Two weeks after I turned fifteen, my grandmother died of stomach cancer and was buried within the wall of a beautiful stone mausoleum in Memphis, TN. Losing her was emotionally devastating, as I practically grew up at her house, spending as many nights at her house as I had at my own – nights filled […]Read More Does God Still Perform Miracles?
Gulliver’s Travels is Jonathan Swift’s satirical story about a shipwrecked man who encounters all kinds of previously unknown and bizarre cultures. In the film adaptation, Gulliver has been placed in a mental hospital, undergoing evaluation to consider whether he is of sound mind and ready to be released. One of the hospital administrators asks whether he […]Read More Subjective Feelings, Objective Truth, and the Importance of a Reliable Compass
Just like overused tires may get worn and lose their gripping power, words may become so overused that they no longer retain the tread with which they were originally created. Consider, for example, the word awesome. In view of the truly awesome (awe-inducing and worthy of reverent wonder unto potential terror), the way I tend […]Read More What is a Distinctively Gospel-Centered Sermon?
Of course, there are more than three, but tethered to the cross, emphasizing the doctrines below will serve you and your congregation well. The story of redemption is the story of the Bible and of all history. The epicenter of that story is the cross of Jesus, where he becomes a substitute for sinners, taking […]Read More Focus on These Three Doctrines for Faithful Pastoral Ministry
In church planting circles, it is popular to identify leaders as prophets, priests, or kings. The prophet is someone whose primary gifting is preaching and teaching. The priest is the true pastor type who naturally expresses empathy and care, listens well, and finds it life-giving to help people work through problematic personal issues. The king […]Read More What is Your PPK Profile?
Last week, just after our family finished supper and was transitioning from the dining room into the den to play a board game, without warning the power went out. There was no wind. No severe weather. So, we took it in stride, lit some candles, and started the game. Several hours later, again without warning, […]Read More The Power We Need
Today, my youngest turns sixteen. It is a tradition in the Caston home to take the birthday guy or girl out for a special family dinner. Although two days early, Sarah Wynn’s celebratory meal was on Friday night at the place of her choosing, Tam’s Tupelo, a semi-local restaurant in Cumming, GA, which features cuisine […]Read More A Tribute to My Youngest at Sixteen
Jacob’s Story: the Ascent of a Leader Jacob, the Old Testament patriarch of Israel, became a leader in Genesis 32. He didn’t attend a seminar. Years of mentoring didn’t prepare him for his ascent. In fact, what shaped Jacob as a model of biblical leadership wasn’t his ability, knowledge, skill, or competency. He began to […]Read More If You Don’t Limp, You Shouldn’t Lead
Read Below or Listen Here In 1908, a team of Scottish and Irish Presbyterian missionaries to Manchuria wrote a letter home describing an unexpected but undeniable manifestation of God. You may need to know that northern European Christians are not known for their spiritual exuberance. The same thing was true during the early to mid […]Read More Hand-in-Hand
Norman Rockwell was an illustrator in the previous century who created covers for The Saturday Evening Post magazine for over fifty years. While he also painted Presidential portraits and engaged with hot-topic social and cultural issues such as the Second World War and the civil rights movement in the 60s, he is best known for capturing what […]Read More The Angels’ Song: A Christmas Meditation
What Constitutes an Act of Worship? If I were to give you a quiz on what qualifies as an act or expression of worship in a gathered service of believers on a Sunday morning, what would you include in your list? Singing probably would be at the top as an obvious choice. Then, perhaps you […]Read More What If Giving Were an Act of Worship?
Years ago, while walking into a dry cleaner during early December, I noticed a colorful poster in the window that read, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season!” While I understand the motive behind such a statement and commend the shop owner’s desire to challenge the commercialization of the season, if we apply a bit […]Read More What if Jesus Isn’t the Reason for the Season?
The Generosity of a Shoe-Shine Man For over 30 years, Albert Lexie has set up shop in Pittsburgh’s Children Hospital where he buffs and polishes footwear for doctors, administrators, and whomever else is willing to pay $5 for a new shine. Now and then, a satisfied customer will leave a tip. Most give an extra […]Read More Maybe It’s Time to Be Irresponsibly Generous
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, […]Read More The Rewards of Generosity
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 […]Read More Thanksgiving Can Be Dangerous
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 […]Read More The Unexpected Path to Contentment
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?