Category: From James
February 26, 2014
Random thoughts (no doubt related to conscious thoughts) are constantly in a pastor’s mind. What do I think about that? How should I handle this? Which approach is most Christ-honoring, most helpful, most impactful? I have no idea if any of what’s banging around in my head will connect with or assist your thinking today. […]
February 17, 2014
Ok, here’s the truth. I was a really skinny kid. To look at me now you wouldn’t know it, but my arms were like pipe cleaners and my legs like pick-up sticks. Really. I was embarrassed at swimming parties and felt ashamed to wear my basketball jersey ‘cause my shoulders could barely keep the straps […]
January 30, 2014
Dear Pastors and Ministry Leaders: Thank you for checking in regularly. I hope this blog is a source of strengthening for your resolve to serve Jesus with abandon, no matter the cost. And I pray this blog resources your fruitfulness in our common mission to plant and pastor disciple-making churches.
January 16, 2014
Hey Pastor: What are you working on today? What are you striving after? Grieving over? Burdened about? Let’s keep our focus: We are not important. We are unprofitable servants on our best days. We have a King—and it is His glory we seek. John 2:11 says, “This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at […]
December 11, 2013
Hey, who’s not up for an early Christmas present? Consider today’s post just that—a pre-Christmas gift from my good friend Jerry Jenkins. Jerry is the much-loved author of the Left Behind series and more than 150 other books and novels. But of far greater significance, Jerry is a dear friend and truly humble follower of Jesus. We won’t know […]
November 25, 2013
This weekend I preached from John 15:1-17 about the secret to a joyful life, which Jesus makes clear begins with abiding in Him. I challenged our church family to make a plan to spend time in His life-giving Word every day…
November 21, 2013
Everywhere you look, men are in trouble—falling to superficiality, entertainment lifestyles, sensuality, secularism, lives lived apart from God, reaping for themselves and their families the harvest of what they have sown. Someone needs to throw men a life line. Men are are sinking, and only Jesus Christ can save them. Christ Himself must invade the […]
September 24, 2013
After 25 years in the same church, Kathy and I have seen much of what there is to see in serving the Lord. So my goal in posting occasionally on this blog is to open my heart to pastors.
August 15, 2013
Jesus is the Good Shepherd—He lays down His life for the sheep. And as His child, through faith in Him, He owns you, too.
May 15, 2013
I am so excited about our worship department and the second live recording this Friday night for Vertical Church Band. They are such a gifted young group of artists—and we are so passionate about our adoration of Jesus Christ.
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 30, 2013
I wanted to wait until we returned from the Holy Land to make my decision public. I am officially announcing my resignation today from a job I have long held, and frequently done very poorly.
April 10, 2013
Thank God for Rick and Kay Warren, and for Keith and Beth Moore. Beth says it better than I could, so let this woman of God be heard…”Sadness and Madness“
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
February 08, 2013
Happy Friday…I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot this week. I think that’s partly because I spoke at Moody Founders Week—she always used to loved to come and hear me there. We also just passed her third birthday in heaven, which was January 31—I’m sure she had an awesome day.
January 16, 2013
Pastors! Are you practicing your preaching and knowing the peace of mind that comes from personal purity? Are you living inside the boundaries God has established? Hebrews 13:4 – “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.“
January 10, 2013
It was Solomon who remarked that “there is nothing new under the sun” and age/experience seem to often confirm what youthful idealism might tend to dismiss. Spurgeon’s book Lectures to My Students is filled with content that reveals the commonality of pastoral struggles and the immense wisdom gleaned from the Scriptures and his experience.
December 14, 2012
After another exhausting week, in a string of weeks so far back I can’t see the start, I have yet another day of high-pressure message preparation. No matter what has happened this week or this month, everything is about to fade into a blur over the next 24 hours until just this single responsibility weighs […]
December 11, 2012
Read It Luke 1:30-33 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
December 04, 2012
Today is not a rehearsal for anything. Today is your life. It’s who you are and who you’re following and what matters most and where you’re headed…today.
November 30, 2012
Read It Luke 1:11-15 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard
November 08, 2012
Hey: Sometimes my best movie-watching experience is an old favorite vs. something new—and I think the same can be true about blog posts. Back in July before the Vertical Church Tour, I posted something I hoped would be helpful to pastors facing criticism, from the trenches
October 16, 2012
> View the statement read in our church on October 13-14.
September 25, 2012
One of the key ministry values here at Harvest is recognizing the difference between equipping and serving. Serving is great, but serving is not the primary calling of a full-time pastor.
September 18, 2012
One of my greatest joys these days is working with young preachers, trying to ‘fast track’ them through some of the lessons I have learned through almost three decades of preaching. I was blessed to attend some great schools, but truthfully most of the bit I have learned about preaching came from painful Sunday afternoons […]
September 13, 2012
One of the things I longed for as a young preacher—and found very tough to find—was practical help with how to actually communicate. I was deeply persuaded about the importance of exposition and the need for application and all the main things, and there was a ton of info on how to interpret and outline […]
September 07, 2012
I want the whole gospel: Every single ounce of truth; give it to me straight just like it is in the Bible. I want the whole gospel: Don’t dilute the living water—it might not quench my thirsty soul.
August 28, 2012
The past three weeks have been a whirlwind on the Vertical Church Tour, amazing in so many ways—and we’re not even finished with leg one. So if a picture is worth
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
June 05, 2012
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word!
April 10, 2012
We are wanting to give God glory for the work He is doing in our church—taking us deeper and further into the joy of His gospel than ever before. God forbid that I should boast, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. —Galatians 6:14
April 09, 2012
“He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead…” —Matthew 28:6-7 Jesus’ rising bodily from the grave changed everything.
April 06, 2012
Following Christ to the Cross, we come to Golgotha—the place where He who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. Here Jesus suffered more than anywhere else, and here He demonstrated His love to the very end. It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land
April 05, 2012
As we continue following the footsteps of Christ, we’re in Jerusalem on the Via Dolorosa—the road of suffering. It is the road that Jesus walked, staggering toward the ultimate sacrifice with a heavy cross upon His torn and bloodied back. So often we try to refuse the trials
April 04, 2012
We’re on the steps of Caiaphas’s house in Jerusalem—the courtyard of the high priest where the Savior was left alone to endure His trial. As you reflect on Christ’s suffering, remember that we’re following in His steps. If you’ve felt like those you love aren’t there for you, remind yourself that Jesus also suffered—alone.
April 03, 2012
Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” —Matthew 27:11 Today we meet at Jerusalem’s Antonia Fortress—
April 02, 2012
This week is a week like no other, covering the space between the shouts of “Hosanna!” and waving palm branches of Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, and His journey to the Cross. Watch the clip below, then pray a prayer of surrender. Give to God whatever burdens you are carrying, in total submission to His will
March 02, 2012
We’re excited to share that Walk in the Word was honored as the 2012 recipient the NRB Billy Graham Award for Excellence in Communication. This award was presented during the National Radio Broadcast’s annual convention in Nashville to a Christian organization that effectively and creatively uses multiple electronic media technologies in fulfillment of its mission, […]
February 23, 2012
The goal before us in ministry is to finish strong—to persevere. So we can say at the end of our lives, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.
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 24, 2012
It seems like almost a decade ago that D.A. Carson came to our church offices in Rolling Meadows, IL, and shared his vision for
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 23, 2011
Like you, my thoughts are turning toward Thanksgiving Day. Turkey, family, football, mashed potatoes, friends, and maybe a nap! Oh, and remembering to thank our great God
October 11, 2011
There are seasons of incredible joy in ministry, and there are inevitably seasons where conflict rears its ugly head and needs to be dealt with. I have come to believe that failure in the season of conflict—failure to deal with it, failure to learn from it, failure to move beyond it—prevents entrance into a new […]
September 24, 2011
I’m frequently asked about my preaching notes. In the video below, I explain the logic behind how I structure my notes. I know such things aren’t one size fits all, but hopefully there’s something helpful in there for you.
August 17, 2011
Rest is the God-given capacity to have peace, even when the circumstance that would burden your heart is not resolved. Okay, this one will be brief, because I believe its power is in its simplicity.
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 28, 2011
June 03, 2011
The psalmist said, “I have been young, and now am old . . .” (Psalm 37:25), and that is how I feel. “Fifty” is not over the hill, but it is surely down the road—and now that I am down that road I see
May 24, 2011
Have you ever gotten a glimpse of God’s handwriting? Ever been caught off guard by the revelation that God Almighty is far more visible and near than you have recognized in a long time? That’s where I’ve been lately—undone by the nearness of His glory.
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 25, 2011
June 03, 2010
We’ve covered some powerful ground on the subject of forgiveness, but I don’t want to leave without saying this. The bottom line for you and your family is: There are no enduring relationships without forgiveness. I’m sure that you have a lot of dreams for your family. You will never see those dreams realized without […]
June 01, 2010
Are you serious about sin? Because God is. And the people of Harvest Bible Chapel did some serious soul-searching and sin confession to put unforgiveness to death. Take a look at this video of the funeral we held at the Elgin Campus for those sins. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and […]
May 27, 2010
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about forgiveness. The past two weekends at Harvest, I preached a series on forgiveness that God used in a powerful way. Find below a summary of what we have been learning together. If you apply some of the things we have been teaching you can get your heart to […]
May 24, 2010
People often ask me if I have a life verse. If I do, it is Jeremiah 15:16, “Your words were found and I ate them, and your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.” It’s kind of my testimony. I was going nowhere in a hurry and I found this […]
May 20, 2010
Looking back over more than 20 years of church ministry, I see how the role of the Elders has changed at Harvest. But one thing should never change. See what that is.
May 17, 2010
I’ve been working with people long enough to know that when I say God is love some people pull back and look at me sideways, “Really? God is love? Well, if that’s true, then how could He have allowed . . .”—and out comes a painful story. Are you like that? Something happened to you. […]
May 13, 2010
Try to preach with authority, and you won’t have it. Authority comes instead from one bedrock conviction. (This is an interview by Brian Larson editor of Preaching Today a ministry of Christianity Today. He recently published it on their site. Editorial note from Brian Larson: On my commute home from work, I used to drive […]
May 13, 2010
Real humility vs. actual humility? What’s the difference? And why should you care? See for yourself.
May 10, 2010
I hope you are having a great week. I have been too busy–which in this case was not really avoidable. Up early and in God’s Word, I was reminded of a passage of Scripture from John 11 that always kind of rattles my windows. He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” […]
May 06, 2010
My heart beats for pastors, so I am glad to share with you what God has allowed me to learn, often the hard way, about some practical areas of ministry. Here’s a word about staff transitions. Staff Transitions from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.
May 03, 2010
Hey, I’m down to the final week of the Walk in the Word Bus Tour. Albany (NY) on Tuesday night, Buffalo on Wednesday, and we finish in my homeland of Canada in Toronto, Ontario, on Thursday night. In every city, I have preached a message entitled, “Why Trials?” from the series When Life Is Hard. […]
April 29, 2010
After a great weekend of preaching through Revelation 14, we left Tuesday morning on the second (final!) leg of our Bus Tour with Walk in the Word. This week, I have 40-some pastors from Harvest Bible Chapel traveling with me and the Worship Team. Praise God for the lives that He is changing for eternity […]
April 27, 2010
I am on my way to Indianapolis today on the Walk in the Word Bus Tour. And Indy is where the Final Four took place. So, this seemed like the best day to announce the winners of the March Madness bracket contest. I chose Kentucky to win it all and many of you did, too. […]
April 26, 2010
“This is the Lord’s doing, it is marvelous in our eyes” Psalm 118:23. Take a minute to see what God is doing through Harvest Bible Fellowship.
April 22, 2010
Last week when I challenged you to consider your trials joy, I said there would be more to come. Here it is. About the Faith Test “The testing of your faith” (v. 3). A trial is a test of your faith. I hated tests in school. I was way smarter than the grades I got, […]
April 19, 2010
Hey, I just got home from the first of two bus tours with Walk in the Word. 10 cities in 11 days. Great time, but it’s good to be home. I preached at Harvest over the weekend. And I’ll be teaching at Harvest University for the next three days . . . then back in […]
April 15, 2010
Seminary is great. I have spent a lot of time enrolled in and speaking at seminaries. So, I have been asked, “If you could custom design a seminary program for training pastors, what would it look like?” To me, it’s about learning how you use the tools. If you live in the Chicago area, you’re […]
April 12, 2010
I’d like to nominate James 1:2 as one of the most outrageous statements in the Bible. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” Count it all . . . joy? That is what James wrote, through the inspiration of God’s Spirit, but it doesn’t add up from our perspective. […]
April 08, 2010
We just celebrated ten years of church planting at Harvest Bible Chapel. By God’s grace, we have planted 45 churches in the past ten years. So, I am often asked what should a church consider before it plants a church. Check this out.
April 06, 2010
Hey, I am on the road today heading toward the first stop of a bus tour with Walk in the Word. You can follow the trip at WalkintheWord.com/bustour. Please join us at a stop on the tour if you live near one of those cities. Anyway, my message on the tour is about trials. Why […]
April 05, 2010
“Can’t leave Easter yet. Almost 17,000 worshipers, the Gospel going out with power, and a lot of great singing like this . . . “Everybody Rise and Sing” from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo.
April 01, 2010
Tomorrow we will take some time to remember the amazing sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross through some powerful, yet reflective services at our church. I trust that you will set some time aside do the same. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, […]
March 29, 2010
Hey, let’s do the greatest thing we can do as Christ followers. Yeah, let’s do it together as we approach another Easter. It’s just a few days away, so let’s do it . . . let’s focus on the cross! The cross of Jesus Christ is the signature symbol of the central event in the […]
March 25, 2010
I want to talk to you about the ways that we get a word from God, how frequently those different things happen, and how you can test and know that it’s really a word from God. Are you ready? Watch this. You can download the chart in the video at this link or find it […]
March 23, 2010
I have often said that healthy things grow. And back in 1999, Harvest Bible Chapel was really growing. So instead of continuing to add more services, the other Elders of the church and I believed that God gave us a vision to plant 10 churches in 10 years. At the time, that seemed almost unimaginable. […]
March 18, 2010
Hey, here’s a look at my bracket for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The games start today. Follow along and see how I do.
March 16, 2010
One of my favorite events on the sporting calendar every year is the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament. Every year since I can remember my friends and family fill out brackets and watch the upsets and buzzer beaters with excitement. The fun part is that you don’t have to know very much to be successful picking […]
March 15, 2010
This prayer stands the test of time for me. I trust it will meet you where you are in your walk with Christ on this Monday. Original Postdate – 2007 My Prayer Today Here’s a prayer I pray in some way almost every single day. When I don’t, I wish I had. Pray with me […]
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 08, 2010
My oldest son, Luke, sent me a link the other day that quoted A.W. Tozer and James Kennedy (both wonderful Christian leaders in their day). Both men believed that many, if not most, professing believers they encountered around the country were not actually saved. They were deeply troubled by the distortions of the gospel that […]
March 04, 2010
What Gospel are you preaching? Are you preaching the true, biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ?
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 25, 2010
Do you send your students to camp? If you don’t, you should. God uses that time away from their regular routines, cell phones, and Facebook to speak to them in a powerful way. They hear His Word and respond to it. Here’s what God did through Camp Harvest in our students’ lives this winter.
February 22, 2010
I was doing an interview for the Chicago Tribune recently regarding Churches Helping Churches. The interviewer asked me if I observed in people a ‘compassion fatigue?’ As it was discussed, I learned that she meant the condition of caring so much about so many things that you are dulled in your capacity to care at […]
February 19, 2010
My good friend and Walk in the Word board member Mark DeMoss wrote this great statement imagining the best possible outcome for Tiger Woods’ public statement today. It should not surprise us that pagans don’t know how to repent, but it does shock me that they don’t get the elements of true remorse right even […]
February 18, 2010
Salvation, biblically speaking, is four things. Take a look at this clip from a recent message to see what they are. It is God Who makes it happen.
February 15, 2010
Hey, Mark Driscoll and I are on the phone almost every day putting together the plan to strategically utilize the funds that have been flowing into Churches Helping Churches. Keep in mind that our long term goal is 10,000 churches in America taking up a ‘love offering’ for any war torn, or disaster devastated area […]
February 11, 2010
Hey: Thanks for coming back to this blog again and again; our audience is really growing. One of the things I want to accomplish here is to encourage pastors to keep “preaching the Word.” Popular today is the notion that to really reach people you have to some how ‘get beyond the Bible.’ We have […]
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 […]
February 04, 2010
A lot of well-meaning people respond to what they think is the Gospel, but sometimes they don’t have the whole story. Are all of the essential ingredients in your Gospel presentation?
February 01, 2010
I am leading my church family through the New Testament book of Revelation this year called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ: Learning to Hope in the King and the Kingdom.” We started last fall and we’re going verse by verse, week by week through this final book in the book God wrote. Now that we […]
January 28, 2010
Hey, you know that my heart and mind are on the people of Haiti these days. Here’s a five minute update that I gave to our church family at Harvest Bible Chapel last weekend on what God is doing through the ministry of Churches Helping Churches.
January 21, 2010
Earlier this week, Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle and I were in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to assess the needs of the church in there. Check out this video footage of what we saw. Will you help the church? Go to ChurchesHelpingChurches.com.
January 16, 2010
Think of it. Right now, as you read this, men are weeping, as their wives wander through the streets of Haiti. Children are crouching in shivering fear as people stand stunned and staring in disbelief at the remains of what they once called their home. The world is racing to help these people in unimaginable […]
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 […]
January 07, 2010
It’s hard for me to start a new year without thinking of the phone call that I received in the early hours of 2005 about one of the founding Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel. Let me tell you about a man who was gripped by Jesus Christ, my friend, Roy Gromke.