Tag Archives: bible

Theology is Not the Goal

I’ve read a couple of books recently that taught me more about the life of J.P. Morgan, the famous banker. I didn’t know much about his life and work but he was among the most powerful men in the world for a time. He had great wealth, incredible influence and a massive art collection.
There was one thing that really surprised me about the man. He was Continue reading

The Positive Future of the Southern Baptist Convention

A friend of mine advises pessimism so that life is full of pleasant surprises. (Doesn’t that sort of defeat the point?) But I can’t help myself. I am hopelessly hopeful. (And I like a good oxymoron on occasion.)

When it comes to the Southern Baptist Convention we can certainly point to difficult challenges- and I have. But, there are many reasons to be “hopelessly hopeful” about our convention and I want to name a few just to put our future into perspective.

1. The emphasis on Continue reading

The Future of the Southern Baptist Convention

I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. That’s a bad start for confidence in my predictive powers. But let me speculate on the future of the Southern Baptist Convention with whom I have been associated my entire life.

In many ways I am describing what is more than what will be. Perhaps this is more of where we are than where we are headed. While it seems likely we will have more of what we currently have, God can change things dramatically. Perhaps we will have a great revival. Perhaps we will have ruin. But here is where it seems we are and where we are headed. (Keep in mind the “neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet” part.)

1. We will be less Continue reading

Connected by Faith

The church where I was saved many years ago just bought 500 copies of my devotional book “Immersed: 40 Days to a Deeper Faith”. They are going to use it for a church wide series beginning the week after Easter. Many churches have used the book that way now, but there is a special connection you have with the church where you gave your life to Christ.

I trusted Christ as my Savior and Lord in the old worship center at Continue reading

About Fasting

Once in a while, I ask our church to fast. I doubt it is the most popular request I make. But many tell me of the spiritual significance of their fasting. So here is a brief overview of fasting.
What it isn’t-
1. Fasting isn’t a weight loss program. You lose muscle and replace it with fat when the fast is over. There are better ways to lose weight. I have no idea what those ways are, but I’m sure they are out there.
2. Fasting isn’t a hunger strike. It isn’t a way to bully God into Continue reading

Growing Spiritually

If you want to grow deeper in your Christian faith I recommend the following.
1. Read big chunks of the bible. Read the entire bible for yourself several times. It will take several times through to really begin to put it all together and see the big picture well- but it will be worth it.
2. Memorize some scripture verses. Be strict about it (best said with a German accent- roll the “r” on “strict”). Get it exactly right, word for word. This will force you to really know the verse.
3. Pray all the time. That is, pray every time you think about it. Have an attitude of prayer.
4. Pray systematically. Pray for specific Continue reading

My Top Ten Books

My wife recently posted her 10 most influential books. (She put my books on her list. Danger of nepotism?) So, here is my stab at my most influential. (Not counting my own. Danger of ridicule?) And, I’ve doubled and trebled up to get in some more. And, I’m leaving out some books that ought to get me banned from libraries and sitting rooms as penance.

1. The Bible. I read through the bible every year at least once and have for many years. It is more thrilling to me every year and is the foundation for my faith and my life. It is really 66 books, of course, but I’ll count it as one for this. If you haven’t read it yet, try starting with John and then Acts. Finish the New Testament a couple of times and then read the entire book.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This is a 7 book set. It is lots of fun to get lost in them. Very easy reading. I love the spiritual connection and the fun. I read them to my children and look forward to reading them to my grandchildren. And, add to this Mere Christianity (Lewis’s best non-fiction, I think) and The Screwtape Letters (tremendous insights into our spiritual battles) by Lewis. A serious Christian thinker not reading Mere Christianity is sort of like a serious student of English novels never reading A Tale of Two Cities–these things ought not to be done.

3. Trilogy of the Civil War by Shelby Foote. These three Continue reading

Love the Church?

Different people view the church very differently. Our views are affected by our history, our problems, our preferences, our inclinations and- at our best- by our theology.
The church, of course, is not the building. I really appreciate the building God allows my church to use. It is helpful and it has come at great sacrifice. We use it well at FBC O’Fallon where I am pastor. There are large numbers of people using our church building in some way almost every day. I love that.
But I’m not talking about the church building here. I’m talking about the church. You know, that messy conglomeration of believers that gather together to glorify the Lord through our worship and discipleship, our ministry and our fellowship and through our missions and evangelism. I’m talking about the local church of gathered believers and the more general sense of the church- believers all over the world who gather in their own local expressions of the church.
There are at least 5 different views of the church I see.
1. Some hate the church. I don’t believe a Christ-follower can hate the church. After all, Christ is the one who formed it and is the foundation of the church. But many in our world hate the things of God and, therefore, hate the institution God founded.
2. Some dislike the church. They were Continue reading

Buying what doesn’t satisfy

I have a special love for Isaiah 55. It is a powerful chapter in the bible that speaks to our generation just as it did to the generation that first read its words.
When revival came to my life and church 20 years ago, this is the chapter I preached on for the next several Sunday evenings. A couple of those services last 4 hours and longer. Without complaint. Let the thought of those last two sentences sink in a moment.
God has Continue reading

Football and God

I love this time of year- warm days, cool nights and beautiful colors. But I also love it because it is football season! I’ve enjoyed football since I was a kid. Dad told me about playing football in the Army, we watched football together on TV (I miss my Dad’s arguments with Howard Cosell through the television screen) and played in the backyard.
I started playing football for real as a scrawny freshman in high school. I was unprepared for the pain and sweat associated with the sport. Somehow I survived and talked myself into playing again as a sophomore. I grew a little and got faster and found some success. I found more success as a junior and senior.
Small though I was, I played football at Wheaton College. I played a lot as a freshman, started every game the next three years and was captain my senior year. (The talent level was lower then!)
I can’t play anymore, of course. (I just pulled my hamstring typing that last sentence.) But Continue reading