June 12, 2013
Hebrews 6:10: For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. It’s June, and vacation that is much needed and well deserved is just ahead for most people in ministry. This is a [...]
May 08, 2013
This is a blog for pastors and ministry leaders. It’s meant to be an open-hearted conversation about things pastors think and feel—
April 19, 2013
My Wednesday post on how the glory of God is the only fire that can sustain evangelistic zeal in local church ministry, may seem a very indirect evangelistic approach to you. If you believe intentional evangelism is what reaches people, you may find it hard to accept what I am writing.
April 17, 2013
Soteriology is a word that comes from the Greek word soterios, which means “to save.” Doxology comes from the Greek word for glory and names the single stanza hymn. While many have heard the Westminster Confession that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” fewer have understood that doxology [...]
April 05, 2013
In John 9, the disciples wanted to debate with Jesus about the source of a man’s blindness—when Jesus saw him much differently. Not as an issue to discuss, but as a person to help. Why do some Christians see everything so differently? Possibly they have become consumers of spiritual content vs. disciples who are not [...]
March 25, 2013
This is Holy Week. And with the outpouring of ministry that will accompany it among our churches, I want to take a few minutes to encourage my fellow pastors as we prepare for its significance. Visit TheDayJesusDied.com Download the videos Download the devotionals
October 18, 2012
With all my heart I believe the battle that rages in the heavenlies is for the glory of God and His great Son, Jesus Christ. The enemy is very happy with horizontal church. As long as church is boring, entertaining, or self-help, it does not threaten the kingdom of darkness.
October 16, 2012
> View the statement read in our church on October 13-14.
October 03, 2012
Church consultants are everywhere these days, flying in, costing a fortune, and teaching church leadership teams to “establish their vision,” “figure out their unique value proposition,” “settle on a purpose statement and what they will offer to the community.” Demographic analysis, carefully targeted music,
August 16, 2012
When was the last time you participated in a faith-driven, expectation-filled prayer meeting that invited God to reveal His glory and show up in power at your church? Not where one or two people pray the will of God, but where everyone in the room
August 09, 2012
When Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21), He was punctuating the absolute centrality of worship as the determinant for every human future. Worship or adoration is the most powerful expression
August 02, 2012
I often read or hear a servant of Christ insist that worship is “more than singing.” We are frequently told that making a meal for your family or cleaning your car or helping your neighbor are all acts of worship. When these acts are the outgrowth of our love for God
July 31, 2012
You can’t fake glory. You can’t manufacture it, or manipulate it, or manifest it at will. Only God Himself can bring glory into a church, and when He does, communities get shaken and lives get changed, and the fame of Jesus Christ curls continuously upon the shore of human hearts
July 26, 2012
When Kathy and I were in seminary in the late eighties, we began to pray, “God, we will go anywhere you want us to go, but if You would allow it, we would like to pastor one church for our ministry.” I had already been a youth pastor at a church of two hundred
July 24, 2012
It was Jack Nicholson who famously bellowed to Tom Cruise while playing Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in the courtroom scene of A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth.” I wonder if the screenwriter knew how succinctly he had summarized our culture.
July 12, 2012
Transcendence is the best single word I have found to describe the attributes of God that are only found in Him and what is missing too often from our churches. We are facilitators of transcendence.
July 10, 2012
A real encounter with the living God changes everything. First it magnifies the Lord, and then it puts me and my ego and my sin and my burdens, that moments ago seemed so big, all in their rightful place.
July 06, 2012
Church was never meant to be safe. Or comfortable. Or predictable. God isn’t any of those things.
June 22, 2012
Let’s grow in our capacity to discern. Make a note of these four myths attacking the church today. Some you might be aware of, others maybe not at all. They are messages crafted for itching ears that damn the souls of men.
May 08, 2012
This weekend I preached from John 2:13-22, on Christ’s response to the consumer mindset that had taken over the temple. And nothing is more of an axe to the tree of vertical church—of God church, of glory church—than “consumer church.”
April 19, 2012
Harvest Bible Chapel is now on 7 campuses—and each is a story of reluctant expansion, given our greater passion to plant autonomous churches. When dying congregations have come for help or facilities have been given to us, we have infrequently multiplied locations
March 09, 2012
God commands you to serve. This is your 24/7/365 card-carrying-follower-of-Jesus-Christ-member-of-the-family-of-God duty. Don’t say, “We should serve. Let’s pray about it.” Don’t pray about it—just do it. Find a job. Roll up your sleeves. Do it forever!
February 16, 2012
When people are looking for a church home, they want insider information—to learn what’s behind the service they’ve just attended and the core values the church is built upon. At Harvest Bible Chapel, those values are known as
January 03, 2012
One more video from the Q and A sessions at the Preach the Word Conference. I trust that you’ll find this content as helpful and hilarious as I did. And I hope you make it a priority to be in a church where
December 28, 2011
I think about the next sermon that’s ahead of me a lot—and I’m often asked about how I prepare a message. That’s why I want you to see this Q & A clip from a Preach the Word Conference held at Greg Laurie’s church. In it, I am with Greg (one of my best [...]
November 15, 2011
Hey: Just a quick post for Pastors, and others that teach the Word, to advance our discussion of how to do it well. I wrote this “fix it before you preach” post some time ago, but I have been seeking to live it this week.
November 07, 2011
Something awesome, maybe unparalleled (for us), is happening in our church. There is a fervency and unity and moving of God’s Spirit in our services that is provoking such expectancy every week. It’s the worship and the Word and the hunger of the people…it’s…I can’t totally explain it, but it is truly AWESOME!
November 02, 2011
Amen? That’s it? You’re going to close your prayer with an abrupt “AMEN”? What about the Savior? Aren’t you going to say the name? And you preachers, lower the “God talk” and say the name! Everyone says the G-O-D—there is nothing in that to denote your loyalty or demarcate your distinctiveness.
October 25, 2011
Sometimes I get weary of people arguing for one side as though the other does not exist, when in reality it often does. Some arguments involve absolute truth and have only one side. But most division (outside what the Scriptures prescribe specifically) involves matters of
October 20, 2011
The post I’d mentioned earlier this week about what multi-site pastors give up for the gospel, is still in process. Watch for that next week. Here, instead, is a foundational principle of preaching: Preach the authority of God’s Word without apology.
October 18, 2011
Some current thinking on issues that have been getting a lot of air time recently. RE: Celebrity Pastors Every pastor manages a certain amount of increased profile and a tendency on the part of people to elevate them beyond
October 03, 2011
The job of the church, the Great Commission, is what? To make disciples. Not just more disciples, but better disciples—authentic followers of Christ who are
September 07, 2011
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season
July 21, 2011
Amazing how quickly a problem in the church can draw conversation and criticism from church members. I thought that headline would attract some readers, but isn’t that kinda sad? How about taking time to read about a pastor who is thrilled with and blessed by the Elders
June 20, 2011
I have the tremendous blessing of being surrounded by a highly-motivated and highly-competitive staff, numbering some 400+. What I have observed is that if we are not intentional about selfless relationships that bless and encourage, we can find ourselves ‘writing checks’ we can’t cover and overdraft with the very people we care about most.
May 17, 2011
In wanting to be effective, make a difference, leave a legacy, we can often lose sight of what really makes that possible. Serving Christ and His kingdom is a very big job and it’s essential that we focus on the things, no, the thing, that truly sets a servant of Christ apart, that in the [...]
May 11, 2011
When you talk about the purpose of the church, what is the one word that should be at the forefront of your mind? Vertical. What do I mean by that? Find out here.
April 18, 2011
Last week our Harvest pastoral staff had a great opportunity and attended together The Gospel Coalition (TGC) Conference in downtown Chicago. When could we ever travel such a short distance to experience so many gifted preachers and workshop leaders in a context of more than 5000 other pastors and church leaders? Wow! A lot of [...]
March 07, 2011
Ephesians 3:21 “to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” The mission of the church of Jesus Christ is to pursue and display the glory of God in all things. Did you see and experience that pursuit at church yesterday? Even churches that embrace that [...]
February 17, 2011
Well another former colleague, a pastor I have known for 20 years, was fired recently. I wish I could tell a tale of harsh Elders, or demanding congregants, but based upon first-hand accounts, he hung himself. Not literally, but literally figuratively. As I often say, the crises of life are a way of revealing something [...]
February 09, 2011
Well, Kathy and I had a great day yesterday at the Acts 29 Midwest Quarterly. Breakfast with Darrin Patrick and his precious and devoted wife Aimee was filled w love and laughter and then over to the cool former -catholic (yeah) building they bought to meet with about 300+ fired up pastors and wives for [...]
February 04, 2011
Are you going to church this weekend? A quick Google of “how many Americans attend church each week” indicates an interesting phenomenon; people lie. Follow that link if you have time. But to summarize, roughly 40% of Americans claim to have been in church at least once in the past week while the real number [...]
January 28, 2011
I’m getting ready to write a book on the church. It’s gone through countless edits in my head and has now escalated into an almost non-stop conversation between me and…well, I’m not sure who I’m talking to…hopefully you and not just myself. I’m thinking of calling the book, When God Goes to Church! I don’t [...]
January 26, 2011
Vertical Church: Why did you call your blog “Vertical Church”? James: I have searched for some time for a word to aptly summarize our convictions about what the church should be. Vertical is a term that reminds us that the church is a place where what happens is mainly for God. Everything that happens at [...]
January 22, 2011
I’mmmm Baaaacccckkkk How well I remember the excitement that filled our home as my boys and I heard Michael Jordan announce that he was leaving baseball and coming back to our Chicago Bulls. Three more championships and his best athleticism would follow this decision. Yes, he needed the break. But now he was back. I [...]
March 11, 2010
I’m almost half way through the book of Revelation. And in my 21 years at Harvest Bible Chapel, I have never taught through this book before. I have to tell you, I am deeply impacted by this study. What does this book written by John almost 2,000 years ago have to say to the church [...]
March 01, 2010
There is a deafening, non-stop discussion in evangelicalism about what the church needs to be (many of the most vocal are those who pastor no one and win very few to our Lord). On and on they pontificate about how church needs to be personally relevant and interesting and meet felt needs. About how it [...]
February 09, 2010
It’s all true. Everywhere I go I hear it. Like a tragedy as visual as the starving peoples of sub-Saharan Africa, the saints in North America are starving. Most followers of Jesus Christ attend churches where the content of the message is geared toward wooing worldlings with watered down content that won’t offend. “Keep them [...]
January 11, 2010
Hey, I know that sometimes the size of your church can be a source of encouragement or discouragement to you. I want to encourage you with what I think about the size of a church. Here is a recent teaching about Jesus comments to the faithful church in Philadelphia from Revelation 3:8. Do you agree [...]