I just returned from a fantastic time and trip to Ukraine on behalf of ServeNow, the mission organization I lead as President. I thought I would share a few personal highlights of this trip as a means of conveying the needs we saw, but especially the ways God is working in transforming real people’s lives and hearts in Ukraine. … More Ukraine Mission Trip 2019
Jesus is not some outside observer of our suffering. God is not a distant God removed from the pain of human injustice, suffering, abuse and trauma. On the cross, he absorbed all our personal and collective pain. Through the resurrection, Jesus overcame and rose to new life by which we can find healing for our broken and shattered lives as well. … More Abuse & The Cross: 3 Powerful Truths
The church is no place for a “good ole boy’s” network to thrive. The church is a place for all people, of all backgrounds, to come together as a diverse people, around the person of Jesus Christ, the only one worthy of our unconditional loyalty and obedience. The age of celebrity churches and leaders needs to end if we ever hope to truly be a healthy people and credible witness again to a world that is watching with deserved skepticism. … More “Celebrity” Church Culture Needs to End
Let me just come right out and say something that this article is about: leaders and churches need to review their theology on mercy, justice, repentance, forgiveness, church discipline and trust. They need to stop enabling perpetrators of injustice and sexual predators while doing nothing serious to protect the abused and vulnerable. … More Enabling Abusers or Protecting the Vulnerable?
Part of the issue with our anxieties is also our expectations. When I am anxious about something, I want the cause of it to be resolved. I want solutions. I want my circumstances to immediately change or troubles to go away. I want his provision now for what I may actually only need later, which means I am really wanting to find security and certainty in the provision instead of the Provider. However, this is not what Jesus promised us. He has however, promised us his peace in the midst of situations that are not ideal as we pray. … More Anxiety Antidotes
In our need to explain God we have failed to experience God. In our need to understand the Trinity, the Lord’s Supper, Miracles etc; we have failed to receive, rest in, and be comfortable with the supernatural. We have reduced the Sovereign unpredictability of God to religious formula’s. We have replaced relationship with God with principles. We have it all figured out instead of daily admitting our need for God and trusting in him to lead us. In doing so we have lost a healthy fear, reverence, awe and dependency on God. … More We Don’t Need to Figure it All Out
Over the past four years I have been traveling around the world and the US with the mission organization I lead called ServeNow. It has been awesome, exhausting, inspiring and exasperating! I have learned much, my faith has been stretched, my patience tried, leadership enriched, and eyes opened even more to the vibrancy of faith around the world. I have been humbled by the sacrifice, service, passion, compassion and joy of fellow believers and co-labors in other nations and many generous people here at home. But, I have it on my heart to share five insights I think the church in the US is in desperate need of being challenged by and encouraged with. I pray this article could be used for both those purposes. … More 5 Things the US Church Needs to Realize
Even if there were strict abortion laws, people would find a way, because the problem goes deeper than laws; it’s a problem of the heart. And on top of this, it is a problem of real demonic evil. … More A Perspective on Abortion
The Christian faith is not a blind, irrational, subjective faith devoid of reason, reality and evidence. As Christians, we should not turn our minds off and fail to engage the culture around us and questions people have. In fact, we are commanded to be ready to give “the reason” for the hope that we have. This is called “apologetics”; not because we apologize for our faith, but because we are to defend our faith with credible reasons for why we believe. True Christianity does not fly in the face of reason; rather reason supports the claims of Scripture! … More A Reason For Your Faith
“After 10 years of research, LifeWay states two things about maturity: 1. Bible engagement is the #1 spiritual discipline for growth. 2. Bible engagement affects every other discipline. People who engage the Bible give more, go more, & evangelize more. Read the Bible this year!” -Ed Stezter, Christians in the Age of Outrage … More Bible Engagement
Jesus has called us as believers to bear fruit for his glory. We are expected to be effective and productive in our witness of him in this world. But bearing fruit and being effective requires a deep commitment and being intentional. It doesn’t just “happen” without effort, discipline and focus on growing in the very character traits Peter highlights above. … More Becoming Effective and Productive
Faith becomes most real when trust has to be exercised in the midst of doubt, not because of lack of doubt. … More Unfulfilled Expectations
So, what’s the deal with this promise of peace on earth? Why after so many years, if Jesus truly is the Prince of Peace, has peace not come or stayed? And it’s not just wars around the world between nations, it’s the fighting, conflicts and destructive wake of broken relationships we have all experienced and been contributors towards. Has this promise failed? Is Jesus who He claimed to be? … More Peace on Earth?
The gift of Christmas is not just the historical event of the birth of Christ. It is the unfolding of the promise of God’s presence in our lives as we trust in Christ. This promise of his presence is fulfilled in the person of the Holy Spirit to all who believe. Yet how often do you think of the Holy Spirit? … More The Gift of the Holy Spirit
When you think about it, no one has suffered greater abuse, trauma, rejection or injustice than Jesus. Having committed no wrong-doing of his own; he was wrongly condemned to the horrors of crucifixion. Having lived a sinless life, he was sentenced to death on a cross. If anyone ever had the right to take upon themselves the identity of “victim” it was Jesus. And yet, this is not the identity Jesus took for himself … More Victim or Victor?
One of the devil’s main tactics is distraction. Often subtle, but extremely effective. And I am growing more and more convinced he is succeeding in distracting our current generation. We are daily inundated and over-stimulated with an unprecedented amount of information and sensory overload through technology, entertainment, activities, social media and media in general. We are a distracted generation…with studies showing an attention span that is less than a goldfish! … More Distracted & Over-Stimulated
There seems to be on ongoing trend and growing problem in the church world that I believe needs addressed. It is something that flies in the face of the very message of the Gospel and way of life we are called to model as representatives of Jesus and brothers and sisters in Christ. The issue I am writing about is how easy it is for us to get offended and walk away from relationships, friendships and churches, instead doing the painful but biblical work of seeking reconciliation … More Offense & Reconciliation
It has been a while since I have written a blog article. A major reason has been because of needing to prioritize other things in my life and schedule. Another reason however, is a sense of despair in wondering what difference it really makes in a culture that is so bitterly and politically divided on nearly every issue. There are a thousand voices out there all trying to speak to these issues, an endless stream of information, and yet all I see is it either re-enforcing previous held positions or entrenching people deeper in their views that they are right and the other side is wrong… … More Division & Outrage
The battle of the Christian life is a battle to believe that God is indeed good, his word and promises are true, and he is not holding out on us…no matter our circumstances and regardless of any situation we ever go through in life. … More Battling to Believe
The key to being used/blessed by God is the humility found in a person of faith who knows their desperate need of, and continually receives, God’s abundant undeserved grace in their lives. … More Amazing Grace…
He knew that the very men he had poured three years of his life into, were about to abandon him. He knew one was going to betray him. He knew the “rock” (Peter) was about to deny even knowing him…yet He loved them to the end. The question is how? … More The Messiness of Relationships & Ministry
Recently, I found a book titled “The Lost of Reading Nature’s Signs.” While not intended to correlate specifically with “biblical truth” there was nonetheless some fascinating spiritual insight and life lessons I wanted to write about in this blog article (and perhaps subsequent one’s), that I hope you enjoy and will find edifying! … More Lessons from Nature
What is your dream?
What prayers of others can you be the answer to?
What is keeping you from doing something, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem? … More Being the Answer to others Prayers
This is what I am seeing I often miss about the cross. I like knowing I am forgiven, but am I too willing to forgive? I like knowing that despite being unworthy, Christ shows me undeserved grace; but am I willing to extend that grace to those in my life not “worthy” of it? I like knowing there is mercy for my sin; but am I willing to show mercy when others sin against me? I find it moving to know the length to which Christ went that I might have peace with him, but what length am I willing to go to to work towards peace with others? … More What we Miss about the Cross
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. -Jesus, Matthew 10:42 … More Smarter than Jesus?
If anything is needed in our lives and culture today it is likewise men and women of Christ-like character. This is in fact God’s one and only purpose for our lives as Christians, that we become like Jesus. Further, when I consider my biggest regrets in life and ministry, they all revolve around a breakdown in walking in godly character. … More The Power of Godly Character
In America, we have made everything about being “right” that we have failed to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15-16). In America, we have made our focus political rather than the person of Christ. In America, we have succumbed to fear, anger and outrage with those who disagree with us or hold a different worldview, instead of living a life of hope, joy, respect and gentleness. In America, we have failed to show this generation the goodness and grace of God by our attitudes and rhetoric. … More Authentic Christianity
God can use anyone who will allow him to use them. He will use whatever “tools” you have or can find, no matter how “primitive” or imperfect they may seem. He will use even you, no matter how imperfect you may be! … More A Jawbone of a Donkey
What if the biggest perceived inconveniences and interruptions in your life are really Divine opportunities? … More Inconvenience or Divine Opportunity?
But until we turn to to the Lord and keep our gaze fixed on him, we are blinded to his beauty. His glory is veiled or hidden from us until we look to him in faith. But when we do, we discover the never ending awe and wonder of who He is. This in turn changes us, as God’s Spirit goes to work in making us more like Jesus; producing a life of joyful obedience and eternal worship of the Living God who alone is Worthy (Revelation 4). … More The Life-Transforming Glory of Jesus
When we are seeking ideal environments, we will end up disappointed and disillusioned. But when we stay focused on the faithfulness of God, we will not falter in times of trouble and trial. … More Myth of Perfect verse The Perfect One
The heavens are pointing us to a reality greater than we can possibly imagine or comprehend. They are speaking to us of the vastness of God, the promises of God and the glory of God. They are pointing us to something (or more like someone!) beyond ourselves, beyond our own little worlds, beyond our “small” problems and even beyond the universe itself. It is speaking to us of the faithfulness of God to fulfill every good promise in our lives. It is speaking to us of an eternally glorious God; a God of beauty and delight who alone can satisfy the thirst of our hearts and longing of our hearts. … More The Heavens are Speaking
I was in a meeting recently where several people were sharing their efforts in different arena’s. One man shared about his efforts to address homelessness, another spoke of prison ministry and rehabilitation, and yet another missions work around the world. There was one more who spoke about political issues.
Want to take a guess who got the biggest applause and only standing ovation that day? … More The Problem in the American Church
If anyone should be showing hospitality, regardless of political beliefs, it is Christians who claim to follow Jesus; the One who Himself was a refugee, forced to flee a bloodbath as a vulnerable child, and whose people have often been refugees, persecuted and forced to flee their homes. We are even called “aliens” and “strangers”, as this world in it’s present fallen form is not our true home. Our true citizenship is in heaven! We too are “refugee’s” looking and longing for our true eternal home. … More Welcoming the Refugee
But God has one purpose for my life and yours and every other Christian in every other generation and every generation to come, until Christ comes back and we are perfected. It is a singular purpose that is the same for every one of us. … More God’s Purpose For Your Life
Wrestling with what is wrong, must turn into working for what is right. Anger must turn to action that brings forth positive change. Bitterness must be replaced with mercy and grace. Being hurt must lead to becoming more compassionate and sensitive to others hurting or feeling unnoticed. And being upset about all the “un-Christ-like” Christians out there must lead me to becoming more like Christ myself not less. … More An Honest Wrestling: Part 2
This week I prayed an honest prayer in front of my staff. It was a little unnerving for me and I think uncomfortable for them. In that prayer, I was wrestling with God over an issue (without coming to a definite resolution) and wrestling with my emotions in a rather raw way that might not have sounded very “Christian.” Normally, I would save those “darker” prayers for private, but to be honest, I’m kind of tired of what seems like an only “positive” (and hence somewhat superficial or one-sided) Christianity in public. … More An Honest Wrestling: Part 1
Joy. Who isn’t looking for true, inner, and lasting joy? From an early age I have battled depression. I could also say I find myself deeply frustrated many times when things don’t seem to be going as I hope or happening as quickly as I might want. Joy is something that can seem elusive, but could it be because we mistake real internal joy with fleeting happiness? And more so, if that is true, how can we not only find, but remain filled with joy regardless of circumstances? … More Five Keys to Real Joy
But may I also propose that light can be blinding and that there is more to God than what His “light” might reveal? What if I told you that God, who is light, also dwells in deep darkness and has an air of mystery and unpredictability about him that should excite us and encourage us to want to know him in a deeper way? … More The Mystery of God in Deep Darkness
It is the presence of God that brings fullness of joy and eternal pleasures. It’s his person that satisfies and eternally thrills the human heart. Heaven is not boring because God is infinitely fascinating! God is not a cosmic kill joy, but the source of all true and lasting joy. … More 3 Characteristics of Heaven
Contentment. Isn’t that something everyone seems to be chasing but very few of us find? Oh, we have our moments of contentment, but who of us has learned to be content no matter our circumstances? … More Learning the Secret of Contentment
Pastor appreciation month is approaching. This concept started back in the 1990’s by Focus on the Family, largely because of all the pastor “burn-out” stories that were accumulating. Having been a pastor myself for six years, I can attest to the fact that being a pastor is can be one of the most emotionally draining … More Be Kind to Your Pastor
In this post, I’d like to share some common mistakes when it comes to thinking about missions…and what solutions there might be. This might be a bit controversial or offensive to some, but I do actually hope it is thought-provoking when it comes to mission engagement. … More Ten Mistakes in Missions
Where is God? What is He trying to tell us? Doesn’t He care? Why doesn’t He stop these things? Is He powerless? Unloving? Is it evidence that there is no God? These are real questions people have. These are real feelings people deeply feel. And Christians should not shy away from this issue. In fact, we often wrestle with these questions and feelings as much as anyone else. … More A World of Suffering
I’ve touched the darkness that lives in between the light. Seen the worst of this world, and the best. Seen the terrible things men do to each other in the name of hatred, and the lengths they’ll go to for love. Now I know. Only love can save this world. So I stay. I fight, and I give… for the world I know can be. This is my mission, now. Forever.” -Wonder Woman … More Restoring the Song
“What makes your heart sing?” -Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs asked the right question. The word “dream” in Old English originally meant “joy” or “music.” A dream is a song, a melody that delights the heart. It makes your heart sing. … More A Melody From Heaven
Your neighbor is anyone, at anytime, anywhere, that you come across and see in need. The question is not who is your neighbor, but will you be a neighbor to those in need, even at your own personal expense? … More Who is My Neighbor?
When we begin to delight ourselves in God and his heart becomes our heart; when our prayers align with his will and He pours out His Spirit upon us and shows us what He has in mind for us, amazing things begin to happen! God calls us to good works done in His Name, by His power, just as Jesus went around doing good where there was need and his Father was working. And this can happen to any of us and all of us! … More Dreams and Visions
God wants to do a new thing in your life. More than that, He delights in and finds great pleasure in doing new things! Did you ever stop to think about the power and joy of that reality? We hear and use the word “new” all the time, but take a moment to let the definition of the word “new” sink into your spirit in a fresh way. The word new speaks of bringing into existence something that has not existed before, or that is discovered for the first time. … More A New Thing
And he said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing—the utterly detestable things the Israelites are doing here, things that will drive me far from my sanctuary? But you will see things that are even more detestable.” -Ezekiel 8:6 … More Where is the Conviction?