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September 19, 2013#

You aren’t bad

Michael_jackson_bad_cd_cover_1987_cdda

“Letting your sin designate you “bad” is a misunderstanding of your sin nature. You don’t sin because you became bad but because you were born a sinner; it’s your nature, so it comes as no surprise to God when you fail. But it comes as great joy when you agree with Him and repent from your sin.”

Own It – Leaving Behind a Borrowed Faith – pgs. 95-96

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1433682028/

September 3, 2013#

Pleasing people (including yourself) is not owning your faith

OwnIt

 

“When you want the approval of the world, you reject the approval of God. When man’s thoughts on you matter more than the One who can save you, your love exposes your worldliness. In Galatians 1:10 the author asks, “Am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.” What’s the answer you get when you ask yourself these questions? The answer will reveal to you your affection, and your faith. If you worship God only because you are trying to please people, then you aren’t worshipping God but the people. And if you want the approval of man so much that you will reject God’s and His love, then the love of God is not in you.

You cannot truly own your faith in Christ as long as there is a person between you and God. But loving God means getting face to face with Him and rejecting the pride you have in proving yourself to others. This should offer you freedom. Pleasing people is an unend- ing task, and one that dooms you to failure. But pleasing God is easy when it’s all that you desire. Not that you will be perfect, but that you will desire change as soon as you realize you have failed Him. In that desire for change you will find the freedom that comes with His forgiveness and His Son fulfilling the law for you.

As long as you put your hope in your own abilities and resources or in the beauty and reliability of the creation rather than the Creator, you will fail to own the faith that God is offering you.”

Own It: Leaving Behind a Borrowed Faith, pgs. 99-100.

 

September 2, 2013#

Pastors, we are not anchormen

anchorman

Pastors, we are not anchormen; pretty faces with voices full of gravitas reading a gospel teleprompter full of pay per view wisdom from another’s scholarship. No, we are to be eyewitness reporters, delivering credible accounts of the Good News as we’ve experienced it, as His Spirit has revealed it.

To us.

Through His Word.

Not from someone else’s sermon notes and fruit of their study as our primary source.

Hayley and I have left two different churches, both of which where we loved the church families, when we were grieved at the discovery of regular and frequent plagiarizing or purchasing of sermon series in the pulpit. Yes, we sell books and encourage pastors to use them, even in a sermon series. But selling books that inspire a pastor to preach a sermon is not the same as writing the sermon out for them to pass off as their own.

To quote Thomas Young, preaching professor at Emory University’s School of Theology,

“Call me old-fashioned, but I think that if a preacher can’t find the inspiration he needs to preach the gospel without surreptitiously borrowing from the sermons of others, he ought to find another line of work.”

Pastor, in a world where every church member has Google in their pocket, do you really want your flock to know that your scholarship for the week consisted of downloading your sermon and memorizing it or practicing to “make it your own”?

It’s OK to not be Rick Warren, Ed Young Jr., Andy Stanley, Mark Driscoll or whoever else you’re not.

It’s not OK if you’re not hearing from God a word for your church.

It’s not OK if, when you read and study scripture, inspiration and conviction and hope and comfort and grace doesn’t just jump off the page.

Pastor, you need help. Pray for it. Solomon didn’t pray for Google or that God would bring him a wise man he could mimic or a graphic designer that would impress his people.

Pastor, you are not an anchorman; a simple news reader. Be an eyewitness. Have a story. Your story of your time in His Word and His Word in you. Forget about eloquence and videos and powerpoint and props and lighting for the front of house. Live the Good News and take your flock by the hand and lead them into the depths of the Gospel.

Pastors, we are not anchormen.

anchorman

September 2, 2013#

Prophets, Priests, and Kings

prophet_slide1

Prophets, Priests, and Kings.

If you’re called to leadership, you’re naturally tuned to one or more of these roles. But your gifting can turn toward serving self instead of God even in a public position of ministry.

God delivers revival to His church through the UPS drivers that are the prophets. If you’re a prophet, what you speak must be grounded in wisdom, the Word, and recognition that every person is an image bearer of Christ or else you will rail against what offends you instead of what offends God; man’s sinful heart. After pointing out sin, you must always point to the cross. If you don’t, you’re merely a pundit, prognosticator, or instructor of useless drivel of no eternal consequence.

If you’re a priest, your people skills of ministering to and loving others must be rooted in being the heart of God in people’s lives, and not loving only those who love you back. Loving the unlovable without getting love in return is evidence of fruit in your life. If you’re in leadership and are a people-pleaser, your priesthood may be serving the god of self instead of the God of the Universe. A loving, fruitful, and ministering priest is one that seeks to serve God over his own ego and acceptance. A selfless shepherd.

If you’re a king, all of your best stewardship of numbers, dollars, time, and treasure is either done for your wealth and benefit or for God and His church. If your bean counting and rules/regulations don’t accomplish the task of knowing Him and making Him known, it’s just stewardship for the sake of stuff. An effective and fruitful king manages resources best for God’s glory when he asks, “Does this bring man glory or God glory?”

August 19, 2013#

New ESV Edition of the God Guy Bible is Coming!

9781433534713

Excited to have the ESV version of the God Guy Bible coming out this coming February!

http://www.crossway.org/bibles/god-guy-bible-none-hccase/

August 12, 2013#

Men, do not make your wife your first priority

happywife

Men, do not make your wife your first priority.

Love your wife as Christ loved the church. Christ’s first priority was glorifying the Father. Christ loving the church meant sacrificial love. It was sacrificial to say hard things that were for the church’s good. Christ loves the church by encouragement and admonishment, by watering and pruning. “Happy wife, happy life” is not biblical because Christ’s priorities concerning the church never concerns the church’s happiness. Also, when a husband says he loves his wife first, then his kids, this does not represent how the Heavenly Father loves his children.

Even “God first, wife second, children third…” is bad theology. “Love the Lord your God with all…” No prioritization. Oswald Chambers says “God first, God second, God third.” The Spirit prioritizes for us moment-by-moment, person-by-person. When children see dad take mom’s side to “have her back” even though the kids know mom is wrong (and even know dad knows it too,) this sets the table for a loss of respect for both parents and that truth and light is secondary to a marital bond. This is, plain and simple, idolatry of the spouse and marriage relationship.

It has happened more than once that I have told my wife, in the moment and in front of our daughter, that she needed to apologize to our daughter. What this does is demonstrate that we are all sinners, we all need admonishment, we all need to confess, and there is no special class of human that gets a pass from responsibility or gets more love and respect than another. What this also prevents is our daughter looking for this “always have my back in public even if I’m wrong” sort of love that she doesn’t get from her parents but sees in her parents. In other words, a better kind of love than I get from my parents. A love that always helps me save face and puts me first. No more second-rate love like I get at home. And this is why teens are so desperate to date; to get this kind of love that they get nowhere else (not even from God.)

This is the state of most marital advice within the church. And it needs reforming.

August 1, 2013#

Hackers and the Grace of God

Hacker

I’ve always loved technology; it’s always come naturally to me. The best Christmas gift I ever got was an Atari 2600 game system, back when a controller was one joystick with one red button.

But Space Invaders aside, as technology seeks to make our lives easier, it also becomes more complex. To make your thoughts available on the web for the world to see, you need a server to host your site, a software platform to write and manage your posts, a domain to point people to, and so on. And while some people seek to write and create, others seek to hack and destroy.

Over the past year, we’ve been battling some hackers. Don’t know why, but we have. Instead of lamenting on Facebook or Twitter our trials with this, I made the call to just turn the other cheek. At first they inserted lines of code into our sites to help their sites gain better search results on Google and the like; nothing you’d notice surfing our sites. When we found and removed that code, other things would pop up and we’d remove those too. It was a nuisance to be sure and I thought of just wiping everything clean on our server, but we had so many different websites hosted there (over a dozen); it was hard to justify wiping out a ten year archive of content not to mention how to figure out how they were getting in.

Finally this summer, they thought they’d make my decision for me. They deleted 90% of the directories containing our websites from the server.

Once again, I decided not to go to social media wailing about persecution from the evil hackers and I turned the other cheek once more. Why do I make this point again? Am I trying to puff myself up into this super-spiritual being? No.

It’s because the hackers are just like me.

Even though I call myself a Christian, my nature, at it’s root, is just like the hacker’s. It’s all about me. Getting noticed. Getting respect. Getting what I want. Getting my point across. Getting my jollies.

Romans 7:18 confirms this:

“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”

 

I’m starting to see a correlation on social media, that the people that are the most easily outraged are the least self-aware of their own sin and sinful nature. They don’t see the true meaning of, “there but for the grace of God go I.” That it’s a heart of humility to identify with those that are different from you, that attack or oppress you.

Of our three biggest sites, GodGuy.com is up and running again (obviously,) and HungryPlanet.net is back up and 80% complete. GodGirl.com wasn’t affected. As for GodGuy.com, only a few of the original posts are here, but there’s something refreshing about starting from scratch. Like moving from middle school to high school. Yeah, it’s a little intimidating, but you get to remake yourself and carry yourself in a way that might make this new experience a little bit smoother learning from the mistakes of your past. This site is for anyone searching for who God meant them to be.

Even hackers.

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10

 

July 26, 2013#

Humility vs. Humiliation

sanchez

 

Humility is when you choose a humble path before others point it out to you. When others point it out, it’s called humiliation. Good news: both are good for you.

Bad news: maturity is only present in the humble act.

Hope: learning from humiliation can lead to humility next time.

Reality: saving face or spin is never humble.

(Click on the pic below for an example of public humiliation!)

sanchez

July 26, 2013#

I’m Sorry

sorry

Counsel for anyone that needs to make an apology. An apology has to contain three things:

1. The words “I’m sorry.”
2. An absence of excuses or spin.
3. A statement of “what can I do to make things right?”

June 26, 2012#

July Bestsellers

The Christian Booksellers Association July bestseller lists are out and our books occupy five of the top ten on the Young Adult list and two of the Top 50 of all Christian books! Read more… Continue Reading