Don’t let this time define you or destroy you. Let Christ refine you and grow you through this. We will come out of this and have a testimony to share from this season. Make your time one of growth and relational strength with your Savior!
What our post-Christian world needs today is timeless truth—and that can only be found in Scripture. Never forget that our best efforts to help our communities will all pass away, and yet His Word shall never pass away. Why would you not use His powerful Word to help a powerless world? That would be an act of hate—to hide truth from a obscure world.
Where once existed brokenness, bitterness, and animosity, now exists peace, pleasure, and friendship. At its heart, Gospel-centered forgiveness is a beautiful picture of the sacrifice that Christ made for each of us. Our sin is a chasm that separates us from a loving, forgiving God—a God who grants us radical forgiveness and accepts us in spite of our numerous failures.
Many times grey area differences cause unnecessary and unbiblical separation. The differences many times lead to distain, distancing and even demonizing one another. Now remember, I am not referring to doctrine but rather to “grey area issues.” Why should I accept those who are different than I am on areas that are not so clear? Please allow me to give you five reasons.
As we preach and teach the Word, and as we disciple people, the Holy Spirit of God will do the changing. So stop trying to make everyone look like you! That is something I must remind myself often. People need to be what God transforms them into, not what I guilt them into.
One of my kids asked me, “are we going to get the Coronavirus?” That was a tough question as a parent! I didn’t want to promise my child something that might not happen and at the same time, I didn’t want to strike fear into the heart of my child. My mind began to scramble and build a structure of words that would best answer this question.
Maybe family time is lacking because of Fox News, Netflix, golf, or the device you are reading this on. The reality is that God gave you a family and a calling. He doesn’t give us more priorities than we can handle. But we can give ourselves more priorities than we can handle.
The Church is resilient through persecutions, plagues, destruction, and politics. It has stood through pastoral failures and financial woes. Through public policy shifts and economic downturns.In spite of the devastating conditions brought on by sinful man, satanic attacks, and a broken world—Christ’s bride continues on.
Rather than giving your membership a set of rules and regulations to follow, loving leadership steps off of the pedestal of power and enters into the real world of real people. It’s messy, challenges our routines and can be uncomfortable, but I believe it’s Christ-like.
I don’t know anyone who would classify the raw circumstances surrounding COVID-19 as favorable from a human perspective. I do not lament the circumstances that God has seen fit to allow in our world. I choose rather to react with a heart rooted in the Gospel because I trust that God is doing extraordinary things according to His will and for His glory.
You may find it increasingly difficult, as time drudges on in the “quarantine era”, to stay connected to the teens in your student ministry. It certainly has been a challenge for each of us. But, at its core, ministry hasn’t really changed all that much; it is still all about people and finding ways to connect people to Christ.
Virtual services, pandemic or no pandemic, are here to stay and will become a considerable aspect of our ministries. We need to figure them out and invest more of our physical and human resources into getting them up to the standards of excellence that the Gospel rightfully deserves.
No one anticipated this. Even when we first heard of COVID-19, I do not believe any church leader anticipated being unable to assemble for as long as we have up until this point.
As many ministries around the world, in early March of this year, DeepStream’s Educational Center, here in the village of Buena Vista, Guatemala, was forced to go off script and began writing a new way of doing life and reaching people with the Gospel.
The life of a church planter is extremely unpredictable. You start deputation with eagerness because all you want to do is get to your city and reach people with the Gospel. No matter how much you travel, and how good the meetings are, your heart is constantly longing to be in the place you’ve been called to be.
Around mid-March we realized this was unavoidable, so we endeavored to take our Small Groups online during this pandemic. One of our key missional goals is that as a church we “Grow Together”. As a church leadership team we did not think that being inside the building was necessary to accomplishing this task.
Online Church—The very words bring strong emotion to the hearts of many Christians and ministry leaders.
Hope – to the extremely cautious.
Joy – to the tech savvy.
Peace – to the introvert.
Fear – to the majority of pastors.
Have you lost interest in the gospel? Are you looking for “more interesting” or “more engaging” things to say? Don’t Christians need more than “just the gospel”?
9 Marks (Mark Dever’s ministry) recently published a profound article (see link at bottom) surveying 18 hours of sermons from America’s biggest churches. The author found the gospel to be either completely absent or very minimally present in these churches during the course of four recent Sunday morning messages.
One of the hardest things I have faced in our 15 plus years living in Central America occurred at the end of 2017 during disputed presidential elections here in Honduras. In 2017, I was in a dark place. I first realized that the political unrest surrounding the disputed presidential election was categorically different than the common protesting that is prevalent in our region when the protestors burned the brand-new toll booth to the ground and blocked all exits to the city.
“Oh no… here we go Coronavirus!”—said valiantly my six-year-old, Santiago, when we got out of our car a few weeks ago. We were on our way to the store as the first case of Coronavirus was reported to Mexican authorities. The country was now part of the craziness, fear, and desperation that the rest of the world was and still is experiencing.
One of the greatest annual events for tech geeks around the world is unquestionably the Apple reveal in California. Year after year, the company releases its newest inventions—hardware and software meant to revolutionize the industry. Every year something faster and brighter, newer and better is developed for the ease of the consumer.
We live in an era where the internet causes constant spiritual noise. Christianity is defined multiple times a minute! Christians are thought to be supporters of a particular party, politician, or agenda. Churches are supposed to look a certain way, and have a distinguished kind of growth.
Have you ever asked yourself if apologetics is important? In a broad sense, apologetics is a discipline that involves the defense of any philosophical position. Christians engage in apologetics when attempting to defend any aspect of core Christian beliefs.
Has anyone ever asked you this question, what is the Bible about? There could be several different answers to that question. In general, though, it seems to me that there is a popular belief that the Bible is a moral encyclopedia that shows us what “we must do.” It tells us how to live, how to think, how to be a good father, mother or teenager.
Jonathan Morrow in Foundations of Spiritual Formation said, “Spiritual formation is divinely enabled by God through three essential resources: God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s people (the church).” Of these 3 essential resources, which do you think is the most neglected resource, and why is it the most neglected?
I would argue that the church is, perhaps, the most neglected spiritual formation tool. This is based on both the positive emphasis the Bible puts on the need for fellowship in community, and the negative impact we see on those who isolate themselves.
Topical. Expositional. Textual. Devotional. Long. Short. Loud. Quiet. Humorous. Sobering. Exciting. Thought-Provoking. Encouraging. Convicting. Informational. Inspirational.
Children simply grow up too quickly. Heather and I were out to dinner in January on a date night when the subject matter of children naturally arose. Scarlett’s humor, Savannah’s sensitivity, and Jonathan’s recent growth spurt were the topics at hand when we were suddenly struck by terrible thought.
In the rapidly changing culture in which we live, teenagers are always searching for the latest fad or style that will bring them acceptance by their peers. Unfortunately, in a similar bid for acceptance, many of our student ministries have become entertainment and amusement-driven.
It is generally understood among evangelical Christians that God’s heartbeat is for His disciples to make more disciples of the Lord Jesus. This vital task is accomplished, primarily, by Christian fellowship with other believers in what is commonly referred to as “life-on-life discipleship.”
I will never forget the question. I had been the pastor of our church for all of two weeks when a leader in our church approached me after a service and asked, “So Pastor, where is our church heading?” It felt strange and awkward, then heavy and humbling. Real people with real lives were now looking to me to set a course for the future of their church.
I recently came across a powerful quote from an 18th century English pastor named Job Orton. Ironically, he wrote to the ministers of his day about doctrinal compromise. The struggles of churches nearly 300 years ago are the struggles of churches today.
There is one common pressure that every pastor feels regardless of the size of his congregation, the structure of his schedule, or the season of his ministry. This tension is felt in the reality that Sunday is always coming. Don’t get me wrong—I love Sundays, and I love what God allows me to do as a shepherd of His flock.
In just the first daylight hours of this week, I have sent out several texts that perfectly capture in a microcosm the wide range of emotional connections required in pastoral ministry. The recipients included a younger couple who just bought their first home together, a dear wife aiding her husband’s battle for his life against cancer, a group of faithful deacons willing to launch out by faith, and a couple celebrating yet another anniversary grieving a still-born child.
In a world where big tech companies push a yearly update of their flagship devices, outdoing themselves with bigger, better, and faster than last year’s model, there is a permeating philosophy of customizing everything for the customer current needs. All of the sudden, past market trends are obsoletes or become merely historical data, and new market research or focus groups tests are performed all over again. While this consumeristic mentality is damaging in so many levels, it does not even compare to the danger that it presents when it infiltrates church, particularly in the area of preaching.