Biblical Meditation

meditationBiblical meditation is our quiet time with God. This does not mean we must always be alone in a quiet place to meditate on the Lord and His Word. We can find the quietness of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the midst of the bustle of our day. However, we should seek times of solitude in quiet places to pray and seek the mind of the Lord as a regular practice. This is how meditation is such a vital part of praying in the Spirit. The Lord trains us to pursue His personal direction through waiting, patience and prayer. He slows us down and protects us from making knee-jerk reactions and impulsive decisions.

The proper state of biblical meditation is a pure heart and a spiritual mind, and unlike meditation taught from other religions, it does not focus upon body posture. When we keep our sins confessed up to date, we maintain a pure heart. When we pursue God’s truth and wisdom, we maintain a spiritual mind. From a pure heart and spiritual mind, we can have confidence about the Holy Spirit’s leading because we seek no agenda or purpose but to do God’s will. We also understand that we are created for His purposes and plans. When we maintain a pure heart and walk spiritually minded, we will desire to know and remain faithful to God’s will—not ours. Continue reading “Biblical Meditation”

Does God Still Speak?

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If you want to create a lively-and sometimes ungodly-conversation among believers, ask the simple question, “Does God speak to people today?” It is like tossing a hand grenade into a busy mess hall during boot camp and watching the soldiers rush for the door. Depending upon one’s background and theological bent, the answers will range from ‘of course He still speaks’ to ‘not since the canon of Scriptures has been completed.’ This is a frequent question among young believers, especially in light of the fact they wish to walk free from a dead and lifeless form of Christianity.

Theologians of previous generations must be read carefully, as they were combating errors and heresy unique to their time. This is why we have to be very careful not to ‘over-judge’ the statements from previous generations unless we know with reasonable certainty the layers to the theological battles that raged during their life of ministry. Equally so, we must be careful when using their quotes in our generation, as they may not be bringing out the essential issues we face.

It is easy for us to read famous quotes from writers and theologians and turn them into false dilemmas by using them and presenting an either/or option when more than two options are available. One such case can be illustrated with this quote I ran across some time back while reading puritan writer, John Owen. It is similar to some quotes I’ve read in various systematic theology books that were written during times when the church was battling the dangers of mysticism that is not grounded in sound doctrine.  Continue reading “Does God Still Speak?”

Passion Born Out of Conflict

Conflict PassionConflict is painful. It presses us beyond our strength and understanding, and forces us to seek solutions outside the box of our perception. Once we have faced conflict through the truth of Scriptures, a passion from God ignites in our soul concerning what we discover. It is that passion that plunges us into new dimensions of faith and a Spirit-filled walk.

Christian faith is filled with passion. It only becomes passionless when we fail to cultivate intimacy with our risen Lord. For believers there are several areas of interest concerning passion, and each one of them is born out of some type of conflict. Here are five: Continue reading “Passion Born Out of Conflict”

From the Tomb to the Pulpit

empty-tombEvery pastor is simply a messenger boy. As John Piper says, “Brethren, we are not professionals.” And yet, as simple messengers, we are entrusted with the most important message to mankind–the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Heaven’s glory rests upon our calling and upon our communication. In one true sense, we are all wordsmiths, forging the expression of words to present the gospel with the majesty it deserves. 

Learning some of the nuances of homiletics, speaking methodologies and audience perceptions are beneficial, as material has been written about these issues since the age of the early church fathers. However, we must never get trapped into a style that is foreign to our gifts and uniqueness. Because of the diverse placement of gifts in each pastor, each of us are a ‘little different’ and that difference is where we find our authenticity and freedom.  Continue reading “From the Tomb to the Pulpit”

End of Construction–Thanks for your patience!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn a recent vacation trip with my wife, we visited the Billy Graham Library and museum in Charlotte, NC. It was fantastic! Throughout the visit, the message of the gospel was penetrating, convicting, and refreshing. Being a pastor in my 52nd year of life, and realizing that the sand in my hourglass of time is getting low, I cried and rejoiced at the same time observing the brevity of time and the importance of making every moment count. Kudos to the BGEA for their superbly built and God-honoring museum.

There is so much that could be discussed, but I want to mention the last thing viewed during the tour of the site. It was the gravesite of Ruth Graham, Billy’s wife who passed away in 2007. Ruth grew up in China as one of the children of medical missionaries, married Billy after meeting him at college, and was with him as his dear bride for over 60 years. She had the front row seat of the life of a man who preached face to face with more people than anyone who has ever shared the gospel. Continue reading “End of Construction–Thanks for your patience!”

It’s Saturday–Pray Hard For Your Pastor!

Pray for your PastorSaturdays are special to most people. It is the day of relaxation and hobbies. A day to sleep late or do yard work. A day to play with the kids or watch a movie. However, do not forget about your pastor. For those seeking to have a ‘live coal’ from God’s altar to communicate with the congregation, it is a day of spiritual battle and wrestling to get completely settled with the mind of the Lord for the messages the Holy Spirit has laid upon his heart.

Enjoy your family, friends and day off. But through it all, remember that your pastor is in the battle of the week. He has a target on his back as the enemy comes to discourage him, get him off track, or confuse his mind about what he is planning on sharing. He has worked on it all week, on his knees in prayer, and with pencil in hand. Take moments throughout your day and send up a prayer for him. What to pray? Good question. Continue reading “It’s Saturday–Pray Hard For Your Pastor!”

Rearing Children to Stay in the Church

large_praying_handsA Pastor friend of mine from North Carolina shared with me that one out of every four children who grow up in the Church abandon their faith once they get out on their own. (Usually off to college) Startling, but true facts.

How do we prevent our children from being on the bad side of this statistic? Many friends, including fellow Pastors  have asked me what Susanne and I did to rear 3 boys who are all active and solidly planted in a local church, and who continue to walk faithfully even after becoming adults. Rearing children, especially boys seems to be a very hard task in the age we live in. Here are my answers to those who have requested my help with this over the years.

1. The New Birth – Be careful to make the new birth in Jesus a constant and clear message. Refuse to allow church membership or attendance to become a substitute for spiritual life. Gathering with other believers with commitment is important, but nothing meets the importance of true Spiritual life through faith in Christ! Attending church without the new birth is only a religious exercise. Attending with a genuine faith makes it alive and refreshing.

2. The Totality of Life – Make sure that the Christian faith is expressed in the context of the full expression of life, and do not let it become lost in a ‘religious’ framework of ‘church.’ A robust faith in every facet of life is a healthy and biblical faith.

3. Demonstrating Repentance and Openness – As parents, be quick to live out the humble and real practice of repentance and openess before your children. Repent to them whenever you fail before them. Nothing makes Christianity more real to our children as our brokenness and repentance. Using godly wisdom, discuss your own journey of maturing in faith, and be open about your struggles of seeking God’s will. Continue reading “Rearing Children to Stay in the Church”

Broken Boldness

broken-jar-2Arrogance in the pulpit–the great tragedy in the American Church. As pastors, we are called to be leaders, not in pride and aloofness, but in humility and brokenness. And we will be, as soon as we have a deep and fresh vision of our own sinfulness and constant need of the mercy and grace of God.

As pastors and elders, we are entrusted to communicate the glorious truths of the gospel. We are called to be God’s mouthpiece to the sheep under our care. And we will be, as soon as we confess that our own homiletical skills and linguistic craftsmanship is unable to pierce the heart of man for eternal value, and we cry out for God’s Spirit from on high to anoint our words and direct our messages.

As leaders, we are called to be examples of modesty and hospitality. And we will be, as soon as we see the waste of our silk suits, expensive automobiles and ostentatious houses, and we use our resources to reach those in our community who are needy and lowly.

Every morning, we must ask our souls, “Are you broken today?” The flesh loves to run the show, it loves to get the attention and applause of man. However, if we are to fulfill Continue reading “Broken Boldness”

Overloaded With Wood

Bond fireThe unique thing about building a fire is that you start with a little wood and fire–then you add more wood. Sometimes I think our view of church planting is so complicated that we’ve stacked wood for a huge bond fire, but we have forgotten to bring the fire.

We have an overload of conferences, an overload of ideas, an overload of books, an overload of theories, an overload of symposiums, and an overload of interest. Our wood is stacked as high as the old Aggie bond fire rallies at Texas A&M, and yet we are not burning…we are not on fire!

We are overloaded with wood.

We’ve attempted to cross every “t” and dot every “i” in order to be prepared. But honestly, how do you prepare sufficiently for the move and falling of God’s fire when He breaks out. We map out all the “how to’s” and the “what ifs,” and then we say, “Here is our wood, Lord, light it!” All of this while the Lord is saying, “Let me bring fire to your life in prayer, and then I’ll also provide the wood.”  Continue reading “Overloaded With Wood”

Do Not Disturb

Do Not DisturbI recently stayed in a motel in Nashville, TN after a week long traveling schedule. I was physically exhausted and looked forward to a good nights rest. As I walked into my room, I placed the “Do Not Disturb” sign on my doorknob and prepared for bed. I crashed around 10:15 after getting a bite to eat at a local restaurant, with the full expectation of getting fully refreshed from rest to complete the final leg of my drive back home.

Then it happened! Around 3:30 a.m. I was awakened with a great burden to pray. The Holy Spirit had not read my sign, and He was having none of it…there was work to be done in prayer and He wasn’t playing around. I spent the rest of the morning laboring in prayer, and seeking the Lord’s will about several things, and praying for many friends. Continue reading “Do Not Disturb”

Pastors Should Be Worshippers

Josh WorshipWe’ve all noticed it. The worship team is leading the congregation in praise and worship, and the person most distant from worship is the Pastor. Either he is using the time to talk with someone, or praying over his message, or putting the final touches on it. This practice by leaders reeks of disrespect and aloofness. It also hinders the freedom and liberty of the Holy Spirit the worship team is hoping to lead the flock into. How is the failure of Pastors to be worshippers a hinderance? Here are several ways.

  • It is disheartening to the worship team that has been praying all week and practicing to lead the congregation in worship. It makes them feel their effort is not important.
  • It is a poor example to the flock, especially other men, about the importance of worship. Men will look strongly to the actions of their Pastor. If worship isn’t a priority to him, why should it be to other men?
  • It leads to the false assumption that worship is beneath those spiritually mature. Pastors are held up as examples of maturity. What type of example are we showing.
  • It projects that worship time is only a ‘filler’ until the real event–preaching. It dumbs down the real benefits of worship. A person who worships in spirit and truth are the best ones prepared to receive the teaching of God’s Word.

All of these reasons will cause damage to the flock. It is never intended, but the damage is real nonetheless when Pastors appear distant from worship and praise. What should Continue reading “Pastors Should Be Worshippers”

New Book – Praying in the Spirit

Praying_in_the_Spiri_Cover_for_KindleMy latest book, “Praying in the Spirit” has just been published. It is a culmination of several years of work. I have had the privilege of praying with many believers from various backgrounds, and those who walked in spiritual authority and power all had one thing in common…praying in the Spirit. However, this subject is seldom, if ever, discussed in our discipleship and leadership training. And yet, prayer is to be the strength, power, momentum and basis for all our work and ministry. In this book, we will put the subject back on the table for discussion by looking through the Scriptures and hearing God’s call to pray in His strength and under His leadership. We must return to the leadership of the Holy Spirit if we are expecting to see our prayers avail with God’s promises and strength.

In this book, we look at the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through prayer. We will rescue this topic from the many misunderstandings about what it is, and will encourage all believers to learn to pray in power of the Spirit like the early church did. Praying in the Spirit is not about flexing our spiritual muscles but about letting the Holy Spirit flex His! We cover three main subjects:

    • What is it?
    • Who can do it?
    • How do we do it?

These three questions require us to walk through many areas of discussion. Some of them are: What is meditation? What is the difference between false and true meditation? What are the different kinds of prayer? What are the different seasons of prayer? What about praying with tongues? What about faith in prayer? What does it mean to pray “according to God’s will?” What is the deepest form of prayer? etc…

It is available in paperback from the Publisher. You can click 2T2 Publishing and purchase a copy of the paperback, and the book is also available for e-book readers in Kindle and Nook. It is also available in paperback from Amazon.