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
Quick Navigation The Word of the Year1) The Danger of Doing2) The Danger of Hypocrisy3) The Danger of DeceptionThree Ways Out of Religious Traditionalism(1) Allow Isaiah 29:13 to x-ray my soul.(2) Identify the traditions I treat as the basis for God’s approval.(3) Believe that Jesus was defiled for me. The Word of the YearSince 2003, […]Read More 3 Dangers of Religious Traditionalism (and How to Avoid Them)
Quick Navigation Reviewing CoverageA CRY FOR HELPA Canaanite WomanTheological TermsAN UNEXPECTED SILENCELostOur NeedAN UNUSUAL EVANGELISM STRATEGYPerseveranceA TestEntitlement?A MODEL OF SAVING FAITHShe AgreesJesus’s PostureHow Can a Worm Refuse Reviewing CoverageIf your insurance agent contacts you about reviewing your homeowner’s policy, you may want to take him up on that. Most of us assume that our coverage […]Read More The Danger of Assuming Coverage
I never suffered with allergies until I moved to Georgia. Along with the beauty of the mountains, there is something in the air, some strain of pollen or grass that triggers a river to begin flowing within my sinuses. My throat gets sore. My eyes itch. My head aches. Eventually, when I just couldn’t take it […]Read More Am I Sick Enough to Need Jesus?
Quick Navigation Pace CarsElders Show Us How to CareElders Show Us How to ServeElders Show us How to Lead”Will You Give Your Blood?” Pace CarsThe first use of a pace car in automobile racing took place in 1911 at the inaugural Indy 500.A pace car is designed to do just what it says—it sets the […]Read More 3 Ways Elders are Pacesetters
Quick Navigation A Challenging SeriesMy Shallow Understanding of GraceStop Preaching Good SermonsThe Scandal of the GospelThe Continental Divide A Challenging SeriesI am preaching a sermon series on Sundays that is inspired by one of my living heros, Jerram Barrs. His book, Learning Evangelism from Jesus, is such a helpful portrait of how Jesus engaged sin-ravaged men […]Read More Pastors, Let’s Stop Preaching Good Sermons
THE DISEASEIf you are a pastor, you’ve suffered from a debilitating disease. You may not even know that you’ve been infected. But this illness has crippled your soul and is adversely affecting every aspect of your life, especially your personal spiritual health.In this post, I want to help diagnose this problem and help you start […]Read More The Cause of and Cure for Pastor’s Guilt
My first case of homesickness struck in the Missouri foothills. I was a ten-year-old at Camp Soaring Hawk and one of the few campers staying for both multi-week summer sessions. Although I had never been away from home before, things were okay while camp activities were taking place all day with new friends.Then they left.And […]Read More Homesick: My Longing for Things to Be as They Should
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?
If you have younger children who are used to a “little church” ministry that takes place during the sermon such as Creekstone’s GraceKids, here are some suggestions for how to coach them for the transition to “big church” on Sundays.1. Talk to your kids about what they will experience. They will get to sing. They […]Read More 8 Ways to Help Young Children Enjoy “Big Church” on Sundays
Quick Navigation Introduction: Why the brackets?The question: What does a sinner need to hear in the aftermath of a moral train wreck?1. A WOMAN2. THE ACCUSERS 3. A CHALLENGE4. THE VERDICTNotice the order of the verdict. A 3-Part TestimonyFive WordsAm I willing to give another sinner the gift of those five words? The text for […]Read More What does a sinner need to hear after a moral train wreck?
I served a church back in the 1990s where many folks in the congregation were members of the Country Club. As a pastor in my twenties, there was no way that I could afford to pay the membership fee, which I suspected was in the six-figure range. Nevertheless, I was invited to the club as […]Read More Pastor, You (Too) are Complete in Christ
In a recent post, I proposed 4 ways to be a great Assistant Pastor. It is only appropriate to follow that up (and I probably should have led) with a post about being a great lead pastor for an AP.Here are some thoughts on ten ways to be a great lead pastor for an AP, derived […]Read More 10 Ways to be a Great Lead Pastor for an Assistant Pastor
The Alarmy app for the iPhone has changed my life.The genius of this alarm is that, in order for the wake tone to be disarmed, I have to grab my phone, get out of bed, walk into the bathroom, and take a photo of my sink faucet. Taking that photo turns off the alarm.Since the […]Read More What Will It Take to Make Me a Missionary?
While I have been a lead pastor for almost fifteen years (a church planter for the past ten), my first ten years out of seminary were spent serving as an assistant pastor in churches ranging from under 200 to over 2,000 members. While I loved my seminary experience and learned a great deal about the Bible, […]Read More 4 Ways to Be a Great Assistant Pastor
Quick Navigation Vacation as HolidayThe Sabbath PricipleExtended Time for RecoveryMental Energy and Physical LaborThree Rings of Rest and RenewalRing #1: A Weekly 24-Hour SabbathRing #2: An Annual 2-4 Week SabbathRing #3: A True SabbaticalConclusion Vacation as HolidayEuropeans call their vacations being on “holiday.” I love that. Holiday is a compressed version of holy day. Like Halloween […]Read More Pastor, Are You Taking Enough Vacation Time?
In his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Author Philip Yancey shares a heartbreaking story about a woman living on the streets of Chicago who was “renting” her two-year-old daughter to sexually perverted men in order to support her drug addiction.The story was related by a friend of Yancey’s who worked with the down and […]Read More Why do sinners not flock to the church the way they ran to Jesus?