Marks of Mature Leadership – #2

The second mark which is present in mature leadership is the understanding and application of who we are in and through Christ. Leaders must learn to stand in the righteousness of Christ, finding their victory and completeness in the finished work of Calvary. It is not enough to only realize our inabilities to do God’s work apart from the empowerment and guidance of the Holy Spirit through brokenness and humility. If we stop here we could easily slide off into asceticism and monasticism, and thereby fail to respond to the Lord’s calling to go out as “sheep among wolves.” Times of retreat and prayer can be great and needful for our soul in the pursuit of seeking direction and intimacy. However, we are sent into the world, to preach to the world, to love those in the world, yet without being of the same spirit as the world!

The calling we have from the Lord to reach the world with the gospel requires us to understand who we are in Christ as a new creation. We will face mockers, slanderers, liars and militant atheists who get their thrill off of either getting an ungodly response from a believer, or in destroying their faith. The ungodly response is taken care of by Continue reading “Marks of Mature Leadership – #2”

Really Want to Help?…Think Small

In the age of giant egos and “bigger is better” pop culture idolatry, it seems many evangelicals are biting into the same rotten apple as those who do not know Christ. The pride of man is always prodding individuals to become the big chief, head honcho or chief executive. The flesh loves to embrace the chief mentality… it makes us feel important without brokenness and powerful without the Holy Spirit. It must go to the cross and be put to death! (Rom. 6:11, Eph. 4:22, Col. 3:5)

Few things are as putrid to mature believers as the rock star promotion of so-called leaders. You’ve seen them…we all have. From the sickening ‘change the color of your hair every week peach fuzz prophets’ and the effeminate ‘gospel with a grin stage productions,’ to the uncouth ‘shock jock pulpit yuppies.’ Nothing new, every generation has them because the flesh loves to idolize and project itself through heros, even spiritual heros. However, when we as the church adopt it, it makes a mockery of the true message of Grace and Humility. Everything from book tours to church planting have become the latest fads for men to lift themselves, or allow others to lift them, to the status of idols. Continue reading “Really Want to Help?…Think Small”

Did Paul Make a Mistake at Athens?

I get many questions via email and personal conversations. One common one is, “Did Paul make a preaching mistake at Athens when he quoted Greek philosophers?” This question arises because many have heard preachers, some with strong personal conviction, share how the Apostle Paul made a mistake in his Mar’s Hill address to the Athenians. (Acts 17:22-34) This position was made prominent by William Ramsay. (1851-1939) It was also presented by F.F. Bruce (1910-1990) years ago when he said in his book, “Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free,” that Paul’s ministry in Athens was a failure because he failed to preach the “word of the cross.” (p.246) But is this correct?

We need a little background before answering this question. Paul visited Corinth immediately after leaving Athens. (Acts 18:1) While reminding the Corinthians of his visit to them, he wrote and reminded them how he came preaching “Christ crucified” and not “with lofty speech or wisdom.” (1Cor. 2:1-5) From this passage, many teach that Paul learned a meaningful lesson and was admitting to a fundamental mistake in his approach and discourse when he spoke to the Athenians by quoting their philosophers and poets. Also, they argue, Paul did not establish a church in Athens. Therefore, we have several questions which arise from this explanation of the text.

  • Does the position that Paul made a mistake in his preaching at Athens accurately represent the biblical text? 
  • Was Paul admitting in Corinthians that he had made a mistake in his approach at Athens?
  • Did he fail to properly present the gospel? 

Here is my brief explanation on the subject after many years reading and praying through each side. I do believe there are godly and sincere believers on each side, therefore, my take on this is not meant in any way as a slap at those who disagree, but rather as offering as to why I do not believe Paul made a mistake in presenting the gospel at Athens. Continue reading “Did Paul Make a Mistake at Athens?”

Letter From a Terrorist

The power of the Gospel never ceases to amaze me. Satan seeks to destroys people’s lives by keeping them from experiencing the truth that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” (2Cor. 5:19) The dark veil of unbelief that Satan uses to blind mankind is unable to resist the liberating power of truth spoken in love. Below is a testimony I just received from a hindu terrorist who came to an outreach meeting I spoke to, via telephone, in India. I will conceal the name and bits of information for obvious reasons. (The language is not smooth as it has gone through translation, but I wanted you to get the feel of the person.)

My name is R___. I have been suffering from evil spirits and bad dreams. I have gone to many people seeking deliverance and healing, but no one could. The doctors said, ‘we find no problem in your body. You are fully OK.’ I see and hear the evil spirits come to me saying we will take you to hell. Then Bro Continue reading “Letter From a Terrorist”

Leaven of the Pharisees

In a previous post, we looked at the legalism which comes from much of what is called ‘Messianic Christianity.’ You can read that here. Now let’s look at another aspect of the damaging work of legalism through other so-called branches of Christianity. You get the emails and comments from time to time from these self appointed protectors of the faith who have a thimble full of truth with ocean sized mouths. Jesus faced them, you face them and I face them. Let us not let our focus get off on them, as they feed off of being the center of attention.

Jesus addressed these types of legalists in His day. They hounded Him every where He went. The book of Acts reveals that these same legalists followed and persecuted the Apostle Paul as he took the gospel of grace to the Gentiles. Let’s look at what Jesus had to say about them and then discuss the earmarks of this type of legalism.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees…'” (Matt. 16:6)

One of the truths which ‘leaven’ symbolized was sin. Jesus used this image to describe the dynamics of how sin works. Like leaven, sin works secretly, silently, certainly and from within. The leaven/sin of the Pharisees works the same way. It is a scourge upon the body of Christ and, many times, it comes from surprising quarters. Let’s take a brief look at this. Continue reading “Leaven of the Pharisees”

Questions Concerning Calvinism and Arminianism

I get questions all the time via email, telephone and in person, as well as from postings on other blogs. I enjoy dialogue with men who think inside and outside the box, as well as investigating the need for biblical balance and maturity. These questions involve a wide range of topics from systematic theology and apologetics, to suffering and the Spirit Filled Life of the believer. Here is a response I gave concerning several questions relating to the division caused by some of the youthful church planters within the reformed tradition, followed by my responses. I think you’ll enjoy. Feel free to offer your comments.


Are the Reformed trying to convert others with different theology?

In one sense, we all try to do this. The nature of truth and love is to communicate what we believe is accurately representing God. The problem seems, IMHO, to be the lack of maturity and balance. Today, as a good reformed friend said to me a couple of months ago, it is fashionable to be ‘Reformed.’ That way, young and prideful ‘church planters’ can raise the banner “reformed” and instantly feel they are John Piper or Continue reading “Questions Concerning Calvinism and Arminianism”