Let’s Not Trade Unity for Clicks

I'm writing this post even as I'm supposed to be writing my sermon for Sunday. But there is just something God has put on my heart and so deeply convicted me about that I have to share it. A few days ago I had a conversation with a wonderful, well-known pastor in my area. He's a pastor in every sense of the calling. Kind, loving, shepherding, caring, gracious, studious, biblical, evangelical, evangelistic. All those things. We had a wide-ranging conversation out of which I gleaned so many good things for my life and ministry. But one that I cannot let go of was this. We were discussing a controversial issue in the Church worldwide. I won't mention the issue, but it's a big one that is less important than orthodoxy and yet still very important to many good people. Personally I think it's a huge issue. He and I agreed on the issue, but...

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How God Uses Relationships to Make You Better

Everyone wants to be better. Self-improvement gurus call it, well, self-improvement. Wise people and many in the church call it growth. The Bible calls this process sanctification. And for the Christian, sanctification is not merely the process by which you become a nice, better person. Pretty much all religions and even quasi-non religions do that. Even Richard Dawkins, I'm thinking, is okay with growth. Sanctification is something deeper, better, richer. The Bible asserts a bold idea that Christians--those who believe, know and follow Jesus Christ--have something deeper going onside them. They have God in them through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Christianity, at it's truest form, is not really about getting better by self-improvement, but about dying to your old self and seeing the life of Christ form in you. It's a spiritual thing. It's a supernatural thing. But how does God accomplish this? Or, perhaps a better question, what...

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Why You Need Your Church Every Week

We live in an age when, increasingly, people are asking the question, "Do we need to gather on Sunday mornings for worship anymore?" It's a valid question. After all, isn't there a plethora of good sermon content online? Aren't there churches that actually offer online services? And isn't it possible to read your Bible, pray, and perhaps listen/watch/read a sermon at home? The truth is that you can experience some of what you get at church at home. You'll likely find a better message by listening to one of the popular preachers. You'll might carve out more time to pray by staying at home. And you can even roll up your sleeves and get involved in works of service in your local community rather than going to church. You can even worship and sing in your shower. Yes, to all of those. And yet, this kind of attitude really misses the point when it...

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Writing, like anything worth doing, takes work . . . and love

I'm often asked by beginning writers how to "get started" in writing. How to get published. How to get that book on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. They assume I'm an expert, which I'm most assuredly not. Nonetheless, I have been writing for a while and here is my advice: Writing takes talent, yes, but is mostly the combination of a lot of work and a little love. I remember when I first got out of college and dreamt of being a writer. I had dreamy notions of a cabin in the mountains or a house by the beach. I'd listen to my favorite music and pound out thousands of words of beautiful prose every single day. I'd have publishers lining up outside my door and I'd be doing book tours, morning television, and would be an evangelical bestselling book hero. The real world of writing, I've learned in the intervening years,...

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