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…]

Unoffendable

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Many, many years ago in a land far, far away, I wrote a little red book with George Barna that offended many people, religious people especially.

If George and I were living in the first century, that book would have gotten us boiled in olive oil.

In the 21st century, however, the book generated hate mail from Quakers and bodily threats from the Amish!

Yes, it offended religious people from every denominational quarter.

One of the first people to defend the little red book, dislodging the bogus arguments that the religiously offended leveled against it (most of whom never cracked open the cover, mind you [cough]), was the famed radio personality Brant Hansen. And he did it with grace, style, and sophisticated humor.

Fast forward 7 years later to April 2015, and Brant has written and launched his own book.

The topic? It’s about being offended.[Continue Reading…]

A Phrase Speakers Should Stop Using

If you ever listen to a pastor, teacher, or conference speaker rehearse a story, you’ll often hear them say something like this:

“After I finished my talk last month, someone came up to me and asked . . .”

The phrase “someone came up to me” is a well-worn statement that’s unthinkingly repeated by speakers, both Christian and non-Christian alike.

These speakers hear others use it, then they unwittingly use it without a thought.[Continue Reading…]

Radically Normal

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In Revise Us Again, I took dead aim at the two current problems in Christianity today – legalism on the one hand and libertinism on the other. I call these two tendencies “the two enemies of the gospel.” And they have been with us since the first century.

Recently, Josh Kelley has written a new book called Radically Normal: You Don’t Have to Live Crazy to Follow Jesus.

It’s a response to a certain genre of books that have caused younger Christians to view “radical Christianity” through one very narrow lens.

I interviewed Josh to ask him about the book. Enjoy!

[Continue Reading…]

Shocking Beliefs of John Calvin and Others . . .

My new book The Day I Met Jesus is now in Audiobook as well as a Large Print edition. There’s also The Day I Met Jesus Master Course with 20 audio messages by Mary DeMuth and me, eight bonus eBooks, and a printed workbook.

Shocking Beliefs of John Calvin

When you click the link, you’ll also see the links for the shocking beliefs of C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, D.L. Moody, Augustine, etc. at the bottom of the post.

[Continue Reading…]

Easter Continues . . .

My new book The Day I Met Jesus is now in Audiobook as well as a Large Print edition. There’s also The Day I Met Jesus Master Course with 20 audio messages by Mary DeMuth and me, eight bonus eBooks, and a printed workbook.

One of the inspirations of my books on biblical narrative — God’s Favorite Place on Earth (written from the perspective of Lazarus) and The Day I Met Jesus with Mary DeMuth (written from the perspective of five women from the Gospels) — is my friend Don Francisco’s classic song “He’s Alive” told from the perspective of Peter.

Here is a video where Don shares why he chose to tell the story through the lips of Peter followed by the lyrics.

Those of you who are your 20s and 30s (which is the majority of my blog subscribers), please share this post with all your friends in your age group.

Don’s song will be unknown to most of them, yet they will be immensely blessed by it!

[Continue Reading…]

The Chiseling of God

In resurrection, God starts all over with a new creation. But resurrection always follows suffering and death.

Herein lies an important lesson. If you make a home for the Lord Jesus Christ, hard times will come. Crisis will come. Suffering will come. Even death – in some form – will come.

Suffering is worldwide and neck deep. But for the Christian, suffering has a purpose. It’s the chiseling of God designed to transform you into the image of His Son.

A word of encouragement: if your foundations are in Jesus Christ, then you can weather the storm. You can endure the crisis. You can put on your asbestos suit and walk through the fire because you are standing on Him who is the Immovable Rock.

Sometimes God will deliver you from trouble. Oftentimes He will deliver you through it.[Continue Reading…]

A Nicodemus Moment

A number of years ago I was invited to share with a group of pastors, teachers, and leaders for a two-day retreat.

On the last day of the retreat, I was asked to share some snapshots of Christ-centered community from my own experience.

I told the story of one such community. This body of believers discovered Jesus Christ in the depths and learned to love one another through thick or thin.

They also learned how to have New Testament-styled church meetings where every member functioned, sharing the riches of Christ through their various gifts . . . all without a facilitator present.

Their gatherings and their community life was under the headship of Jesus Christ.[Continue Reading…]