, the time has evaporated, our family has grown, and God has given us more ministry joys and challenges than we could have ever imagined. I’m grateful to be married to Dana and to take this adventure with her. So here’s a…

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When an Icy Storm Grips Your Life…

Recently, in an exchange with a friend who is going through a trial, he mentioned the introduction of “Off Script”—the book I wrote during my cancer battle seven years ago. To identify with what he referred to, I re-read the introduction. So many years removed, I marvel at God’s work of grace through that perplexing season of…

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Thoughts on Engaging Culture

“Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him.” Luke 15:1  Jesus engaged his culture. Paul engaged his. We should engage ours.  If Christians don’t engage culture, we lose culture. Jesus engaged culture. The Apostle Paul engaged culture. (See Acts 17) What does it mean to “engage culture?” It doesn’t…

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What’s Worse than Falling Behind?

Several weeks ago, I walked into the office after a morning of study. Our pastoral staff men were finishing up a meeting in the conference room. I poked my head in and said with an exasperating sigh, “I feel SO behind!” The statement immediately struck two nerves—first the one in front of me. The faces…

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Why Spiritual Leaders Should Care about Criticism

Have you ever considered the value of helpful criticism? Have you ever known someone, who from your perspective, was too sensitive to criticism? I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum. At times, I’ve been the one criticized, and others thought I was too sensitive. At other times, I’ve seen friends criticized and thought they…

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He’s Never Even Dropped a Pizza!

(This is a repost from several years ago, I pray it will encourage you today!) Earlier this week I was drying my hands in an airport restroom when I overheard a conversation between a father and his two-year-old son. Dad was handling diaper duty and he had placed his son on one of those flimsy,…

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Expressing Gratitude on 9/11

The events of 9/11 drew our country into not just a “new war” but a “new kind of war.” That day was a catalyst that sent many into harm’s way over the past 14 years to preserve our safety and freedom. Yesterday, I had the unusual and unexpected privilege to sit and speak with one…

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Compromise, Liberal, Emergent, Repentance…

Some Thoughts on Important Words Like: Compromise, Liberal, Emergent, and Repentance. A friend in my church recently asked me “Pastor, what’s an emergent church?” It was a delight to answer him biblically and provide him with several good books I had read on the subject, in hopes to built his discernment and love of truth. That…

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