Showing posts from September, 2019

My Approach to Giving

Our church is in budget review season and today is pay day for me so as I was scheduling payments for the month I was thinking about giving and thought I would share my approach to it. Now it should be said that I am discussing giving, charitable giving, as a Christian. I do believe that as believers we are invited into a life of reordered priorities and most often this will mean financially partnering with others to see the gospel go forth. While I don’t think there is a rigid guide in the New Testament on giving specifics, I do think there is an expectation of a sacrificial life as we live from the gift of grace we have in Christ. There is also meant to be a mentality that even the money in my bank account is not my own, it all belongs to the Lord and he has given me stewardship of it as he determines. With those thoughts out of the way here is how my family approaches giving. To start we prioritize giving to the local church. While that seems like common sense because I work for the

All Because of Christ

This evening I was reminded of this rich song. It is an anthem of sorts for me. The road is long and hard. There is much to see things through. And if we make it, it is all because of Christ.

Worthwhile September 27, 2019

First off this week is the fact that on this day in 1979 my love was born. She has done quite a bit of growing since then and for that I am thankful. Happy birthday Stacy! It has been a full week of exciting ministry but I did come across a few important bits for you to peruse. Tackling acedia. The ancient category of spiritual boredom, or worse, sinful apathy. I think we probably diagnose differing layers of issues but for Christians, and as this article suggests pastors, acedia is a terrible root cause if it exists. Harold Sankbeil has a full article on Gospel Centered Discipleship about it. " Acedia means a lack or absence of care. And that’s deadly. Whenever we grow numb to Christ’s saving work and the Father’s gracious gifts by which he makes us and preserves us, spiritual boredom takes hold, followed by apathy and subsequent despair." As you can imagine, when this happens for those responsible for the spiritual health of others, things can get sketchy. Sankbeil gives

God at Work

Last week David Platt hosted a simulcast to promote the launch of his new book and communicate the urgent need for gospel-spreading ministry to happen in our day. I haven't watched the whole video yet, but there was one key story with a brother in a restricted country a buddy shared with me. It is so stirring and leaves me praying "do it again Lord!" The story begins at 1:02:53 of the video if the link doesn't play from there.

Tools To Help Think It Through

It is no secret depression, anxiety, and fear are rampant in our culture and those in the church are just as likely to deal with these same things. There are three categories of tools to work through these issues, spiritual, practical, and clinical. We encourage those in tough places to doctors and therapists for the clinical relief that may be need. We preach the condemnation-free grace of Jesus and empowerment of the Holy Spirit for the spiritual. And we seek healthy patterns of life when it comes to the practical. So we find strategies to process our feelings and emotions, the thoughts we find consuming us. To that end I just finished " The Coddling of the American Mind " by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff. It is a stirring reflection on the current state of our culture full of anecdotal and statistical data. Presented in the book as one practical (and clinical) approach to healthier thinking is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is what they say: "Cognitive b

Worthwhile September 20, 2019

Is Fall actually upon us? In SoCal that means overnight temps in the 50's and 60's with daytime temps between 75 and, well 100. Ha. I occasionally miss a Midwest autumn with the smell of falling leaves and chill in the air. It smells like football season and Thanksgiving. Ah, nostalgia. This week I have a trio of phenomenal articles and a video, all worthwhile. Take up and read, and watch. First out of the gate was a stirring piece by Jared C. Wilson on the recent suicide of Jarrid Wilson. No relation just the same name. " There Should Be Two of Us " is honest and a reminder to all of us that our friends, the people we associate with and those around us can all suffer from depression. Maybe we become more equipped to love, stick with, and care for those in pain. I am doing well now, and have been for a long time, but I know the feeling of everything being too much, the weight of the fear of never getting better, the emotional drowning of all those breakers and waves.

Worthwhile September 13, 2019

It's Friday the thirteenth. That's bad right? Maybe something fun will happen today. I took a week off so today there are four bits of goodness for your weekend reading. Be encouraged, perplexed and try to keep rhythm. The week began with the sad news that a well-known pastor had taken his own life. Jarrid Wilson was a Southern California mega-church associate pastor and author. He also was a vocal and active advocate for raising awareness of mental health issues as he shared of his own struggles with depression. In light of this loss Justin Taylor shared snippets from Mark Meynell’s  When Darkness Seems My Closest Friend: Reflections on Life and Ministry with Depression . Three things you can do to help friends with depression are be present, persist, and reassure. Read the list here . And if you find yourself on the edge please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255. Next from Tyler Braun, a piece on the reluctant leader . Braun shares how he has questi

Contending Over Commenting

I have been reading the latest book from Mark Sayers on renewal in the church through a remnant of discontents seeking Jesus. Reappearing Church: The Hope of Renewal in the Rise of Our Post-Christian Age . It is stirring some good thoughts and hopefully refining me as I attempt to lead such a ragtag remnant. This weekend though one line really put a pin in something I have experienced in leadership. In a chapter calling the church to move away from consumerism Sayers says this: " Consumer Christianity is a form of cultural Christianity that compromises the cross with self rather than flag, mixing the worship of God with the worship of options, personal autonomy, low commitment, and opinion over responsibility. " First, we have to recognize our penchant to be consumers. Even those of us in the Christian subculture that prefer hymns over fog machines, we are likely to pursue church, and dare I say, community as a consumer. I do it, you do it, we all do. From that point we recog

What we need for Mondays

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” - Hebrews 1:3 Where do you start the week? Is it with the checklist of tasks needing to be done (where I started)? Is it with time for quiet reflection savoring the last moments of weekend? Is it by hitting the snooze button more than once? Maybe a better place for all of us to start is this truth of who Jesus is. God himself. The keeper of the universe. The earth spins on its axis, the planets orbit the sun and each star flickers only because Jesus keep them in place with his very word. Once he was the sacrifice to cover and deal with our sin he sat on the throne of heaven on his way to having all nations as his footstool ushering in his eternal reign over all things. Who has power that could top this? No one and nothing. Not my enemies, colleagues, or partners. Not

Sunday Thinking

As we head to church this morning, or go on vacation, maybe frustrated that the line at starbucks is too long, or that you might run into that weird dude in the church lobby, let's set our mind to prayer for the church across the globe. And maybe think about our western sensibilities and what it would look like to have a kingdom strategy and commitment to Jesus. Having Jesus as our all because we have nothing else...