How to Treat the Church’s Problem Children

If you’ve had any exposure to the business and/or marketing world, then you are likely familiar with the Boston Consulting Group Matrix (also known as the Growth-Share Matrix). It is designed to help business leaders do long-term strategic planning and consider growth opportunities by reviewing their portfolio of businesses to decide where to invest, to discontinue, or develop. Here’s what it looks like. Here’s the way the quadrants work in the matrix (and I promise this has something to do with Jesus). Stars: The businesses that have the best market share and generate the most cash are considered stars. Because of […]

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In Jesus, You are Permanently Righteous

I ruined the rug in my bedroom, and it reminded me about Jesus. Let me explain. A few days ago, I completed a workout at the YMCA, gathered my personal belongings, and drove a little aggressively to the house in order to make a protein shake in time for a phone call that I was running a little late for. I wheeled up to the house, jogged in, put two heaping scoops of vegetarian protein powder into a shaker bottle, added 16 ounces of water, screwed on the top, put my finger on top to keep the lid down, and […]

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Don’t Write People Off Because they Don’t Get It

What is one key event that has shaped who you are today? Have you ever thought about what your life would be like if that had never happened? What would be different? There are surely many. Some surprisingly simple and seemingly insignificant when they happened, some seismic in their nature. I was a music major my freshman year in college, aspiring to be a worship pastor/leader. I was doing OK all things considered, but still … something wasn’t settling right. I was asked to read a passage of Scripture and share a devotion at a student worship gathering one evening, […]

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Hacksaw Ridge and the Fight Against Prevalent Sin

This past weekend, I stayed up a little later than normal and watched Hacksaw Ridge. The movie is about the true story of Desmond T. Doss, the conscientious objector who, at the Battle of Okinawa, won the Medal of Honor for his incredible bravery and regard for his fellow soldiers. In the movie, we see his upbringing and how this shaped his views, especially his religious view and anti-killing stance. We also see Doss’s trials and tribulations after enlisting in the US Army and trying to become a medic. Finally, we see Mel Gibson’s vision of the horrendous battles that took […]

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Three Ways You Must Deny Yourself as an Evangelist

The conversation wasn’t exactly lagging, but it wasn’t really going anywhere either. Pretty typical for the first Sunday of a new term, and typical of 6 adults who before today had not met and discussed spiritual things as a group. Yet the topic was especially difficult and contributed significantly to the occasional awkward silence: the topic was evangelism. Our teacher had been talking about the necessity of self-denial, and posed this question for us to discuss around our table: “Why is dying to self an important concept when sharing our faith with others?” We weren’t getting anywhere, so I brought […]

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This is the Core Characteristic of a Truly Prophetic Ministry

I enjoy a good showdown. Be it a theological debate about the existence of God, or a football game between two rivals, I love everything about the scenario: the anticipation, the conflict, the struggle, etc. The Bible is full of such showdowns. Elijah and the prophets of Baal immediately come to mind, as well as the temptations Jesus faced at the beginning of His ministry. Yet there is one lesser-known showdown in Jeremiah 28 in which the prophet Jeremiah squares off against another so-called “prophet” named Hananiah. Jeremiah brought a dire warning to the people: unless God’s people repented, Jerusalem […]

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What’s In It for Me? The Christian and Rewards

Like most children their age, our oldest boys (now 13 and 11) have dabbled in a variety of competitive, with swimming and chess getting the most of their attention. One of the things I initially found a little unsettling about each of these sports is that they tend to give ribbons and trophies for athletes who finish as high as 20th place, depending on the number of competitors. I grew up playing competitive tennis, and the trophies stopped at 5th place no matter how many people were competing, so the reward culture of these sports initially didn’t sit well with […]

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The Expression of Humility in Rich and Poor Christians

James, for all of its straightforward, practical advice, has its share of conundrums, and verses 9-11 model this well. 9 The brother of humble circumstances should boast in his exaltation, 10 but the one who is rich should boast in his humiliation because he will pass away like a flower of the field. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and dries up the grass; its flower falls off, and its beautiful appearance is destroyed. In the same way, the rich man will wither away while pursuing his activities. The first trouble with this passage is its relationship with the verses […]

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