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The Privilege of Christian Friendships

Having a friend who is a Christian is a great blessing but having a Christian friendship is even better.

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Having Trouble in Ministry? Just Face it. Literally.

When (not if) things get hard in ministry you need to spend time in prayer for yourself and your people rather than feeding a critical spirit.

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What Will This Look Like When You’re 80?

When we evaluate our lives in light of the end it tends to clarify our priorities.

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A Framework for Purity: Fighting Lust with Lust

 

Like any pastor I find myself talking with men about pornography and other expressions of sinful lust. Through the years I have found that there is a biblical framework that is often neglected when counseling through this issue. I have laid it out in some detail here, and I regret that it is so long. However, I post it because it has served to help many through the years. In short the post is broken into three parts: 1) What is Lust? 2) Where is it sourced? 3) How do I combat it? The answer to this is not to stop desiring things but to properly desire God. Hence the title, “Fighting Lust with Lust”. We combat sinful lust by fixing our “lust” upon the glory of Christ. In other words, we slay sin by savoring Christ.

Awhile back I preached a sermon in which I emphasized the deception and danger of lust. I regretted not being able to further develop the topic, specifically how to fight lust. The answer to lust may surprise some, but it is the answer and frankly the only answer to lust that ultimately works.

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We Need a Few Good Men

Every man desires to be considered a “good man”. If God has given a man 75 years of life and he looks back at it, nothing would give him more joy than to know that it wasn’t in vain. Further, the church is in desperate need of good men. The reason of course is that good men honor God and multiply themselves. Good men make more good men.

But, what do they look like?

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Your Obedience is Not Just About You

Over the last 15 or so years of being a Christian I’ve observed a recurring trend. When I ask someone how I can be praying for them I often hear about a need to be more faithful with spiritual disciplines (Bible reading, prayer, etc). In most of these conversations the believer talks like he/she is a soloist. While they know that spiritual laziness is wrong it seems to be mitigated by the appearance of it being contained and ok. While it is not ideal it is not a big deal. Who are we hurting, after all, when we don’t read our pray? Who suffers when my eyes are glued to Netflix and my Bible gathers dust? What’s the big deal about me not coming to Sunday worship? There is a pervasive downplaying of the overall impact of our obedience and our disobedience.

The bottom-line is that your obedience as a Christian is not just for you. And therefore, you disobedience does not simply impact you.

It’s About God

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It’s OK for Guys to Cry

Is it socially acceptable for men to cry? Does it make them weak? Feminine? Progressive? The NY Times ran an article over the weekend observing the uptick in men who seem to feel comfortable crying. In the article titled, “It’s ok to cry, dude” they highlighted the outgoing speaker of the House, John Boehner, as he cried during the announcement of his recent resignation. They also included Kanye West, Jon Stewart, and Justin Timberlake as men who have teared up in public. The article notes the shift in public perception from 1972 when Senator Edmund Muskie got choked up during the presidential campaign. According to Muskie it was a negative moment for the campaign causing him to be seen as weak.

Now, according to the article men are just acting more human. “Crying is part of being human, and men are probably just as human as anybody else.” I would certainly not thrown anyone under the bus or insult their manhood because they are moved to tears over a matter (It would seem that it would be more of a violation of manhood to kick a man when he is down than to be down in the first place). But it did afford me to think about if and what I cry about. Are there things that are to be held so closely and dearly that it brings a man to cry? It would seem so (Rm. 12:15).

Tears are often irrepressible; forcing their way out of our souls, they …

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Husbands: A Tip that Could Save Your Marriage

With a title like this there is little room for dilly-dallying along the way to the answer. So without much introduction, here is the tip that could save your marriage: Get a part-time job.

There. That’s it. Husbands, if you want to save or strengthen your marriage, get a part-time job.

I should say right off the bat that I am not talking about a literal job that will pull you away from the home for more hours. Instead I’m arguing for the husband to approach his time at home with his family with the same thoughtful intentionality and engagement that he would if he were to go to work.

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I Was Rebuked Without A Word

I was a fairly new Christian in my mid-twenties. I was running very hard fueled by zeal and far less knowledge. To my credit I was talking to a lot of people about the gospel. To my shame I was developing a bit of a self-righteousness toward those who did not. I remember judging people and whole churches’ faithfulness based upon the appearance of outward zeal or emotion. Until one day I got rebuked without a word.

We had been going to a new church for a few months. This church had good teaching but I felt the music left something to be desired. Also, there seemed to be a real lack of passion for a people who supposedly so loved the Bible. What gives?

We would sing as a congregation and I remember offering my weekly critique of the music. In my mind then it was incremental so I did not see the ugliness of it. But, it was truly ugly. One Sunday we happened to be standing behind a gentleman that was a bit quirky in his approach to conversation. He smiled and seemed sincere but, man, he always seemed to say something that was obtuse and somewhat unsettling. I don’t mean that it was inappropriate but that it unsettled my ease. It made me uncomfortable. He had a way of getting under my skin. And now he was standing in front of me singing while I was in full critique mode. I remember looking at him and wondering …

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Do You Have a Healthy or Superficial Relationship with God?

How do you know if you have a good relationship with someone? Your initial reaction may be to evaluate based on the presence or absence of conflict. “We never argue.” But, how healthy is a relationship that does not have any disagreement, misunderstanding, arguments or forgiveness?

What if a healthy relationship was not the absence of conflict but rather the way in which it arises and is handled?

Let’s face it, if you are in a relationship with someone then you can be assured that there is a selfish sinner in it. This means that you will be saying, doing, and assuming things that are not loving. There will be a need for forgiveness to be extended. The conflict in the relationship is merely an occasion for relational intimacy. Through honesty and compassion the relationship goes to deeper levels. It is a bit counterintuitive though, but conflict–when handled properly–can help serve the relationship.

What about your relationship with God? Would you say that it is healthy? Is it mature? Is it deepening?

The dynamics change a bit here, but you are still in it so there is still a sinner in the relationship. Therefore, if you are being honest, there are going to be things that you do not understand, assume, and misread. You will reflex toward yourself rather than service. You will bring questions, complaints, burdens, and confusion to God. Is your relationship with God mature? Can it handle your deepest questions? Can you bring your fears? Do you trust him with insecurity? Do …

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