Starting Points (New Book)

Starting Points2The purpose of Starting Points is to introduce new Christians to the foundations they need to better know Christ and faithfully follow him as his disciples throughout their lives.

This introduction to the life of Christian discipleship focuses on six key components: Meet Jesus, New Life, Becoming More Like Jesus, A Disciple’s Life, Help for the Journey, and A Disciple’s Call.

This book was written with new membership classes and other small groups in mind. However, it can also be a helpful resource for one-on-one discipleship, sharing your faith with others, or for your own personal devotional time.

You can order it by clicking here.

New Prayer Journal Book

prayer journal4Hey guys, looking for a resource for your prayer life in 2018? Check out this new Prayer Journal I put together. it would be a great gift for the new year.

Have you ever found yourself frustrated during prayer? Maybe you start out praying for your family and then run out of things to pray about.

You know there’s more to prayer than this, but don’t quite know how to move forward in your prayer life.

This Prayer Journal is for you. Let this journal serve you as you explore greater depth in your prayer life with God.

Through Scripture, prayers, and prayer prompts, this journal can help guide you in growing closer to God and encourage you to bear more fruit in your prayer life. You can order it by clicking here.

 

Knowing God Does Not Mean…

follow Christ5Below is an excerpt from my book, Starting Points.

Knowing God Does Not Mean…

It does not mean merely intellectually acknowledging God’s existence. Every now and then I’ve had someone tell me they believe in God. Thankfully I’ve never responded in an ungodly way, but I have been tempted to say, “Well, that’s fantastic. According to Scripture, that qualifies you to be a… demon.” That’s not exactly a loving or compassionate way to respond to a person. But it is biblically accurate.

James 2:19 says,

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder

Even though the verse is true, it just doesn’t seem very pastoral or loving to call someone a demon, does it? My point, of course, is knowing God involves more than mere intellectual affirmation. But let me add that believing God exists is still vital to knowing him. It’s very important. You cannot know God if you do not believe he exists.

Hebrews 11:6 puts it this way,

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists

If all I knew about someone was a few biographical tidbits, I wouldn’t know them the way Jesus is talking about in John 17:3.

Ministering to Men

Men-WorkBelow is an excerpt from my book, Foundations for Godly Manhood.

Hard Work

The process of becoming a genuine and faithful disciple of Jesus Christ is tough. It takes hard work. It doesn’t happen overnight. It can’t be manipulated over the course of a weekend. It doesn’t materialize from a neatly wrapped program. It’s a day-in and day-out pursuit of Christ, through his Word and prayer, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in a relational context.

While I am all for Bible studies and small groups for both genders, I think there must be a place for men to gather with other men, to study God’s Word and pray, in a context of accountability and encouragement. How many men do you know who would want to talk about lust in the presence of their wives? Or, how many men would want to share how they struggle with pornography with other women in the room?

The Final Goal

The goal of ministry to men is not primarily about producing morally improved men. It’s not primarily about warm-fuzzy experiences; it’s not even about emotional or psychological cathartic breakthroughs.

We may want each of those things to happen, but that should not be the primary target of men’s ministry. Instead, the purpose of ministry to men is to introduce men to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is God’s plan for transforming sinful men into redeemed sons of their heavenly Father. This transformation will produce men who passionately desire to become like Christ. They will want to know him better, love him more, and follow him more faithfully.

Such men will still battle sin, but as the Spirit works through the study of God’s Word, prayer, and accountable and encouraging fellowship, these men will become the men God has created, redeemed, and called them to be. And perhaps such men will turn the world upside down for God’s glory and the advancement of God’s Kingdom (Acts 17:6).

The Old, Old Story

church2Below is an excerpt from my book, Foundations for Godly Manhood.

Dr. Craddock

One of the highlights of attending seminary in Atlanta was sitting under the teaching of Dr. Fred Craddock. Dr. Craddock was a gifted and world-renowned preacher and preaching instructor. It was a privilege and blessing to take a preaching class taught by him.

One of the things Dr. Craddock taught us, something that’s always stayed with me, came from a story he told us. He shared with our class a snippet of a conversation he had with one of his former students who had graduated and was serving a little rural church.

The former student told Dr. Craddock he was going to wake that little country church up. He was going to bring them into the present. He was going to be new and fresh. As an example of this, he wasn’t going to preach the same old tired stuff during Christmas, stuff they all knew. He was going to hit them with something new.

Dr. Craddock lovingly, and I’m sure, convincingly, shared with this eager new preacher that what those people needed, what we all need, especially during the seasons of Advent and Lent, is the old, old story of what God has done in Christ.

The Old, Old Story

It’s not that a preacher shouldn’t seek to know the needs of the congregation and connect with them in their context. The preacher should not seek to be irrelevant. However, the truth is, a clear and honest telling of the old, old story is the most relevant subject there is. Many hymns remind us the “old, old story” is the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Here’s how the hymn, “Victory in Jesus,” communicates the old, old story,

I heard an old, old story,
how a Savior came from glory,
how he gave his life on Calvary
to save a wretch like me;

I heard about his groaning,
of his precious blood’s atoning,
then I repented of my sins
and won the victory.

O victory in Jesus, my Savior forever!
he sought me and bought me with his redeeming blood;
he loved me ere I knew him, and all my love is due him;
he plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

That’s the old, old story.

When we think about the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the Good News of what God has done in and through the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, we usually go back 2,000 years. But the story is older than that. In one sense, it goes all the way back into eternity, into the mind of God who’s always existed.