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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

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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

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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

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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

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Nothing but the Blood Can Redeem Us

The Petersen House in Washington D.C. is the house across the street from Ford’s Theatre, where a mortally wounded Abraham Lincoln was taken after being shot by John Wilkes Booth. A few hours later, Lincoln succumbed to his wounds and, as then Secretary of War Edwin Stanton observed, passed into the ages.

For years, his blood-stained pillow remained on display—a testimony to the horrific events of April 14, 1865, and the violent death of one of our greatest presidents.

A while back, some friends of mine visited the Petersen House only to discover that the pillow had been removed, and placed into storage. The only item that contained the blood of the "Great Emancipator" had been taken out of public sight and put into a place where it could, potentially, be forgotten. read more

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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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Rick Warren: God Blesses His Plan, Not Yours

Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew that faith and obedience are the keys to God’s blessing, so she chose to go with God’s destiny for her life

Now, as a pastor, I want God to bless your life. I want him to bless you spiritually. I want him to bless you financially. I want him to bless your career and family and relationships and health. But if you have a plan for your life—I’ll tell you—you’re on your own.

God is not going to bless your plan. God did not put you on Earth to live for yourself. He put you on Earth for something much bigger than that. And when you go with his plan for your life, he will bless it. read more

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Rick Warren: Stop Procrastinating

The Bible gives us five actions we can take to stop procrastinating:

1. Stop making excuses. “The lazy person claims, 'There's a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!'" (Prov.  22:13, NLT). What have you been saying you’re going to do “one of these days”? What do you make excuses about? The number one excuse I hear is, “When things settle down, then I’m going to ...” Things will never settle down. You must make a choice to prioritize what is important.

2. Start today. Not next month, next week, or tomorrow. “Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then” (Prov. 27:1, GNT). None of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. read more

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Gregory Dickow: Righteousness is the Solution

Righteousness is the answer to everything!

What was the first thing God said to Jesus in an audible voice? In Mark 1:11 He said, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well pleased.” Jesus didn’t do anything until He first understood this. If Jesus had to know He was in right standing with God without even doing anything yet, then we need to know this.

Let’s break down some words so we can understand them.



Righteousness means “Right standing” with God.



Holiness means “Right living” for God. read more



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Rick Warren: The Width of God’s Love

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph. 3:18-19, NLT).

The width of God’s love extends across the entire world and includes everyone he has created: “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made” (Ps. 145:17, NIV).

God never made a person that he didn’t love. He made you and he loves you—and God doesn’t make junk! He loves you unconditionally. He loves you very, very much.

Everybody matters to God; in fact, we see in the life of Jesus that he even loves the unlovely and those who may feel unlovable. Do you want to know the secret of self-esteem? Here it is: If you want confidence, then understand how much you matter to God. If God loves you, who cares what anybody else thinks? read more

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Rick Warren: There Is No Fear in Love

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NIV)

The world defines freedom as a life without any restraint: “I can do anything I want to do and say anything I want to say without anybody telling me what to do.” Everybody else may get burned by you, but you get to do it your own way. The world says you can have your freedom but only by being totally selfish.

Yet, the Bible says the only way to true freedom is through Jesus: “If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free” (John 8:36, GNT).

Real freedom is freedom from fear, where you’re truly free from guilt, from worry, from bitterness and from death. You’re free to quit pretending because you’re free to be yourself.

How do you get rid of those kinds of fears? By letting God love you! The apostle John teaches that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear...” (1 John 4:18, NIV). read more

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Franklin Graham: Only One Solution to End Violence

In the aftermath of recent tragic killings, such as those that have taken place in New Mexico, Connecticut and Colorado, our nation has focused on ways to curb gun violence.

But gun control proposals now circulating in Washington and in many state capitals don’t address a more important issue—the constant stream of violence put forth by the entertainment industry. Every year brings a flood of movies, not to mention cable and television programs, that are filled with violence. Whole segments of America’s music industry make their profits from song lyrics that glorify gratuitous violence, and there is seemingly an endless number of video games that are nothing more than murder simulators.

The result of this constant inundation is that our culture has been effectively desensitized to murder and mayhem. Blood-lusty Romans gathered in the Coliseum 2,000 years ago to watch people slaughtered by lions for the purpose of entertainment, and our society is no different. We gather around computers, televisions, and movie screens to watch scene after scene of more graphic violence than anything the Romans could have imagined. read more

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That Painful Thorn in Our Flesh Serves a Purpose

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me...” (2 Cor. 12:7)

A thorn in the flesh is not the same for every person. But if you are a Christian worth your salt, you probably have a thorn in the flesh.

What may be yours may not be mine. What may be mine may not be yours. For some it is a handicap or disability. For some it could be unhappy employment—or even lack of employment.

It could be an enemy. It could be coping with unhappy living conditions. It could be a sexual misgiving. The list is endless. read more

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Find God's Gift for Dealing With Conflict

Before Jesus died, He willed us His peace. But we forfeit His gift through strife.

The Bible tells us that everything the Father has is ours through Jesus (see John 16:15). What does the Father have? He certainly does not have strife. On the contrary, everything He has ministers life to us. His kingdom is one of righteousness, peace and joy. So supernatural peace and joy belong to the believer.

Before He died, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you" (John 14:27, The Amplified Bible). In essence, He was saying, "I am willing you My peace."

God's desire for us is that we live in peace with Him, with ourselves and with our fellowman. He wants us to have peace in the midst of our current circumstances--peace in the morning, at night and all times in between. Peace is our inheritance! And it is a wonderful possession. read more

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3 Ways the Enemy Causes Christians to Fall

Our discouragement can open the way for the adversary to kill, steal from and destroy us.

It is unusual for a thief to send a postcard to make an appointment with the owner of a house. Part of the evil genius of his craft is to come when he is least expected. As Christians we often live our lives unaware of the enemy and his efforts to destroy us.

In the New Testament, the thief is a figure of the unexpected. "If the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched" (Matt. 24:43, NKJV). We are living in a world in which evil takes no respite and where life demands vigilance that affords no vacation. read more

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Jack Hayford: Why So Many Lightweight Christians?

A contemporary “weigh in” on an ancient value.

First, knowing so many ministry-types serve Jesus' goals, I don't want to seem unduly critical of any in addressing a concern. If you're a dedicated servant-leader, I'm on your side! But I want to bluntly talk about the lessened "weight" being given today to Jesus' strategy for advancing His church. He said, "Go—make disciples!"—and this foundational call is increasingly being "dissed."

"Dissing"—the pop word for disrespect—is becoming normalized regarding discipleship. I don't think it's calculated, but it's occurring as "doing church" supplants "becoming the church." A dimming focus on plain, New Testament discipling is bringing us to the brink of evolving dumbed-down saints, a deceivable elect and a crippled Body emptied of ministry strength and unready to face persecution.

Without discipleship, we are at risk of garnering believers in Jesus while not growing stable, committed, empowered agents of Christ. Jesus spoke of people who "for joy" lay claim to faith, but who do not endure. They wither when trials or pressure comes (see Mark 4:5, 17)—and Christians are facing an increase of both in our world. read more

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Reinhard Bonnke: Why Americans Take the Holy Spirit For Granted

Many believers in the United States think the Holy Spirit's power is an option. Christians in Africa - where miracles are frequent - don't have that attitude.

AFRICA SHALL BE SAVED.” I heard God's message so clearly. In response my family moved from Lesotho to South Africa in 1974. But how was Africa going to be saved? Clueless, I sat with my head in my hands. As unknowns, we moved out into the unknown, with no prospects mapped out for us, hoping for further instruction from the Lord.

And sure enough, God spoke again. I was to rent the National Stadium in Gaborone, Botswana, for a gospel crusade. The only group willing to work with us was a church of 40 members.

I walked through the little city, not knowing how to put the loose ends together, and made a provisional booking for the stadium by faith. It was the right move. read more

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