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Feature Friday

Feature Friday (07/13/18)

It was a convicting moment. Reading good books can do that to you. You’re reading another story, captured by the characters and situations when all of a sudden the author turns the corner and reveals his principle and it hits you square in the face. It’s in moments like those when you realize the person in the story you were judging or condemning is just like you! Well, reading the best story of all time regularly can do that to you. And such an instance recently took place in my life.

I was reading James 3:1-10 where the author is challenging his readers about the power of the tongue. I was caught up in the illustrations of a horse and bridle, ship and rudder, and fire in a forest when James made his point clear. “With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10-11). It was in that moment conviction hit home. My tongue was not only difficult it was possible to tame. And I had recently not been doing well at trying to tame it.

As a fellow struggling tongue tamer, I found this article by Ray Ortland to be very helpful and challenging on the topic of taming our tongues and the effect it can have in our lives, our families, our churches, and our communities. “Your Church Can Be a Gospel Culture” is a short, succinct read in helping one think through how our words actually do affect the culture we live in.

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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Feature Friday (07/06/18)

It’s hard being different. This statement is true in more than one way. First off, in western culture today being different is the new normal. Everyone is to be unique. Be yourself. You do you. So if different is what you are trying to be, different is the last thing you will be.

But there is another way in which being different is difficult. When you are different you tend to stand out. You can be ridiculed, mocked, and even persecuted. And there is not many ways in our world that can get you ridiculed, mocked or persecuted than standing up for your beliefs, especially when your beliefs go against the cultural norm. But take heart, you are not alone. Nor are you the first one to be different in this way.

Jesus called all those who followed Him to be different. To be distinct. To be in the world, but not of the world. I recently preached a sermon on why being different, being in the world and not of the world, being a follower of Jesus is so difficult. One of my points was “following Jesus is harder than you think”. Which is why I loved Benjamin Swift’s article “More Than a Fish Sticker“.

Check out the article be encouraged and challenged realizing that, “living as a Christian involves more than placing a fish sticker on your car…” And as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Photo by salvatore ventura on Unsplash

Feature Friday (06/29/18)

Sharing is caring! At least that is how the slogan goes. Sharing can be fun. You can share a victory as a team, you could share a meal with family and friends, and you can share a vacation with others as well. In all of these instances, sharing is fun. But sharing can also be difficult, even scary.

Sharing can become frightening when you think about personal information or aspects of our lives. While sharing personal information can be scary in light of all the digital and technological fraud going on these days and hacking involved; I believe sharing is even more daunting when we consider sharing personal aspects of our lives. This is especially true when we think about sharing our faith.

Because sharing the good news of Jesus Christ can be difficult I love Jim Putnam’s article “The Disciple Maker’s Journey Starts with This Step“. Jim reveals a simple step and reality when it comes to sharing the gospel and thus disciple-making.

Check out the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (06/22/18)

This past weekend was Father’s Day. As a father of 3 (about to be 4), it is a day I look forward to, enjoy, but also a day in which I am challenged. It seems like each year for the past 5 years, Father’s day has been joyful for me, but at the same time, it always confronts me in unique ways. This past weekend was no different.

We enjoyed a wonderful morning together as a family, returned home for a great lunch, and I even got to mow my lawn in the afternoon (I know that may not sound like a fantastic Father’s day to some, but it is very relaxing and rejuvenating to me). I enjoyed playing with my kids in the early evening and then we went through our bedtime routine. It was that routine that reminded me of the challenge of being a father, in one way specifically. I have a responsibility to teach my children so much, and one of the vital roles, as a follower of Jesus, is to “Help my Kids Get Excited about Reading the Bible“.

That is why I love how David Murray writes this article to encourage, challenge, and equip myself and other fathers to do just that. If you are a father, let’s help our children get excited about God’s Word. If you are a mom, send this to your husband and encourage him as you tell him you want to help him lead in this way. And if you are not a parent, it’s still a great article to get excited about reading God’s Word ourselves.

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (06/15/18)

Recruiting is part of leadership. In my context, there are always opportunities for recruiting new leaders. Some people have to step out of roles, others move away, and then there is always the issues of new roles being created. All of these instances make room for potential new leaders to step up. But how do we know who to ask and even more importantly, how do we ask?

When recruiting someone onto a team or to actually lead a team there are multiple ways one could “make the ask”. You could appeal by guilt: “you need to be serving, that is the right thing to do”. You could appeal by reward: “if you do this you will get a huge raise”. You could appeal through manipulation: “I would hate to have this affect our relationship if you did not help us out”. But I think there is an even greater way to ask.

John the Baptist was a great example of a leader, not just in recruiting, but on following. John knew that life was not all about him. He was merely a signpost to something and someone greater. The One John pointed to was an even better leader, you could argue He was the best leader. And man did He know to recruit. Which is why I love Michael Kelley’s article entitled “4 Words that Will Change the Way You Lead

Check out the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

Feature Friday (06/01/18)

It’s a word I get tired of hearing. It’s a word used all too often and at the same time, not enough. It can infuriate parents beyond belief. And yet the same word can enlighten a situation in such a way no other word can. As a parent of 3 preschoolers, I hear this word far too often. However, as a leader, I use this word far too sparingly. What’s that word?

Why! A word that parents get tired of hearing and answering an endless litany of reasons. Why? The question that great leaders ask before making decisions, changing course, or starting anything new. Why? But a question that is so vital and core to the faith of every Christ follower at the same time. Why?

Why really is a foundational question to answer and rest on as a Christian! John Stott had a great insight on this one question in his classic work The Cross of Christ. But For The Church does a great job of summarizing Stott’s answer to the why question in their article, “Why did Christ Die?” The best part is: the question is answered from two different perspectives and both are necessary to understand the gospel of Jesus!

Enjoy the article and as always be with the Lord’s people on the Lord’s day!

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