Mar 15th 2011

The Gospel Isn’t This Hard

I’m amazed at the conversations that Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins is provoking in the mainstream media environment. I think Bell’s book is tragic for a variety of reasons, articulated most thoughtfully, in my view by Kevin DeYoung. But, I’m amazed at how gospel-centered questions are being asked in environments not normally reserved for these kinds of discussions.

Recently Rob Bell did an interview with Martin Brashear of MSNBC. The questions Brashear asks are good ones. Great lines of questioning. Sadly, the answers Bell gives make the gospel less clear. Compare this to Jesus response to Nicodemus’ very similar questions.

First Bell:


Now read Jesus words to Nicodemus in John 3.

I’m not sure if Brashear (the reporter) is a believer, but he demonstrates a more fundamental grasp of biblical theology than Bell. I think Bell missed a tragic opportunity to share the gospel to a large audience. Sad.

Mar 15th 2011

Update from Awana in Japan

I got this update from one of our Awana Missionaries:

Awana Praying Friends:

My friend Jess Curabo, Awana Director for the Philippines, reported the following in Japan:


Pastor Sato of Fukushima Ist Baptist Church was able to locate around 150 of their people but more than 50 are still unaccounted for. He was able to drive to Tokyo to obtain socks, food and phone chargers and has gone back to Fukushima. Thank you for your prayers.




Mar 15th 2011

On Showing Up

Yesterday I attended a ministerium (meeting of pastors) for the church fellowship of which Gages Lake is a member. (IFCA International). We meet every other month. I enjoy these times, opportunities to meet other pastors in the region and glean wisdom from those who’ve been doing this way longer than me. As a young pastor, I think it’s important to get around older, wiser men who’ve navigated the pastoral road. This is why I regularly meet with evangelical pastors in my area. I enjoy their fellowship and want their wisdom.

But something really struck me yesterday as I was driving home. It’s a maxim I heard Chuck Swindoll say a few weeks ago at the NRB Convention. He said, “In ministry, maintenance is more common than magnificence.” In other words, there are those really awesome moments, but mostly ministry is about showing up. Yesterday I looked around the room at the faithful pastors in attendance and said, “These are men who continue to show up and do ministry.”

This is the unsexy stuff of faithfulness. It’s what being a man of God is all about, whether you’re a pastor, a plumber or a guy who works in a cubicle. We all dream of greatness, of being the next big thing in our profession–even pastors secretly harbor those dreams. And maybe some of us will get there. But what God is most interested in is our day-in-day-out grinding it out.

Showing up. Day after day. Year after year. Decade after decade. This is what a life of purpose is all about.

Mar 11th 2011

Friday Five – Eric Metaxas



Eric Metaxas / Photo by James Allen Walker

Eric Metaxas penned one of the most celebrated books of 2010, a thorough and gripping biography of German pastor, Deitrich Bonheoffer. It’s a powerful book that is a must-read for serious Christian leaders, with life lessons spilling out of the pages of Bonheoffer’s highly courageous life.

Metaxas is also the other of several other books, most notably a widely acclaimed biography of William Wilberforce. His writing and career are eclectic—having written for Chuck Colson, Veggie Tales, as well as The New York Times, First Things, and Christianity Today. He is also the author of several children’s books, a noted humorist, and the founder of the Socrates in the City lectures. He appears on places like CNN and NPR as a cultural critic.

I am grateful Eric took time to chat with me for today’s Friday Five:


Read More

Mar 9th 2011

Books I’m reading

Here are the books I’m either reading or on the verge of reading:

Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan

Sticky Jesus by Toni Birdsong and Tami Heim

Unbroken by Lauren Hillenbrand

St. Patrick by Jonathan Rogers

More Than an Aspirin by M. Gay Hubbard

Podcasts I’m listening to:


The Village Church – Matt Chandler

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church – Tullian Tchivigian

Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey

Fellowship Church – Nashville – Dr. Michael Easley

Covenant Life Church – Josh Harris

Redeemer Community Church, Little Rock, Arkansas – Bob Lepine (and others)

Tim Challies Podcast



Mar 8th 2011

The World’s First Prayer Meeting – iFaith

When I was writing iFaith, I came across one of the most interesting passages in the Bible. It’s almost a throwaway line at the end of Genesis 4. It describes the birth of Seth, Adam and Eve’s third son. “Then men began to pray.”

That passage really grabbed me because it came at the end of a long and detailed genealogy of Cain. Cain’s family was impressive. They were progressive. You find in his family great innovations in mettalurgy, music, and other areas of life. And yet, you find no mention of God in any of the description of the family. It was progress without faith.

Read More

Mar 4th 2011

Friday Five Interview – Michael Catt

Titan WordPress ThemeChances are, if you’ve heard of Michael Catt, it’s because you’ve watched Facing the Giants or Fireproof, both produced by Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. But that is only one of many accomplishments in his very full biography.  Besides serving as Senior Pastor of this 3,000 member church (since 1989), Michael Catt is also the writer of six books, including, The Power of Surrender, the host of annual Refresh conferences, and is a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. Michael is also the proprietor of a few biblically-rich websites, including,, and He also blogs at his personal site: Michael is also a reknowned conference speaker and is regularly interviewed on media across the country. He is an influential mentor to hundreds of young pastors and a sought-after Bible teacher. I appreciate Pastor Michael Catt taking time today to answer questions for today’s Friday Five:

Read More

Mar 4th 2011

Me, God, and Sunday Morning

This week I had a conversation with longtime believer. It was a conversation while on a flight to Nashville. It wasn’t long before our conversation veered toward the spiritual life. You could immediately tell from this lady’s conversations that she was someone who was kind, generous, and spiritual. And yet, when the topic came toward the Church, she shrunk back. She’d been hurt, deeply, by the Church experiences she’d encountered. She recounted a few of them and they were deep, hurtful, wicked events.

Read More