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From Moses to Martin: Preachers Part Political Waters

From Moses to Martin, preachers have parted political waters and led the oppressed to the Promised Land. Either by summons to a pharaoh to “Let my people go,” parting the Red Sea with an outstretched shepherd’s rod, or accompanied by a soulful protest ballad, “We Shall Overcome” and a federal court order granting rights to march over the Alabama River on the Edmund Pettus Bridge—throughout millennia, preachers have led the advance of liberty and religious freedom through troubled waters, on dry ground or over them on segregated asphalt. 

The birth of America’s freedom came no differently, as our forefathers crossed the Atlantic to escape Europe’s political and religious oppression. Has the time come for another Reformation? I believe so—an American Reformation! Where are the American clergy who will stem the tide of religious oppressions rising in our land by taking action against the political forces responsible? Maybe it’s time for a new breed of American clergy or just a restoration of the American preacher. Read more...

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Lee Grady: No More Spineless Christianity

People often complain about angry preachers. I don’t like them either, and I agree that if a person mixes a sermon with hateful language (or if he believes God has called him to picket other churches) he’s in the wrong profession. Yet today we’ve jumped to the opposite extreme. Now we are afraid to confront sin.

We can’t preach about materialism because we might offend rich people in the audience—as well as the poor people who buy Lotto tickets every week. We can’t preach about fornication because there are people in the church who are living together. We can’t preach about domestic violence because there are deacons who sometimes hit their wives. We can’t preach about homosexuality because our culture says it’s hateful to call that a sin. Read more...

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How to Walk in the Supernatural Naturally

Simeon was righteous and devout. What distinguished him from other people who were righteous and devout was that the Holy Spirit was with him. This seemingly ordinary man was living a supernatural life simply because the Holy Spirit was on Him:

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him”(Luke 2:25).

Gilian made the point that the Bible makes no reference to the word supernatural. He said that the supernatural was simply a byproduct of the presence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. It is the same Holy Spirit that supernaturally impregnated a normal teenager named Mary. It was also the Holy Spirit who visited the ordinary and normal men and women on that fateful day of Pentecost. Read more...

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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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