Revival only comes in conjunction with deep, open and honest confession of sin.
All the great revivals of scripture and history involve God’s people acknowledging the truth of their wrongdoing. It is both the catalyst and the result of a genuine spiritual awakening.
Recognition of sin leads us to see our need for God. Seeing God’s holiness causes us to recognize our own sinfulness. Confession and repentance are indispensable ingredients to any close connection to the Lord.
But therein lies the problem. It is hard to be honest– gut-level, soul-searching, truth-telling honest. We struggle to be honest with God and even with ourselves. Here are some hard truths that can help you see your need to confess, repent and draw closer to God.
1. Sin is your own fault. Your sin is not the fault of Continue reading
There is a modern trend to learn only from ones peers. It is not uncommon, for example, that ministry conferences are designed for younger ministers and taught by younger ministers. And I get that.
There is much to be learned from your peers. After all, they are often in the same sort of setting, have similar issues they deal with and understand your cultural challenges. They speak your language and understand your thinking. They have watched the same movies and listened to the same music.
But please don’t forget to learn from those who are older than you are. (Unless you are over 100, in which case, the options are limited!) Our culture has often devalued older people, but that is not a healthy trend for society or ministry.
Here are three reasons to learn from some people older than you. Continue reading
Perhaps nothing frightened me more as a teenager than the thought of completely trusting God with my future- especially trusting him with my career path.
When I was young, I realized my sinfulness and my need for salvation and I received Jesus Christ as my Savior. I trusted God to save me. But just a few years later, I struggled to trust God to lead me.
Truth be told, I wondered deep inside if I could trust God with this important part of my future. I was worried that perhaps he would lead me in a path that would make me miserable. Isn’t if funny that I thought that way?
What I feared in particular was that if I agreed to do whatever God wanted me to do, God was going to make me become a Continue reading
There are two major bodies of water in Israel– the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. (Okay, I know the Jordan River that connects them is pretty important and the Mediterranean Sea is pretty big. Work with me here!) These geographical spots can be instructive to our spiritual vibrancy.
The Sea of Galilee is a fresh water lake and is vibrant. Cool waters flow from Mt. Hermon and the surrounding hills, bubbling up from a spring at Caesarea Philippi. The water leaves the Sea of Galilee to form what we know as the Jordan River.
The waters of the Sea of Galilee abound Continue reading
This will sound strange to many of you. I went to church 52 weeks a year as I grew up. I went to Sunday School and Sunday morning worship. I was at church training and Sunday evening worship. I attended prayer meetings every Wednesday night. My family even went to church when we were on vacation.
My parents deeply valued the church. They believed it could help them learn God’s word, deepen their faith and guide their family. The local church was a high priority.
Prioritizing the church is less common now. Many Christians see church attendance as an option among many. They often value hobbies, leisure and events as much or more. Participating in the life Continue reading
Few practices have blessed my life and ministry as greatly as my long time practice of reading the entire bible at least once each year. Of course, as a vocational pastor, I have some obvious advantages in doing so. If I am reading the bible at church, people say, “Don’t bother Pastor Doug!” If you are in bivocational ministry (God bless you and may your tribe increase!) or your ministry is not part of your vocation (How thankful I am for your willingness to serve faithfully as a volunteer!), you probably won’t have that advantage.
One other caveat. If you haven’t read through the New Testament (NT) fully, start there. Read it all the way through several times before going to the more daunting assignment of reading the entire Old Testament. I have sometimes used a reading plan to read the NT in one month (You can find 30 day plans online). After several times through the NT you are ready to read the entire 66 books of the bible.
Here are some reasons I read through the entire bible each year. Continue reading
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Tagged bible, bible reading, bible study, Christianity, devotional life, faith, Prayer