A Magazine Worth Reading

Today I interview Rachael Jackson, the Editor-in-Chief of Shattered Magazine. This is a quality magazine for Christian readers.

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What provoked you to start Shattered magazine?

I am West Point graduate, for Army Captain, and Apache Pilot. At one point, my identity was firmly planted in that of soldier. I took the road less traveled and excelled in my demanding environment. Feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment, yet still missing something in life, God began to systematically dismantle everything I thought I was and teach me what it truly means to rely on, satisfy myself with, and pursue a relationship with Jesus.

Through experiencing and overcoming the challenges in my life and witnessing hardships in the lives of people I love, a strong desire grew in my heart to reach out to those who struggle in life (and we all do at one time or another) and connect them with an all-powerful and loving God who cares enough to walk us through our valleys and rejoice with us on our mountaintops.

As the founder and editor-in-chief of Shattered Magazine, my desire is to create a publication that can cut through the noise of the rest of the world and help point people towards a truly satisfying and rewarding life (now and in eternity) – regardless of temporary afflictions or momentary struggles.[Continue Reading...]

The 100th Episode of the Podcast is Published!

Quick Reminder: Today is the last day to get the discount on my discipleship course, Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ.

That said, I’m excited to announce that the long-awaited 100th episode of my podcast has just been published and is now available to stream or download.

The 100th episode defies a title or description.

You can listen to the episode in the following ways:

iTunes

Podbean (Stream)

RSS Feed

Player-fm-icon

Player FM

 

PODCAST ARCHIVES – click here to see the complete list of episodes on one page.[Continue Reading...]

Beyond Today’s Pop-Soap-Opera Christianity – The 4 Camps of Christians in Their 20s, 30s, and 40s

My 5-Book Grab-Bag Discount Ends Tomorrow. The books are priced lower than they appear on the Grab Bag page. Also, the discount for my Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ course ends August 13th. Don’t miss the opportunity.

“All labels have their problems, and, to be sure, ‘evangelical’ is fraught with them. But I am not giving it up.”

~ Roger Olson

Millennials & The Church: A Different Take

As I pointed out in numerous times on this blog, the center of evangelicalism is collapsing.

Countless evangelical Christians are moving to the left or to the right. Namely, they are moving toward liberalism or they are moving toward high church or low church traditions. They are moving toward individualism or communitarianism.

In this post, we will briefly survey the four major streams within evangelicalism with an eye to Christians in their 20s, 30s, and 40s – often called Mosaics and Busters or Generation X and Generation Y or Millennials.

My analysis is based on what I’ve observed in my extensive travels worldwide, speaking in a variety of conferences represented by the different streams (wherein I’ve interacted with the other speakers and attendees), and corresponding with thousands of evangelical Christians in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.[Continue Reading...]

The Problem with Christianity

In Paul’s day, there were two enemies of the gospel that he constantly battled.

1. The gospel of legalism – this is essentially the message that says, “God is holy, you’re not, try harder.”

Paul took dead aim at this “gospel” in Galatians and other letters.

2. The gospel of libertinism – this essentially says that because we are under grace, any word of exhortation, admonishment, or challenge to be sold out to Jesus Christ and deal with issues in one’s life is “religious,” “legalistic,” and “wrong.”

James shredded this “gospel” in the letter of James, and Jude mentioned it when he said “they turn the grace of God into license to sin.”

Some Christians who have read my book From Eternity to Here and many of the articles on this blog have called me a “grace teacher.”

Others who have heard my message, The Gospel of the Kingdom, say I’m legalistic, even though there’s not one word of legalism in that message . . . not one rule . . . and absolutely no appeal to live for Jesus through our human will power.

That message actually tells us what the grace of God does in our lives.

The grace of God teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

~ Paul in Titus 2:12[Continue Reading...]

Where Will Power Fails

Will power . . . the power of your own human energy to carry out decisions, even when rightly motivated, is like a rubber band.

A rubber band has strength, but it’s limited. Once stretched to its capacity, it bounces back.

Will power is the same way. It will carry you through initially, but then it bounces back to where it started.

Will power cannot take you through the long haul to sustain your decisions.

But there’s good news. There’s another life-source that we Christians are called to live by.

It’s the very Life of God . . . the Life of Jesus Christ.

While many Christians are aware that they’ve been given this Life (just read Romans 8), very few of them have been taught how to live by that Life.

[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[Continue Reading...]

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...]