When The Gospel Starts To Grind

How many times have you preached or taught or written about the epidemic?  Not COVID, the other epidemic. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve preached “against” the epidemic of individualism in our culture. Not a red-faced rant kind of preaching, but a measured presentation of the costs we…

Friendly Fire: 3 Ways To Avoid The Casualties

I have a problem. I am good at seeing the flaws in other’s ministries. Not so much in the beneficial “let me help you out” way, but in a prideful way that looks down on others from above. I can see why things won’t work, why others are wrong, and…

When Normal Gets Broken

Happy anniversary! This week, we recognize that it has been a full year since the world changed. Twelve months of mask-wearing, getting groceries delivered, and ordering too much take-out to “support small businesses.” It’s also been 12 months that we have been waiting for everything to get back to normal.…

When The Church Cuts Off The Ear Of The World

Recently, I asked my congregation to come with me as we were invited to sit close to Jesus and listen as he petitioned His Father in John 17. What a privilege it was to listen in on this most sacred prayer that had been preserved for so many year for…

Don’t Fail the Next Generation of Missionaries.

I have served in the EFCA for over 20 years. Every one of them was focused on the next generation. As I look back on my time as a youth pastor at three different churches, I have fond memories of the students and families that I had the privilege of…

What About The Dark Nights?

Deep grief is isolating. Even our best friends pull back. Why? We are not good at hearing laments from broken people. They are disorienting, unnerving, and messy. This is particularly true of people who we expect something “more” of in their lives and walk with Jesus. We slide into moralizing…

How to Pastor the Political Crazies

In just a few seconds on social media, pastors can discover a great deal about their church members. We can learn all about their kids’ accomplishments, what they had for dinner last night, and even, if you care to know (I do not), how intuitive their cats happen to be.…

Our Two Conversations

For some time, I’ve had two conversations with two very different groups of my Christian family. One is with white Christians and the other with African-American Christians, both mostly evangelicals, although many of the African-Americans don’t use that label. Most often the conversations are in the larger church community rather…

Let Him Be Teacher

Most people started the year by capitalizing on the novelty and nuances that came along with its introduction. Witty sayings emerged, even within the Church, like: Gospel Focus, Remain Focused, Keep Your Eyes On Jesus, 2020 Bible Vision, Focus 2020 – and here’s a good one, 2020 Vision. Nevertheless, it…

Embracing the New in New Year

For the past six years I have practiced the rhythm of asking the Lord to give me a word for the upcoming year. Usually in late November or early December I begin praying and seeking His direction about a word that He has for me that will help me grow…

When Perfect Isn’t An Option

The expectation that we are all highly functioning leaders, at all times, has to die. I certainly don’t want my volunteers trying to live up to that impossible expectation, so we tell our leaders and volunteers that our expectation for them is that they aren’t perfect, just growing.  Yet, when…

Credentialing Is The Starting Point Of The Ministry Marathon.

Your Bible training, whether it’s seminary, Gateway Theological Institute or another has equipped you well. The hours of lectures, shelves of books and numerous papers have prepared you for a life of vocational ministry. By God’s abundant grace, you are now ready to start. But ministry doesn’t begin with your…

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