In 2009 I had a radical encounter with God. Prior to that I had given up on church and spent several years living aimlessly. But God was faithful to me even when I was faithless. And in 2009, as I was reading the Gospel of John, God gripped my heart and invited me to come back home. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget.
And in that moment I remember God saying to me, “I’m not done with you. I have a plan for you. Follow Me.” That invitation began a spiritual journey in my life that literally changed everything. And I remember thinking to myself, “If God’s going to use me, then I’ve got to get better at following Him.” And I wondered to myself, “What do people who follow Jesus do?” Not long after that I discovered the spiritual disciplines.
Faith matters. It matters to my blog because the purpose of this blog is to help you connect your faith to your life. But it’s more important than that. The Apostle Paul says, “By grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV). In order to find salvation in Christ, you must believe. But what does it mean to believe?
You’ve heard the phrase “take a leap of faith.” That’s how most people think of faith. It’s a step off the ledge into uncertainty. It’s not really reasonable. You can’t really prove it. There is no evidence. You just have to believe.
But is that what faith really is? Is that how the church has historically understood the nature of faith? I don’t think so.
Below you will find the three aspects of genuine faith.
My wife and I love to read together. We try to make it a daily habit to get up before the kids do, spend time reading the Scriptures, praying, and then reading together. Typically we read books on marriage. That’s because our marriage relationship is important to us, and reading about marriage is a way for us to connect, to think about the same things and to grow in how we serve one another as husband and wife.
Below you will find a list of our top three. These books have made the greatest impact on our marriage relationship, and we highly recommend them.
Yesterday was a bizarre day. A protest in Charlottesville, VA., held by alt right white supremacists turned ugly quickly. You’ve probably seen the video. A twenty year old man drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring about 15. The story circled the news all day long. It was total madness.
One commentator on CNN said, “The darkness in that man’s heart is unspeakable.” That is true. So is the darkness in the heart of the white supremacist movement.
This week the world lost an incredible man. August Charles Brockenbush, Jr. You may not know Charles personally. You may not have ever met him. But so many loved him. And for good reason.
I knew Charles for about three years. And in those three short years he impacted my life greatly. He showed me what it looks like to love without condition and to stand by your people always–even when they didn’t earn or deserve that kind of loyalty. He showed me what it looks like to live generously. And how to stand for what you believe is right even when you’re standing alone. This man was one of a kind. And he impacted more people than I will ever know. And I will miss him dearly.
Right now I’m grieving over his passing. I’m realizing now more than ever how special of a man he was, and how lucky I am to have known him.
Maybe you didn’t know Charles. But you probably know what it’s like to lose someone who matters to you. To realize today is not going to be the same as it was yesterday and neither will tomorrow because someone special, someone significant to you has passed on.
It’s the harsh realization that death hurts that I wanted to address today.
Here are three truths about death that everyone needs to know.
The local church needs strong, qualified, faithful leaders. Leaders who lead not out of selfishness or worldly ambition, but out of humility, devotion to Christ and genuine love for others. Leadership in the local church looks different than leadership in the world. It’s not about making yourself great. But about humbling yourself before God and others in service. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11, NIV).
There is a lot of talk about leadership in the church today. And there should be. The church needs leaders. Young and old. Male and female. Up front and behind the scenes.
But what does it take to be a spiritual leader?
A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of the new Christian Standard Bible Study Bible. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this new resource would quickly become one of my favorites. Below I outline all the reasons why I love it and how it could benefit your in your own personal study of the Scriptures.
When I was 18, I walked away from the church. I became a prodigal child. It was a shock to my family and friends because not only did I grow up in the church, I loved being a part of the church. Unfortunately, I had allowed bitterness from a past experience to well up inside of me until it had total control over me. And I walked away.
I remember sitting in my parents house with the pastor of their church explaining to him my laundry list of grievances against the local church. And I told him I was never coming back.
And I didn’t. For about five years. Then, by God’s grace, I came back more passionate about Jesus and His church than ever before.
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to walk away from the church. In fact, it’s a serious problem. I thank God that He brought me back into the fold. And I’m sure if you are a parent of a prodigal child, that’s exactly what you want to see too.
My parents played an instrumental role in my coming back to church. And you can too.
Here are four things you can do to love your prodigal child.
This past week I was in sunny Phoenix, Arizona for the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention. Walking through the exhibit hall I ran into Andy Addis, pastor of Crosspoint Church in Kansas. He gave me a copy of his recent book Blotch: A Tale of Forgiveness and Grace. It’s an illustrated children’s book designed to help you teach your kids the gospel. And it’s fantastic.
Parents, read this book to your kids!
Today is Father’s Day. It’s that one day each year that we honor and celebrate our fathers. I’m blessed to be a dad to four little ones. And there isn’t a day I wake up that I don’t feel blessed to be a dad. But there isn’t a day I wake up that I don’t feel the weight and responsibility of being a dad.
Dads Make All The Difference
Research shows that the impact a father makes lasts a lifetime. In fact the most important factor in your child’s development is the quality of relationship he or she shares with you. It’s more important than their relationship with their grandparents, their friends, coworkers or anyone else for that matter.
Dads make all the difference.
So, what can you do?