The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Preaching Like Jesus to the LGBT Community 

Unexpected Joys

I had taken a class that was meant to aid me in my study of God’s word and turned it into an idol on the road to ministry. When I thought I had failed and the idol had been smashed I finally had peace.

Joyful Burdens in Mono-Ethnic Churches

This article is worth the read. 

“There are many red and yellow, black and white, rich and poor, national and international Christians in many churches who have chosen to become ethnic minorities in predominately mono-ethnic churches in order to help these churches build healthy, multi-ethnic churches.”

How Urban Christians Failed President Obama

This steadfast sense of loyalty held by urban Christians forms a protective shield around our leaders. It’s dependable, almost unconditional. Our loyalty stabilizes our leaders and offers assurance in a country that has stripped much of their dignity, and too often their lives. But it can also stifle accountability, making them more susceptible to their own faults.

Ecclesiastical Antinomianism

The heart of ecclesiastical Antinomianism is that people act as though the Scriptures have nothing to say about church government or about the responsibility of men, women, boys and girls in the church to submit to the authority of the pastor(s)/elders. 

Four Reasons Why We Leave

I left in July, 2015. I now live and minister in secularized and post-Christian Europe. No one made me leave, but I became a leaver through prayer. Be warned: If you’re not prepared to leave and live overseas, don’t start praying for the nations. If you do, you might find yourself leaving, too, and sooner rather than later. I can tell you we have experienced incredible joy living in the goodness of God’s plan, by his gift of faith and courage.

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Teaching Our Children God-Honoring Sexuality
The reality is that you and I are surrounded by sexual content and so are our children. The question is not if they will encounter sexual content, but when and how we as parents can ensure it is in a healthy God-honoring way. Either we take on the responsibility of guiding our children through understanding sexuality rightly, or take the risk of having an older sibling, teenage neighbor, or some explicit website assume the role for us.

Adding Friends in the Faith

One day, I looked at the contact list in my phone. I was discouraged to find I literally had no white Christian friends. I had phone numbers from acquaintances and emails from people I knew years ago, but no friends who were white believers. As a matter of fact, I had no solid relationships with any other ethnicities than mine.

Meet the New Apocalypse (Same As the Old One)

Here is a solid review with some spoilers.

When Grace Hurts the Church

I long for the members of the church I serve to feel their need for Christ, too. I want them to understand that no work on their part—no decision, no prayer, no walk down the aisle—was the decisive factor in their salvation. God did it, and he did it all! I’m convinced their Christian life will be richer, deeper, and healthier when they grasp that God gets 100 percent of the credit for their salvation.

Why Doesn’t God Still Speak Audibly?

Why doesn’t God show himself like that anymore? Why does he seem invisible after revealing himself so visibly and tangibly in the Old Testament? Does this mean following him then was concrete (“leave your land”) but following him now is spiritual and psychological (“read your Bible and pray”)? Indeed, many suppose that if God revealed himself today as he did in the Old Testament, it would be more assuring to Christians and might convince the outside world.

The Goal of Missions May Not Be What You Think

This paragraph profoundly changed what I viewed as the goal of missions. Previously I’d assumed the goal of missions is the practice of missions: evangelism, church planting, and so on. But Piper pointed me to something bigger: the goal of missions is nothing less than the worship of God.

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Answering This Generation’s Question of Essential Identity
the church must remind this generation, that true self-knowledge can only be ascertained by looking to God. Men and women will remain in their folly of improper self-identification until they see themselves as God sees them. More than ever, the church must help this confused generation find the answer to “Who am I?” by declaring these three truths to each and every person.

Integrity and Identity

The tragedy of such hypocrisy is not that it merely contradicts your faith claims. As a Christian, hypocrisy betrays your new identity and nature in Christ, which is the source of your ability to have integrity in the first place.

Why Social Media (and the Church) Is Making You Sad

Nobody is as happy as he seems on Facebook. And no one is as “spiritual” as he seems in what we deem as “spiritual” enough for Christian worship. Maybe what we need in our churches is more tears, more failure, more confession of sin, more prayers of desperation that are too deep for words.Maybe then the lonely and the guilty and the desperate among us will see that the gospel has come not for the happy, but for the brokenhearted; not for the well, but for the sick; not for the found, but for the lost.
The World Is God’s Classroom

Far from belittling theology, God provides unending object lessons for us. His world is filled with purposeful echoes of him. We didn’t luck out that the world helps us grasp the contours of God and his ways. God designed it this way. God embedded lines of code into the universe, revealing his attributes, teaching us how to think, feel, respond, love, taste, and behold — how to live for his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our textbooks are his world, his word, and the Word made flesh.

What Does God Have to Do With It?

I heard of a preaching professor who took his students to a graveyard to make this very point. He stood them around the burial spot of a man and commanded them to preach life into the body. They refused, out of embarrassment. But he prevailed as the professor, and the men preached passionately to the corpse. You already know what happened . . . or didn’t happen. You were probably humored when you read this because the scene is so absurd to imagine.

The Winston Churchill Guide to Public Speaking

So the next time you’ve got to step in front of a podium, keep in mind the following advice from the English Bulldog himself. Some of his methodologies were uniquely suited for his temperament and time, but all are rich sources of guidance and inspiration:

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Submission Is a Mark of Maturity
How we respond to difficult decisions made by the leadership over us is a test of Christian maturity. We can choose to humbly submit or make a respectful appeal, or we can choose to grumble, gossip, and slander the very leaders God has sovereignly placed in our lives.

Why I’m No Longer a United Methodist

A persons journey to find the Methodism of old.

Evil Looks Like You

So what does evil look like?

I think it looks like you and me.
Getting to the Heart of Atonement

Bill Mounce looks at the word atonement.

Did John Calvin Burn Michael Servetus at The Stake?

Church history question: Did John Calvin murder people? More specifically, did he have Michael Servetus burned at the stake?

Pass The Mic: Black Panther And The Longing For A Hero King

More and more I am becoming a podcast guy. This episode of pass the mic is worth listening to, especially if you enjoyed Black Panther in civil war. 

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

The Bible Belt: Ministry in the Land of the Over-Churched and Under-Reached
the average person in the South still loves to sing “God Bless America.” This god, however, acts more like a sentimental mascot or a good luck charm. I refer to this Bible Belt culture as the land of the over-churched and the under-reached. In a place where many are Christians by culture rather than conviction, pastors and local churches face serious challenges. People in this land have been “immunized” from the true faith by a dead version of Christianity.

Women Teaching Men — How Far Is Too Far?

A woman answers this question, she has some good insights. “So a woman who only considers the boundary and asks, “How far is too far?” is really asking the wrong question. A better question would be, “Do I love what God loves?” “Do I treasure what he treasures?”

Luther, God’s Law and Uncle Rico Syndrome

Any article which effectively uses a Napoleon Dynamite illustration needs to be read. 

The Importance of Integrity 

Immigration, the Gospel, and Southern Baptists in a Nation in Turmoil

A challenge issued “What if the current context of controversy and fear is exactly what God has allowed for Southern Baptists to love and minister to immigrants and refugees in ways that will cause us to shine like stars in a world full of fear and anger?”

How to Evangelize Professing Believers

What, then, are we to do when our lives regularly intersect with those who claim to be for Christ and yet whose lives plainly don’t bear the fruit?

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

How Can Homosexuality Be Wrong Id It’s Not Hurting Anyone?

Nine Things That Have Replaced Traditional Outreach in Churches

This is interesting, if you are into outreach and church trends, check it out. 

8 Reasons To Preach Through Books of the Bible

I have sat under both topical and expositional preaching. I enjoy both, but when preaching expositionally or sitting under expositional preaching, I am challenged and grow more. 

“To preach with the times is to go where all times go. Now, sermons ought to be applicable and relevant to the Christian’s daily life and the world we live in. But the great thing about the Scriptures is that they are remarkably applicable and relevant to the world we live in without our help!”

90 Years Ago Today—The Mysterious Disappearance of the Preacher Aimee Semple McPherson: An Interview with Matthew Avery Sutton

Interesting read, she has influenced so many in the Pentecostal/Charismatics sphere. Hewing in Pentecostal circles, I have heard of her ministry but never heard this story. Worth the read. 

A one-legged man trapped inside a two-legged man’s body. Amputate?

But these kinds of things are exactly the kinds of conundrums a person faces if he accepts the notion that psychological identity trumps bodily identity. I’m not convinced that people have thought through the implications of embracing such a view. That is precisely why we need to be critical about the claims of the transgender movement. Yes, we need to be compassionate towards those who experience deep conflict between their psychological identity and their body. The church would do well to come alongside them to support them and love them.

18 Things to Pray for Your Church

When praying for your church, this is a good list to pray. 

The Early Bird Gets The Link 

Our Respectable Sin—Laziness
Now, this is certainly no defense of cursing one’s parents, but the Bible spends more time addressing the rebellion of laziness. Cursing your parents is rebellion but so is laziness. The testimony of the Bible from beginning to end says that laziness is wicked. But we don’t often look at it that way. Why is that? Why don’t we think laziness is a big deal? Why has laziness become a respectable sin among Christians?

Isn’t She Beautiful?

How significant should physical attraction be in the pursuit of marriage? Or, what role, if any, should physical appearance play in Christian dating?

Guys have come to me over the years asking about this. Usually he respects or admires a godly young woman (or, maybe more often, other people in his life think he should admire her more), and yet he’s not physically attracted to her. She’s not his “type,” he says. “Should I still pursue her?”
What would you say to him?
8 Arguments for Why You Should Be Anxious Today (and How the Bible Responds)

An important lesson of the Christian life is that the heart of the battle is a fight not between abstract commands (do this! don’t do that!) but rather arguments. Unbelief does not just offer dictates; it offers reasons why we don’t need to trust the Lord. And to counter that, gospel-flavored belief argues with our unbelief. In other words, it provides reasons for why trusting the Lord is always the good and wise things to do.

Here are some notes on how this might work with the temptation to fret and worry and be anxious and unsettled, rather than acting in joyful, confident, restful faith. 
SEX, HOOK-UPS, AND GOD

The above answer radically contrasts with contemporary behavior. Men and women sexually exploit each other and use each other for booty calls. Merriam-Webster defines booty call as “a phone call made to someone to arrange a sexual encounter.” Booty calls are also calls between friends with benefits.

God Was Placed in a Womb

“The Son of God, Jesus, is the most precious thing to God in the whole universe. And where did God place his most precious possession? In a womb.”