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Thursday, May 31, 2012
When you think of the apostle Paul, what comes to mind? Is it his bold faithfulness in the face of persecution? His bravery to preach the truth to any and every audience? His warrior-like passion for God’s Word and His people?
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Much like in today’s “me first” society, self-absorption was one of the defining characteristics of Roman culture. Self-improvement, self-promotion, and self-aggrandizement were the pillars of its social structure. Self-sacrifice was a foreign concept.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The secular first-century archetype of leadership was, of course, the Roman emperor. Every culture under Rome's influence was dominated by autocratic leaders and despotic leadership structures. Political rulers, military commanders, slave masters, heads of households, and even the priests and teachers of religion were all variations on the same theme. Authority was generally administered with an iron fist.
Friday, May 25, 2012
People often compare pastoral ministry to the work of a surgeon. Both require intense study, disciplined training, and a deep concern for the health and growth of others...
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Can you imagine rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls—as recorded in Nehemiah—under modern leadership models?
Monday, May 21, 2012
Pastoral ministry is hard. Period. So it makes sense to me that when pastors get a taste of difficulty, they want to run away, fast. Frankly, it’s not an overstatement to say that apart from a divine calling, pastoral ministry isn’t all that attractive on its own. Who wants the grief, the pain, the distress, the discomfort? As Charles Schulz quipped through the Peanuts character Linus, “I love humanity; it’s people I can’t stand.”...
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Our society often judges people by what they do, not by their character. When it comes to choosing heroes and leaders, style often outweighs substance. Sordid personal lives and all sorts of off-the-field antics are commonly overlooked—it is performance, not principle, that counts...
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Everyone wants a piece of today’s A-listers. They’re wanted by book publishers, conference organizers, and adoring fans everywhere. In certain circles, some of them have trouble getting around without being noticed... Just to be clear, I’m not talking about Hollywood, Nashville, or Washington, D.C.
Monday, May 14, 2012
A glance around the evangelical landscape today offers a wide variety of leadership models and styles: entrepreneurs, kings, rock stars, motivational speakers, armchair psychologists, and modern-day monks. You would have to look much harder to find a simple servant.
Friday, May 11, 2012
How often are we guilty of using our prayers just like a drive-thru window? We’re too often driven to prayer by the needs of the moment only, concerned about our circumstances alone, and eager to get on with life as quickly as possible. We’re prone to myopic, self-centered thinking that focuses on how events impact our lives rather than how the Lord is working through them.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
Very few people make it through life without some sort of plan. The vast majority of us have to put a lot of thought into our schedules and plan ahead if we want to accomplish anything. And what we put the most time into planning says a lot about where our hearts are—too often vacation and celebrations get lots of forethought, while responsibilities at work and around the house fit into our schedules as needed...
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
What is the most common motivation to go to the Lord in prayer? Is it to confess sin? Or is it to make a petition on behalf of a loved one? Do we want to bring our latest requests to Him, or remind Him of something we think He may have overlooked? Far too much of our time in prayer is spent focused on us, not on the One to whom we’re praying...
Monday, May 07, 2012
How often do we actually think deeply about the words we say in prayer? These days certain names for God and phrases like in Jesus’ name are thrown around so haphazardly you wonder if they still have any meaning at all...
Friday, May 04, 2012
The worldly excess and spiritual shallowness of prosperity preachers and charismatic faith healers are easy to spot. It’s a man-made, man-centered theology powered by extreme greed—one that encourages followers to make outrageous demands for prosperity and personal gain, reducing Almighty God to little more than a vending machine...
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Study the exemplary prayers in Scripture and you cannot help noticing that all of them are brief and simple. Prayer that is heartfelt, urgent, and unfeigned must be of that style. Verbiage and windbaggery are badges of insincerity, especially in prayer. The prayer of the publican in Luke 18:13 is as short and to the point as possible: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Then there’s the prayer of the thief on the cross: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42). Those prayers are cut from the same cloth as Peter’s cry for help when he was walking on water—sometimes cited as the shortest prayer in the Bible: “Lord, save me” (Matthew 14:30).