Links & Quotes

William Perkins defined theology as, “The science of living blessedly forever.” He also had this word for pastors as they teach theology: “The ‘demonstration of the Spirit’ becomes a reality when, in preaching, the minister of the Word conducts himself in such a way that everyone—even those who are ignorant of the gospel and are unbelievers—recognize that it is not so much the preacher who is speaking but the Spirit of God in him and by him…. This is what makes his ministry living and powerful.”

“Self-trust is the first secret of success.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

80 Years Ago: The Assemblies of God was a founding member of the National Association of Evangelicals, and remains the largest of the 40 denominations that are members of the NAE today.

John Piper identifies five digital dangers and gives us strategies for combating them. I especially thought these insights on pornography were powerful: “More insidious that X-rated videos, we can now not only watch but join the perversity in the privacy of our own den. Interactive porn will allow you to ‘do it’ or make them ‘do it’ virtually. I have never seen it. Nor do I ever intend to. It kills the spirit. It drives God away. It depersonalizes women. It quenches prayer. It blanks out the Bible. It cheapens the soul. It destroys spiritual power. It defiles everything. Resolution: I will never open any app or website for sexual stimulation, nor purchase or download anything pornographic.”

“I could well believe that it is God‘s intention, since we have refused milder remedies, to compel us into unity, by persecution even and hardship. satan is without doubt nothing else than a hammer in the hand of a benevolent and severe God. For all, either willingly or unwillingly, do the will of God: Judas and satan as tools or instruments, John and Peter as sons.” —C.S. Lewis

“The response of Jesus to those guilty of sexual sin is not to condemn nor condone the sin. I see in His example [John 8:10-12] a good pattern: (1) Love first—‘I don’t condemn you’; (2) Speak the truth—‘Sin no more.’” —Kevin Berry. The world has made “love” mean accepting whatever the other person is doing, and “truth” now means agreeing with the other person. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can speak the truth in love without condemning nor condoning.

Links & Quotes

T.M. Moore wrote, “It’s not likely John the Baptist would be welcomed in many pulpits today. Even though Edwards used him as a model of ‘The True Excellency of a Gospel Minister,’ few and far between are the shepherds today who would even think of adopting his example.

“Edwards wrote, ‘He also shone bright in his conversation, and his eminent mortification and renunciation of the enjoyments of the world; his great diligence and laboriousness in his work, his impartiality in it, declaring the mind and will of God to all sorts without distinction; his great humility, rejoicing in the increase of the honour of Christ, though his honour was diminished, as the brightness of the star diminishes as the light of the sun increases; and in his faithfulness and courage, though it cost him his own life.’

“These days many pastors secure their ‘honor’ in subtle but significant ways. They go by ‘Reverend’ or ‘Doctor.’ Have reserved parking places and their name on the church sign. Adopt fashionable garb and speech. Try hard to be friends with all the right people. Such shepherds want to advance their honor; John worked to have his honor diminished, that the honor of Christ might increase.”

I share T.M.’s passion for shepherd in the Church, which is why he graciously wrote an endorsement for my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter.

Vaughn Shoemaker (1902-1991) was an American editorial cartoonist. He won the 1938 and 1947 Pulitzer Prizes for Editorial Cartooning for his work with the Chicago Daily News. He was the creator of the character, John Q. Public, and a faithful Assemblies of God layman. I am a fourth-generational Pentecostal in the Assembly of God fellowship, so I love studying more about the men and women who have made this such a robust missions-minded fellowship! Read more of this amazing man here.

Dan Reiland has an important list for leaders: 11 Leadership Mistakes To Avoid At All Costs.

This is a radical call for us to look hard at our present lives to see if they are shaped by the hope of the resurrection. Do we make decisions on the basis of gain in this world or gain in the next? Do we take risks for love’s sake that can only be explained as wise if there is a resurrection?” —John Piper

“Jesus will do the things we ask for if they make God’s greatness known. So how do we ask this way? We must ask from right relationships (Mark 11:24-25, 1 Peter 3:7), with right motives (James 4:3, Proverbs 16:2), through right living (James 5:16, Proverbs 15:29), in good faith (James 1:6-7), according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). In short, if you think Jesus would put His name on it, and it will make His Father famous, then ask and believe! But remember, we’re here for Him—He’s not here for us.” —Craig Groeschel, in Twisted 

For parents and anyone else who works with students, this is a segment from the Axis ministry’s Culture Translator newsletter:

In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl writes that “success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself… Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.”

An idea like that would likely seem counterintuitive to many of the students in Professor Santos’ classes—students who have been raised from young ages to pay careful and constant attention to their academic viability. Students like these grow up with a hope and an expectation that achieving perfection (whether academic, relational, spiritual, or other) will finally yield the happiness, satisfaction, and recognition they’ve been looking for. But after achieving perfection, the next source of anxiety is maintainingperfection. As Christopher Fry once put it, “What, after all is a halo? It’s only one more thing to keep clean.”

Jesus concludes Matthew 5 by saying to his hearers, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It’s a verse most Christians may not want to touch, and one that anxious overachievers might point to as justification for their continual striving. But as C.S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity, Jesus’ words presuppose our dependence on Him. He writes, “The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command… The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.”

In other words, our betterment is in partnership with our Creator, and happiness is merely a by-product of our total surrender. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

Week Of Prayer 2022

I love that our Assembly of God national leadership calls us to begin each new year with a week of prayer! I would like you to pray along with us. We will be joining together for a half-hour each evening at 6:00 PM to pray together.

I grew up with a powerful axiom that still rings in my heart today: The Church moves forward on its knees. 

If you would like to join in our prayer times January 2-8, please email me for a Zoom link.

Prophet With A Pen (book review)

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

This book is personal for me—it’s a part of my family tree and my spiritual legacy. Prophet With A Pen is the biography of Stanley Frodsham, lovingly told by his only daughter Faith Campbell. 

Stanley Frodsham’s pen was truly anointed. From his history of the modern-day Pentecostal movement, to his biography of renown evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, to his editing of the worldwide Pentecostal Evangel magazine, all the way down to his personal correspondence. Frodsham’s pen may have done more for the Pentecostal movement than anyone else’s did. 

As a case in point, consider the powerful preaching of Smith Wigglesworth. His sermons were not prepared and written out ahead of time, but they were Holy Spirit-breathed at the moment Wigglesworth was preaching them. Most of those sermons that have been preserved for us in writing were due to the careful shorthand notes of Stanley Frodsham. 

In Prophet With A Pen, Frodsham’s daughter tells us his life story through her personal recollections, her extensive library of her father’s letters, and the remembrances of lifelong friends of the Frodshams. It’s an intimate portrait of a man who never sought the limelight, but simply wanted everyone to personally experience the power of Pentecost. 

I mentioned that this book is personal for me. Faith Campbell was my great-aunt, and her husband (who was quite an evangelist himself) shared many of these stories with me personally as I was growing up. Reading this collection of remembrances of Stanley Frodsham has reinforced my commitment to honor the heritage that I’ve been given, and to pass on a vibrant spiritual legacy to those who will come after me. 

Anyone who enjoys church history will thoroughly enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at the men and women who were so crucial to the early Pentecostal movement. 

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Do Our Ministries Need “Glittering Tinsel”?

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

Former Assembly of God General Superintendent W.T. Gaston wrote an article of warning in 1953 that pastors and ministry leaders would do well to heed again today. This part especially caught my attention—

Gaston suggested, “If we are to have a future that is better or even comparable and worthy of our past, we will need to learn over again some of the lessons of yesterday.” One of the important lessons to rediscover, he wrote, was the importance of promoting “pure, undefiled” religion. 

He recalled that many early 20th-century Pentecostal pioneers were bivocational ministers, that often met in homes or rented buildings, and that most were not very impressive by the standards of the surrounding culture. However, they did not need worldly goods and accolades in order for the Holy Spirit to accomplish great things through their lives and ministries.

Gaston wrote that he witnessed an “utter disregard for poverty or wealth or station in life” in the early Pentecostal movement. Yet “those rugged pioneers,” he noted, “had something that made them attractive and convincing.” The contrast between the attitudes of the world and the early Pentecostals was striking. According to Gaston, early believers were “completely satisfied without the world’s glittering tinsel, and content to be the objects of its scornful hatred.”

In the Preface to my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter, I sound a similar note of warning and encouragement: 

My larger concern is that churches, parachurch organizations, and nonprofit ministries that are largely founded to fulfill a biblical mandate are straying from the simple, freeing truths found in the Bible. Or maybe I should say that they are adding things to their ministries that aren’t in the pages of Scripture. Whichever way you want to say it, the result is the same: We are using the wrong metrics to define “success” for our ministries. I fear that in our focus on unbiblical practices, we are missing the joy of really doing ministry. 

All of these titles, flowcharts, and non-essential things that we are discussing, revamping, implementing, and measuring aren’t doing anything to liberate us, but they are keeping us focused on checking off meaningless boxes. We’re spending far too much valuable time and resources on keeping the machinery running, but we’re not correctly evaluating the outputs. We need to recalibrate our understanding of leadership: God’s leaders are servants. … 

I believe that leaders of churches and nonprofit ministries will find the greatest freedom and enjoyment—and ultimately experience the full blessing of God—when they learn to view themselves as shepherd leaders. Jesus is our ultimate example: Our Good Shepherd showed us how to live out the lifestyle that pleases Him and glorifies our Heavenly Father. 

I hope you will buy a copy of this book. And I invite you to also check out this video where I explain a little more what I hope this book will accomplish in all of our ministries. 

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Foundation Stones

foundation-stonesAny architect will tell you: You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation.

This is just as true in the spiritual realm, which is why John Calvin warned, “Those who are strong only in fervor and sharpness, but are not fortified with solid doctrine, weary themselves in their vigorous efforts, make a great noise…[and] make no headway because they build without foundation.

We have had on the Calvary website since Day 1 a link to “What we believe,” but more than just having them listed there, it is important to discuss them.

So the first Sunday of each month through the rest of 2021, we will be exploring our strong doctrinal foundation. I promise you that this won’t be “dry” theology or doctrine, but it will be an exciting journey of discovery of the foundation upon which we stand.

Please join me on Sunday, June 6, as we look at our next Foundation Stone.

Here are the topics we have covered so far:

Links & Quotes

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“The way to thwart the devil is to strengthen the very thing he is trying most to destroy—your faith.” —John Piper

“O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone! … And now you have nothing but your God to trust to, what are you going to do? To fret? To whine? O, I pray you, do not thus dishonor your Lord and Master! Now, play the man, play the man of God. Show the world that your God is worth ten thousand worlds to you. Show rich men how rich you are in your poverty when the Lord God is your helper. Show the strong man how strong you are in your weakness when underneath you are the everlasting arms. Now man, now is your time to glorify God.” —Charles Spurgeon

“When it comes to a question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different [from asking God to forgive us]. It is the same because, here also, forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or no bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive. They keep on replying, ‘But I tell you the man broke a most solemn promise.’ Exactly: that is precisely what you have to forgive. (This doesn’t mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise. It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.) The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.” ―C.S. Lewis, in Weight Of Glory

“Forgiveness is not foolishness. Forgiveness, at its core, is choosing to see your offender with different eyes. By the way, how can we grace-recipients do anything less? Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it?” —Max Lucado

“Money is the currency of human resources. So the heart that loves money is a heart that pins its hopes, and pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust in what human resources can offer. So the love of money [1 Timothy 6:10] is virtually the same as faith in money—belief (trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you happy.” —John Piper

“When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where He is, there shall I be also.’” ―Martin Luther

Really proud to see how my fellowship, The Assemblies of God, is helping those with mental diseases.

What emotions pop up when someone says to you, “Can we talk about this?” Seth Godin has some helpful thoughts on this.

Links & Quotes

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“You have heard many men’s dying words, and these are mine: A life spent in communion with God is the pleasantest life in the world.” —Matthew Henry, to a friend when near his death

“By the serpent’s seed, we are to understand the devil and all his children, who are permitted by God to tempt and sift His children. But, blessed be God, he can reach no further than our heel.” —George Whitefield

Anyone working with youth should keep close tabs on what Dr. Tim Elmore has to say, as he is very tuned-in to the youth culture. Parents / coaches / teachers / youth pastors, check out 7 Shifts As Generation Y Becomes Generation Z.

3 reasons why heterosexual married sex is better is a good read. But I would add a fourth reason: Because this is the way God intended it to be, so it carries His blessing!

Pastor and church leaders, here is a helpful article from Richard Hammer, lead counsel for the Assemblies of God, following the Supreme Court’s wrongheaded decision on the issue of homosexual “marriage.”

Trip Lee talks about help for people battling a struggle with pornography. Trip discusses this in more depth in his outstanding book Rise. Check this out—

Links & Quotes

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“Reason can engage the conversation; winsomeness can set the tone; patient listening can earn the right to be heard; but only divine revelation—the Gospel of Jesus Christ—is powerful to break the hold of the Lie and open someone’s heart to the truth of God.” —T.M. Moore

“I am sure, whenever we see Christ, we ought to remember the deluge of wrath from which He has delivered us, the flames of hell from which He has saved us; and so, humbly bowing ourselves in the dust, let us love, and praise, and bless His name.” —Charles Spurgeon

“Remember: ‘I cannot turn one hair black or white: but I can brush my hair daily and go to the barber at regular intervals.’ In other words we must divert our efforts from our general condition or frame of mind (which we can’t alter by direct action of the will) to what is in our power—our words and acts. Try to remember that the ‘bottomless sea’ can’t hurt us as long as we keep on swimming.” —C.S. Lewis

Hey, fellas: Mark Merrill has a great suggestion of 10 texts to send your wife.

When Yonggi Cho began holding services in May 1958 in Seoul, South Korea, he couldn’t have known what God would do through his ministry. Only five people attended the first service, held in the home of a friend. However, the small gatherings grew in size, ultimately developing into the largest Christian congregation in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, an Assemblies of God church with over 700,000 members.” Read more about Pastor Cho in From Buddhism To Christ.

George O. Wood is the General Superintendent for the Assemblies of God. In light of last week’s Supreme Court decision, he sent out a letter that I really appreciated. Here is how the letter closes: “I close with three words of pastoral advice—First, to Assemblies of God ministers: Politics reflects culture, and culture reflects religion. If you are concerned with the political drift of American culture, preach the gospel! As it sends out roots in the lives of believers, the seeds of the Gospel will change hearts and minds. Second, to Assemblies of God adherents: You are privileged citizens of a blessed nation. Use your citizenship well! Seek the common good. Advocate for the last, the lost, and the least. Speak the truth in love. And vote for candidates and issues that reflect a biblical perspective. The difference in so many conflicts in American politics and culture turns on who turns out to vote. Third, to all Christians: If you are troubled with the Supreme Court’s decision, keep perspective! In this and every other matter, always remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33). Let us all pray for a great spiritual awakening in our country!”

Links & Quotes

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Have you subscribed to get the overview of each book of the Bible from The Overview Bible Project? You will enjoy it! Here’s the latest overview on the book of Jonah.

“This [Luke 14:13-14] is a radical call for us to look hard at our present lives to see if they are shaped by the hope of the resurrection. Do we make decisions on the basis of gain in this world or gain in the next? Do we take risks for love’s sake that can only be explained as wise if there is a resurrection? May God help us to rededicate ourselves for a lifetime to letting the resurrection have its radical effects.” —John Piper

“No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence.” —C.S. Lewis

hitler-cartoonIn 1933, an Assembly of God publication called on Christians to oppose dictators who deny God.

“The most obvious practitioner of racism in the United States today is Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by the eugenicist Margaret Sanger and recently documented as ready to accept money to eliminate black babies.” —Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here’s the revolting video proof.

Is your representative in Congress one of the 110 sponsors of this vital pro-life bill? In either case, please contact your House Representative to tell them you support this bill.

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