Sep 10, 2014
Prophets are the church’s immune system.
Without prophets, we are left to the mercy of whatever sicknesses we’re exposed to from season to season. The prophet, like an oncologist, inflicts a kind of communal pain which, when received, brings healing. Their hard words bring a better world. Perhaps more than ever, prophets are in great need to revitalize the American church. For truth-telling is the language of a Christ who so proudly spoke of Himself as “…the Truth.” (John 14:6)
Yet, in recent times, I’ve lamented a growing trend...
It would be impossible to count the number of times a new member to our church community has entered our fellowship with that line. Countless, indeed. And, in most cases, the pain is still throbbing. In many conversations, I hear them talk about leaving ministries with wonderful leaders, inspiring histories, and profound impact. Of course, I’ve learned to be quick to press into that pain—there’s always an important story there. Healing, after all, was (and is) a central aspect of Jesus’ ministry. I am always careful.
How do we learn and grow after churches, pastors, spiritual authorities, or organizations have hurt or deeply disappointed us?
So, how do we learn and grow after churches, pastors, spiritual authorities, or organizations have hurt or deeply disappointed us?...
Jun 30, 2014
You preach of the good news; you need the good news.
History reminds us that amidst the excitement of 19th century revivalism, Charles Finney (1792–1875) played a particularly crucial part in gospel evangelism of his time. Among his other trademarks, Finney’s evangelistic method made popular by the “anxious seat” puts him in a special place in evangelical history. His practice was a first of its kind—at the end of tent prayer meetings, Finney invited plain folk who feltanxious about their standing before God to the front. There, the seeker would sit down in a chair, an “anxious seat,” and through prayer and confession receive Jesus as Lord.
Finney’s practice changed everything...
Jun 28, 2014
A preacher's life is full of all kinds of confusing stuff that their congregation probably knows little or nothing about (and probably don't want to). Stuff like our occasional doubts after we preach some doctrinal point to God's people, or the anger preachers have to preach through after just having had a five minute argument with their spouse in the back hallway of the church, or the sheer insecurity preachers face every single week about their own vocational calling. One more: How to recover from a sermon.
How do we recover from the high of preaching?...
Jun 26, 2014
Whether you paid attention or not, many of us watched the world mercilessly turn against a man this past spring. Donald Sterling, the now ex-owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, became a poster-child for racism, hatred, and bigoted wealth. Sterling's racist, thoughtless comments, recorded secretly and posted on a gossip website after lots of money changed hands, reveal a man whose words and actions betray his very character and his future. Sterling was banned from the NBA for life for his comments, and fined 2.5 million dollars. Reactions of outrage, even outright hatred toward him were everywhere online.
There is no excuse for his comments, no justification—by any stretch of the imagination—for the opinions that spawned them. But from my perspective, our culture's reaction, angry and judgmental, reveals something deeper and darker than simple righteous indignation. It reveals how broken our sense of judgment is, and how much we need a better one.