Captivated by the Sight of Peerless Worth: Part I

‘Tis that look that melted Peter

‘Tis that face that Stephen saw

‘Tis that heart that wept with Mary

Can alone from idols draw

~ Miss Ora Rowan

Jamal Jivanjee interviewed me about the message I delivered at the Momentum 2011 Conference. I’m publishing the interview here in three parts. This is Part I. The title of the post is fitting as you will see.

Jamal: At the beginning of the message you quoted the following line from C.S. Lewis’ work ‘Prince Caspian.’ 

Aslan to Lucy: “Every year that you grow, I will get bigger in your eyes.”

Can you elaborate how this statement reflects our own spiritual growth in the Lord?[Continue Reading...]

Ben Witherington

Today, I interview renowned New Testament scholar Ben Witherington (or Ben Witherington III, a.k.a BW3).

This is the fourth New Testament scholar I’ve interviewed on the blog to date.

So if New Testament scholarship is of interest to you, you can also take a look at my interviews with N.T. Wright, Scot McKnight, and Craig Keener.

Ben Witherington’s forte is the social world of the first century. Out of everything that Ben has done, I appreciate his Socio-Rhetorical Commentaries on the New Testament the most. I equally appreciate his two books on women in ministry: Women in the Earliest Churches and Women in the Ministry of Jesus.

Enjoy the interview.[Continue Reading...]

Christianity in Crisis

Someone I respect asked me on Twitter to comment on Andrew Sullivan’s recent article entitled, “Christianity in Crisis.” Sullivan’s article recently made the cover of Newsweek.

The cover title reads, “Forget the Church: Follow Jesus.”

Christianity in Crisis by Andrew Sullivan

Since I want to keep this blog post relatively short, I am limiting my commentary to four points.

1. The cover title represents the unparalleled confusion that the word “church” engenders. The title reads, “Forget the Church.” But what “church” are we talking about?

Is Sullivan saying . . .

Forget the Roman Catholic Church?

Forget the Anglican Church?

Forget the Church of Latter Day Saints?

Forget assembling with other Christians in any way, shape, or form?

Forget all other Christians in the world? [Continue Reading...]

The $25,000 Give-Away Is Back!

Hi Fun Seekers,

A very good fun Friday to you, a very good fun Friday indeed.

Four years ago when I started this blog, I did something that’s never been done on the blogosphere before or since.

It’s called the $25,000 give-away.

Since this blog was just ranked in the top 10 out of all Christian blogs on the Web, we’re going to celebrate by relaunching that historic post.

So here it is again . . . read the original post below and be sure to click the link at the bottom for the instructions.

[Continue Reading...]

The Story: A New Kind of Bible

Let’s face it. Our world has changed dramatically. A decent segment of the population has great trouble reading literature. They’ve cut their teeth on skimming tweets, digesting texts, and scanning blogs.

Reading literature is fast becoming an endangered skill. The Story

For this reason, many have trouble reading the Bible.

Enter a new kind of Bible for a text-skimming, tweet-digesting, blog-scanning generation.

The Story.

If you or someone you know has trouble reading the Bible, this is a great resource to start them out with.

While The Story doesn’t really replace the Bible, it’s a great transition from iPhone texts to Scripture.

The Story condenses the Bible into 31 highly readable chapters (based on the NIV version). It seeks to sweep the reader into the unfolding progression of biblical characters and events from Genesis to Revelation.[Continue Reading...]

In Praise of Dry Spells

When I was a young believer, someone told me that one of the reasons why God created the physical seasons was to illustrate the spiritual seasons that a Christian will pass through in his or her life.

Jesus talked a lot about the significance of seasons (Matthew 21:41, 45; Luke 12:42; 21:30; John 4:35; 5:35).

Paul told his young apprentice Timothy to “be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2).

To borrow the title of Robert Bolt’s play about Sir Thomas More, Timothy was to be “a man for all seasons.” A person who can stand in the face of every season—great, good, bad, horrible, unmentionable—and not to be moved.

Paul was such a person. Consider his own description of the seasons that he passed through during his ministry: [Continue Reading...]

Whatever Happened to Perseverance?

“The signs of a true sent one were performed among you with all perseverance.”

~ 2 Corinthians 12:12

We live in a day where perseverance (a mark of those who are truly sent to the Lord’s work) is a lost art. So much so that I fear for the future of God’s work. Why? Because the ability to persevere under pressure is a mark of those who are called to the work.

People today throw in the towel at the drop of a hat. They’ll stay in a job for a few years, then if the pressure gets too much, or it’s not conducive to their happiness, they’ll quit. The same with a relationship. The same with a business venture. The same with a church.

My first experience with an authentic church lasted eight long years. I’ve talked about it elsewhere, but that experience was so intense that we crammed sixteen years into eight. The church saw two bloody splits, lots of glory and a good dose of gore.

Many times I wanted to get out of dodge. Often, I wasn’t happy. It wasn’t meeting my needs. But I knew the Lord wanted me to stay. Not just for myself, but for the church (that is, the people). And not just for the church, but for something I didn’t know back then . . . for other churches and people in the future that didn’t exist at the time.[Continue Reading...]

There Must Be More

Several years after I began following the Lord, having had a taste of present-day Christianity from various and sundry stripes and flavors, a cry was birthed in my heart that wouldn’t be silenced.

That cry was the provocation of why I began writing the books I’ve penned. And it’s what led me into the ministry (service) to the body of Christ that I have today.

This same heart-cry is shared by many (if not most) of the people who read my books and a fair number who read this blog.

This song gives voice to that cry.

Here are the lyrics, but listen to the song as well:

Lord, I groan. Lord, I kneel. I’m crying out for something real.

‘Cause I know deep in my soul there must be more . . .

Lord, I’m tired. Yes, I’m weak. I need your power to work in me.

But I can’t let go. I keep hanging’ on ’cause there must be more . . .

The song is by David Ruis. Listen to it . . . just reading the lyrics doesn’t communicate the pathos.

What other songs can you share with us that reflect a particular cry of your heart?

Does Christianity Have a Feminine Feel?

There’s been a lot of buzz on the Web lately that’s captured in the phrase: “God has given Christianity a masculine feel.”

I am deliberately not mentioning who made this statement as it doesn’t matter. In fact, I think discussions are far better off when we clear away the clutter of human personality and focus on the ideas themselves.

Consequently, we shall not wax on (or wax off) about this minister vs. that minister and who said what. Instead, we will stick to the topic at hand. (The Blog Manager agrees, and she moderates comments. Take that as a hint.) :-)

I don’t doubt that there is “masculinity” (or whatever you wish to call it) in the Christian faith.

God is our Father. Jesus was and is a man . . . “the Man in the glory” as the hymn goes. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were males. And there’s the biblical line of “sonship.”

Okay, fine. I get it.

But . . . God’s ultimate passion is for a girl.

His relentless desire is for a woman.[Continue Reading...]

Why I Gave Up Trying to Live the Christian Life

“For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest . . .”

~ Hebrews 4:10-11

Years ago I came to the place in my spiritual journey where I gave up trying to live the Christian life.

Yep. I gave it up for Lent.

Here are five reasons:

  1. I was sick and tired of failing and feeling frustrated at my attempts at being a “victorious” Christian.
  2. I came to the eye-opening conclusion that I couldn’t live the Christian life. If the Christian life was going to be lived, the Lord Himself was going to have to live it.
  3. I discovered that Jesus Himself didn’t try to live the Christian life. He said, “By myself I can do nothing.” Over and over again, Jesus testified that He did nothing of Himself, but lived by His Father’s indwelling life instead.
  4. I concluded that Paul’s words in Galatians 2:20, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” wasn’t a special experience that only Paul had.[Continue Reading...]