Where Are the Other Nine?

If you’re like me, you are sometimes given to periods of discouragement. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and focus on the empty side of the glass, losing sight of the full side.

This post, then, is a reminder to all of us to keep in view what God has done for us and what He has given us . . . and to give thanks.

I’ll begin with a story of Jesus . . . taking special note of His question, “Where are the other nine?” . . .  followed by Paul’s continuous reminders to be thankful.

Those of us who have been touched by Jesus Christ are cleansed lepers. Let’s not be among the nine.

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:11-18[Continue Reading…]

Charles Spurgeon vs. D.L. Moody

My new book, Beyond Evangelical, released a week ago. I want to thank all of you who purchased it.

So far, the feedback has been extremely encouraging. I’m glad I made the decision to write and publish it.

Many of you haven’t picked up your copy yet. Someone suggested that some of you may think that the book just repeats previous blog posts. This isn’t the case.

While it contains my entire “beyond evangelical” series, it also includes new chapters that you will not find anywhere else. And to my mind, they are some of the best and most important chapters I’ve written for the book.

In addition, the book cites and quotes large excerpts from Scot McKnight, Roger Olson, N.T. Wright, Mark Noll, Alister McGrath, and many other influential evangelical Christians. Those quotes are worth the price of the book and links to the full articles are included as well.

So the book is a powerful resource, putting loads of related content together in one small space.

If you’re a serious Christian, you can’t afford to be ignorant on what’s happening in Christianity today, and what God appears to be doing among Bible-believing, Jesus-following Christians.[Continue Reading…]

Rethinking the Sinner’s Prayer

Most evangelical Christians believe in and practice believer’s baptism as opposed to infant baptism.1 Likewise, most Protestants believe and practice baptism by immersion or pouring rather than by sprinkling.

The New Testament as well as early church history stand with both of these positions.2

However, it is typical in most contemporary churches for baptism to be separated from conversion by great lengths of time. Many Christians were saved at one age and baptized at a much later age. In the first century, this was unheard of.

In the early church, converts were baptized immediately upon believing.3 One scholar says of baptism and conversion, “They belong together. Those who repented and believed the Word were baptized. That was the invariable pattern, so far as we know.”4

Another writes, “At the birth of the church, converts were baptized with little or no delay.”5

In the first century, water baptism was the outward confession of a person’s faith.6 But more than that, it was the way someone came to the Lord. For this reason, the confession of baptism is vitally linked to the exercise of saving faith. So much so that the New Testament writers often use baptism in place of the word faith and link it to being “saved.”7 This is because baptism was the early Christian’s initial confession of faith in Christ. [Continue Reading…]

How to Get Your Alexa Ranking Under 100,000

Alexa is a blog ranking system among many others.

In a previous post, I talked about the danger of obsessing over rankings and social media stats. Keeping that in mind, if you’re a blogger who advertises on your blog (this fits many of my readers), then you’ll want to know that some advertisers look at your blog’s Alexa score to determine if they are going to advertise with you or not.

For that reason alone, it’s worth exploring the subject.

With over 150 million blogs on the Web today, a blog that has a ranking of less than 100,000 is doing great.

Anything below 50,000 is spectacular.

I’m writing this post for the sake of those of you who want to get your blog’s Alexa score down. And I’m writing from what I’ve discovered from my own experimentation.[Continue Reading…]

Let’s Talk About Your Destiny

At the end of Romans 8, Paul challenges the entire universe, demonstrating to all living things that nothing can condemn or lay a charge at the feet of God’s children (see Rom. 8:31–39). 

How can you, dear child of God, feel insecure, unworthy, and condemned in the presence of so marvelous an anthem? Paul does not answer a charge against God’s children with their own good deeds, their own clean record, nor with their own victorious living.

He answers only with Christ.

Paul’s life was spent trying to extinguish the specific falsehoods that eroded the notion that God’s demeanor toward us is grace-full. His letters throb with countless “blame-extinguishing” declarations.

These explosive statements are designed to inoculate the church from any accusation that can be laid at her feet.

God accepts only one person, His beloved Son.

And we are in Him.

So He accepts us on exactly the same basis as He accepts Christ.[Continue Reading…]

Rethinking Youth Ministry Training

In Finding Organic Church, I explore how Paul deliberately mentored, coached, and apprenticed his younger coworkers in Ephesus for a period of three years. Essentially, Paul repeated what Jesus did with the Twelve in Galilee in what A. B. Bruce called “the training of the Twelve.”

The main difference is that Paul trained eight people instead of twelve.

Interestingly, during the time that Paul trained these eight coworkers to carry on his work, he paid for their needs. Rather than taking money from them – to pay for their training or “internship” – he supported them during those years of spiritual apprenticeship.

Paul makes this plain in his discourse to the Ephesian elders:

“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:33-35).[Continue Reading…]

On Spiritual Pride

Spiritual pride is always toxic to the spirit, yet all too easy to cloak.

It’s exacerbated by a segment of the Christian world which applauds and encourages it.

Especially in the world of social media where the number of followers, rankings, and scores are exalted and sought after.

We humans have an inimitable way of glorifying the paintbrush when we appreciate a painting.

But understanding WHO created the painting helps one break loose of such delusions.

If you are gifted and God is using you, you are more susceptible to spiritual pride than others. But keeping things in perspective is the antidote. Specifically,

1. Understanding that you’re merely a paintbrush in the hands of the Painter.

2. As a paintbrush, you don’t deserve the glory that’s only due to the Painter.

3. You are dispensable.

Sometimes a thorn in the flesh helps us to recognize this.

In this connection, the only “klout” that matters is klout with God. [Continue Reading…]

BEYOND EVANGELICAL – The Book

“A recently published e-book I can highly recommend is Frank Viola’s Beyond Evangelical.”

~ Roger Olson, Professor of Theology, George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University.

Beyond

Description

Recent studies indicate that evangelical Christians are known by the world as people who are narrow-minded, judgmental, self-righteous, legalistic, callous, hard-hearted, politically partisan, and quick to attack their own. Why is this, and is there a viable cure?

The evangelical Christian world has fractured into four main streams. One of these streams has grown weary of the Christian Right vs. Christian Left squabbles and vitriolic disputes. If this describes you, then you are not alone. And you will be encouraged to know that God is raising up a new breed of orthodox Christians who are breaking free from the Christian Right vs. Left quagmire.

Beyond Evangelical explores the changing face of evangelicalism and introduces readers to a growing segment of the Christian population who do not fit into the Right or Left categories, but who are marked by an uncommon devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ as this world’s true Lord.

You can listen to the first chapter which answers the question: What Does Beyond Evangelical Mean?

[Continue Reading…]

Top 10 Posts Since January 2012

The following are the top 10 most read posts in order that I’ve written since I resumed blogging in January.

If some of these bless you, share them with your friends via the share buttons below each post.

God’s View of a Woman

N.T. Wright

The Art of Being a Jerk Online

Christianity in Crisis

Don’t Waste Your Time Being a Christian

Why I Gave Up Trying to Live the Christian Life

How (Not) to Correct Another Christian[Continue Reading…]

Jesus Christ Born Twice

Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.

~ Acts 26:19

Much debate has taken place about the central theme of the book of Acts. Some have argued that it’s a record of the acts of the apostles. Others have argued that it’s a record of the acts of the Holy Spirit. Still others have argued that it’s a defense of Paul’s ministry.

Each argument can be cleverly supported. But rather than being broken on this stone of stumbling, I wish to point out that Luke himself tells us what the book of Acts is all about. The theme appears in his opening words:

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach. (Acts 1:1 nasb)

In order to understand the above sentence, we need to compare it with the opening statement of the gospel of Luke.

Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:3–4) 

Luke was the hand behind the gospel that bears his name as well as the book of Acts. Both books were addressed to a prominent man named Theophilus. The gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are twin volumes. They are two parts of the same story. [Continue Reading…]