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Remember Where You Live

A10 WarthogI’ll admit it. I’m a fan of the Military Channel and the History Channel. It’s partly for my love of history, but it’s also because the study of history is a study of war and weaponry. Don’t misunderstand. I don’t like war and I hate the destruction that weapons cause in the wrong hands, but there’s something that fascinates a man’s soul about the destructive potential of high-powered sniper rifles and the attack agility of an A-10 Warthog (that’s a fighter jet, not an animal).

As a Christian, I’m involved in warfare daily, and one of Satan’s most clever tactics is to get me to fight the wrong enemy with the wrong weapons. Paul put it this way to the carnal Corinthian Christians…

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

2 Corinthians 10:3 (NIV)

I’ve grown up in a somewhat church-saturated culture (though not what I consider a “Christian nation”) in which we fight hard to preserve our way of life. We get angry when people believe and live differently. We fight. We shout. We condemn and demand that people submit to a God they don’t yet know or trust. And fighting like this hasn’t gotten us any closer to our goal. It’s just created a lot of casualties of war.

I’ve joined the wrong battle myself at times. I’ve even been guilty of turning in criticism toward my fellow spiritual family members over secondary issues while taking my eyes off the real enemy who is roaming about, seeking whom he may devour. And I’ve even engaged the right enemy with the wrong weapons, assuming that my willpower and my natural mind are enough for the victory.

But at the end of the day, you and I need to remember where we live. Earth, for now, is a battleground. But people aren’t our enemies. Don’t declare war on the Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. Don’t aim your weapons at the liberals, conservatives, or moderates. It’s certainly okay to stand for truth and engage in meaningful conversation about the issues of our times, but if you ever start to believe that another human being is the real enemy, Satan has won.

Remember where you live (earth). And remember where you now belong if you’ve trusted in Jesus (heaven). And remember that the divide between the two is great.  We are citizens of a different Kingdom on a temporary mission trip to a foreign land. So let’s fight the good fight of faith so we can take others with us.

photo credit: CHUCKage

Big Truths I Need to Hear Every Day

Eternal TruthI’m a messed up human being. I don’t mean that I’m particularly deranged – just that I was born broken and have reached the plateau of adulthood carrying some flaws with me. The biggest flaw? I believe lies… sometimes.

Here’s a law of life that can’t be avoided or broken… The way I think determines what I believe, which determines how I act, which creates my path and all of its rewards and consequences. Ultimately, life’s trajectory is a result of my beliefs.

When I mess up and sin, it’s always because I’ve believed a lie. I’ll give you some examples…

  • I’ll just do this once.
  • Nobody knows… or cares.
  • Everybody does this.
  • This is just who I am.
  • I’ve gone too far and there is no turning back now.
  • No one could ever really love me.

Any of those ring a bell? Whether whispers from the enemy, or sad chants we’ve accidentally learned to repeat, they are destructive. So today, and tomorrow, and every day thereafter, I need to start my day by ingesting truth. I believe that the only source of absolute truth is in the Bible, the Word of God. So I use Youversion’s reading plans to help me take it in each day. But that’s not all I need. I don’t mean that God’s word is insufficient. I simply mean that I need to personalize what I’ve read so that I can do and live the essence and meaning of it.

As for my particular struggles, there are some truths I am reminding myself of daily these days. The things you need to hear repeatedly in your walk will probably vary from mine, but these are truths I cling to:

The Truth About Me and God

  1. I am not God. I am powerless, helpless, lost, and broken without Him.
  2. God loves me and showed how much He loves and values me by sending Jesus to the cross for me.
  3. I cannot stop God from loving and valuing me because it’s about His character, not my behavior.
  4. In Christ, I have the limitless power that raised Jesus from the dead working in me, so victory is always achievable.
  5. The Holy Spirit wants to do His work in me at all times. I simply must yield at all times.

The Truth About Me and Myself

  1. I cannot control my circumstances, but I am absolutely in control of my responses. Blame nothing.
  2. I am responsible for all of my actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Blame no one.
  3. I am capable of accomplishing anything to which God has called me.
  4. My default is to be defensive and make excuses, which flow from pride and insecurity.
  5. I can always, always choose better.

Recommended Resource: Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris.


The Truth About Me and My Family

  1. My wife is a beautiful gift from God and deserves my attention, my affection, my protection, and my devotion.
  2. My wife is for me, shows me grace and respect when I don’t deserve it, and loves me faithfully.
  3. My kids need a Dad who is stable, strong, safe, and loving.
  4. My kids need a Dad who loves their Mom and proves it.
  5. I am the Dad, the priest, and the Pastor who will be held responsible for my family’s spiritual welfare.

The Truth About Me and My Church

  1. Jesus died for His church. It is His alone, and He values it immeasurably.
  2. God has called me to be an undershepherd of His flock, leading and feeding them on His behalf.
  3. I am not responsible for the choices others make, but I am responsible for equipping people under my care for spiritual maturity.
  4. I am the leader, whether I feel adequate or not, so I need to make the tough decisions and be in front.
  5. I am here to growth spiritually healthy people. People don’t exist to make me successful. I exist to help them be like Jesus.

The Truth About Me and My Culture

  1. The world will squeeze me into its mold unless I fully surrender to God and choose His path.
  2. Cursing the darkness is exhausting, pointless, and ultimately counterproductive to God’s goal for the world.
  3. I need to be light, salt, and a voice of truth within the territory of the deceiver.
  4. Everyone needs Jesus. Everyone belongs in God’s family.
  5. Isolation from culture helps no one. Imitation of culture helps no one. Infiltrating culture is my calling.

I don’t always remember all of these truths. When I forget them, things go badly. When I am reminded of them, I can stand strong and walk confidently. Truth leaks, leaving room for the lies of the enemy. Hearing truth and applying it repetitiously is the only way to win.

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Photo by Chris Nicolson.

Can Social Media Contribute to a Jesus Revolution?

Viva la RevolutionJeff Gibson is an extremely intelligent guy who advises heads of state and leaders of corporation about messaging, marketing, and many other things I’ll never fully understand. Chris Forbes has been a leader in missions for as long as I’ve been a Pastor and was actually the very first person I ever followed on Twitter. The two of them and I participated in a little discussion with our friend, Jon Walker about the role of social media in a cultural revolution.

The post is live on Pastors.com.

Read the Article

Rejoice In the Lord… Always, Again I say Rejoice

One of my favorite daily news feeds comes from The Daily Spurgeon. Today’s thought addressed something that Christians struggle with often. But usually, when someone comes to me with this question, they’re already on the right track. It is “Can I enjoy the world around me, though it is perishing?”

The Bible tells us to love not the world, neither the things that are in the world (1 John 2:16-17), but the “world” in view here is not the planet which God made to be good (according to Genesis). Rather it’s the demonically-managed system of false philosophies that dominates a sin-ridden society. So can we enjoy the world? Arts? Nature? Music? Things which God inspired? Yes. Spurgeon writes…

The Christian has joy as other men have in the common mercies of life. For him there are charms in music, excellence in painting, and beauty in sculpture; for him the hills have sermons of majesty, the rocks hymns of sublimity, and the valleys lessons of love. He can look upon all things with an eye as clear and joyous as another man’s; he can be glad both in God’s gifts and God’s works. He is not dead to the happiness of the household: around his hearth he finds
happy associations, without which life were drear indeed. His children fill his home with glee, his wife is his solace and delight, his friends are his comfort and refreshment. He accepts the comforts which soul and body can yield him according as God seeth it wise to afford them unto him; but he will tell you that in all these separately, yea, and in all of them added together, he doth not find such substantial delight as he doth in the person of his Lord Jesus. Brethren, there is a wine which no vineyard on earth ever yielded; there is a bread which even the corn-fields of Egypt could never bring forth. You and I have said, when we have beheld others finding their god in earthly comforts, “You may boast in gold, and silver, and raiment, but I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”

Yes, we can rejoice “in the Lord.” Always. Even on vacation! But our rejoicing is ultimately rooted in a secure knowledge of Jesus Christ. So it’s a joy that those outside the faith can never fully understand. If joy is rooted in appreciation, then God’s children find joy in everything for which they can appreciate the Creator’s touch. So rejoice today! Again I say, rejoice!