Christianity Is Not a Plastic Smile

Today Lookout Magazine published my latest piece on Christians and a theology of suffering: There is a country song I like to play around the house that always irks my wife. Josh Turner croons, “Everything is fine, fine, fine.” Angela detests it because she says that this is my go-to answer whenever there is a problem at home. While I won’t stop playing Josh Turner, I have to acknowledge that she is right. Everything is not fine. Though we are redeemed, rescued, chosen, forgiven, and risen, we still live. On mission. In the world. We are already in the kingdom of God and not yet experiencing the full reality of this world’s restoration and renewal. This is why our teaching, our preaching, and our conversations should reflect the world’s brokenness. Christianity is not a plastic smile. It is Jesus visiting us in the midst of our mess, walking us through our temptations and brokenness. Jesus is...

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The Church on the Ground Versus the Church In Your Head

I'm over at Southern Seminary Equip today talking about the reality of shepherding. Here is an excerpt: You envisioned, in your first ministry, leading with the help of a robust elder board, made up of guys who read Calvin, together, on the weekends. You were going to launch a human trafficking ministry in your first year, an apprenticeship program in your second year, and, if all goes well, a church planting initiative in your third. But the church on the ground seems vastly different than the church in your head. One of your elders wonders why you don’t let the congregation know who you think the antichrist is. The other thinks projecting music on the wall is a slippery slope toward Laodicea. And yet another wants to show Carman’s patriotic video from 1980 on the Sunday before the the Fourth of July. None of your ecclesiology books covered this. I’m exaggerating these situations...

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On My Nightstand

Books, for me, are therapy, a way of relaxing from the pressures of the world. My habit, lately, has been to physically read books on theology and the Christian life and to listen, via audiobook, history and biography. I'm almost always in the middle of reading a book and listening to a book. George Will recently discussed this kind of rhythm in a radio interview and I think it suits me pretty well. Currently, these books are in my book pile: From Weakness to Strength by Scott Sauls The best thing I can say about my friend Scott is that he preaches a beautiful gospel. I read everything he writes. This book is a unique leadership book in that it doesn't offer new systems or productivity hacks, but a vulnerable and biblical look at leadership. Scott's premise is that leadership in the kingdom of God is upside down: humility and weakness lead to spiritual strength....

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The Way Home: Dean Inserra On Evangelizing the Bible Belt

He planted a church, ten years ago, with a handful of people in his parent's living room. Today, Dean Inserra is pastor of City Church the biggest church in Tallahassee. But his method is not what you'd think: City attracts people, not with killer coffee and cutting edge music, but by building relationships in the city of Tallahassee and by preaching the uncompromising gospel. Dean Inserra is a great friend. We chat about church planting, college ministry, and the ageless Tom Brady. Be prepared to learn and laugh. [powerpress] Show Notes Twitter: @deaninserra Websites: deaninserra.com; citychurchtallahassee.com ...

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