One of the most educational days I ever spent was in Bakersfield, California, with a man named Bill Bolthouse. A deeply committed Christian originally from Michigan, Bill developed and refined the harvesting of raw carrots into those beautiful little rounded carrots you frequently see on a vegetable tray with cauliflower, broccoli, and some ranch-dressing dip. By the time I met Bill, his company, Bolthouse Farms, was in grocery stores everywhere, and he was one of the largest producers of carrot products in America. Read More
March 31, 2016
During the time allotted for sermon prep, pastors frequently feel a growing dissonance about a tension created by the biblical text from which they are working.
To illustrate, if I were planning to speak on abortion, I might begin to feel a growing tension as I prepare. I would sense the need to express grace to those who have had an abortion and assure them of God’s forgiveness. Does that assurance then minimize the impact of the strong warnings? Does the equivocation weaken the strong prohibition against abortion? Read More
March 21, 2016
DAY 5: HOW BEAUTIFUL
Different style of music—same message. Different vocalists—same message.
Watch Eddie and Ben take an operatic form and stoke the fires of our worship all the more in this memorable presentation from last year’s Good Friday service. Read More
January 29, 2016
*Note: title may be designed to ignite people’s fondness for negativity /controversy.
I was hosted this past Wednesday by the incredible David Nasser at Liberty University for what he called a “One Day Revival.”
I was privileged to stand in front of nearly 12,000 students and proclaim, “Revival Part 1: Seeing God for Who He Is” from Isaiah 6. More than half the students returned for the voluntary evening session, “Revival Part 2: Seeing Myself for Who I Am,” a truly incredible day—more on that in a minute.
Let me just say, what God is doing at Liberty University is absolutely mind boggling. What must be more than $500 million of buildings under construction, with a similar amount completed since my last campus visit three years ago—just a massive wow—with 3,600 freshman alone and nearly 10x the applicants for each of those spots. The quality of the vision, the incredible favor of God upon all they are trying to build and be . . . just astounding. But then this, as I made my way to Liberty, the announcement rolled out that Jerry Falwell, Jr., had endorsed Donald Trump for president, and the internet was blowing up with a plethora of opinions on that decision.
As a pastor, I don’t endorse candidates. Last week, I spoke at a caucus event for Dr. Ben Carson in Sioux City, Iowa, but I was very clear before accepting the invitation that my speech would be biblical, direct, and non-partisan. See if you think I hit the mark. My point is that I don’t think pastors should be endorsing any particular candidate, so they don’t alienate the members of the congregation who see these non-eternal issues differently. Further, I don’t believe ‘who a Christian should vote for’ is nearly as obvious or simple as some of us try to make it. Read More
December 08, 2015
For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? (NKJV)
Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? (NIV)
The context of this wonderful verse from 1 Corinthians 14:8 is the spiritual gift of tongues. Whatever you may believe about that personally, the passage is clearly stating that words spoken with understanding will always be more powerful than words that carry no understanding. Read More
December 03, 2015
Leaders don’t spend a lot of time on things that are going well. Leaders look for underutilized resources, for new talent. They are constantly on the search for what could improve—and into that, they are speaking a compelling state of affairs.
The subject of leadership is so massive in importance, we dedicated two days this week to training our pastors, staff leaders, and future church planters in an offsite Leadership Bootcamp. Here is a clip from the close of our first session, which illustrates the point above. I hope you find it helpful. Read More