FeaturedThe Gospel and the Church
Don’t Believe the Hype: Why Your Church Might Not Be As Great As You Think
Don’t Believe the Hype: Why Your Church Might Not Be As Great As You Think

Don’t Believe the Hype: Why Your Church Might Not Be As Great As You Think

Due to the ubiquitous nature of social media, pastors and church leaders live and minister in a world of carefully crafted sound bites and heaping amounts of hype. While social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook are incredible tools for church leaders to...

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FeaturedPersonal and Corporate Bible Reading
Psalm 119:18 – Open My Eyes: A Prayer for Bible Reading
Psalm 119:18 – Open My Eyes: A Prayer for Bible Reading

Psalm 119:18 – Open My Eyes: A Prayer for Bible Reading

It is easy for us to approach the Bible with a distracted mind in an age of endless distractions. We read God’s Word, but our soul is not engaged. We see the words on the page with our eyes, but nothing is driven into our dull heart. Nothing thrills our soul...

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FeaturedPersonal and Corporate Bible Reading
Choosing the Public Scripture Readings: Three Approaches
Choosing the Public Scripture Readings: Three Approaches

Choosing the Public Scripture Readings: Three Approaches

A few years ago, I visited a local Anglican church. As a Baptist, we tout ourselves as people of the Book; we are fiercely committed to Scripture. But as I observed this Anglican worship service, I realized that in one service, more Scripture was read aloud than I...

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FeaturedPersonal and Corporate Bible Reading
Growing Men through the Public Reading of Scripture
Growing Men through the Public Reading of Scripture

Growing Men through the Public Reading of Scripture

Introduction One thing I remember about the church as a kid was the older men. There was the man who gave all the kids sticks of Juicy Fruit before we went into the service. There was the man who sang loudly (and well!) They all seemed bigger-than-life with...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Paul’s Pastoral Protection of Pastors and 1 Timothy 5:19
Paul’s Pastoral Protection of Pastors and 1 Timothy 5:19

Paul’s Pastoral Protection of Pastors and 1 Timothy 5:19

Erwin Lutzer, pastor of the historic Moody Church in Chicago, recounts a story in his book “Pastor to Pastor” that could be multiplied several times over of the kinds of disparaging experiences that regularly happen to faithful pastors. A friend of mine, fresh out...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Spurgeon on Building an Evangelistic Culture in a Church
Spurgeon on Building an Evangelistic Culture in a Church

Spurgeon on Building an Evangelistic Culture in a Church

Why is it that most churches that hold to the doctrines of grace lack evangelistic zeal? If we are going to foster evangelism today in our churches, we must first build into its culture. Ray Ortlund helpfully notes that: “Gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture....

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
What is the Essential Virtue Pastors Should Model and Teach?
What is the Essential Virtue Pastors Should Model and Teach?

What is the Essential Virtue Pastors Should Model and Teach?

Where a text appears in Scripture is all-important because the location often teaches pastors and their congregations' big lessons. For example, The Sermon on the Mount contains Jesus’ first recorded teaching, and the first sentence in Matthew 5:3 is this simple...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Did I Really Miss My Prime?: Enjoying Knowing and Being Known by Christ
Did I Really Miss My Prime?: Enjoying Knowing and Being Known by Christ

Did I Really Miss My Prime?: Enjoying Knowing and Being Known by Christ

Gabriel Azucena, who goes by the artist name GAWVI, is a Christian rapper whose popular song, “Fight for Me” features some honest lyrics about meeting the expectations of others. I was struggling with something similar to what GAWVI writes while approaching my...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Helping Paul and Trophimus: Doing Life With One Another
Helping Paul and Trophimus: Doing Life With One Another

Helping Paul and Trophimus: Doing Life With One Another

“I left Trophimus sick at Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20). As some churches tiptoe back into corporate worship and ministries reboot in a post-corona mode, those who are immune-suppressed or elderly are being gently asked to stay home awhile longer.  Some church people...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Four Lessons For the Church In This Time, and Beyond
Four Lessons For the Church In This Time, and Beyond

Four Lessons For the Church In This Time, and Beyond

These are strange, sad times we live in, and a perfect season for the glory of the Christian gospel and the light of Christ’s church to shine brighter than ever before. But how? While countless headlines and speeches declare the value of every human life— in the...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Apollo 8 and the Faraway World of Pastoral Ministry
Apollo 8 and the Faraway World of Pastoral Ministry

Apollo 8 and the Faraway World of Pastoral Ministry

Perspective allows you to see farther than you can look. Take Apollo 8. The crew of William Anders, Frank Borman, and James Lovell were a hurry-up “dream-team” thrown together by a pressure-cooker NASA Leadership and a beleaguered US president named Lyndon Baines...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)
4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

Beauty on the Inside Around the corner from where I live, a house is for sale. In bold green letters, the lawn sign reads: “I’m Gorgeous Inside!” The message is surprising. From the street, the house is thoroughly ordinary, even run-down. It’s a seventies-era...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Gospel Mission and Unity: How Far Am I Willing to Go?
Gospel Mission and Unity: How Far Am I Willing to Go?

Gospel Mission and Unity: How Far Am I Willing to Go?

I went to a funeral the other day, not to officiate, but simply to attend as a friend and pastor to the grieving. Since I orient toward others far more as a brother than as pastor, I instinctively sat toward the back alongside those I knew and loved. Then I noticed...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Uncommon Partnerships a Theology of Partnerships
Uncommon Partnerships a Theology of Partnerships

Uncommon Partnerships a Theology of Partnerships

Why Partnerships[1] There is a discernible theology of partnership in the Word of God. The purpose of this article is not to list and evaluate every instance of “partnership,” “partner,” or “partaker” in the Holy Bible (a worthy undertaking that), but rather to...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
The Dangers of Pride and Pursuing Genuine Humility
The Dangers of Pride and Pursuing Genuine Humility

The Dangers of Pride and Pursuing Genuine Humility

Ministry service is a noble task for one to be called to. The Apostle Paul tells young Timothy, “if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do” (1 Timothy 3:1). What better way to live one’s life than in service to the Lord? For...

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Plugged in to the VineFeatured
The Dangers of Influence and Stewarding Influence Well To the Glory of God
The Dangers of Influence and Stewarding Influence Well To the Glory of God

The Dangers of Influence and Stewarding Influence Well To the Glory of God

In the fog of war, whether at peace or in outright war, the special forces of the United States Armed Forces are called to engage in highly specialized, dangerous, and covert missions designed to protect the people of the United States against all enemies foreign...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Three Practical Ways to Remain Faithful in Ministry
Three Practical Ways to Remain Faithful in Ministry

Three Practical Ways to Remain Faithful in Ministry

3 Practical Ways to Remain Faithful in Ministry from Crossway on Vimeo. Consistent Time in the Word The practical things you need to do in your life to remain faithful in ministry are the same means of grace that are available to every believer. First is time in...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Marks of a Healthy Church- A Biblical Understanding of Conversion
Marks of a Healthy Church- A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

Marks of a Healthy Church- A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

A few weeks ago we began looking at the distinguishing marks of a healthy church. People typically determine the “success” of a church by numbers, programs, or budget. However, we must ask ourselves if the Bible focuses on such qualities. In 9 Marks of a Healthy...

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Plugged in to the VineFeatured
Why It Matters What We Write: A Case for the Importance of Writing in the Christian Life
Why It Matters What We Write: A Case for the Importance of Writing in the Christian Life

Why It Matters What We Write: A Case for the Importance of Writing in the Christian Life

My writing journey began in the summer of 1998 as a junior in high school at the age of 17 when I started writing for my friends in my high school youth group. To be honest, I wasn’t any good at writing, but I had a desire to help people grow in the grace and...

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Plugged in to the VineFeatured
When the Blind Read the Blind: Symbiotic Growth and Online Global Theology
When the Blind Read the Blind: Symbiotic Growth and Online Global Theology

When the Blind Read the Blind: Symbiotic Growth and Online Global Theology

Interacting with Christians from outside our own cultural context can provide valuable insights into Scripture. Christians who write online have unique opportunities to minister in this capacity. Online writing lowers barriers to communication, aids necessary...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
Three Ways Parachurch Leaders Can Promote the Local Church
Three Ways Parachurch Leaders Can Promote the Local Church

Three Ways Parachurch Leaders Can Promote the Local Church

I love the institutional church. I believe the local church is God’s plan for saving and transforming the world. Jesus shed His blood for His bride, the church. Nothing will stop Christ from building His church, not even the gates of hell. I have followed God’s...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
How to Be a Profitable and Encouraging Church Member
How to Be a Profitable and Encouraging Church Member

How to Be a Profitable and Encouraging Church Member

As a pastor, I genuinely love the local church. In my own context, I love my church that I’m a member of and that I have the privilege of leading. As I often explain to my children when we read the Bible together in the evening—I don’t love the church simply...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
The Heart of Pastoral Ministry: Loving God, His Word, and His People
The Heart of Pastoral Ministry: Loving God, His Word, and His People

The Heart of Pastoral Ministry: Loving God, His Word, and His People

I remember my old mentor, Dr. D. James Kennedy, telling me that the pastor must love three things more than all others: God, God's Word, and God's People. I believe his admonition of these simple and profound intuitive desires came from a singular passion stirred...

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The Gospel and the ChurchFeatured
The Need for Biblical Community in the Local Church
The Need for Biblical Community in the Local Church

The Need for Biblical Community in the Local Church

Recently Mark Zuckerberg the founder and CEO of Facebook said that he views Facebook as a church. The problem with Mark’s statement is that there is no way Facebook could ever be a New Testament church. The Bible prescribes that the local church is to preach the...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Don’t Theologize or Spiritualize Ministry Mediocrity
Don’t Theologize or Spiritualize Ministry Mediocrity

Don’t Theologize or Spiritualize Ministry Mediocrity

I believe in the primacy of Christ-centered expository preaching in the life of the church. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones asserted in his classic book, Preaching, and Preachers, “I would say without any hesitation that the most urgent need in the Christian Church today is...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Extraordinarily Ordinary: Finding Success in the Simple Rhythms of Life
Extraordinarily Ordinary: Finding Success in the Simple Rhythms of Life

Extraordinarily Ordinary: Finding Success in the Simple Rhythms of Life

In high school, I was voted “most likely to become a rock star.” Okay, let me nuance that a bit; I wanted to become a musician. I wanted to play music, travel, and make money. I desired to be successful and make a name for myself. I had dreams and goals of making...

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ChurchFeatured
Welcome One Another: Five Ways to Show Hospitality at Church
Welcome One Another: Five Ways to Show Hospitality at Church

Welcome One Another: Five Ways to Show Hospitality at Church

Romans 15:7, “Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” In the Bible hospitality is no small matter. From Abraham to the Apostles, God called His people to greet one another with love and concern. For instance, in the Old Testament, it...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Resetting Ministry Priorities with a Laser-Like Focus on Faithfulness to the Gospel
Resetting Ministry Priorities with a Laser-Like Focus on Faithfulness to the Gospel

Resetting Ministry Priorities with a Laser-Like Focus on Faithfulness to the Gospel

Recently I was in ministry leadership meeting at my local church. During this meeting, it struck me how many of the words out of the participant's mouths, including my own, focused on how many people were coming to our events. There’s nothing wrong with trying to...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Learning to See the Beauty of a Gospel-Centered Church
Learning to See the Beauty of a Gospel-Centered Church

Learning to See the Beauty of a Gospel-Centered Church

I love the gospel and the church, and I can’t wait to teach them every Sunday. But it wasn’t always that way. How Do You See the Church? Admittedly, for me, I was slow to understand and appreciate the importance and beauty of the local church. In high school and...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Four Ways to Respond When a Ministry Leader Is Removed from Ministry
Four Ways to Respond When a Ministry Leader Is Removed from Ministry

Four Ways to Respond When a Ministry Leader Is Removed from Ministry

It happened yet again. A popular ministry leader fell into sin. Over the years, I’ve sadly seen this happen so many times. Each time a ministry leader falls and has to resign from his position it breaks my heart breaks. I’ve also sadly seen people who come down...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
‘Seedtimes of Tears’: The Goodness and Necessity of Tears in Ministry
‘Seedtimes of Tears’: The Goodness and Necessity of Tears in Ministry

‘Seedtimes of Tears’: The Goodness and Necessity of Tears in Ministry

When Paul called the Ephesian elders to himself in Miletus (Acts 20), he recounted his three years of service before them. His words focused on preparing the elders whom he loved and labored with for the challenges they would soon face. Just as Paul fought the...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
New Ministry Resolutions: Remembering the Old Convictions of Preaching
New Ministry Resolutions: Remembering the Old Convictions of Preaching

New Ministry Resolutions: Remembering the Old Convictions of Preaching

The old has passed and the new has arrived. The calendar has turned and we’ve entered into 2017. However, we know that the “new” will soon wear off and the fresh reminder of the “old” will define the plowing of pastoral ministry. If you’re like me you probably have...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
“You Will Be My Witnesses”: Five Truths About Witnessing From the Book of Acts
“You Will Be My Witnesses”: Five Truths About Witnessing From the Book of Acts

“You Will Be My Witnesses”: Five Truths About Witnessing From the Book of Acts

When I was in College and a young believer, one of the first Christian books I read was Bill Bright’s Witnessing without Fear. It was a helpful introduction to evangelism and the call of disciples to be witnesses for Jesus. Just beginning to understand what it...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
The Four DNA Elements You Must Understand About Your Church
The Four DNA Elements You Must Understand About Your Church

The Four DNA Elements You Must Understand About Your Church

Every local church is one of a kind. Each one is unique. There are an estimated 350,000 churches in the United States. They are all distinct and unlike any other. You can find churches with similarities based on common beliefs or methods, but no church is exactly...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
The Pain of a Failed Adoption and God’s Grace in the Midst of It
The Pain of a Failed Adoption and God’s Grace in the Midst of It

The Pain of a Failed Adoption and God’s Grace in the Midst of It

The past Fall and even early Winter have been a very difficult and trying season for my wife and me. Early in the Fall, we were asked if we would be willing to adopt a child. Of the two times, we’ve been asked to adopt a child; this past one hurt the most as we...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
4 Personal Elements to Help Your Preaching Connect to the Lost & Unchurched
4 Personal Elements to Help Your Preaching Connect to the Lost & Unchurched

4 Personal Elements to Help Your Preaching Connect to the Lost & Unchurched

Preaching matters. No matter how many new fads try to eliminate or minimize preaching, here it stands. From the prophets of the Old Testament to Jesus, to the apostles in the book of Acts, preaching has been a vehicle for God’s redemptive purposes. Preaching isn’t...

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FeaturedIssues in the Church
How Pastors Can Help Their People Find Their Calling
How Pastors Can Help Their People Find Their Calling

How Pastors Can Help Their People Find Their Calling

I remember sitting in church hearing sermon after sermon on the importance of giving it all up to serve God. These were great convicting sermons God used to melt my heart toward him. But I never knew exactly what God’s will looked like, specifically. Did it mean...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Being Theologically Intentional: The Importance of the Sunday Morning Gathering
Being Theologically Intentional: The Importance of the Sunday Morning Gathering

Being Theologically Intentional: The Importance of the Sunday Morning Gathering

From Monday through Saturday we are beat up by the world. We are persuaded to believe that our lives ought to be consumed with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). The week has the ability to take its toll on us. This...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Three Ways to Receive a Compliment While Giving God Glory
Three Ways to Receive a Compliment While Giving God Glory

Three Ways to Receive a Compliment While Giving God Glory

Receiving compliments can be awkward. This is especially true if you are in ministry. While you want to be appreciated for the work you do, you also want to avoid taking the glory. Nobody wants to be guilty of—or experience in—what Herod did in Acts 12 when the...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
A Greater Vision for Your Church: Pastoral internships
A Greater Vision for Your Church: Pastoral internships

A Greater Vision for Your Church: Pastoral internships

As a local church, dare to think beyond yourself. There is everything right about encouraging or inviting people to your church services, and promoting such outreach events as a summer VBS. In fact, it is good and right to focus on ministry in our own little...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Why You Should Become a Knowledgable AND Wise Leader
Why You Should Become a Knowledgable AND Wise Leader

Why You Should Become a Knowledgable AND Wise Leader

I pastor a fast-growing church, and our staff is incredible. We are young. The median age of our staff is 31 years old, and if it wasn’t for our 52-year-old family pastor—who is a rockstar, but busts the curve—our average would be 29 years old. Having a young staff...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Three Emotions Pastors Bear Which Are Unknown to Most Congregants
Three Emotions Pastors Bear Which Are Unknown to Most Congregants

Three Emotions Pastors Bear Which Are Unknown to Most Congregants

Pastors are like ogres. No, we are not hideous monsters who smell, at least not all of us. We are like ogres because we have layers. My Shrek reference and a poor attempt at humor are to lead into a discussion about the emotions pastors often feel. As I seek to...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Your First and Most Important Labor: Communion with Christ
Your First and Most Important Labor: Communion with Christ

Your First and Most Important Labor: Communion with Christ

Most of the people I know in ministry are exceptionally busy people. Yes, there are some who are lazy and idle, but they are like overweight distant runners or pale lifeguards – rare. The majority of those in ministry are usually running after more things than time...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Platforms or Stewardship: The Issue of Influence in a Digital Age
Platforms or Stewardship: The Issue of Influence in a Digital Age

Platforms or Stewardship: The Issue of Influence in a Digital Age

The other day I was talking with a good friend at my local church about my writing and ministry in general. We were talking about celebrity pastors and the tendency with this approach to pastoral success for them to fall from their ministry position. I made the...

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Issues in the Church
Bite Marks, Open Wounds, and Lasting Scars: Recovering from Church Hurt and Disappointment
Bite Marks, Open Wounds, and Lasting Scars: Recovering from Church Hurt and Disappointment

Bite Marks, Open Wounds, and Lasting Scars: Recovering from Church Hurt and Disappointment

“Give yourself to the Church. You that are members of the Church have not found it perfect and I hope that you feel almost glad that you have not. If I had never joined a Church till I had found one that was perfect, I would never have joined one at all! And the...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Sin, Discipline, and Not Being the Next Pastor Who Falls
Sin, Discipline, and Not Being the Next Pastor Who Falls

Sin, Discipline, and Not Being the Next Pastor Who Falls

Sin is no respecter of persons. It does not care what your name is, what your title is, how successful you are, or how large your platform is. It’s not impressed with how long you have been in ministry, how big your church is, or what degrees you have hanging on...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Ministry and Legitimacy: Understanding the Place of the Local Church for Ministry
Ministry and Legitimacy: Understanding the Place of the Local Church for Ministry

Ministry and Legitimacy: Understanding the Place of the Local Church for Ministry

One of my main concerns with writing posts for myself is that my writing ministry will take me away from my ministry at my local church. I currently serve in a variety of ways at my local church: from preaching at many of the Men’s events, to teaching the Wednesday...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
The Making of a ‘Theologian: Twelve Ways to Grow in Grace and Knowledge of the Lord
The Making of a ‘Theologian: Twelve Ways to Grow in Grace and Knowledge of the Lord

The Making of a ‘Theologian: Twelve Ways to Grow in Grace and Knowledge of the Lord

Awhile back, I wrote a blogpost, “Theology is not Just for Theologians.” Fairly recently Edmond Sanganyado ran a post (“Becoming a Better Theologian“) on the same subject, where he queried more than twenty theologians on how to grow in knowing and loving God (i.e.,...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Four Things to Look for When Listening to a Sermon
Four Things to Look for When Listening to a Sermon

Four Things to Look for When Listening to a Sermon

Disclaimer: I don’t mean for the title of this blog post to sound so self-serving. “I want this, I want that, me, me and more me.” I’m not coming at it from that angle. I’m coming (hopefully) from the angle of Scripture and what we ought to want from the preaching...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Six Important Reasons Church Is Important, Especially If You Think You Know It All Already
Six Important Reasons Church Is Important, Especially If You Think You Know It All Already

Six Important Reasons Church Is Important, Especially If You Think You Know It All Already

If you're like me, you grew up going to church every time the doors were open. As I grew older, and became more involved in ministry and began studying in Bible college, I likely went to church or chapel services 7-10 times a week for years. Since graduation, as...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Six Ways God Uses Difficult People in the Life of His People
Six Ways God Uses Difficult People in the Life of His People

Six Ways God Uses Difficult People in the Life of His People

Dealing with difficult people in a Christ-like manner may be one of the most difficult ways to live out the Gospel. Difficult, because this requires patience, something I struggle to display. It has been said that if you pray for patience, God will indulge you with...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Four Reasons You Should Read and Preach the Old Testament
Four Reasons You Should Read and Preach the Old Testament

Four Reasons You Should Read and Preach the Old Testament

“Long ago, at many time and in many ways, God spoke to our father by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through who also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Six Ways Pastors Can Equip Churches to Engage Cultural Issues
Six Ways Pastors Can Equip Churches to Engage Cultural Issues

Six Ways Pastors Can Equip Churches to Engage Cultural Issues

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Five Helpful Considerations for Sermon Preparation
Five Helpful Considerations for Sermon Preparation

Five Helpful Considerations for Sermon Preparation

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Nine Characteristics of a Healthy Christian Who Represents Jesus Well
Nine Characteristics of a Healthy Christian Who Represents Jesus Well

Nine Characteristics of a Healthy Christian Who Represents Jesus Well

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Handling Grumbling and Critique from the Congregation
Handling Grumbling and Critique from the Congregation

Handling Grumbling and Critique from the Congregation

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Brotherly Affection Protects the Purity of One Another
Brotherly Affection Protects the Purity of One Another

Brotherly Affection Protects the Purity of One Another

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
W.E.L.C.O.M.E. Seven Good Actions Towards a Better Welcome
W.E.L.C.O.M.E. Seven Good Actions Towards a Better Welcome

W.E.L.C.O.M.E. Seven Good Actions Towards a Better Welcome

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Battling Discouragement and Depression with the Gospel
Battling Discouragement and Depression with the Gospel

Battling Discouragement and Depression with the Gospel

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Applying the Doctrine of the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture
Applying the Doctrine of the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture

Applying the Doctrine of the Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Logs, Splinters and Specks: Seeing People Through the Eyes of God’s Grace
Logs, Splinters and Specks: Seeing People Through the Eyes of God’s Grace

Logs, Splinters and Specks: Seeing People Through the Eyes of God’s Grace

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Preventing Poverty of the Soul Through Bible Intake
Preventing Poverty of the Soul Through Bible Intake

Preventing Poverty of the Soul Through Bible Intake

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Biblical Doctrine: The Lifeblood of the Christian Life
Biblical Doctrine: The Lifeblood of the Christian Life

Biblical Doctrine: The Lifeblood of the Christian Life

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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Issues in the ChurchFeatured
Encountering the Gospel in the ICU: The Importance of Visiting the Sick and Afflicted
Encountering the Gospel in the ICU: The Importance of Visiting the Sick and Afflicted

Encountering the Gospel in the ICU: The Importance of Visiting the Sick and Afflicted

Editor’s note: The purpose of this series is to write on "Issues in the Church" that either aren't talked about, ignored entirely, or that we want to contribute to the discussion on. Our goal with this series is to help our readers think through these issues from a...

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FeaturedThe Gospel and the Church
Encouragement to Search Committees and Pastoral Candidates
Encouragement to Search Committees and Pastoral Candidates

Encouragement to Search Committees and Pastoral Candidates

In the first article I provided some examples for search committees to consider when giving feedback to pastor candidates, especially those areas of opportunity for growth. My reason for writing that article is to help both parties think through how to treat one...

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FeaturedThe Gospel and the Church
Areas of Opportunity for Pastoral Search Committees
Areas of Opportunity for Pastoral Search Committees

Areas of Opportunity for Pastoral Search Committees

Over the past three years since graduating from seminary, I’ve been actively pursuing pastoral ministry positions. During this time, I’ve been interviewed as a candidate for pastoral positions at a number of churches, and my experience for the most part with search...

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FeaturedThe Gospel and the Church
Living Pure Lives In Light of Our New Identity in Christ
Living Pure Lives In Light of Our New Identity in Christ

Living Pure Lives In Light of Our New Identity in Christ

Savor Your Security (Ephesians 5:5–7) Though we gain strength for the Christian life by savoring our purity and savoring our identity, we ultimately must face the dangers of sin. If we do not recognize the danger, then we are not prepared to live the holy lives God...

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FeaturedThe Gospel and the Church
Speaking Maturely, Wisely and Modeling Christlike Behavior
Speaking Maturely, Wisely and Modeling Christlike Behavior

Speaking Maturely, Wisely and Modeling Christlike Behavior

We Are All Dependent (4:15–16) For this opus to echo the majesty of Christ’s music, every believer must do his or her part. While we are the same in some ways and different in other ways, in order to fulfill Christ’s purposes we also must remember that we are all...

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FeaturedThe Gospel and the Church
Five Reasons We Need To Hear and Believe the Gospel Is Enough EveryDay
Five Reasons We Need To Hear and Believe the Gospel Is Enough EveryDay

Five Reasons We Need To Hear and Believe the Gospel Is Enough EveryDay

“What you really need is good news,” I told him. He didn’t understand. We had met time and time again and unbeknownst to him, he was trying to perform his way into the kingdom. “You can’t do that,” I exhorted, “otherwise you miss the entire point of Jesus and his...

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FeaturedThe Gospel and the ChurchThe Gospel and the Ministry
Five Resolutions for a Christian Communicator
Five Resolutions for a Christian Communicator

Five Resolutions for a Christian Communicator

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the calling of a Christian communicator. This could be your duties as a writer, whether blogs or books or articles. Or it could be your task as a preacher or teacher, whether in small group, pulpit ministry, or classroom. To...

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Contemporary CultureFeaturedThe Gospel and the Church
Three Ways to Pray and Support Persecuted Christians
Three Ways to Pray and Support Persecuted Christians

Three Ways to Pray and Support Persecuted Christians

From Asia to Europe, Africa to Latin America, Christians are facing persecution for what they believe. We live in an increasingly hostile culture that no longer values the foundation upon which it was built—that is biblical Christianity. As I have been thinking and...

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Church
Book Review – Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today
Book Review – Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today

Book Review – Expositional Preaching: How We Speak God’s Word Today

Dozens of preaching books come out every year. Before and during seminary I read at least two dozen books on preaching. I’ve found that most preaching books tend towards focusing on how to explain and apply the text or deliver the sermon. Few books combine the best...

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Church
Book Review – Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive
Book Review – Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive

Book Review – Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive

Churches are dying every day. That isn’t news you’ll read in the latest issue of Time, national or local newspapers but the fact is many churches are dying every day. Many pastors are leaving the ministry every month and every year. What is the Church to do? Should...

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Church
Book Review – The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ
Book Review – The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ

Book Review – The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ

While one of the most encouraging trends in recent years has been the resurgence in conversation on the gospel, what has been needed is a book that looks at how the gospel impacts the local church and it’s culture. Thankfully such a book exists now in The Gospel:...

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Church
Book Review – Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion
Book Review – Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion

Book Review – Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion

One of the central issues in the Church and one that we here at Servants of Grace are passionate about is the nature, purpose, and mission of the Church. We spent a whole month looking at this issue and will continue to look at it in the future as the need arises....

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The Gospel and the Church
Para-Church Youth Ministry Cannot Replace the Local Church
Para-Church Youth Ministry Cannot Replace the Local Church

Para-Church Youth Ministry Cannot Replace the Local Church

I benefited from several para-church groups as a teenager, and I’m grateful for the men and women who serve as leaders and volunteers of those groups for the sake of Christ and his kingdom. Over the years, however, I have become increasingly aware of my...

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Church
Book Review – I Am A Church Member: Discovering The Attitude that Makes the Difference
Book Review – I Am A Church Member: Discovering The Attitude that Makes the Difference

Book Review – I Am A Church Member: Discovering The Attitude that Makes the Difference

One of the central issues of our day when it comes to the doctrine of the Church is interestingly enough, church membership. Many Christians today struggle with the idea of becoming or even being members of the Church. For some Christians just merely attending...

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Church
Book Review – Transformational Discipleship: How People Grow
Book Review – Transformational Discipleship: How People Grow

Book Review – Transformational Discipleship: How People Grow

Discipleship is a topic that is much talked about but very rarely understood in the evangelical world today. In the early 1990’s and 2000’s it was popular to talk about discipleship as a conversation divorced from doctrine and theology. When discipleship is taken...

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Church
Church Series: Engaging one another in a manner worthy of the Gospel
Church Series: Engaging one another in a manner worthy of the Gospel

Church Series: Engaging one another in a manner worthy of the Gospel

With the rise of the internet have come many challenges to the Church. Before the internet, believers were relegated to sharing about events going on in the Church between one another at Church, on the phone, or if they met for a meal. Now Christians can hop on...

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Church
Church Series: When to leave your local church but not the Church
Church Series: When to leave your local church but not the Church

Church Series: When to leave your local church but not the Church

In this series on the Church, we’ve been writing about a great deal of topics that hopefully are relevant and helpful to you as you think through the importance of the local Church for your Christian life and ministry. As I’ve thought about the Church, one topic...

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Church
Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church
Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church

Church Series: Four Steps to Ensure You’ll Have No Local Church

Before I begin, there is an operative assumption in this post. It is that a fitting local church home should offer three non-negotiable elements (sine qua nons). Here are those three sine qua nons: a local church home should offer consistently faithful expository...

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Church
Church Series: Church Discipline and the Mercy of the Good Shepherd
Church Series: Church Discipline and the Mercy of the Good Shepherd

Church Series: Church Discipline and the Mercy of the Good Shepherd

The Church is the only God-ordained institution that will last for eternity. In a sense, that brings a great amount of legitimacy and authority to the church, that no other institution has. Ironically, I think there is more legitimacy and authority than most...

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Church
Church Series: What does it mean to “one another” in the New Testament?
Church Series: What does it mean to “one another” in the New Testament?

Church Series: What does it mean to “one another” in the New Testament?

God created us to be in relationship with Himself and with others.[Tweet "In eternity there will only be two things other than God: His Word and His children."] If this is the case, it should challenge us to seek more God-honoring relationships now. There are over...

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Church
Church Series: Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters to the Community
Church Series: Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters to the Community

Church Series: Why Your Spiritual Growth Matters to the Community

On May 12, 2013, I preached a Mother’s Day message from 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9. Paul compares discipleship to the actual practice of a mother nursing her child. In this, the mother is a source of life for her child. So it is that we as [Tweet "Christians, must be...

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Church
Church Series: Growing Together Towards Love and Good Deeds
Church Series: Growing Together Towards Love and Good Deeds

Church Series: Growing Together Towards Love and Good Deeds

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 In Hebrews 10:19-25, the author makes...

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Church
Church Series: Why Going to Church on Sunday is An Act of War
Church Series: Why Going to Church on Sunday is An Act of War

Church Series: Why Going to Church on Sunday is An Act of War

Okay, so maybe that title is a bit melodramatic. But I wanted to get your attention, because I think faithful, weekly attendance at your local gospel-preaching Church is important. It’s important for all the reasons we know, right? To hear the Word preached. To...

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Church
Church Series: 5 Reasons We Should Gather in Local Churches
Church Series: 5 Reasons We Should Gather in Local Churches

Church Series: 5 Reasons We Should Gather in Local Churches

The belief that professing Christians should gather together as members of a local Church is waning in many sectors of Christianity today. Some feel that faith should not be “institutionalized” and should be a private matter between individuals, not something to be...

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The Gospel and the Church
Loving Christ, Loving the Church: A Response to Donald Miller
Loving Christ, Loving the Church: A Response to Donald Miller

Loving Christ, Loving the Church: A Response to Donald Miller

I was recently at the optometrist getting my eye exam. After the examination I got my new glasses and prescription sunglasses that my wife and I had picked out a few days before my eye appointment. As I sat in the chair chatting with the lady who helped fit my new...

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The Gospel and the Church
Controversy and Faithfulness: Why I don’t Speak on every issue
Controversy and Faithfulness: Why I don’t Speak on every issue

Controversy and Faithfulness: Why I don’t Speak on every issue

In my early twenties I was often asked to give my opinion on a variety of topics. Most of the time I, humbly submit, I had no idea what I was even talking about. From my teens till the present I’ve been a leader both in the church and outside the Church which has...

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Church
Book Review – The Pastor’s Family: Shepherding Your Family through the Challenges of Pastoral Ministry

Book Review – The Pastor’s Family: Shepherding Your Family through the Challenges of Pastoral Ministry

Many pastors face an incredible amount of pressure to do anything but apply the Gospel to their lives. Pastoral ministry is demanding because it involves so many tasks that all demand an equal level of attention. Knowing how to prioritize tasks is critically...

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The Gospel and the Church
The Biblical Model of a Pastor as Shepherd vs. The Pastor as CEO
The Biblical Model of a Pastor as Shepherd vs. The Pastor as CEO

The Biblical Model of a Pastor as Shepherd vs. The Pastor as CEO

In seminary, I took several pastoral ministry and Christian leadership classes. In those classes, the emphasis was more on programs than on understanding the task and responsibility of the Pastor or elders. Granted, programs have an important place in the Church in...

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The Gospel and the Church
Reversing the Accidents: Trent and the “Separated Brethren”
Reversing the Accidents: Trent and the “Separated Brethren”

Reversing the Accidents: Trent and the “Separated Brethren”

Many Protestants today wonder how they could be considered “anathema” by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century and “separated brethren” by Vatican II in the twentieth century.  We hear this idea expressed often: “Until Rome rescinds Trent, we are not in...

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The Gospel and the Church
Can We Build the Church By Being Against the Church?
Can We Build the Church By Being Against the Church?

Can We Build the Church By Being Against the Church?

It's hard to read a Christian book or blog post or to hear a sermon without hearing some overt or implied criticism of some part of the evangelical Church as a whole. That's not even counting the Twitter feeds of Christians. I'm reading a terrific book right on the...

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