All posts in christian life

Two Helpful New Sermon Series at EBC!

What are we studying this Fall at Emmanuel Baptist Church? This Fall we are launching into two helpful and encouraging new sermon series at Emmanuel! If you don’t have a church home, we would love to have you share in what we’re learning every Sunday. If you do, then we hope you will join us…

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What Christians Can Learn from Piranhas

When your Christian journey is complete and your ministry on earth comes to a close, what will you leave in regards to your relationships? Will you have spent more time building up or tearing down? Edifying or demonizing? Encouraging or discouraging? God’s Word warns us repeatedly about devouring each other, but it’s too easy to fall…

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Gratitude to EBC On Our 3rd Anniversary

Note: The following was shared at the beginning of Sunday’s message with our Emmanuel Baptist Church Family. You can hear that message by clicking here.) Less than a handful of times, in the course of your life, God intervenes with events and circumstances that are powerful, providential, and forever altering of the course of your…

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Five Reasons to Come to Idea Day!

Culture is a moving target. The gospel is not. Connecting the gospel to lost culture is a challenge that requires continual growth in grace and understanding. Are you a learner? Me too! I love to learn from others! Every chance I get, I spend time with other pastors—older, younger; larger churches, smaller churches; longer tenure,…

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The Value of Good Break

As I write this, our family has just returned from two cherished weeks of vacation. I’m speaking to a group of pastors and their families, not far from home, but reflecting on our family time together. Word associations from our trip—Solitude. Rest. Family. Laughter. Reading. Photos. Sand. Silly games. Quiet mornings. Golf. Sunsets. Thunderstorms. Shopping. Twins….

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The Anatomy of a Great Decision

What do you do when the euphoria of a great decision suddenly vanishes? The journey between sowing a great decision and reaping a great outcome is more difficult than we expect. Last year I planted some peach trees in my back yard. Why? Because I’m crazy about peaches. But peaches aren’t instant. In fact, peaches…

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What the Long-Termers Get Right!

Have you considered the contrast between ministry that is impressive in the short-term vs. ministry that is effective in the long-term? What values possess the “long-termers?” What do they get right? This week I crossed the twenty-five-year mark of ministry—but I still feel like a beginner. Almost incessantly, I contemplate and attempt to learn from the…

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The Life Story of Don Sisk—Now Available!

About ten years ago, Don Sisk and I first had a conversation about publishing his biography. At the first mention, in his typical humility, he laughed out-loud and said, “I seriously doubt anybody would want to read it.” About a year later, Dr. Sisk asked, “If we were to do that biography, would you be willing to…

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How Healthy Pastors Build Balanced Weeks

A guy jumped off a ten-story building because he wanted to fly by flapping his arms. As he passed by, somebody on the fifth floor asked him how it was going. He said “so far so good!” Nobody wants to be that guy! Too many have gone “splat.” In an effort to avoid this, I’m addicted to…

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Five Great Books for Productivity

Are you striving to live a balanced life of good stewardship? Several times a month I’m asked “what are the best books on time or life management that you have read?” So here they are. Please note: this list is not a full endorsement of these writers or of everything these books contain. This is simply a great body…

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Five Reasons NOT to Overwork

Are you prone to working too much? Many are. Let’s face it—our present culture REWARDS overwork! And many ministry cultures reward overwork. Our identities crave significance and importance—so overworking temporarily salves our longing for meaning and the feeling of importance. Our bank accounts scream for more—so overworking provides additional living and operating funds. Our employers…

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11 Ways I’m Trying to Grow in Bible Communication

Every Saturday I imagine how difficult it must be for regular attenders of my church to have to sit through another couple hours of hearing my voice again. It makes me both nervous, and cautious. It makes me review my entire message looking for things that need to “go.” It makes me critically listen to…

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A Standing Ovation to Younger Leaders!

The past three days, I have been privileged to spend time at a marriage retreat led by young pastors and relatively new churches. Call them younger leaders, millennials, generation whatever—the labels are irrelevant. What I marvel at is the moving of God’s Holy Spirit through these godly pastors and their kind! I hope I encouraged…

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Guest Post: Qualities of a Healthy Church Team

By Josue Ortiz A Guest Post—The following post is from a friend of mine, from whom I have learned much. Josue Ortiz and his wife Bekah are currently on deputation to plant churches in Mexico. They are heading to the field very soon. I met Josue a couple of years ago, and my respect for…

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When Voices Say “Don’t Think!”

(Note: The context of this post is in regard to reading Christian writing and material related to understanding God’s Word as well as the thinking of the world around us. It is not in reference to fiction, entertainment, and other reading contexts.) I have two adopted Cambodian brothers. Their family escaped communist genocide in Cambodia…

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3 Simple Pastoral Priorities

I wrote this blog post two years ago, but never published it. Recently, a friend encouraged me to publish it regardless of my hesitations. I’ve rewritten it six times, so here goes. Twenty-nine months ago, I became the ninth pastor (in the past 30 years) of Emmanuel Baptist Church. God thrust our lives together by…

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Repost: Qualities of Unjust Criticism

Anyone who serves the Lord is going to face criticism. Some of it just. Some of it unjust. Just criticism is helpful, coming from a loving friend, handled personally, and can produce great strides of growth and maturity in your life. It flows between healthy relationships where hearts are like iron sharpening iron. No criticism…

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A Fresh Perspective on Your Hardship

Andrew Murray wrote the following thoughts about the Christian’s response to hardship… I believe it will encourage you! “First, He brought me here. It is by His will I am in this strait place: in that fact I will rest.” “Next, He will keep me here in His love, and give me grace to behave…

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Just Pedal…

Sunday morning I shared a short essay with our church family. A friend gave it to me. I cannot find an author for it, though I did discover that author Tim Hansel used it in a couple of his books. It was too good NOT to share it with you… enjoy and pass it a long!…

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Escaping Bad Motivations, Embracing the Best One!

(Note: I apologize that this is a longer post than normal—I hope you will read its entirety.) Motives matter. There are really great reasons to do right, and really bad reasons. Right is still right, but if you aren’t driven by right motives, you’re on a collision course as a Christian. And if you aren’t…

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