Life is difficult! For everyone there is loss, sorrow, disappointment, and disillusionment. Often when life isn’t good, people are tempted to think God is not good. But this is not true.

God is with us in the valleys

God is with us in the valleys

Sure life is tough, but God is always good. It is important that we see this fact or else we will never really know God in any realistic way. As a pastor, I regularly walk with people through traumatic loss, brutal betrayals, or seemingly unfixable frustrations. In those moments I see people begin to wonder, is God really there, is He in control?

Their main problem is an error in their view of God and this world. Typically a person constructs a theology that says God is here to make my world comfortable and safe. If it is safe, God is in control, if not than God must have checked out and “gone fishing.” I have seen this line of thinking alienate people from a relationship with God.

The story of the Bible does not teach us the above view of life, but another. The Word of God teaches us to see that God did create a world that is good. (Genesis 1) But that man rebelled, sinned, and brokenness and death resulted in the world. (Genesis 3) So now we live in a sin-sick, broken world, where many things don’t work, where people betray people, where the young can die, and where disappointments can last a lifetime.

But nothing about this broken world, or our suffering in it, makes God any less good. Our God is the same God who despite our sin has provided for us a salvation in Jesus Christ. Paul writes, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) The Lord is redeeming a people from this broken world that they might have eternal life in His name.

For your faith to thrive you must embrace the dual reality that this life is harsh, but God is tender. The harshness of the world will not last. God will bring the sinfulness of this world to a final judgment and bring those who trust in Him into eternal bliss.

Real spiritual maturity comes when we accept that life has challenges and trust that God, through it all is with us and has purpose for us. The Psalmist said it best, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Today I read from Oswald Chambers who said, “Unless we can look the darkest, blackest fact full in the face without damaging God’s character, we do not yet know Him.” How true this is.

The people I have seen truly experience the Lord are the people who have suffered much in the valley, but have chosen to not fear the valley when they know that our Shepherd God is walking with us and leading us through to the other side.

Question: How have you found God to be good in the midst of life’s sorrows? Share it here to encourage others. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Today, the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 States.  This has sweeping consequences for our society and culture.  It will also put the Church and individual Bible believing people in many uncomfortable positions in the years to come.  The question that must be asked by Christians is… “How do we respond?”

Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme Court Ruling

Biblical Christianity is fundamentally at odds with the ruling of the Court and with the current prevailing view in our culture.  The Scriptures clearly teach of the authority of God, the intention and definition of marriage as being between a man and woman, and of the saving work of Christ for all sinners.

A serious question that will have to be dealt with in the days to come is how this ruling impacts religious liberties for people holding to the biblical view of sexuality and marriage.  The Court included in their ruling a statement affirming the First Amendment rights of citizens to oppose the idea of same-sex marriage in both belief and speech.  It reads…

“Finally it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.  The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.  The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons.  In turn, those who believe allowing same-sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate.”[1]

It will be interesting to see how this fleshes out in the days and years to come.  This ruling will be tested in many ways and the issue will most likely create issues with Christian owned businesses and religious based institutions and agencies.  There will be some stressful days for many who wish to stand firm on their deeply held religious beliefs.

A sad reality is that Bible believing followers of Christ will find themselves increasingly marginalized for their views in society.  In years past many evangelicals believed themselves to represent a moral majority.  Basic biblical beliefs held by conservative Christians seemed to be largely recognized as noble and right by the society at large.  Perhaps that once was the case, but it has not been the case for a long time.

Those who have held firmly to a biblical worldview have been in the minority for a long time in our nation.  It’s just that we are finally waking up to this cold reality.  And wake up to it we must!  It would be foolish to pretend that we are not out numbered in the realm of public opinion.  We are.  We do not live in Christendom any longer.

To compare our situation with ancient Israel we would find ourselves to no longer be living in Jerusalem (where our views rule the day), but instead we find ourselves in Babylon (where we are outnumbered, surrounded by a culture that wants to assimilate us as it separates us from our faith).

So what are we to do?

Well that is where we need to choose to have faith in a Mighty God who has called us to serve him “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)  Who says that because we are outnumbered that we are defeated?  We are not.  We are instead living at a moment in history when the world most desperately needs to see believers in Jesus standing strong and doing the things God has called us to do.

I like what my dear friend, Dr. Paul Chitwood, Executive Director of Kentucky Baptists, wrote today concerning our calling to continue on in our Christian commitment.  He wrote…

Appealing to the First Amendment, biblically faithful Baptists in Kentucky will continue to preach and teach God’s truth on the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, as well the sinfulness of the homosexual lifestyle.  Should the First Amendment fail to provide protection to the Church, nothing changes.  Like the early disciples, those who love the Lord and live by His Word will continue to do what pleases God rather than men and face whatever consequences Caesar may bring.[2]

Chitwood’s point is clear.  The most important thing believers can do is continue doing what God has called us to do, continue teaching what God has given to us in the Scriptures.

Christians have lived a very comfortable life in America for many years.  To some measure that has been changing, but we must not allow the change to discourage us.  Instead it should be an occasion for us to renew our commitment to living obediently to Christ and His Word.

So here are a few quick things I believe we need to do as the Church and as individual believers…

  1. Go back to the basics.  Brother’s and sisters in Christ, it is time we all dusted off our Bibles and start feeding from them deeply.  Gone is the day (as if it was ever really here) that we could effectively live out our Christian life with only a surface understanding of scripture.  It is not enough to fuel our spirits on an “out of context feel good bible verse” once in a while.  We need to know what we believe.  We need to have a grasp of the Bible and the doctrines that come from the Bible.  My friends, we need to know what we believe and have our minds full of God’s Word.  Our churches must lead believers into a revived hunger for the knowledge of God.
  2. Choose a broken heart over angry bitterness.  I am concerned that many believers will choose to make angry, snarky, even hateful comments in the coming days to express their indignation over the Supreme Court Ruling.  Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues will no doubt be the platforms for these statements.  By all means let’s enter the dialog.  But let’s do so with nobility.  Let’s make a case for our views, our faith.  But let’s do so with the love and respectfulness that Christ demands.  Let’s be Spirit-filled in our speech and loving in our approach.  That never means we shrink back from truth, but it does demand that we do so in love.  Let’s be broken over our Nation’s drift from God and loving in our concern for her.
  3. Renew commitment to the gospel.  The gospel is our only hope.  Paul said it best when he wrote, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16, NIV)  It is interesting to note that he wrote these words just prior to his description of how human societies have left God, wandering from His laws in such a way that it resulted in a perversion of God’s sexual plan. (Romans 1:18-32)  Paul lived in a day when the moral culture was dark, as it is for us today.  What was his response to the darkness?  Preach the gospel!  Point people to the one who died for all men’s sins.
  4. Preach and live out the biblical vision for marriage.  We live in a day when the church needs to do two very important things.  We need to teach the biblical doctrines of marriage.  If we don’t, no one else will.  That is more clear now than ever before.  God’s vision for marriage is beautiful.  It is magnificent.  We must teach and preach it in all its beauty.  Secondly we must live it out.  We must be more committed to our Christian marriages than ever before.  We need to celebrate biblical manhood, biblical womanhood, and the beauty of a true marital union.  That means Pastor’s need to preach on marriage, leaders must teach on marriage, and all of us must renew our commitment to marriage.  It is vital to our witness to our culture.
  5. Expect to be characterized negatively, but behave nobly.  Here is the painful truth…people will characterize our views as bigoted, even hateful. We know that God’s Word is anything but bigoted.  We know that the gospel is all about calling people away from the things that separate them from God and calling them to the one who brings them to God.  We know that sharing this is an act of love.  But some who disagree with us will sometimes vilify us.  It will happen.  But it is important for us to behave lovingly and with the highest of character.  Let’s not smear those who oppose our views, but let us always take the high road and treat people with the utmost of respect.
  6. Be hopeful.  Remember that many of your brothers and sisters in Christ over the last 2000 years have been through similar difficult times where being a Christian brought with it various social pressures and pains.  Also remember that God is still on His throne and that as believers we are His servants.  Read the Bible through and through.  What do you find?  God wins in the end.

We have often read of great Christians of the past living out their faith in trying times.  Most of us probably thought that we would never face such difficulties that would test our resolve and commitment to Jesus.

But here we are.  We are in days that will demand that we pay a certain price standing for our Lord.

Here is what I believe.  I believe that the next few decades could be the most challenging years for the church in American history.  That means some of history’s greatest stories of courageous believers will be lived out and written in the years to come.

Will you be a part of those stories?  Will you renew your commitment to Christ, to the truth of His Word?  Will you strive to live out a beautiful life that radiates the truth and love of Christ like a star up against a dark sky? (Philippians 2:15)

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

[1] “Obergefell vs. Hodges”, Supreme Court of the United States, Opinion of the Court, Section IV, page 27.

[2] “Supreme Court shocked no one with same-sex ruling,” Paul Chitwood, Kentucky Today, June 26, 2015,

Parenting to Prepare for Marriage

Parenting to Prepare for Marriage

By the end of month the Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling concerning the very definition of marriage in our country.  The implications of their decision could have colossal impact on the moral climate of our culture and has the potential of putting the Bible believing church in a very uncomfortable posture in the years to come.


That has started me thinking.  What can we do to make a stand for biblical marriage?  Of course there are legal and political stands that believers can take.  That is all well and good.  In fact it is important.


But there is a much more important way to stand for marriage and I was reminded of it at a wedding rehearsal dinner just a few days ago.


So what is the most important way to stand for marriage?


Parent your children in preparation for marriage!


The other night I was conducting a wedding rehearsal for a couple.  I have known the bride and her parents for almost 18 years.  I witnessed this young woman grow up and have watched her Mom and Dad parent her in preparation for marriage.


The bride was so readied for marriage and the groom was likewise.  They both are Christ-centered and have a vision for their relationship that drives them to live a godly commitment toward each other and the Lord.


At the rehearsal dinner the father of the bride spoke to those gathered.  He expressed his love for his family and his great affection for the daughter he would give away.  But he also gave the couple a charge.  He challenged them to live out a greater vision of marriage that would ensure their love could last, a next generation could emerge, and in a great way the world would be changed.


As I reflected on his words I thought of seven things parents can do to parent their children in preparation for marriage…


  1. Love your sons and daughters.  This father loved his daughter, his son, and especially his wife.  He expressed it.  When he did you could see his family was touched, but so were the friends around them.  Such love prepares children to want to be married in the future.  It creates in them the belief that marriage is a fundamental building block to building a home of love and support.
  2. Give them the gospel.  Many years ago I remember this father continually sharing the gospel with his daughter.  He never pushed her to make a decision, but he prepared her for the moment when she would.  In doing this he taught her that in life and eventually in marriage her relationship with Christ was always to come first.
  3. Model discipleship.  This father and mother modeled before their daughter what it meant to follow the Lord.  They were not perfect.  No one can be.  But they were consistent, committed, and honest about their walk with God.  When we model discipleship, we prepare our children for successful relationships and we give them a vision for life that is not merely about their own selfish desires, but a higher calling.  Marriage will not work when one or two of the spouses operate out of selfishness.  Discipleship teaches us to give and to forgive.
  4. Set the bar high for finding a spouse.  These parents wanted their daughter to get married, but not just to anyone.  They had impressed upon their daughter, by example and verbal expectation, the need to find a man who loved the Lord above all other loves.  They expected her to marry a person of character and integrity.  I want the same for my children.  I have often told them that I pray for them to find a person who loves Jesus as much or more than they.  I do not want them to compromise in anyway in this matter.  It is better to do without than to lower the bar on the things that matter the most.
  5. Expect faithful church involvement.  I loved hearing this father tell his daughter and future son-in-law that he expected them to be in church, lead in church, and partner with the church in her mission.  In most weddings I conduct I challenge the couple to devote themselves to their marriage and the church knowing that the two go hand in hand.  Both of these institutions were established by God.  A strong marriage makes for a strong church and a strong church makes for strong marriages.
  6. Model family leadership.  At the rehearsal dinner this father did more than speak to the couple.  He expressed his love and pride for every member of his family.  What was he doing?  Modeling family leadership.  He was the shepherd of his home and was caring for his entire flock.  When we do this as parents we teach our children to do the same.
  7. Cast a vision of legacy.  In this father’s speech he challenged the couple to obey God’s first command in marriage, to “be fruitful and increase in number.” (Genesis 1:28, NIV)  Even at a young age we should tell our kids that men and women get married to build a family and birth a new generation.  Marriage is not only for the gratification of the couple, it is to build a people.  I often tell couples to imagine how many people will come from their love in the course of a century.  In addition, for the Christian, marriage should also be about partnering together for the purpose of extending the gospel into the world.  Couples should come together before the Lord for the purpose of fulfilling his commission to bring Jesus to others.


So I challenge you, if you are a parent, to take a stand for marriage by parenting your children in preparation for marriage.


Question:  What are ways you have found to prepare young men and women for successful Christian marriages?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.




Did you know that the most popular flavor of ice cream is Vanilla?  It is and there is a lesson we can draw from this fact that can make all the difference in our relationship with God.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream


Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, in their book Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth, point out that if your local ice cream establishment could only sell one flavor it would most certainly be vanilla.  Why?  They say it isn’t just because it is the most popular.  They say it is because “it is hugely popular; in fact, it’s twice as popular as the second favorite flavor, which is chocolate.”[1]


Church leaders are always looking for ways to spur their members onto spiritual growth.  And they are looking for that one thing that would have the most impact and make the most difference.  They are looking for the vanilla ice cream of spiritual growth.


Do you know what they found is that vanilla of spiritual growth?  Their research revealed, hands down, that reading and reflecting on how the Scriptures applied to their lives was the single most effective activity to growing in their walk with God.


They write, “Reflection on Scripture is the spiritual equivalent of vanilla ice cream because its’ influence on spiritual growth far exceeds the potential impact of other catalysts.”[2]


It’s that simple, my friend.  Reading and reflecting on God’s Word on a regular or daily basis makes all the difference.  Are you doing that?


If not, let me encourage you to start today!


Question:  What are some ways you try to incorporate Bible Study into your day?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

[1] Greg Hawkins & Cally Parkinson, Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth, p. 167.

[2] Ibid.

Is your church an instrument of God, representing the vivacious life of Christ in the world, or an institution of man, perpetuating the preferences and rituals of men?


A Church Moving with God

A Church Moving with God

My great desire is to be a part of a local church that is experiencing, reflecting, and advancing the Lordship of Jesus in the world, not a mere center of predictable, never changing tradition.


Now don’t get me wrong.  Lot’s of traditions are good.  We value lots of traditions at our church that serve us well and encourage us in the faith.  But we are at our best when our ultimate focus is not on the tradition, but on Christ and what he is doing in our lives and communities.


Furthermore, by my opening statement I do not want to suggest that all churches fit squarely into one category or the other.  I would argue that my church is significantly experiencing God’s powerful movement in the here and now.  But if truth be told, we no doubt have blind spots where we have allowed “the way we have always done it” to restrict our responsiveness to the promptings of God’s Spirit.


In addition, it should be said that tradition is not an enemy of faith or of responsiveness to God.  For example, the tradition of weekly worship (a tradition based in Scripture) provides a continuous format for God’s people to be equipped, motivated, and deployed for serving the Lord.


What I am saying is that a church that leads her people to move with God will connect those people in certain very distinct directions.  In Timothy Keller’s book, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, he mentions four ways churches should connect people that they might be a part of the move of God in their lives and communities.[1]


As a member of your local church, you want to see your church encouraging and facilitating these kinds of connections.  For those of you who are in church leadership, these are connections you will want to intentionally facilitate in the lives of the people you influence.


Here are the four connections:


Churches Moving with God will…


  1. Connect people to God through evangelism and worship.  It all starts with evangelism.  Welcoming people into an experience of the good news of salvation in Christ should be the heartbeat of every church.  We should tell the gospel to everyone, invite every person to respond to the gospel, and we should celebrate this good news in all we do.  Furthermore, our churches should be intentional about connecting people to worship the Lord with great affection.  This will be done in a variety of different ways and styles depending on the context.
  2. Connect people to each other through community and discipleship.  Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  The church, at it’s essence, is not an organization.  Of course every church should organize.  But fundamentally the church is a family, Christ’s family.  We were born again that we might be brought together as his redeemed people.  Because of that, local churches should encourage people to build relationships designed to spur one another on in their faith and practice.  In our church we do this through encouraging our people to participate in small groups for Bible study and relationship.  We also encourage our people to serve in ministries that edify the congregation.
  3. Connect people to needs of your city or town through mercy and justice ministries.  Christ is forming his Body, the church, that he might express and advance his mercy and justice in the world.  The active presence of the church in the community should make a difference in the lives of people who are vulnerable or under-privileged.  In our church the Spirit of God has prompted our people to provide for the poor, assist in the assimilation of Burmese refugees into our community, partner with organizations that equip people to get free from destructive addictions, and minister to our Hispanic population.  In some contexts churches will seek to rescue women from the blight of sex trafficking.  In meeting the needs of the vulnerable we move with God as we allow him to express his mercy through us.
  4. Connect people to the culture through integration of faith and work.  This is one that the evangelical church has not done a great job with over the years.  It is an area where we must improve.  For far too long we have bemoaned the fact that we are losing influence over our culture.  But this is in part because we have not engaged the culture with our influence.  Instead of seeing ministry only in the context of leadership in the local church, we should recognize that God’s Kingdom calling is not only for preachers, missionaries, and seminary professors.  God has called us all.  Whether you are a homemaker, factory worker, small business owner, manager, doctor, lawyer, or teacher…God has a calling for you to serve him in those contexts.  Your occupation is a mission from God.  Your faith should shape how you approach your job as you influence the culture of your home, business, school, or community organization.  This is a subject I will need to blog about in the future.  Imagine the powerful effect of an entire congregation with a vision for applying their faith, not just at church and with family, but in the workplace in creative and dynamic ways.  That is where we can see the world around us change and the Kingdom of God advance for the common good of all and the Glory of God.


So what about you?  Are you connecting, along with your local church, in these four ways?  If not, is it not time that you join what God is doing in the world?  I encourage you to follow the promptings of God to connect with what God is doing and be a part of his movement.


Question:  In what ways is God calling you to more deeply connect with the move of God in your world?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.



[1] Timothy Keller, Center Church:  Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, Zondervan, 2012, p. 250.

People follow leaders who believe Big! No one wants to join the team of a leader who does not have faith in the cause or has lost sight of the God who issued the calling. Doubt will infuse your team with insecurities and will cause alternative agendas to begin to divide your focus.

Lead with Belief

Lead with Belief

If you are a leader, to be effective you must lead with belief. That does not mean you cannot have doubts or second thoughts, but you must have a core set of beliefs that drive your leadership of others.

Typically people will join your team or cause because they see a fire in your eyes. You believe in the cause and you believe so passionately that it is contagious and others want to be a part of this important task.

Years ago I saw this flesh out in the local church where I serve as Pastor. Our leadership, years before, had determined that God was leading us to build an entirely new and expansive campus for our ministries. From the beginning I shared this belief and led the way with our people.

I spoke often about how God was going to use us to achieve this great project. I cast vision, painting a picture of the impact we would have on our city as we sacrificed to build and expand. People followed, giving of their time and money as we purchased land and developed plans to build. I believed so strongly that we were going to succeed and was convinced God would provide.

But then we went through a few years where our project was stalled. Until we found a buyer for our old facility we could not move forward financially. It was a test of faith and I began to have doubts.

I did not doubt the rightness of the cause. I was still convinced that God had inspired the project. But I started to doubt that it would be accomplished. I got my eyes off God and onto the sluggish progress of our process.

I started to let that doubt leak out in small, but significant ways. In committee meetings, years before I would say things like, “God is going to come through in his time and we are going to build this complex and many people are going to have their lives impacted.” But now I started to say things like, “If things work out we will build this building. If God comes through, we will have success.”

My subtle doubts impacted our team members. Problems seemed more overwhelming and motivation a bit less powerful. It became easier to feel insecure before challenging circumstances and that had the potential to paralyze the process.

One day, I was meeting with two of my top lay leaders. I was frustrated and asked them what they needed from me most as a leader. One of those men looked me square in the eye and said, “Pastor, we need you to believe.” Hearing these words hit me hard and helped me self-correct my leadership posture.

A couple of years later our project would pick up and we were moving forward, but then a huge challenged threatened the work again. Team members were anxious, even struggling with a measure of doubts. The truth is, I was nervous too, but then I remembered that as the leader I needed to believe.

So that is what I did. I remembered the rightness of our cause, the history of how God had already been providing for us, and I led with faith. I would say things like, “God is not dead. He did not lead us this far only to let us stall out in the middle of the task. Let’s believe and move forward.”

By no means was my belief the sole reason our project went forward. Many people were involved. But I know that without my decision to believe, paralysis would have been given power to hinder our efforts, divide our focus, and discourage the many people who were sacrificing to expand our ministries.

It is the same with your leadership. Whether you are leading your kids, your spouse, a church ministry, or an organization in the marketplace the people who follow you are looking for you to believe. When you believe, they feel safer and exhibit more boldness in accomplishing their tasks.

I encourage you to believe in God’s plan and power in the arenas of life where you apply leadership. Lead with passion and faith.

Question: Can you name leaders in history or in your life that have inspired you with their belief? Share them with us. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Nothing builds your faith like reading Scripture.  Nothing!  So why not commit to read the Bible all the way through this year.  Today is the perfect time to start.

Read The Bible In A Year

Read The Bible In A Year

For years I have encouraged people to read the Bible thru each year.  I have known hundreds who have.  I have known no one who regretted doing so.  Reading God’s Word is powerful.

Consider these reasons why you should read the Bible all the way through in 2015…

Reading the Bible in a year…

  1. Opens your soul to hear from God.  When you read God’s Word, God is speaking to you.  So much of what you study will apply to your life and to specific realities that you are experiencing.
  2. Gives you a view of the greatness of God.  The Scriptures are all about God.  Immersing in God’s Word gives you a front row seat to the greatest works of God in human history.  It is hard to not be awestruck with God’s grandeur.
  3. Provides for your life the world’s greatest mentors.  From Abraham, Moses, Samuel, David, to Peter, John, and Paul, you will read of the lives of real people who lived for God.  You will learn from their faith, courage, and yes, even from their failures.
  4. Immerses you in the full council of God.  When you read the whole Bible, you get a comprehensive sense of what God has revealed to men and women through the ages.  You are studying the revealed will of the Lord.
  5. Gives you a keen awareness about how the Lord works in the world.  How does God interact with people, with nations?  After this year of reading you will not view the nightly news the same.
  6. Empowers you to avoid the deception of sin.  Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”  God’s Word will help you more effectively identify temptations and see the dangers of sin.
  7. Encourages you when you are down.  Experiencing the promises and assurances of God on a daily basis can give you the encouraging perspective you need to make it through discouraging times.
  8. Comforts you when you are hurt.  This coming year will include times of pain.  The Lord wants to remind you of his care.
  9. Convicts you when you are in sin.  The Word of God will reveal and confront your sin, as well as  your tendency to rationalize it.  If you are daily in the Scriptures, you will continuously be confronted with God’s standards of righteousness.
  10. Etcetera, etcetera!!  There are so many more reasons  that this blog could turn into a book.  The simple truth is, you should seriously consider reading the Bible thru this year.

So how do you get started?

There are all kinds of ways you can read the Bible thru in a year.  You can use plans you will find on a You Version phone app.  But my favorite is reading thru The One Year Bible™.  This is a Bible that is divided into 365 daily readings.  In the course of a year, you will read the entire Old and New Testaments as well as read through the Psalms twice.  Each day you read a portion of the Old Testament, a portion of the New, as well as passages from the Psalms and the book of Proverbs.  You can find this Bible at your Christian book store or purchase online.

I would love to support you on your journey!

Several years ago I set up a website designed to be a continuous encouragement to those of you who want to read thru the Scriptures.  The site is  Here I tell you how you can read through the Bible.  But as a bonus, I provide you 365 days of brief radio style programs of me teaching you lessons from the passages you are reading.  I walk through the entire year with you, helping you go deeper into God’s Word each day.

I hope you will consider reading thru the Scriptures this year.

Why not start today, the first day of 2015?

Question:  Are you planning to read the Bible through this year?  Let us know and tell us what you hope to experience along the way.  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Christmas Holidays can be intense with lots of expectations, family pressures, a materialistic binge, and over eating.  There is mounting excitement, but then it is over.  Many experience the Post Christmas Blues.

Post Christmas Blues

Post Christmas Blues

So here are a few tips for overcoming this blah post holiday feeling…

  1. Take a walk in the park.  The lights are still up in a lot of the city parks.  Go for a stroll and enjoy them before your city takes them down.
  2. Take your family out to eat.  Many of you received a gift card or some extra cash over Christmas.  Spend some of it by going out.  Go early, like 4:30pm, and beat the crowds.
  3. Go out to see a movie.  It can be a great escape.  My son and I went to see the movie Unbroken last night.  It was an inspiring movie of faith and determination to survive and stand for your country.
  4. Watch a movie at home.  Someone probably got a movie in their stocking.  Get it out, pop some popcorn and watch a movie together at home.
  5. Take down the decorations.  You probably have had them up for awhile.  Pack them up and put them away.  This helps you start thinking about the New Year ahead and gets rid of the clutter in your home.
  6. Throw away the stale treats.  You know those dried out left over cookies, candies, and pies.  You made and received more than you could eat.  They have already begun to get dry.  Save a few things, but throw out the rest.
  7. Start eating better.  Eat less sweets and taper off of the cola drinks.  Start eating more healthy choices and drink more water.  You will be amazed at how much better you will feel.
  8. Begin a reasonable workout routine.  Nothing crazy, unless you like crazy.  Do something to get your body moving.  Start walking, or jogging, or try out that work out DVD your spouse gave you (even if you were a little offended by the gift).
  9. Go to the Library and make a reading list for the New Year.  Perhaps you could make a goal of reading a book a month, or even a book a week.  Nothing expanse your horizons like good books.
  10. Determine to Read the Bible Through in a Year this coming 2015.  Want to learn more on how to do this?  Visit  Here I will show you how to read the Bible in a year using the One Year Bible.  This is a sure way to get your spiritual juices flowing for the next twelve months.
  11. Start thinking about your goals for 2015.  The days before the New Year can be a great time for evaluating your life and dreaming about what you want to strive for next.
  12. Do something to help someone in your community.  It seems that everyone is interested in helping out a charity or an underprivileged person around Christmas.  But such help usually dramatically drops off after the holidays.  Make a plan to help someone, or some charity out this winter when volunteerism and financial support tends to wane.
  13. Spend an hour in private prayer.  Get off somewhere you won’t be bothered and simply spend the hour thanking God for all the blessings in your life.  Maybe even write those blessings down one by one.  You might find this to be the one thing that lifts your spirits the most.  You will find that God has given you so much.
  14. Go to church.  You may have been traveling with family and missed a couple Sundays.  As soon as you are home, get back in church.  Enjoy the people there, savor experiencing the worship of God with others, and praise God that you get to be a part of the Lord’s Family, thanks to Jesus coming into the world.

Question:  What are tips that you have found helpful in battling the Post Holiday Blues?  Share them with us.  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Yesterday was Christmas Day!  For most of us in America that meant waking up early, ripping into presents, and focusing on family.  But later that day, I was invited to visit our Burmese congregation as they celebrated the birth of Christ.  It was there that I saw a real Christmas.

Meeting Buddhist Monks On Christmas

Meeting Buddhist Monks On Christmas

On the night of Christ’s birth the shepherds, having experienced the virgin born Son of God, could not contain the knowledge of the Savior.  The scriptures tell us that “they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” (Luke 2:17)  Evangelism was the natural response after experiencing the saving grace of God.

And it was evangelism that I witnessed yesterday at that Burmese Christian gathering.  Over one hundred of our Burmese members gathered on Christmas Day to feast together, exchange gifts and tell the story of the birth of our Savior.  But most notably they invited prominent Buddhist Monks from our community to experience their Christian fellowship, see a dramatic re-enactment of the Birth of Christ, and hear the gospel preached.

I had the privilege of meeting these monks as you see pictured above.  What joy I felt in my heart when I saw them seated on the front row of this gathering and our Burmese church members sharing the gospel with them through drama, music, and preaching.

Many of our Burmese members were once Buddhist, but then they heard of the Savior, confessed Christ, and were baptized into the fellowship of the Church.  And now, so full of the love of Christ they wanted their Buddhist friends to know the good news of Jesus as well.

They could have done like the rest of us and huddled in their homes to exchange gifts just with family.  They could have gathered as a church and just reveled in their salvation in Christ.  But no!  They embodied the spirit of the shepherds.  They “spread the word” concerning the Savior that was born.

Jesus is not a mere story to be told, he is a Savior to be experienced.  Christ is not just to be cherished, but he is to be shared with everyone who has yet to hear.

I am proud to be the Senior Pastor of these Burmese Christians.  They engaged in a real Christmas yesterday.  They shared the hope of Christ with those who did not possess that hope.

Christmas is about Christ and Christ is to be shared with the world.

Let’s share the saving message of Christ with those around us who do not yet know of his soul redeeming love.

Question:  What are ways that you have attempted to share the good news of Christ during the Christmas Holiday?  You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Praying for Things to Open

November 19, 2014 — 2 Comments

What if I told you praying for the Lord to open three specific things could set you on an adventure that would completely change people’s lives, especially your own?

Lord, Open A Door!

Lord, Open A Door!

A few weeks ago Ron Hutchcraft came to our city to help prepare church leaders and laypersons for a Will Graham Evangelistic effort.  He challenged us to engage in sharing Jesus with those around us as a natural part of our lives.

Nothing changes a life more than the truth that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for their sins and rise again to be their Savior.  The glorious invitation to turn from your sin and receive the forgiveness of Christ is soul transforming.  Everybody needs Jesus!

But for someone to come to Christ, to receive Jesus in their lives, several things must happen.  First, a person in need of the Lord must be given an opportunity to hear a believer in Jesus share with them the good news of Christ.  Second, their heart must be open to that message.  And third, a believer in Christ must be willing to speak the good news of salvation into their lives.

Ron Hutchcraft challenged us to make three prayers a daily practice.  I want to share them with you.


  1. Lord, Open A Door:  By this we mean that we pray for God to open a door of opportunity for us to have a spiritual conversation, or an opportunity of ministry, in the life of someone who does not know Christ in a personal way.  Praying this prayer does two things…  a. Asks God for opportunities to share the gospel.  God is the one who opens doors and sets divine appointments.  The Lord loves to answer this prayer by leading our lives to intersect the lives of others who need the light of Jesus.  b. Makes us inclined to be alert to those opportunities when they come.  When we pray asking for an opportunity to share God’s message of salvation, we begin to expect that those opportunities will come.  We enter our day with our eyes wide open, looking for the opportunities God has planned.
  2. Lord, Open Their Hearts:  This is where we pray that God would open people’s heart to the message of Christ.  After all, it is the Lord who must draw the soul to himself. (John 6:44)  We pray that God will do that in the lives of people around us.
  3. Lord, Open My Mouth:  This is where we realize we must be a part of God’s answer to our prayers.  Paul wrote, “How, then, can they call on the one (Jesus)…without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14)  Too often we pray that God will send someone else to share with them.  But we are the ones God has placed in their path.  It is up to us to open our mouth and share the great story of God’s love for them.

So this week will you start to pray for things to open?  Pray for an open door, open hearts, and for God to open your mouth to share the truth of Christ with someone the Lord places in your path.

Question:  Have you had an opportunity to have a spiritual conversation with someone far from Christ?  Tell us about it.  You can leave a comment by clicking here.