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 …
With the recent Supreme Court decision on marriage, various people have been asking where we stand in response. Our position is expressed in the following statement from Dr. Russell Moore of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which I was honored to be asked to sign.
Love, love, love the stories of how God continues to be glorified through people who build on the foundation of unconditional forgiveness in Christ and let the Lord truly transform them… If you need a lift, watch this.
Back in the spring of 2011, I made the regrettable decision to publish a blog post entitled, “Congregational Government is From Satan.” Initially the post was inflammatory to get attention, but in the end it was judged as unbalanced and therefore unfair. In that sense, the danger of hyperbole was realized. That post was removed long …
Ministry leadership is a privilege, but we all face difficult seasons of pruning and even times of fallow ground. Again and again, I have seen tough seasons yield in God’s time to renewed seasons of joy and ministry growth. As we wait by faith for God to move afresh, we wonder if those joyful, fruit-bearing days …
No one worries much if the shovel and salt are in the garage when a sprinkling of snow comes in October or March—but when the blizzard comes, you want to make sure you are ready to deal with it. The greater the importance, the greater the need for confidence. Nothing is more important than a biblical assurance …
So proud of and thankful for the worship leadership from Luke MacDonald, Andi Rozier, Josh Buendorf and the entire Vertical Church Band worship and production teams. Praying for them as they rest up from an incredible victorious weekend!
What distinguishes Passion Week in a vertical church? 1: Passion Week is a week, not a day or a weekend. We give our people special materials and devotionals to work through personally. We give them music to listen to on their way to church. We are a church family and we love to remember and, …
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?
Allow me to date myself by quoting a line from a song by the Imperials (a popular CCM group before the dawn of time): “Now in my house there’s been a mercy killing, the man I used to be’s been crucified,
Dear Pastors and ministry leaders—a new year of God’s faithfulness is upon us. I am praying for a year of growth for me, my family and for our church. I hope this blog has been and continues to be a source of encouragement to you in your service to Christ and His kingdom.
Pastors: Don’t fear a lack of originality at Christmas. If How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life can be watched every year, and if “Jingle Bells” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” can be sung every year, you don’t have to wrestle with “something they have never heard before” in your …
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…
Keep your heart alert to the powerful stories of God at work in your church. As the Spirit moves and changes lives you will serve your church well by building a team of people, volunteers at first, who can grow their ability to tell those stories well.
Dear Pastor Friends: God is faithful, His promises are true, His ways are just, and our trust is rightly placed in Him. For this reason milestones in the life of a ministry matter
Hey Pastor: I always thought the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) was for parachurch ministries. As your church grows, the percentage of people diminishes whose confidence can be based in personal relationship.
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.
Love, love this video below from one of our young, passionate Christ followers. Watch until the end for a fun surprise! Click here to see the story of how he found Christ. As exciting as that story is, I find it even more praiseworthy to see how Christ has continued with Anthony, as He does with …
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.
Last weekend in our church, we saw many respond to the teaching on the death and Christ’s raising of Lazarus in John 11. Seeing eternal transformation take place before your eyes—as God’s Spirit brings conviction of sin and grants repentance,
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.
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 …
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. x http://vimeo.com/62472292 Visit TheDayJesusDied.com
The sum total of human opinion is often very inaccurate—and we are neither as bad as our critics say, nor as good as our fans say. I like to make scriptural lists…and the one I brought to church with me last weekend was this list of five biblical thoughts on public opinion. x http://vimeo.com/58465341
Nothing stirs my heart about faithful service to Christ and His church more than a fresh account of God at work through the power of the Gospel. Watch the story below, shared in our services last weekend, and be encouraged.
“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22 “And they were all amazed…saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority!
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
The New Testament knows nothing of an unbaptized convert. Jesus asked us to do two specific things—to remember His sacrifice with the bread and the cup, and to be baptized. I’ve been preaching verse-by-verse through the book of John in a study called Authentic Jesus. A few weeks ago the entire message was dedicated to …
It was a real honor for me to preach for the third time at the Southern Baptist Convention last night in New Orleans. I felt very small, sandwiched between Dr. Jack Graham
Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. —John 2:24-25
This year at Harvest we’re walking verse-by-verse through the book of John. Last weekend’s teaching was on Christ’s first public miracle, at the wedding in Cana. And while God does not promise prosperity or healing in every circumstance (2 Corinthians 12:7), He does continue to work
Wow. Yesterday, after 2.5 days of pouring into and worshiping with over 2000 pastors and leaders from around the world, we closed out Harvest University 2012. Today, I’m thanking God for the outpouring of His Spirit
Today kicks off Harvest University, our annual church planting conference. Right NOW we’re gathered with a packed house of 2000 pastors and ministry leaders from Harvest Bible Chapels around the world
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
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
How many of us have launched out to serve the Lord with an expectation of how it’s going to be, and found it’s not like we thought?
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
The Hebrew shalom is a universal greeting; it means “peace, a complete state of well being.” But the New Testament significantly expands the concept of peace.
Again, consider this amazing verse of Scripture that tells of Jesus Christ and what He came to accomplish. Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder:
I love my children, and they love me. I love my father, and I have always known his love. But hear this: No human can fill the Father hole in the human heart. A good father helps, but
Consider again Isaiah 9:6, overflowing with a richness of depth and dimension about our Savior Jesus Christ: “Unto us a child is born; unto us a Son is given. And the government shall be
You know you’re talking to a wonderful counselor when they open the Scriptures and speak the Word of Christ into your life. Find people who will go against the grain of what you want (counseling to your flesh) and speak the Word into your life that you need.
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!
I have had to apologize a lot through the years—for things I did, for things I should have done, or should have done better. I have been back at it in recent days, and a couple of weeks ago I shared with the church family what I have learned in Apology School.
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
Pastors, here is a foundational principle of preaching: Preach the authority of God’s Word without apology.
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
A few weeks ago, we rushed out of church on a Saturday night and headed to downtown Chicago for an important youth event at our Harvest Cathedral in the heart of the city. What a joy to proclaim the incredible truth of Psalm 27:4
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
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.
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? x https://vimeo.com/43495693
So much emphasis today is on the power of personal persuasion in sharing the gospel. What to say, how to say it. Reasons to believe, proofs for the authority of scripture -methods for gaining credibility blah blah blah. It’s always helpful to hear an actual testimony of how someone got saved.
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, …
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 …
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 …