Too often, I rush through life, failing to acknowledge the Artisan in anything. My mind becomes conformed to the pattern of our rushed culture. We look right past the Sistine Chapel to scroll for hours through social media. The world is trying to conform us to its image, cynical and unimpressed. Our senses are deadened. Our ears are deafened. We rush past God’s beautiful creation and we rob ourselves of joy and we rob Him of the glory. God wants to awaken us to see Him in His creation, and make our hearts leap for joy, glorifying Him in everything.
God wants us to pray, plan, and bear fruit. The new year is a great time to evaluate our plans and make new plans for this next year. We should hold these plans with open hands, trusting that God’s plan trumps our plans every time; but this doesn’t mean that we don’t make plans. Godly plans honor God and advance His Kingdom.
True peace is possible. God doesn’t want you to be trapped by anxiety. Therefore, operate in the authority God has given you by casting out the spirit of fear. And through the mountaintops and valleys of this journey, let’s press on in what God has called us to in spite of the opposition. God is greater than anxiety.
In a few moments, your identity changes completely, but you must now learn how to think and live out of this new identity. Learning this is the essence of true freedom. Here are a few of the foundational truths that we must know and adopt if we are going to think and live in the freedom that God has freely given us in the Gospel.
Life and ministry are sometimes very difficult. The internal and external pressure and stress sometimes leaves us feeling depleted and discouraged. When we feel this way for an extended amount of time, we all feel the God-given need to retreat. We are like an athlete in the NCAA tournament who has played a great game and needs to get his body and mind ready for the next game two days later. We are like a NASCAR driver who needs to come in for fuel to be able to finish the race. God made us all dependent beings and has made us with the need to retreat and hide out. The question we must answer is where are we hiding? Where do we run when we are running on E?
We don’t need to be afraid of burnout if the Spirit of God is our fire. Yes, take a Sabbath and rest often, but don’t play it safe in hopes of not burning out. The life Jesus has for us is not one of tame mediocrity, but of power in the Holy Spirit.
...there is hope. I have seen hundreds of drug addicts meet Christ and learn to live in true freedom and real joy. My family and friends had all but given up on me after many rehabs and broken promises, but God did a miracle. Love them like Jesus does, pray for them, and make Jesus the center of your universe!
It’s not enough to get the bad out; we must also fill the empty space with something, or really Someone. True lasting freedom is not found in the absence of something, but in the presence of Someone. "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17). If we are going to experience lasting freedom, we must not only clean our spiritual house, but also we must be filled with the Spirit of God.
Let's not trade this great privilege for a temporary comfort. Let's not trade our role for more money, more comfort, better retirement, or any earthly fame or treasure! Let's hold on to our birthright!
Once a drug addict places their faith in Jesus, they are completely forgiven and have been made into a brand new creation, but now comes the long journey of learning how to walk in the freedom they’ve been given. The reason why so many people feel the joy of the Lord on Sundays at church but then bogged down and hopeless the rest of the week is because they are carrying around what feels like thousands of pounds of garbage from their past.
What if our problem wasn’t that we are seeking our pleasure too much, but that the stuff we are seeking our pleasure in isn’t working? What if the problem isn’t that we are addicted to pleasure, but that the object of our addiction isn’t good enough? What if the drugs aren’t a strong enough pleasure to satisfy our souls? What if we were made for a Greater Pleasure.
Do you know someone who struggles with drug addiction?
Do you have a family member that just can’t get clean?
Do you have a loved one that seems hopeless?
Most of us do…
2018 - Ready, Set, Go!
There is something special and energizing about finishing one season and starting another—this is especially true with regards to a new year. There seems to be organic momentum and fresh anticipation regardless of what we experienced in the last year. How can we pour gasoline on this to maximize the momentum? Here are four of the things I’ve seen produce the most fruit in my life.
Do you want to stay faithful to your calling for the rest of your life? Do you want to stay faithful to your wife until death do you part? Do you want to stay faithful to Jesus until He takes you home?
Over the past few years, many Christian leaders who I look up to have “fallen away.” Some have burned out and others have had a complete moral failure. With these leaders heavy on my heart, I have been searching the Scriptures trying to learn how to prevent this in my own life and the lives of my friends who are in ministry.
Do you feel like your spiritual joy in God has run dry? Do you long for the fresh joy that you once felt when you were a new believer? Are you doing everything you know how to in order to grow spiritually, but still feel stagnant?
To be effective in ministry, the gospel must be central in everything we do: every sermon we preach, every devotional we write, all of our small group curriculum, and in every aspect of the life of our churches. If the gospel is not central, our churches will be built on sand and will eventually collapse into a religious relic or a glorified version of a self-help pep rally. If we’re not preaching the gospel, we are preaching a cubic zirconia version of the divine diamond of the universe- the gospel.
On Christmas Eve 2010, I heard the gospel and Jesus saved me. From that point on, nothing was the same. I had a taste of the pleasure I had been looking for my whole life. The hopelessness I once felt was filled with unshakeable hope. Shortly after that, I felt a call to preach the gospel. Over the next 4 years, Jesus began to heal my speech and open up opportunities to love people, share my story, and preach the gospel.
This one thing has been behind EVERY spiritual leader who has ever been disqualified. This one thing is behind EVERY moral failure in a person’s life. This one thing is behind EVERY broken marriage. This one thing will either ruin or fuel our lives, marriages, and ministries. This one thing is: the Secret Places of our lives and hearts.
Who are you when nobody's watching?
I literally got arrested coming back from my honeymoon…
Kathleen and I got married on January 7th. The wedding was incredible. The honeymoon in Punta Cana was even better... until we got back into the US and had to go through customs. Kathleen and I were flagged and put in a room with less than 10 other people (not a good sign). The room eventually cleared, and it was just us (really not a good sign)...
Do you want to see more people saved when you preach? Do you sometimes feel as if your preaching lacks the teeth to see genuine life change? Do you sometimes feel like no matter how long you work on your message, it still lacks the saving power you and God both desire?