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Amplify Your Leadership

Connection is the beginning of all true influence—people will follow leaders they trust


From P.I. to preacher is not a common path, but it was mine. After graduating with a criminal justice administration degree at San Diego State University, I set out on a brief but fascinating career as a private investigator.

God had other plans. I had resisted God’s call, but it was time. While working as an investigator, I served in a small church as a student ministry leader. I soon found myself as a full-time master’s in divinity student at Asbury Theological Seminary. My three years there were fantastic. They were literally life changing. I was fired up and ready to serve in ministry, but I still had much to learn about leadership.

John Maxwell invited me to join his staff for one year as an intern at Skyline Wesleyan Church, which was located in a San Diego suburb. Little did I know that we would work together for 20 years, and reach thousands of people for Jesus.  Read more...

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Watchmen on the Walls

Calling pastors to help change the nation through prayer, preaching and partnership

 

As a teenager, I remember President Ronald Reagan’s vivid image of America as a “shining city on a hill,” echoing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. President Reagan meant that we are a beacon of light and hope for the rest of the world. Today, that beacon is growing dim.

Human life has become disposable. Abortion remains a tragic and open wound on our society. When miscarriages are not counted, fully 22 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion. The rate for African-Americans’ abortion in New York City is an astonishing 60 percent. More pre-born children die daily in America’s abortion centers than the casualty from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Since abortion was legalized in 1973, there have been more than 50 million abortions. 

Our families are in disarray. More than 40 percent of children do not have married parents. Not surprisingly, only 45 percent of teenagers have spent their childhood with biological parents who were married.  Read more...

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Top-Down Tactics

Forget grassroots revival—widespread change is best achieved by a narrow focus


There is a seismic shift taking place today in the marketplace and the church. We need to understand how to respond if we are going to bring systemic transformation. There are ways the church should apply the gospel in response to cultural shifts.

First of all, it is a mistake to believe the culture will shift because of a church revival or a societal awakening. Often, we as believers think the key to societal transformation is to convert masses of people. But the truth is that culture is transformed by a small percentage of the population who make up the cultural elite in a society. Thus the only way to affect cultural change is to convert the elite who formulate culture in every sphere of society.

Second, it is a mistake to think that political victories will bring transformation. For example, abortion was legalized in 1973 yet the fight still rages on. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in several states in the Northeast, but the battle continues. Homosexuality has been normalized by art, media and entertainment, yet a large percentage of Americans still refuse to consider it as normative behavior. Read more...

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Preparing for the Next Great Awakening

Pastors need to twin prayer for spiritual revival with practical involvement in cultural reformation


Stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world.”

Those were the words that Martin Luther King Jr. heard as he prayed alone at his kitchen table in 1956. He had arrived in Montgomery, Ala., two years earlier, accepting the pastorate of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church rather than pursuing the academic career he had originally envisioned.

He soon found himself the head of the pastors’ association that led the famous bus boycotts. Increasing incidents of police harassment had caused Dr. King to ponder whether such activism was worth the risk to himself and his family. For 30 days in a row he had received daily death threats, so he paused to pray for guidance.

The Lord answered him clearly. It is hard to imagine what America would be like had King not answered the Lord’s call at that kitchen table. But because he did, our nation has made significant progress in living up to its own founding ideals of liberty and justice for all. Read more...

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Silence Is Not An Option

Why pastors simply must speak out on political issues

 

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Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr.

Mathew D. Staver

Kevin Theriot

Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. interviewed Mathew D. Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel; and Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), who discussed why pastors should not stay away from political issues—despite scrutiny from the IRS and groups threatening lawsuits.

Jackson: Mat, you have interacted with many pastors who believe they should “just preach” the gospel and stay away from political issues. What do you say to these church leaders? Read more...

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Crossover Calling

Despite long odds and strong opposition, apostolic minister Kimberly  Daniels won a city council seat after God led her to run for office 


Jacksonville, Fla., is my hometown. With 20-plus miles of beaches and the most beautiful river views in the world, it is a great place to vacation and even a better one to live.

However, my city—like most others—also has its negative side. Jacksonville is nationally known for violent crimes. I grew up in the LaVilla area, where as a child, I loved living in my neighborhood—located a few blocks from the office where I currently work as a city council representative. I received almost 93,000 votes after entering a political race a few weeks before the May 17, 2011 election.

Becoming an elected official seemed unreachable, considering my mother was a single mom of three daughters from three different men and my father owned a bar in LaVilla, which featured “Sissy Shows” (female impersonators). 

At times, I still feel like I am going to wake up one day and say, “I dreamed I was an at-large city council representative in Jacksonville.” As I look out my window onto the streets where I used to play, I cannot help but feel humbled. Though it is not a dream, it all started with one. Read more...

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Standing Up and Speaking Out

How the Manhattan Declaration is mobilizing silent-too-long Christians to protect life, marriage and religious freedom


It was Nov. 20, 2009 when more than 20 Christian leaders stood before the microphones at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Fox News, CNN, ABC News, The Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post and other media outlets were there with cameras and microphones.

There we announced the launch of the Manhattan Declaration. We proclaimed to the church—and put our nation’s political leaders on notice—that we would protect the sanctity of life, uphold the sacredness of marriage as a holy union between one man and one woman and defend religious freedom for all people.

In front of all those cameras and lights, the Christian leaders lovingly, winsomely and firmly took a stand. I will never forget the picture. I stood between Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., and Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia. I looked over at Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, and Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action. To my left was Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., who mobilized African-American churches in the District of Columbia to oppose gay marriage. And there was Fr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary. Read more...

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Building On Firm Foundations

Pastors must rediscover their historical, nation-shaping role


During the American Revolution, the British dubbed the courageous clergy “The Black Regiment”—a backhanded reference to the black robes they wore. The British blamed the clergy for America’s independence, and rightfully so as modern historians have documented that “there is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence, which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.” 

The rights listed in the Declaration of Independence were nothing more than a listing of sermon topics that had been preached from the pulpit in the preceding decades. Early clergy literally believed 2 Tim. 3:16-17—that all Scripture is God-inspired, and that God’s Word is to prepare us for every work.

Their sermons presented a biblical perspective on pressing public issues, including what type of taxes were and were not scriptural, how education should be conducted, the biblical role of the military, the difference between offensive and defensive wars, and the importance of having written constitutions of governance and electing godly leaders. The sermons touched on scores of other biblical topics, which the pulpit is largely silent on today. Read more...

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The Miracle of Marriage

Helping build strong marriages begins with recognizing their unique place in God’s creation

 

When you hold your first-born child, you immediately recognize two things. First, you realize that you are holding a miracle you did not create—but God did. Secondly, you are keenly aware that this miracle needs to be protected by you.

I have been counseling couples for more than 20 years, and I am well aware that just as each child is created by God and needs to be protected, equally so does each marriage. As the shepherd of a flock, be it a church or ministry, you are the protector for the marriages in your congregations and ministries.

Thank you for the many hours that you have invested in birthing marriages, offered premarital counseling and helped to save struggling couples. You have both the scars and joys shepherds accrue in having a family full of marriage from every level of depth.  Read more...

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Restoring the Fallen

  A blueprint for helping pastors and church leaders overcome sexual sins, and back into effective ministry

 

Counseling pastors who have fallen due to infidelity, pornography, prostitution or other sexual sins has been a regular occurrence in my office for the last 20 years.

When you do something for more than two decades, you learn quite a bit about those who fall and those who are able to get back into a growing ministry again. I’ve also learned a lot from those who fall but don’t go back to ministry, as well as others who go back in ministry without genuine healing and restoration. 

Falling happens in ministry. We can all conjure up names of the famous Christian leaders and pastors who have fallen in the last two decades. My guess is that you can also conjure up names of people in ministry you know personally who have fallen. I was on a plane one day after the national media reported that my pastor had fallen to sexual sin. Read more...

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