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…]
If you are alive, you’ve noticed. But perhaps this article will give language for it.
We live in a day where there is profound intolerance exercised in the name of tolerance. I call it “the new tolerance.”
It goes something like this.
“If you don’t agree with my beliefs and my value system, then you’re intolerant.”
Which being interpreted means: “In the name of tolerance, I’m intolerant of everyone who doesn’t bow to my values and beliefs.”
“I’m intolerant of everyone except those who agree with me, and in the name of tolerance, I will brand them intolerant.”
What is tolerance?[Continue Reading…]
As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the ekklesia flows out of the inward parts of God. It is a divine organism. It’s not a tradition or a custom. She (and the New Testament describers her as a “she”) is a civilization born out of the unction of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, her members are human and fallen, but she’s divine as well.
This brings us to the subject of fruit. Primarily, “the fruit of the Spirit” as mentioned in Galatians 5.
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
For decades, preachers have been trying to persuade you and me to bear this kind of fruit. But the presupposition behind that persuasion is that we bear the fruit of the Spirit by effort. If you aren’t being patient, kind, gentle, self controlled, etc. you’re just not trying hard enough (so the thinking goes).[Continue Reading…]
The term “quiet time” was coined in the late nineteenth century from the Christian and Missionary Alliance movement. By the 1940s, it replaced the Anglican concept of “the morning watch.” The morning watch focused on prayer requests while the new “quiet time” focused on Bible study and meditation.
InterVarsity’s 1945 booklet “Quiet Time” popularized the term among evangelical university students. The term went mainstream when Billy Graham started using it in the 1950s during his crusades.*
There are three main problems with the modern concept of a “quiet time” that I wish to address in this article. Let’s take them up one at a time (and please don’t skim lest you miss the nuance).
1) Quiet time has been the source of guilt in evangelical circles for decades.
Here’s how it works. Your pastor tells you that God wants you to have a daily “quiet time” — which essentially means praying and reading your Bible.[Continue Reading…]
If you are a genuine follower of Jesus, you carry a message. (I’ve explored how to discover your unique message elsewhere.)
But know this – your message will never be received by everyone. Some people will dismiss both your message and you. (Others will attack you, but that’s another subject.)
Let me give you an inside look into one way this works.
One Christian author recently asked, “I’ve been trying to build my email list for years, but I’m having trouble not feeling discouraged every time someone unsubscribes. Most of my subscribers love what I write, but apparently, not everyone does. How do you deal with this yourself?”
My answer: When I started my blog in 2008, I quickly realized that it wasn’t for the masses. If you try to write for everyone, you’re writing for no one. My work is called “the deeper journey,” and the common thread that binds it all together is that I’m constantly challenging the status quo, pushing in new directions, and seeking to magnify the Lord through all of it.[Continue Reading…]
In 2008, I demonstrated at length that Scripture refutes the idea that there is a hierarchy in the body of Christ. Yet hierarchy is still being read back into the New Testament church. That’s because we see hierarchy in every sphere of life — from corporations to public schools to the military, etc. It’s also because most Christians haven’t been exposed to anything that contradicts the idea.
A hierarchy is a system of authority. It’s a pecking order or chain of command where certain people who fill certain offices outrank those below them.
Jesus taught against this construct in the Gospels. And so did Paul and Peter.
That’s all preface to my question, “Are all Christians equal?” – the answer, which, may surprise you.[Continue Reading…]
Yesterday, February 21, 2018, will be forever burned into my circuitry. Two game-changers took place. Billy Graham, one of the great Christians of the 20th-century, changed his residence. Yesterday he fell asleep and is now more alive than ever before.
On the same day, I met another great Christian — a prolific author and speaker — some 20 years my senior. We’ve been talking for several months, and yesterday we met in person for the first time. Six hours felt like two. I’ll share more about him and our meeting in the coming days.
Today’s article is part of my on-going Gospel of the Kingdom series, which you can catch up on here.
Sometimes a spoken message can produce this kind of reaction:
“It completely destroyed the foundations of everything I was doing and set me in a brand new direction.”
A live talk I gave years ago elicited that very response among a number of people who are in ministry. If you’ve been listening to my new podcast, you will recognize that the theme of the live talk is part of the kingdom message.
I get bored easily. That’s why I find the Lord so fascinating. He never wears out, and He’s full of surprises.
I used to like walking into Christian bookstores and investigating the books on their shelves. But I quit. Why? Because I could no longer abide the festival of pop Christianity.
The vast majority of local Christian bookstores carry stocks of pop Christian books, and rarely (if ever) carry books containing spiritual depth. That used to NOT be the case. But pop Christianity is winning the day — among the masses at least. That’s why I didn’t bemoan the loss of Family Christian Bookstores when they folded.
So to my mind, brick and mortar Christian bookstores always carry a plethora of pop Christian books, which always overshadow the deeper stuff (when they even carry those).
More examples of always …[Continue Reading…]