The Rewards of Generosity

The Treasure Principle Until his death in 1976, Maxey Jarman was the longtime president of the Genesco Shoe Company in Nashville. Over his lifetime, he gave away millions. Near the end of his life, our country experienced political upheaval and a financial crisis which led to a drastic reduction in his net worth. In an interview, […]

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Thanksgiving Can Be Dangerous

My friend, Dave McCarty, sent an email blast to his friends recently with the heading, “The Thanksgiving holiday is very dangerous.” That is an email I had to open. How could turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, and chocolate chess pie be harmful (except for the obvious caloric impact)? What is the threat of gathering with […]

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The Unexpected Path to Contentment

The Miserable Tycoon In his autobiography, Just as I Am, the late Billy Graham tells a story about the time he and his wife, Ruth, were invited to visit with one of the wealthiest men in the world at his vacation home on an island in the Carribean. Graham recalls the lavish accommodations, including a […]

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Try Calling Him Jesus

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 […]

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Every Christian is a Farmer

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 […]

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The Problem Nobody Admits

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 […]

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7 Strands of Grace

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, […]

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Transferring Ownership

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 […]

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6 Warning Signs of Pastoral Burnout

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 […]

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Rethinking Volunteerism in the Church

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 […]

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When You Feel Lost, Do This.

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 […]

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Taking the Low Ground

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 […]

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What is Wrong with the World?

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 […]

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My Need for a Good Samaritan

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 […]

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Five Essential Boundaries for Marriage in an Age of Distraction and Temptation

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 […]

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Should You Really Trust an Ancient Religious Document to Guide Your Life in the Modern World?

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 […]

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Turning the Tables on Pass/Fail Religion

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 […]

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