7 Ways to Destroy a Friendship

For those of you who are reading Jesus Now and want to let your friends know about it, there is now a list of quotes from the book that you can publish on Twitter and Facebook.

Just go to the book landing page – JesusNow.tv – and scroll to the bottom.

Also, we redid the 7 Aspects of Christ’s Present-Day Ministry episode since the original recording was poor. Now the podcast includes a short excerpt from an interview I did for Jesus Now that’s much clearer. The phone call from the distraught man who was kicked out of a lunch buffet still appears at the end.

That said, we’ve just released the 99th episode of the “Christ is All” podcast. The topic — 7 Ways to Destroy a Friendship.

Listen to the episode in the following ways:[Continue Reading...]

Your Dreams and Aspirations

If you’re new to the blog, I’ve been working on a series of digital journals (for the Kindle, Nook, and PDF) called The Rethinking Series.

The content of those journals is largely based on the survey you did earlier this year where I asked you what your greatest struggle was as a Christian.

Hundreds of you responded and these journals will address most of your struggles.

That said, I’m considering putting on a few events for 2015, and I want to ask you to answer one simple question that will help me in preparing for these events.

What are you dreams and aspirations that you’d like to see come to pass over the next 10 years?

Your responses will not show up to the public. Only you, me, and the Blog Manager will see them.

In your response, put your sex in the Name field and your age followed by cs.com in the email field.[Continue Reading...]

A Tale of Two Missiles

Ballistic missiles know their target and they never change course. Once a ballistic missile leaves the ground, it’s going to hit the spot in which it is aimed, no matter what.

The problem, however, is that the targets got smart.

The targets learned to move while the missile didn’t.

For this reason, cybernetic missiles were invented. A cybernetic missile, once programmed, changes course with the target.

The cybernetic missile constantly calculates and re-calculates, changing course to stay with the target, no matter what.[Continue Reading...]

Losing a Friend

One of my closest friends, a man about 20 years my senior and who I’ve known and admired since I was in my 20s, has been stricken with Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s been escalating for over a year. And now it’s gotten to the place where he doesn’t remember our last phone conversation.

This is a man who I owe a great debt to in my Christian life and ministry. He’s the first one who exposed me to God’s heart for the poor and the oppressed, something I’ve been totally focused on for the last three years.

My friend isn’t on the Internet, for he has no computer. (I bought him two computers over the years, but one died and the other he sold.)

He’s never written a book, he has no blog or email address, and he is largely unknown. Yet he’s the smartest and wisest man I’ve ever met. A hidden gem in Christ.

One sad memory is burned in my brain. Last year, I treated my friend to dinner at an upscale steak restaurant called Charley’s steakhouse.

We finished our meal and he went off to the restroom. I waited, and when he didn’t return, I started searching for him.[Continue Reading...]

Slow Church

I recently interviewed the authors of the new book, Slow Church. From the title, I thought this would be a book on radical ecclesiology, dealing with things like church leadership, structure, the clergy-laity dichotomy, the purpose of the church meetings, every-member functioning in the gatherings, expressing Jesus Christ corporately, etc. But it really doesn’t explore those themes. Thus it’s not a book in the same genre as Reimagining Church or The Normal Christian Church Life or Paul’s Idea of Community or 0-58.

What it does do, however, is decry the “industrialized, fast-food approach” to Christianity. Hence, the book is more a discussion on certain values that Christians (they use the word “church” to describe believers in general as well as local communities) should embrace. Some of the chapter titles are ethics, patience, work, Sabbath, gratitude, hospitality, etc. These virtues should be operating in every believer’s life as well as in the local asssemblies of which they are part, say the authors. Christianity shouldn’t be relegated to the privacy of one’s own home. My take on the book is that it’s more missional (focusing on outward witness) than it is ecclesiological. The authors are dead right — modern Christianity is way too fast(food) paced! Slowness is a virtue, just as stillness is.

The book reminded me very much of The New Parish, as it seems to be coming from the same perspective and made many of the same points.

Here’s my interview with Pattison and Smith, the authors, two really nice guys who write very well.[Continue Reading...]

7 Reasons Why Christians Abandon the Faith

Before we launch into today’s post, I want to thank all of you for buying my new book, Jesus Now. On Friday, the book hit the CBA Best-Seller list. (That’s the Christian equivalent to the NY Times Best-Seller list.)

I’m hugely honored and I want to thank all of you who got a copy for putting the book on the list.

This means more people will notice it.

That said, would you kindly share the Taste Test for the book with all your friends. The Taste Test includes a nice chunk of the book in a free PDF.

This would be deeply appreciated.

Now on to the subject at hand.

Since I’ve been following the Lord over the last three decades, I’ve watched Christians — some of them being the most faithful and the most zealous of my friends — leave the Lord and veer off into atheism or some other world religion.

Keep in mind that the purpose of this blog isn’t to discuss the once-saved-always-saved doctrine nor to speculate on whether or not these folks truly knew the Lord. That’s an entirely different topic and not the one for today’s post.[Continue Reading...]

60 People Who Shaped the Church

In 60 People Who Shaped the Church, Alton Gansky chooses 60 significant figures through history who have shaped the formation of the Christian faith in some way.

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The strength of Ganksy’s book is that each chapter is very short (only 3 to 6 pages long) and he tell stories. Gansky, an author of 24 novels and 8 non-fiction books, tells the story of 60 “sinners, saints, rogues, and heroes” throughout Christian history in a simple to read survey.

He begins with Peter (one of Jesus’ first disciples) and ends with Billy Graham.

All told, the 60 men and women are given mini-biographies arranged in chronological order. This is a broad overview of the Christian historical past through the lives of some who impacted the church. The author begins each chapter with a quote referencing the individual.[Continue Reading...]

Keep the Love On

Following Jesus Christ is counter-intuitive. Always has been.

In His famous “Sermon the Mount,” Jesus teaches that life in the Kingdom of God is antithetical to what most mortals think and feel.

For instance, if someone attacks you, Jesus says don’t defend yourself nor retaliate.

If someone mistreats you, forgive them.

If someone offers sincere correction, receive it in humility without being defensive or taking offense.

If someone compels you to go one mile, go two.

If someone steals your shirt, give them your coat also.

If someone hates you, love them.

If someone trashes you (gossips, slanders, invokes curses on your head), don’t act in kind. Pray for them.

In other words, even when you’re being hated, spoken evil of, lied about, and mistreated, keep the love on.

Never turn it off.[Continue Reading...]

The New Parish

The New Parish is a new book by Tim Soerens, Paul Sparks, and Dwight Friesen. As someone who has written a great deal on ecclesiology myself, InterVarsity Press sent me a copy of the book. Instead of writing a review, I thought it would be better to interview all three authors.

If you have any questions for me about the book, feel free to ask them in the comments. I’m not sure if the authors will be fielding questions here or not as I know they are extremely busy promoting the book.

The-New-Parish-300x125

Instead of asking, “what is your book about,” I’m going to ask the question that’s behind that question. And that unspoken question is, “how are readers going to benefit from reading your book?”

Tim Soerens: I like that question because while the book is obviously about “The New Parish,” but what is undergirds the hopes of the book is the idea of faithful presence. The idea that God is calling us in each moment into what it means for us to relate faithfully to God, to the person in front of us, and to the context in which we find ourselves. The New Parish is about how faithful presence in a local and communal context, just might set the stage for a re-imagined way of being the Church. And this of course gets to the book’s benefits.

I’ve been hearing in the last few weeks since the book has come out is that it’s giving folks language and even imagination for longings they’ve had for how to be the church in their every day lives. In other words it’s putting language to longings that I think a whole lot of Christ’s followers intuitively feel, but wrestle with how to communicate.[Continue Reading...]