Get free email updates as I write new articles:

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 ought to read it. Tom offers some of his conclusions about what’s wrong and what could possibly be done to curb the death march of many churches.

I think it’s time for Christians who love their churches and love Jesus to get serious and to hear the shocking realities of this hour. Personally, based on experience and observation, I can name five enormous problems without hesitation. There are more, but these are the five that immediately spring to my mind. Listen to this five minute audio clip to hear my diagnosis.

What else would you add? And what can be done? How do we save the local church in America?

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 up in the millions to welcome their new leader.
  • I’m moved by the election of a man who cares about many of the things I care about.

I’m also concerned…

  • I’m concerned about the sanctity of life (this is the most pro-abortion President in our history).
  • I’m concerned about the growing power of government.
  • I’m concerned about taking a softer approach with militant Muslim nations.
  • I’m concerned about our security.

I’m also positive. I believe in giving the benefit of the doubt. Barack Obama begins today with a clean slate. We shall see what unfolds. President Bush was a different man with different viewpoints just a few years into his first term. Some of those changes were positive, some negative. God can change the heart of Obama as well – he seems tender enough.

I’m also prayerful. I’m commanded to pray for my new President and have a heart to do so. Here’s what I’m praying for…

  • His safety.
  • His family’s unity (he sets a great example here).
  • His life to be in balance.
  • His cabinet to be genuinely helpful.
  • His heart to change on abortion and other moral issues.
  • His courage in the face of world threats.
  • His legacy to be as positive as it is so far when he leaves office in four or eight years.

Hail to the Chief, but Praise to King Jesus – my supreme and sovereign Lord. What’s your delight/concern/prayer for your new President today?

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 get more phone telemarketers, guaranteed. Buy a gas guzzler and they’ll build more. Marketers are simple people… they make what sells. Our culture has purchased (and voted) itself into the place we are today.

When Israel demanded a king against God’s will, they got the tall and handsome Saul who wound up being a flake. God eventually rescued them with a leader after His own heart. I feel like we’re demanding something we won’t be happy with a year from now… but we get what we demand, what we deserve.

You can read his entire article below…

Seth’s Blog: Marketing lessons from the US election.

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 “missions?” I believe, absolutely! Let me tell you three reasons why: 1.) College students are a little nuts! When they’re fired up, they’ll charge into the most dangerous countries in the world for the greatest cause on earth… and they’ll raise money to do so. 2.) There are so many places that college students can connect with others who will pull them away from Christ that we have to offer them a ring of friends who will help them remain true to the faith. 3.) One of the greatest missions opportunities that exists today is the reaching of international students from closed nations that are studying in the states. We can reach them, disciple them, and then send them home as missionaries to their own country!

We must soon realize that America is one of the world’s greatest mission fields and college campuses are the central focal point in a cultural war that is being waged every day. You don’t have to worry much about liberalism creeping into your local church, but college students endure an onslaught of insulting propaganda concerning their faith everyday. I know, I suffered it once myself as a Religious Studies major at a state university.

I, for one, will begin standing beside this invaluable ministry. I’ll speak up on their behalf, attempt to raise money, and get involved when and where I can. If one of my fellow brethren from a sister church should happen upon these thoughts, I’d encourage you to do the same. Visit the campus, visit the ABS house, and hear the hearts of its leaders. Students are worth it! You can start be checking out their website here.

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 game both helped and hurt. On the one hand, I’m terribly annoyed at the price of seeing a game for the average family. If you have the average 2.5 kids, you can expect to drop at least a hundred bucks for the tickets, and possibly another hundred for food, souvenirs, and some of the family activities available. It’s no wonder people are cynical about the salaries of players and the bankrolls of owners.

Nonetheless, on the field, it’s still the old game it used to be. There’s still something a bit magical about the bright green, perfectly manicured grass, the larger-than-life image of the players, and the thrill of watching a homerun fall into the stands. Plus, you can’t beat a stadium hot dog (though the price of $5.75 is a bit much)!

If I could sum up what it’s all about (the game, the parks, the players), I’d have to say… advertising! From an hour before the game until the last pitch was thrown, there were special promotions and activities on the screen, “sponsored by…” There are digital scrolling billboards throughout. The scenery is plastered with the names of big businesses such as banks, stock brokerages, and restaurant chains. The stadium included a Hardee’s, Big Mac land (a McDonald’s promotion), and even a Build-A-Bear workshop tailored especially to the St. Louis Cardinals fan base!

At the end of the day, I’d summarize my experience as absolutely awesome! The skies were clear with a temperature of 65 and a slight breeze blowing. The hot dog was juicy, yet crusty. The view was great, and even riding the Metrolink was a neat experience. Would I do it very often? Everyday!!