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Don’t Believe Everything You Read or Hear

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 … We are scheduled to close the transaction on June 12th, so, supposedly, this will happen the week following. I want to assure you that this is indeed a baseless rumor. 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.

Another example that’s much more national.[Continue Reading...]

So You Don’t Believe in God Anymore?

Quick Announcement:

My book REIMAGINING CHURCH is free on Kindle today — July 31st, 2014 — only.

Get your copy and share this post with your friends so they don’t miss out.

Sometime last year, a biblical scholar who is part of the progressive left wrote a blog post that went viral.

In the post, the scholar bulbously argued why he didn’t believe in God anymore. Instead, he now “trusts” God.

All he was doing was using the word “believe” as a synonym for mental assent.

I read the post and shrugged my shoulders. Then I scratched my head, befuddled as to why the post went viral.

There was nothing profound or earth-shaking in it at all. He was just describing the essence of biblical faith . . . which is trust.

I knew today’s Christianity was shallow . . . but has it moved into the universe of boeotianism?[Continue Reading...]

How (Not) to Respond to the Sick and Suffering

The following is told from the lips of Lazarus, the man whom Jesus raised from the dead. The story presents several different ways in which people respond to Christians when they are sick or suffering.

I could not sleep most of the night. Tossing miserably, my mind refused to shut down. Neither would the pain vibrating throughout my body.

If I die, what will happen to my sisters … and my father? With the silversmith shop closed, who will provide for them? These were the worries that tormented my mind.

That evening my three closest friends, Nathan, Samuel, and Tobias, paid me a visit. I opened my eyes at the pounding of feet up the stairs toward my room.

After the men entered, they each stood around my bed and began to speak.

Nathan leaned forward, his face the picture of sadness.

Somberly he said, “Lazarus, you know that I lost my faith in God years ago. Like you, I was taught from childhood that YHWH would deliver our people from our oppressors. But there have been no signs of it. Not just for my generation, but for generations before me.[Continue Reading...]

Recovering the Departed Glory

“Another cause back of our top-heavy and ugly over-organization is fear. Churches and societies founded by saintly men with courage, faith and sanctified imagination appear unable to propagate themselves on the same spiritual level beyond one or two generations.

The spiritual fathers were not able to sire others with courage and faith equal to their own. The fathers had God and little else, but their descendants lose their vision and look to methods and constitutions for the power their hearts tell them they lack. Then rules and precedents harden into a protective shell where they can take refuge from trouble. It is always easier and safer to pull in our necks than to fight things out on the field of battle.

In all our fallen life there is a strong gravitational pull toward complexity and away from things simple and real. There seems to be a kind of sad inevitability back of our morbid urge toward spiritual suicide. Only by prophetic insight, watchful prayer and hard work can we reverse the trend and recover the departed glory.”

~ A.W. Tozer

July

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Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee

I’ve never been a lover of coffee, but I have enjoyed a few cups each morning for as long as I can remember.

Regarding coffee, I’ve read some of the data that shows its health benefits. Apparently, it’s a great antioxident.

However, I’ve been stressed lately with several projects that have overwhelmed me, and I decided to stop drinking coffee to see if I noticed any differences in my stress levels.

Well, it’s been about a month now without any coffee, and I’m amazed.

Not only am I less stressed, but things that used to irritate me no longer do.

I started researching coffee and stress levels and was astounded to find out that coffee has a negative effect on some people.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking Hell

To the many who have asked, here are my comments about the subject of hell that I’ve written and tweeted in the past.

* Whatever the nature of eternal punishment is — conscious torment or annihilation — this question has never altered my desire to bring people to Jesus Christ. Jesus is real Life, for the here-and-now, as well as for the future. So my motive for evangelism has never been to give people a fire-insurance policy.

* The greatest Christian minds differ on the NATURE, PURPOSE and SUBJECTS of hell (subjects = who exactly will go there). But whatever we can say about it, the NT is clear on two points:

1) it exists, and 2) it’s undesirable.

* I am not a universalist. I believe that all mortals must repent and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. With respect to those who have never heard the gospel, or those who have only heard a distorted version of it, I’m content to leave such matters into God’s hands. He is righteous, just, and merciful, and I trust Him.

* Add to that, I don’t believe that every mortal automatically receives eternal life upon birth (of the flesh). I can’t speak of what happens immediately after death. The Bible talks about a judgment after death, but it’s not crystal clear on what happens at the moment of death. People can only speculate.

* “Jesus is not one of many ways to approach God, nor is He the best of several ways; He is the only way.” ~ A. W. Tozer

* If there’s life on other planets & they need a Redeemer, Jesus of Nazareth is it.[Continue Reading...]

The Gospel to the Mormons

John Wallace has written a fascinating new book called Starting at the Finish Line: The Gospel of Grace for Mormons.

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Starting at the Finish Line seeks to declare the Good News of the gospel in a way that sounds like “good news” to the Latter-day Saint. It does this by 1) establishing the authority and “correctness” of the Bible, 2) explaining how we are saved by the grace of God when we put our full faith and trust in the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, and in His blood alone, and 3) exposing the dangers of trying to contribute to our own salvation by adding obedience and good works to the finished work of Christ on the cross.

This message, to the devout Latter-day Saint, is overly simplistic and offensive. But to the struggling Mormon or to those who have already left the Mormon faith and find themselves lost in a sea of confusion, it’s music to their ears.

I caught up with John to discuss his new book.[Continue Reading...]

Modern Day Moses

Sometimes music can touch us where printed words cannot.

This is one of my favorite songs of all time . . . it speaks to something deep within my own heart and thus inspires me every time I hear it.

Note: my podcast episode from August 2011 — God’s Dream: What Does It Look Like? – goes along with this song. Give it a listen.

If you like the song, share this post using the “share” buttons below. Most Christians have never heard it, so send them a blessing. :-)

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July

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A Practical Word About Your Dreams

Last weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at The Buzz Seminar in Orlando, FL.

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The Buzz is a premium training for authors and bloggers.

The people who attended the event were the salt of the earth . . . some of the most impressive people I’ve ever met. And most all of them were believers.

So there was a lot of spiritual fellowship going on between sessions, and I was greatly edified by it all.

The other speakers — all believers as well — were phenomenal.

In one of my recent blog surveys, some of you said that your dream is to work from home.[Continue Reading...]

The Best Resource on the Gospels

I’m often asked what Biblical tools I use when delving in depth on a particular portion of Scripture.

I’ve listed many of the New Testament commentaries I recommend here.

Another invaluable resource is the IVP Bible Dictionary Series, which I can’t recommend enough for serious students of the Scriptures.

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However, one of the volumes in that series has been updated.

The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels by Joel B. Green, Jeannine K. Brown & Nicholas Perrin is an incredible new update![Continue Reading...]

Romans 8 Remixed

And you know that I cause everything to work together for your good because you love me and are called according to my purpose.

I knew you in advance, and I chose you to become like my Son, so that my Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen you, I called you to come to my Son.

And having called you, I gave you right standing with me. And having given you right standing with me, I glorified you (even though you haven’t experienced it yet).

What shall you say about such wonderful things? If I am for you, who can ever be against you? Since I did not spare even my own Son but gave him up for you, won’t I also give you everything else?[Continue Reading...]