Links & Quotes

Ken Blanchard shared a blog post based on one of the chapters in his book Simple Truths Of Leadership (which I highly recommend to leaders!). He wrote, “When you catch yourself doing things right, everything in your life will improve—especially your relationships. Why? Because it’s fun to be around people who like themselves. After all, if you’re not your own best friend, who will be? And as my dad used to say, ‘If you don’t toot your own horn, others might use it as a spittoon!’”

For all Christians, but especially for those in leadership positions, Jon Bloom shares How to Watch for Wolves: Three Signs of False Teachers.

Fight The New Drug shares the research behind 15 Basic Facts About Human Sex Trafficking.

This is a great lesson from church history on the power of importunate prayer: The Hundred-Year Prayer Meeting.

Mary Slessor set a high bar for missionaries. John Stonestreet reminds us of this amazing woman.

Thursdays With Spurgeon—Top Priority

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Top Priority

…For the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 1:20).

     Every word that God has given us in the Bible claims our attention because of the infinite majesty of Him who spoke it. … See that you refuse not Him who speaks. O my hearer, let it not be said of you that you went through this life, God speaking to you in His book, and you refusing to hear! It matters very little whether you listen to me or not. But it matters a very great deal whether you listen to God or not. It is He who made you. In His hands is your breath. And if He speaks, I implore you, open your ears and be not rebellious. There is an infinite majesty about every line of Scripture, but especially about that part of Scripture in which the Lord reveals Himself and His glorious plan of saving grace in the Person of His dear Son Jesus Christ. …  

     For what He has spoken He still speaks to us, as freshly as if He spoke it for the first time. … 

     God’s Word has a claim, then, upon your attention because of its majesty and its condescension. But, further, it should win your ear because of its intrinsic importance. ‘The mouth of the Lord has spoken,’ so it is no trifle. God never speaks vanity. No line of His writing treats of the frivolous themes of the day. That which may be forgotten in an hour is for mortal man and not for the eternal God. When the Lord speaks, His speech is Godlike, and its themes are worthy of one who is dwelling in infinity and eternity. … 

     He speaks to you of great things that have to do with your soul and its destiny. It is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life. Your eternal existence, your happiness or your misery, hang on your treatment of that which the mouth of the Lord has spoken. … Treat not the Word of the Lord as a secondary thing that might wait your leisure and receive attention when no other work is before you. Put all else aside and hearken to your God.

From The Infallibility Of Scripture

Charles Spurgeon is so on-target with these words. Believe it or not, this sermon was actually delivered to his fellow pastors. But the words are true for all of us—we must make listening to God’s Word our first priority. 

Every single word of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit. And I do mean every single word. Even the order in which the words are listed is inspired. So when you read your Bible, ask the Holy Spirit—the Author of the text—to illuminate the words to you. Ask questions like:

  • What did that mean then? 
  • What does it mean now? 
  • What does it mean for me? 
  • Does something in my life need to change? 

If you make your time with God a priority, He will reveal more of Himself to you each time you open your Bible.

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It’s Just Not Fair

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

It’s not uncommon to hear children on the playground complaining, “That’s not fair!” Common but somewhat expected. 

Unfortunately, it still seems to be common among adults who feel they got the short end of the deal to grouse, “That’s not fair!” Common but immature. Sadly, I have to admit that there are times that I find myself complaining that I didn’t get a fair deal. 

If anyone could complain about not getting His “fair share” it would be God. He gives His all to people who easily forget His blessings, quickly chase after other things, and still grumble that they aren’t getting a fair deal. 

God never complains, but He does ask questions: “My people, what have I done for you? How have I burdened you? Answer Me” (Micah 6:3). In the next two verses, God twice calls on His people to “remember” all that He has done for them. 

We must answer God. But it seems to me that our obedience to Him is the only reasonable response to all of the blessings He has poured out on us. God doesn’t demand burdensome sacrifices from us, but He simply wants us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before Him (v. 8). 

What God asks of me is out of all proportion with what He has given me, who He is for me today, and the future He has secured for me. 

Fair? No way, it’s completely unfair. God gives me everything and what He asks in return is so minor. Let’s make it our daily joy to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before our loving God! 

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Go Deep Bible Study

I would like to invite you to an in-depth Bible study.

We will be meeting at 6:00 on Wednesdays to discuss how to apply to our daily lives the lessons from the most recent Sunday sermon. Even if you missed the Sunday message, there will be so much for you to learn at our mid-week Bible studies.

Each Bible study will last about an hour, and I will endeavor to make the video of the teaching available in a day or so following the class. You can get a map to the church by clicking here.

Autobiography Of Calvin Coolidge (book review) 

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Calvin Coolidge is the only US president to have been born on July 4, which I think is very fitting for him, since his political philosophy found its firm foundation in our nation’s remarkable founding. In a very modest fashion, President Coolidge relates his amazing career in his autobiography. 

I’m not sure how the title “Silent Cal” ever stuck to this president. Throughout his legal and political career, his speeches—almost all of which he wrote himself—are some of the most thoughtful and enduring speeches in our nation’s history. His voice seemed to resonate across the political aisle too, because at each subsequent election, Coolidge would be elected by larger margins than before, with more Democrats crossing over to vote for him each time. 

Coolidge stood strong during a potentially disastrous Boston police strike while he was governor of Massachusetts, and he transitioned our government’s activities and expenditures from the wartime outlay of Word War I back into the peacetime activities after the war. He never wavered from his adherence to the principles in our founding documents, remaining a strong proponent of states’ rights and a smaller federal budget. 

He was quite progressive, utilizing the new media of radio to get his thoughts out to as many people as possible while championing topics like women’s suffrage, lower taxes, and a stronger working class. 

And then at the height of his political career, he chose not to run for reelection to the presidency, walking away from an almost guaranteed victory to a second term. 

Calvin Coolidge was a fascinating leader, one which both those in and out of politics should strive to emulate. As a student of leadership myself, I highly recommend this book to both American history buffs and those desiring to increase their leadership acumen. 

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Completing The Body

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

One of the miracles we talked about last week was the Holy Spirit giving gifts to people that evangelize the sinner and edify the saint. Let me be more specific: YOU are God’s gift to the world if you are using God’s gift to glorify God in the world. 

You are a one-of-a-kind creation. God is infinitely creative so He never has to duplicate any of His creative works. He saw your life and implanted in you what you need to glorify Him (Psalm 139:13-18). But we need to think about this uniqueness the right way. 

Lucifer, an archangel, became satan, the Christian’s archenemy, because of his oversized pride. Pride is what turned Lucifer into satan, and it’s a tactic he still uses today on God’s creations. His other tactic is slander: attempting to get us to think we are insignificant and have no real purpose in the world. 

Just like Jesus did, we overcome satan’s lies with the truth in God’s Word.  

In Romans 12, Paul talks about our lives being used as a living, breathing, God-honoring sacrifice. But Romans 12:1 begins with the word “therefore,” so we need to back up a few verses. The final four verses of chapter 11 are a beautiful doxology that is praising God for His wisdom and sovereignty. Paul then offers this conclusion: Therefore we need to think correctly about our place in the world, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our thoughts. 

Paul uses the word “think” twice in this passage. The root word is the same in each place (phroneo in Greek), but the prefix is what sets them apart from each other. The first has the prefix hyper-. That means it’s overly-analyzed thinking, overly self-concerned thinking, or self-focused.

The second time the prefix is soph- (which means “wise”). This is sound thinking, big-picture thinking, or others-focused. The Holy Spirit wants to give us sophroneo thinking to reveal our God-implanted gifts and talents that are to be used to benefit others—in fact, to benefit the whole Body of Christ.

In Romans 12, Paul uses the phrase “one body” twice as he talks about our spiritual gifts. He uses the same “one body” praise three times in 1 Corinthians 12 as he again talks about spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 20). 

All of our spiritual gifts are to be used in love and to build up others (1 Corinthians 12:31—13:3; 14:1, 12, 26, 40). 

The Holy Spirit gives gifts to individuals so that individuals can edify the whole Body of Christ. It’s not competing with one another but completing one another. 

Remember: Saints is always plural in the New Testament! I need you to bring out the saintly qualities in my life, as much as you need me to bring out the saintly qualities in your life. 

This summer I will be offering an in-depth teaching on the spiritual gifts listed in the New Testament. We’ll take some assessments and discuss how these gifts can best be invested in the Body of Christ. I hope you can join me for an hour of learning on Wednesdays. 

If you’ve missed any of the messages in our series exploring our Pentecostal roots, you can find all of those messages by clicking here.

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Visionary Leaders

I believe God gives a vision to His leaders.

God doesn’t give a vision to a leader so that a leader can have a better life, but so that the leader can help the people get to a better place. Vision is always through the leader to the people.  

Daniel exhibits this in his life.

This video is a short clip from a longer video that is exclusive content for my Patreon supporters. 

My Patreon supporters are helping me be able to continue to provide all of the free content on my blog and my YouTube channel. Will you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry at just $5/month?

Links & Quotes

Doug Clay, the General Superintendent of the Assembly of God wrote, “Our nation needs revival! 

“Culture may well be at a deeply dark moment, but that’s when the Church can shine the brightest as Christ’s witness to the world. I’m reminded of Romans 8:19 (Message), ‘The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next.’ 

“A.W. Tozer once said, ‘The world is waiting to hear an authentic voice, a voice from God—not an echo of what others are saying, but an authentic voice.’ Let’s rise and be that authentic voice to a generation that is desperately in need.”

“What satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” —C.S. Lewis

Meet Piper. She was abandoned with her mother and one other sibling. The mother then left the two kittens behind, who were hiding in a storm pipe. We were able to rescue this little calico and named her Piper as a reminder of where she was rescued from.

John Stonestreet asks, “Why are pro-abortion activists so committed? Because of lies built upon centuries of bad ideas….” Check out some of those bad ideas that have such devastating consequences.

Physicist Brian Cox discusses where God fits into scientists’ understanding of the universe. Two statements that are interesting to me—“we don’t know all the laws of science” (at 1:17), and “science is only an observational framework” (at 2:40). Both of these statements fit well with my biblical creationist paradigm.

Thursdays With Spurgeon—Encouragement For Preachers

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Encouragement For Preachers

…For the mouth of the Lord has spoken (Isaiah 1:20).

     We preach because ‘the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ It would not be worth our while to speak what Isaiah had spoken if in it there was nothing more than Isaiah’s thought—neither should we care to meditate hour after hour upon the writings of Paul, if there was nothing more than Paul in them. … The true preacher, the man whom God has commissioned, delivers his message with awe and trembling because ‘the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’ … 

     Woe unto us if we dare to speak the Word of the Lord with less than our whole heart and soul and strength! Woe unto us if we handle the Word as if it were an occasion for display! If it were our own word, we might be studious of the graces of oratory. But if it is God’s Word, we cannot afford to think of ourselves. … Because the mouth of the Lord has spoken the truth of God, we therefore endeavor to preach it with absolute fidelity. …  

     Believing that ‘the mouth of the Lord has spoken,’ it is my duty to repeat God’s Word to you as correctly as I can after having heard it and felt it in my own soul. It is not mine to amend or adapt the gospel. …  Again, dear friends, as ‘the mouth of the Lord has spoken,’ we speak the divine truth with courage and full assurance. Modesty is a virtue, but hesitancy when we are speaking for the Lord is a great fault. …  

     We preach not the gospel by your leave. We do not ask tolerance nor court applause. We preach Christ crucified, and we preach boldly as we ought to speak because it is God’s Word not our own. … We cannot use ‘ifs’ and ‘buts,’ for we are dealing with God’s ‘shalls’ and ‘wills.’ If He says it is so, it is so. And there is the end of it. Controversy ceases when Jehovah speaks [Jeremiah 1:17-19].

From The Infallibility Of Scripture

Preaching God’s Word is not for the faint of heart. It takes one who is confidently humbled—confident that God has spoken and humbled that He would choose someone like me to speak His Word to His people. 

In my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter I wrote: 

Check this out: “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). Who wrote the book of Numbers? If you answered “Moses,” you are correct. Doesn’t that sound a bit brash to declare that you are more humble than anyone else on the earth? Yet, God allowed Moses to pen those words, making that a Holy Spirit-inspired statement of fact. Humility is a double-edged sword: it can serve a leader well when it is balanced with appropriate confidence, but it is a detriment to an organization’s health if it is self-de-basing humility that undercuts a leader’s credibility. 

The God-honoring preacher gets his message from the mouth of the Lord, and then confidently endeavors “to preach it with absolute fidelity.” Whether others praise of criticize, the humble leader says, “I am only God’s servant speaking God’s Word.” 

Preachers, let’s make sure that everything we confidently and humbly share from our pulpits is the whole counsel of what has been spoken by the mouth of the Lord.

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Idolatry

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Right at the beginning of his book of prophecy, Micah asks four penetrating questions—

What is Jacob’s transgression? Is it not Samaria? What is Judah’s high place? Is it not Jerusalem? (Micah 1:5)

Idolatry is the elevation of anyone or anything to a place of adoration. Any place, person, or practice can become my god if I give it more attention than I give Jehovah. 

In Micah’s prophetic warning, idolatry had become symbolized by the capitol cities of Samaria and Jerusalem. The people were looking to the leaders and cultural practices in those cities instead of looking to God. 

I wonder if we do the same thing today?

  • Do we look to Washington DC for political help? 
  • Do we find our financial wisdom on Wall Street? 
  • Does the culture of Hollywood inform how we should live? 
  • Does the music of Nashville determine the song in our hearts? 
  • Do Harvard, Berkeley, or Stanford tell us how to think? 

When I’m in trouble, when I need answers, when I’m looking for comfort, where do I turn first? My first reaction—my go-to source—is a good indication of who my deity is. When Micah became aware of the idolatry of his people, his response was to weep, wail, howl, and moan over their sin (v. 8). This should be our response as well whenever we see idols replacing Jehovah in our heart or in the hearts of others. 

May God’s people repent of the idolatry of looking to other places, people, and practices instead of looking to Almighty God! 

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