Several years ago, Michael Hyatt (former CEO of Thomas Nelson) responded to a rumor on his blog. In the post, Michael wrote,
“According to the most recent rumor—which I’ve now heard twice—we [Thomas Nelson] are planning a layoff for June 19th … There is absolutely no truth to it … If you hear this rumor, I would be grateful if you would help me short-circuit it. You can tell ’em it’s not true, and you heard it directly from me.”
I recall when this rumor was circulating and was saddened (and surprised) at how many Christians believed it without going straight to Michael to see if it was true or false. Here’s another example that’s much more national.[Continue Reading…]
According to experts, manipulation is the exercise of undue influence through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the intention to seize control over another human being.
It’s important to distinguish between healthy persuasion and psychological manipulation. Healthy persuasion seeks to influence someone to do or believe something that’s for their benefit. Manipulation seeks to influence someone to do or believe something that’s not for their benefit, but for the benefit of the manipulator.
Was Paul of Tarsus a manipulator? Not at all. He was certainly persuasive and employed savvy, socio-rhetorical methods in his letters to influence his readers. The motivation, however, was always for their benefit.[Continue Reading…]
We’ve all seen it. The belligerent smackdowns where Christians take the gloves off with fellow believers over doctrinal, theological, and political differences. Many of them can’t walk away from a fight or “lose.” Instead, some pour coals on an already roaring fire. Others bring in the gasoline trucks.
It’s time to recover the art of “agreeing to disagree.”
The enemy gloats when God’s children are at one another’s throats over their petty disagreements. Forfeiting a relationship over a disagreement effectively dismantles the words of Jesus,
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
That they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me … John 17:23
John Wesley was the first to put the phrase “agree to disagree” in print in the 18th century (applause for John). George Whitefield was his sparring partner, and Wesley attributes the phrase to him. Here’s the quote:
“If you agree with me, well: if not, we can, as Mr. Whitefield used to say, agree to disagree.”[Continue Reading…]
If you’ve spent any time in evangelical Christianity, you’ve been exposed to legalism in one form or another. And as a result, you struggle with guilt. The irony here is Jesus Christ destroyed guilt by His death, so no Christian should ever have to live with it. (I’ve explained the difference between guilt and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit through the conscience elsewhere.)
Psychologists rightly tell us that guilt is the most powerful motivator in the universe. Even greater than sex, money, and power. That’s why it’s a favorite tool of preachers. In fact, most of the pastors I’ve talked with have admitted their own constant struggle with guilt.
This is one of the reasons why so many of them lay guilt trips on God’s people. It’s because they themselves are living under a pile of guilt. But thank God, there is freedom. Freedom from guilt is one of the first steps to increasing your love for the Lord.
Last year I spoke in a conference called SPIRITUAL GRAFFITI: Galatians in 3D. Throughout the conference I declared war on legalism (in all of its forms, shades, and degrees). The Lord met us and many were set free from guilt. I’ve included the first session two sessions for you to listen to along with another message from my EXQUISITE PASSION Master Class.
Be Your Most Productive in 2017: For those of you who want to be more productive in 2017, my PROLIFIC productivity, creativity, and goal-setting course is available all month. It’s made a significant difference in the lives of those who have taken it. Check it out here.[Continue Reading…]
I’ve decided to make this my last blog post for 2016. With Christmas only weeks away, I figure I’d be writing in vain. People are usually AWOL during the last two weeks of December. So you can expect my next article to be in your inbox on the morning of Thursday, January 5th, 2017.
Let me leave you with 3 things.
(1) We still don’t have the cover design for my upcoming Titan that will be more radical than Pagan Christianity, but I hope to show it to you in January. I’m more excited about this project than I can describe. I believe you’ll love it. It’s going to be novel, “that I can tell you!”
(2) I want to encourage you to read my article, 3 Strategies for a Life-Changing Year. I believe because it will set you up for a great 2017. And my PROLIFIC goal-setting, productivity/creativity course is available again at the bottom of that article.
(3) My predictions for the coming year:[Continue Reading…]
If you are producing fruit for God’s kingdom, people will judge your intentions. And some of them — tragically — will even be Christians. Two points about this problem.
First: Beware imputing bad motives to the hearts of others, for whenever you do, you simply reveal what’s in your own heart. The piece of saw dust that you perceive in your sister/brother’s eye came from the telephone pole that sits in your own (Matthew 7:1-4).
A person who has pride in their hearts will assign pride to the motives and actions of others. “To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure…” (Titus 1:15).
By contrast, “love thinks no evil” of others (1 Corinthians 13). Those who walk in the Spirit think the best of their siblings in Christ and never presume to judge their intentions.
Second: When someone judges your motives, it’s an opportunity to learn the longsuffering and forbearance of Christ. Learn not to react, defend, or respond. Give the matter to the Lord and He will gain ground in you.
Featured Book – JESUS SPEAKS: Learning to Recognize & Respond to the Lord’s Voice (Hardcover, Thomas Nelson, 2016). “Arrives before Christmas.” ~ Amazon.[Continue Reading…]
As I look at the spiritual landscape of our world today, I’m reminded of a message that I have only delivered twice in my life. The message is called “The Tabernacle of David.” If you’ve never heard it, you can listen to the recording of the first time I ever delivered it. I believe it’s a message for our times, even more so now than when I first spoke it. Go here to give it a listen.
The Lord will not always rescue you when you want Him to. And He certainly will not act according to your timetable every time.
In fact, sometimes He will let you die (metaphorically speaking). He may even wait until you’re quadruply dead and stinking in your tomb before He does anything (think Lazarus).
So when things become black in your life, and there seems to be no way out, your situation has the fingerprints of Jesus Christ all over it.
Chisel it in stone: you can’t have a resurrection without a death. Resurrection is God’s act alone. And that’s why it always brings glory to Him.
Two things to remember during your trial: 1) the Lord is seeking to show you something new about Himself and 2) the lesson you learn is not just for yourself. It’s given to you to help others.
So lean hard on your Lord. Trust Him, yielding, waiting, and seeking, expecting your resurrection. And in time, it will surely come.[Continue Reading…]
The high-voltage political season in the US has got me thinking about smearfests. Jesus of Nazareth was no politician. Yet He was subject to a continuous stream of smears. Here are 11 accusations that were laid at our Lord’s feet during His day:
He was an illegitimate child, a drunkard, a glutton, a false prophet, a deceiver, a blasphemer, mentally ill, demon possessed, a law-breaker [“unbiblical”], Beelzebub [Satan incarnate], and a temple-destroyer.
Strikingly, the Lord never defended Himself against any of these allegations. That’s just how divine life rolls.[Continue Reading…]
In every presidential election, those who cheer for a particular candidate feel like it’s closed curtains on the free world when their candidate loses. Those on the winning side feel the opposite.
Laying that aside, throughout this year’s US election, countless Christians engaged in the same level of anger, vitriolic rhetoric, and political smackdowns in which the unbelieving world engaged. There was little difference save for the words “Jesus” or “God” peppered in.
As I reflect on the kingdom of God, I believe many of us have forgotten who we are and what our citizenship entails. The kingdom to which we belong isn’t reduced to going to heaven when we die. Nor is it trying to make the world a better place by grabbing political power.
The kingdom of God is here right now (though not in fullness). It broke into this realm 2,000 years ago when Jesus of Nazareth — this world’s true Lord — began a divine insurgence. It’s a kingdom that’s not of this world, yet it’s for this world.[Continue Reading…]
DeVern Fromke is the author of Ultimate Intention – a book that revolutionized my understanding of God’s mission when I was in my 20s. Fromke ministered with T. Austin-Sparks, the man who has had the greatest impact on my work. Fromke also ministered with Stephen Kaung, another mentor of mine (and a co-worker to Watchman Nee).
I met Fromke when I was 28. Since then, I’ve made it a priority to keep in regular contact with him via phone, email, and through in-person meetings. I sought him out and made hearing him speak a priority.
One of the saddest things in life is to have the opportunity to be in the presence of greatness, and let it pass by. DeVern Fromke was a great man. And I thank God for seizing every opportunity to sit at his feet and learn from him, even when it was inconvenient. Fromke went to be with the Lord last Friday (October 28th, 2016). And heaven is now richer. But there is a lesson to be learned.[Continue Reading…]