Spiritual Memoir

There’s nothing new under the sun. These words were uttered by the person whom the Bible esteems to be the wisest man who ever lived (that is, before Jesus of Nazareth came along). See Ecclesiastes 1:9; 1 Kings 3:12; 4:30; Luke 11:31.

I’m not sure about you, but I descend into silent grunts whenever I hear someone make the outlandish statement that what they have to say is brand new, completely original, and hasn’t been said before.

I’ve yet to find this statement to be true. And I’ve yet to meet a human being who could make such a statement without lying through his or her teeth (whether with calculated deliberation or in conceited ignorance). Such over-the-top rhetoric is not only profoundly arrogant, but it has few points of contact with reality.

Being a student of church history, I have never personally met a true spiritual or theological trailblazer. Most of the people I know who are turning the sod on various aspects of the Christian faith are exploring pathways that have been populated by others in the past. None of it is brand new or completely original.[Continue Reading…]

In Quest for the Church After God’s Own Heart

From the ages of sixteen to twenty-three, I traversed the landscape of evangelical Christianity. I became part of the following denominations: Southern Baptist, Independent Baptist (a completely different species from the Southern Baptists), Mennonite, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Church of Christ (non-instrumental), Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Assemblies of God, Church of God, and countless stripes of charismatic Christianity, including Word-Faith, Third-Wave, Open Bible, and Vineyard.

Granted, it’s a queer mix. But it gave me a broad view of the existing theological terrain. And it furnished me with some rich ground for future spiritual exploration.

In addition to the litany of denominations I sampled, I was part of five parachurch organizations at the University that I attended. In addition, I (along with some other students) created our own parachurch organization.[Continue Reading…]

Welcome to the Third Race

The 110th episode of the “Christ is All” podcast has just been published.

It’s a conference message that I delivered in 2007 to a multiethnic church.

My text was Ephesians Chapter 2.

You won’t want to miss it.

As always, if you enjoy it, pass this post on (using the share buttons below) and be sure to subscribe in iTunes or Beyond Pod below.

Listen to the episode in the following venues:

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If you don’t use a smart phone, then click here to see the complete list of episodes on one page, including this episode

[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[Continue Reading…]

Warning: Christian Community Doesn’t Work Without This

Registration for my online discipleship course LIVING BY THE INDWELLING LIFE OF CHRIST just opened. It will be open until March 15th. Click here to learn how to register.

I don’t care what form in which it comes . . . be it organic church, simple church, house church, para-church organizations, or traditional churches that are strong on community . . . what I address in this conference message is off the radar screen for many Christians today.

And even if they’ve read or heard about it, when pressure is put upon them or their expectations aren’t met, they forget all about it.

Failure to lay hold of this element is why groups divide, split, and why members sometimes even begin attacking one another.

I could have entitled this talk “how to prevent a church split” as that title applies also.[Continue Reading…]

You Are Amazing! (Just the Way You Are)

Last month, I had the privilege of speaking at a conference with my close friends and coworkers Jon Zens and Milt Rodriguez.

In addition to seeing them, the highlight for me was meeting so many of my dear friends from different parts of the country that I haven’t seen in years along with meeting people that I’ve only met on this blog.

It was a precious time.

Here’s a song that was written by one of the groups that attended the conference. It’s a re-write of You’re Amazing (Just the Way You Are). The lyrics follow the video.


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