Jesus and the Digital Pharisees

It's kind of ridiculous to ask, "What if Jesus were on Twitter?" But indulge me for a second, anyways. I've noticed something about our generation's engagement online and with those we consider "Christian celebrities" - famous pastors or church leaders who have big platforms. There's a tendency among those of us who blog, tweet, write, post, instagram, etc toward a subtle kind of Phariseeism. Our generation prides itself on not being legalistic, of casting off the sort of religious, rule-making paradigm we didn't quite like about our parent's version of church. But in our zeal to not be like those we think are bad representations of Christianity, we've adopted a legalism of a different sort. In Luke 18, Jesus shares a haunting parable about who is justified in the eyes of God. I'm struck by a few things in this passage. First, Luke gives us a vague description of the audience.  The...

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Asking the Wrong Question in Salvation

"So you mean I can do whatever I want and still be a Christian?" I've been asked that question numerous times when sharing the gospel. It's a hard question to answer and mostly, up until recently, I would answer with a "Yes, but." sort of vague statement. Yes, technically, grace covers all of your sins, post salvation. But you shouldn't think this way because you should live for Jesus out of appreciation for what He did for you. But I'm finding that's a terrible response to an even more terrible question. And I think rather than answering someone's question of "Can I do what I want and still be a Christian?," we should tell them that the question they are asking belies something more troubling in their heart. Because if a seeking person needs this question answered before he will put his faith in Christ, then it reveals how fraudulent that faith might...

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Guest Post – 5 Reasons We Need Difficult People

Today, I'm honored to feature a guest post from my friend, Dave Jenkins, director of Servants of Grace Ministries.    Dealing with difficult people in a Christ-like manner maybe one of the most difficult ways to live out the gospel. Difficult, because this requires patience, a character trait even the most mature Christians struggle to display. It has been said that if you pray for patience, God will indulge you with opportunities to develop it. One of his mysterious ways is the sovereign placement of difficult people. These are the folks that only serve to annoy and frustrate. Everyone has a few of these folks in their lives and sometimes we serve that role in the live of others. If we choose, we can view difficult people as a problem or we can view them as the God’s sandpaper for polishing our rough and sinful edges. I’ve found five observations about dealing with difficult people: 1)  Dealing...

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Can We Retire This Word?

I’ve only been preaching for three years, so technically I’m a “rookie pastor.” But already I’ve seen some tendencies I’m working to correct. One I find in myself and also see in other Christian communicators is an over- use of the word, “most.” We arrive at a countercultural truth in our study, perhaps a doctrine nobody seems to want to hear and we easily transition to, “You won’t hear that in most churches.” Or we say, “In most churches . . . .” or “many Christians . . . .” It’s an easy thing to do. I not only hear this crutch in preachers preaching, but read it in blog posts and in books. But I wonder if it’s healthy. For one thing, do we know what “most churches” believe? Dictionary.com defines “most” as “in the majority of instances.” Can a preacher like myself honestly say with any degree of honesty that I actually...

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