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10 Things the Bible Will Do for You

I’ve been helped by a lot of books in my lifetime. The Bible has helped me more than any other book—by several orders of magnitude.

Here is what the Bible claims it can do for you:

1. It will inspire you. When I read the story of David killing his giant enemy with nothing but five stones and a sling, I start to think that maybe I can conquer the giants in my life. When I read the story of Daniel rising to become prime minister of a large foreign country, I think maybe I can do a little more than I am right now. Read more...

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Outlasting Adversity Requires Human Effort Too

The late great American preacher Clarence McCartney recounted ministering at the funeral of a young husband. He stood by the coffin and listened as the young widow poured out her soul in grief. Finally he said to her: “God will give you strength and faith, and out of this will come good.”

“No,” she answered, “good will not come out of this.”

McCartney later reflected that no matter how much God wills it, good would never come to that widow unless she also willed it. Read more...

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Joey Bonifacio: A Good Reminder for Pastors and Christians

If you’ve been tracking my posts recently, you know that I have just returned from speaking at a conference in Australia. I understand the significance of conferences and their service to the body of Christ, but as a pastor, it is very easy to get caught up with the hoopla and adrenaline that big gatherings bring.

It is also very easy to get by with lowered standards because conferences—particularly large ones—keep people at a distance. By that, I mean people don’t get to see you up close. In a local church, regular interface with members and staff reveal the good, bad and uglies about you.

That’s why I am writing this post: to remind myself of the noble call of God on my life and the high standards that come with it.  Paul, in his letter to Timothy, writes: Read more...

A Pastor Should Exist Alongside His Congregation, Not Above It

Growing up in Assemblies of God churches, I often heard preaching in an imperative—even imperial—mode. Pastors operated with a command-and-control model of leadership that carried over into the pulpit.

They thundered forth the Word of God in a high, loud and fast tone of voice. They left no time for questions and made no space for nuance. When they finished their sermons, all they wanted was a yes or no answer from the congregation.

Early on in my pastoral career, perhaps as a reaction to imperative-mode preaching, I preached in the indicative mode. I downloaded information on members of my congregation with a professional tone of voice. My sermons were long, complex and nuanced. Read more...

John Bevere: How Complaining Halts Your Destiny

Joseph’s descendants were very different than him. They obeyed when their desires were met and when God manifested His mighty power on their behalf. Whenever they were discouraged or felt abandoned, they quickly drifted into disobedience.

The first symptom of such drifting always came in the form of complaining. Those offended with God usually are not so foolish as to directly oppose Him. Instead, they resist His Word or leadership. The children of Israel complained about their leaders, but Moses answered with, “Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord” (Ex. 16:8). Read more...

Ron Phillips: Rebuke the Spirit of Fear

After following the news in the wake of last week’s terror attack at the Boston Marathon, it is obvious and understandable that emotions in our nation run the gamut.

We are saddened by the physical and emotional pain that our friends and fellow Americans face as a result of those killed and injured. Our prayers for healing and comfort go out to the victims and their families during this time.

We are angry that someone had the audacity to commit this heinous crime on a day (Patriot’s Day) that was about everything that is right with our nation (courage, honor, freedom) on our own soil—our home. Read more...

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Joey Bonifacio: Why I Like a Church That’s ‘Messy’

Call it intuition, call it instinct, but there’s a nagging sense in me that says “church is messy.” To be clear, what I mean by that is simply “untidy,” not perfect, can be disorderly. Even as a young man I was always suspicious of things that looked too tidy, too perfect—too sanitized, too "Stepford Wives."

Think Corinth, then Ephesus and Sardis, and you know that church is not perfect. That’s the reason young people get turned off by church. Self-righteousness, which projects an unreal piety that covers up mistakes—or worse, pretends to not make any—is nothing more than hypocrisy. Like preachers who call out errors in others, but have secret lives.

Herein lies the importance of discipleship, of life exchange, of being real, of acknowledging that while we are sinners, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is capable of transforming us into saints. Discipleship that speaks of a journey of ever-increasing trust blooms into faith as we encounter Christ’s love each day. Read more...

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Pride and Prejudice Remain Classics Among Sins

The problem of prejudice is real. Sadly, even heroes of the faith like Peter have been guilty of it.

Prejudice is defined as “preconceived opinion(s) that causes one to dislike, be hostile to or behave unjustly toward others.”

We continue to find it along racial lines, social standing and religious background, and even among gender, age and sexual orientation. All too often, even Christians are guilty of prejudice.

“When Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles.” (Gal. 2:11-12a, NIV)

Paul saw prejudice as sin, regardless of who was guilty of it. A telltale sign of prejudice is who you are eating or not eating with. Read more...

Rick Warren: The Most Overlooked Key to Growing a Church

I believe the most overlooked key to growing a church is this: We must love unbelievers the way Jesus did. Without His passion for the lost, we will be unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to reach them.

Jesus loved lost people. He loved spending time with them. He went to their parties. From the Gospels, it is obvious that Jesus enjoyed being with seekers far more than being with religious leaders. He was called the “friend of sinners” (see Luke 7:34). How many people would call your church that?

Jesus loved being with people and they felt it.  Even little children wanted to be around Jesus, which speaks volumes about what kind of person he was and what kind of pastor he’d be. Children instinctively seem to gravitate toward loving, accepting people. Read more...

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Joey Bonifacio: The Mountains in Your Life

On my recent trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, over dinner we were blessed to have a friendly waiter named Everest. It’s not very often that you meet a man named Everest; he is actually my first.

With a name like Everest, I was reminded of another man I met at the wedding I attended recently—his name is Gideon Lasco, a 26-year-old mountaineer who climbed Mt. Apo (highest peak in the Philippines) when he was 19.

It was obvious from his name that he had a Christian background. As it turns out, he is a pastor’s son. Gideon is also a prolific blogger in his highly visited site pinoymountaineer.com. My brief conversation with this young man was pretty insightful. Read more...

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