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Harsh Realities Facing Today’s Church

About 100,000 churches will be dead in a decade and a half. That's somewhere around one fourth of the churches that exist in America today. Personally, I don't believe "the church" is dying, but the overall health of the church in America will be drastically hindered by the disappearance of so many local bodies. Thom Rainer agrees, and I think he's well-qualified to speak to the issue. He recently wrote really great little book called Autopsy of a Dead Church. Everybody …

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Why I’m Moved by the Inauguration of President Barack Obama

I'll be brief. I'm moved... I'm moved by Rick Warren's prayer. It was nice to hear him pray the entire model prayer and to call for civility when differing, which indeed allows for differing. I'm moved by the election of America's first African-American president. That's significant. I'm moved by what his election says about the sanctity of life. What? Well, just watch this. I'm moved by the respect Bush paid to Obama, and likewise. I'm moved by a nation showing …

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Seth Godin Shares a HUGE Marketing Lesson from the Election

Seth Godin is a genius when it comes to marketing. I read his blog today and was intrigued by what he had to say about tribalism and elections, but it was the last paragraph that really stunned me. It's what I've been saying for months now about our two choices... we get the leaders we deserve! The lesson that society should take away about all marketing is a simple one. When you buy a product, you're also buying the marketing. Buy something from a phone telemarketer, you …

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The Association of Baptist Students

Cory and I had a nice treat today in visiting with the directors of the Association of Baptist Students at the University of Arkansas. After touring the property, I was impressed with their ability to squeeze so much out of so little. Rather than a state-of-the-art facility, they were "making do" with three older houses, all in need of some repairs. I appreciated so much hearing the hearts of Director Warren Dugas and Associate Director Brad Harris. Is collegiate ministry …

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As American As…

Last night, I saw the inside of the new Busch Stadium as we watched the Los Angeles Angels topple the Cardinals 10 - 6. We did, however, get to see three Cardinals homeruns, including one by Sir Albert! It really is true that there isn't a poor view in the park. We were in the third tier over the third base dugout, but we could see the game very well and our view of the St. Louis skyline was breathtaking! My love for baseball has waned in recent years, and attending this …

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Remembering the Fallen

Yesterday was a very special day at Bethel. Though we had a lot of folks out on vacation for the holiday weekend, we who remained celebrated God's greatness in raising up heroes throughout the centuries. From Hebrews 11, we recounted the lives and deaths of some of God's greatest servants. Many in the chapter remain unnamed, but their works and martyrdom are mentioned. My favorite line in the passage says, "Of whom the world was not worthy!" Those words reflect my feelings …

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What A Wonderful World

At our wedding, Angie and I chose to have Louie Armstrong's song played... What a Wonderful World. In light of yesterday's shootings, and so many other monumental tragedies in recent years, is it really a wonderful world? We were driving to Fort Smith yesterday for the annual meeting of the BMA of America and were reflecting on some of the tragedies that have taken place at this same time of the year such as the Oklahoma City bombing (April, 1995), the Waco compound burning …

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Glory Filled My Soul

This past Sunday was perhaps the most awesome day of ministry I've ever experienced. Like the old gospel song says, "Heaven came down and glory filled my soul." It wasn't great planning, great music, or great preaching that made the day great, it was our great God visiting us in a powerful way in response to a whole lot of concerted, passionate praying. Last Wednesday, our prayer service, which normally consists of calling out some requests, a short pastoral prayer, and a …

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Are You Breathing?

"Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!" -Amos 6:1 I remember a movie I saw as a kid about a family that was moving across the country. They owned a Saint Bernard dog that was so fat and lazy they only way they could tell if the dog was alive was to place a mirror under its nose to see if it was still breathing. Spiritually, we ought to check our breath every day to …

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Real Pastors

"Turn... And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding..." -Jeremiah 3:14-15 The period of the prophets was marked with the terrible tragedy of a declining spiritual leadership. It was an age of false prophecies and empty messages. It was a duplication of the age of which the Apostle Paul speaks when he proclaims, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they …

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