The Old Testament prophesied the coming of an Anointed One, a Deliverer like Moses who would be born to set his people free — not from an oppressive nation-state but from their sinful-state as traitors before the law of God. As Isaiah proclaimed, “6 For to us a child is born, to us a son […]Read More Try Calling Him Jesus
The Faith It Takes to Farm About fifteen years ago, when I lived in a farming community in Mississippi, an older man once quipped that he couldn’t be a row crop farmer if he were not a Christian. I asked him why. He said it was because farming is such a faith venture where you […]Read More Every Christian is a Farmer
This resource is now available as a FREE download that can be sent directly to your inbox. To get your copy, just complete the form and submit!Read More The Doctrines of Grace Study Guide
Professional Christian SyndromeWhile on vacation this summer, I grabbed my Bible in an attempt to read it devotionally. Just one sentence in, I reached for a pen and paper — not to make a note for myself, but in order to outline a sermon. Rather than being in the presence of my Father to listen […]Read More How Can a Pastor Have a Genuine Devotional Life When Being a Christian is His Job?
The Problem No One AdmitsOf all the issues people have brought to me for counseling, I have never had anyone confess to me the sin of greed or materialism.But if there is one issue that represents a tumor of unbelief that produces spiritual gangrene in the soul, it is an idolatrous dependency on money and possessions […]Read More The Problem Nobody Admits
The Ordo SalutisIn What is the Gospel: Part 1, we explored the gospel in macro. In part 2, we’ll dig a bit deeper into the micro aspects of God’s grace in order to untangle a variety of strands that have left some believers confused over the years.The tool we will use is called the Ordo Salutis, […]Read More 7 Strands of Grace
Is More Money the Solution to My Problems?Other than the kingdom of God, Jesus spoke about money and possessions more than any other topic because he knew that few things have the power to steal joy more than the love of money.But I thought financial abundance was a prerequisite to joy? If only I had […]Read More Transferring Ownership
Adrenal FatigueAfter the death of my third child, my family physician told me that clinical depression was the result of accumulated stress that had been allowed to exist and grow over a period of years. My onset had been triggered by the trauma of death and the hormonal symptoms inflicted upon my wife that created […]Read More 6 Warning Signs of Pastoral Burnout
A Pastoral Leadership ChallengeOne of the primary challenges that leaders in the church is staffing ministries with volunteers.When each believer exercises his or her unique gifts, the church works like a body , with hands, feet, eyes, ears functioning together as one unit to accomplish a goal.When those with gifts decline to use them, the church becomes […]Read More Rethinking Volunteerism in the Church
Lost in the WoodsMike Vilhauer just wanted to catch some fish, but on August 6, 2014, the 58-year-old from Sacramento wandered off the trail into the mountain wilderness to look for grasshoppers he could use as live bait. It took a while, but his journey paid off.Until it didn’t.After collecting a tube-full of little critters, he looked […]Read More When You Feel Lost, Do This.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought during the first week of July in 1863. If you are familiar with Michael Shaara’s historical novel, The Killer Angels, or have seen the 1993 film Gettysburg, you know that the struggle for Little Round Top was the turning point at Gettysburg, which many historians consider the most pivotal […]Read More Taking the Low Ground
The Bubonic PlagueIn the mid-14th century, a bacterium called yersinia pestis was carried by fleas from Asia to Europe, being transported on rats that commonly infested merchant ships. As these ships arrived in ports such as Constantinople, Marseilles, and Barcelona, the rats would disembark, carrying the infected fleas through Europe. And the Bubonic Plague was born.Estimates put […]Read More What is Wrong with the World?
Skid Row My eldest recently moved from the quiet and safety of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee to downtown Chattanooga. After a recent visit to see her new digs, Kristy and I took a back road as a short cut to a restaurant where we were going to meet my daughter and a friend for dinner. It […]Read More My Need for a Good Samaritan
Playground FencesWhen I was in elementary school, our playground sat next to a major city thoroughfare, with the swing-set located only ten yards from cars driving 50+ MPH.Why were 8-year-olds allowed to play on a swing-set so close to the road? Because the playground was surrounded by a tall fence, which acted as a boundary […]Read More Five Essential Boundaries for Marriage in an Age of Distraction and Temptation
There are times in our lives when it will feel like we are in the dark as the fog descends and we can’t see the horizon. We will experience a spiritual form of spatial disorientation, where, because of the emotions associated with fear, guilt or peer pressure, we will be tempted to steer the plane […]Read More Should You Really Trust an Ancient Religious Document to Guide Your Life in the Modern World?
In Luke 7:36–50, Jesus turns over the tables on “pass/fail” religion.In pass/fail religion, the world is divided between those who are passing and those who are failing. In other words, good people pass and bad people fail. In this system, good people deserve to be rewarded with a good life while bad people deserve to receive coal and ashes.This is how the […]Read More Turning the Tables on Pass/Fail Religion
Marriage Will Not Fix the ProblemIn my pastoral experience, I have found that many engaged couples expect marriage to fix the problems that exist in their dating relationship.Conflict will evaporate in the atmosphere of marital bliss, right? Wrong.Big-time wrong.Marriage is not going to fix your problems. It will only make them worse.Sorry to burst your bubble.Now […]Read More How to Clear the Drain When Marriage Gets Clogged
The Great Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait in northern Alaska, through Canada, from Montana to New Mexico and all the way through Central and South America to the Strait of Magellan, in southern Chile.The divide is not named because it slices the continents into two halves. It is a hydrological divide that separates […]Read More What if There is Incontrovertible Evidence for the Existence of God?
Quick Navigation But what does it mean to be saved? Saved from what?Cosmic TreasonThe Gospel of Luke 7:1–10Three Essential Factors1. Making a Confession of Total Inability2. Taking a Posture of Genuine Humility3. Believing the Declaration of Jesus I’m not sure when the tradition began, but years ago I brought a small white book to the dinner […]Read More The Most Important Question a Human Can Ask
Every vocation provides a degree of challenge for a marriage. Coaching has really funky hours and seasonal rhythms. Politics feels like it must be a 24/7 job. Doctors who work at hospitals have a pretty crazy schedule. And shift work at a manufacturing plant or on a police force. Yikes. Pastoral ministry presents challenges, too. […]Read More Eight Challenges Every Ministry Marriage Will Face