On one of my many trips to India, I saw a horrible sight that I still remember. It was the remains of a head-on collision between two trains. The wreckage had simply been moved to the side of the tracks to rust in the hot Indian sun. As our train passed the carnage, I wondered how many people had lost their lives in the crash.
That train wreck could have been avoided. Someone somewhere made a mistake that left a trail of dead bodies. The same thing is true for our own lives. Some of us are headed for destruction and we don't even know it. The key is to examine the habits, routines, and patterns that characterize our lives and ask ourselves where we will end up if we stay on the same track. Read more for 10 tell-tale signs you are headed for a train wreck.
I believe that student ministers today are much under-appreciated within the church as a whole. Many student ministers get merely coined as the “Youth Guy” and are seen as just someone who comes up with games and takes teens to Six Flags. The truth, however, is that youth ministry for most involves so much more that goes unnoticed. Student ministers today face a great deal of pressure to be relevant within a culture where kids have no biblical worldview whatsoever and families are broken. This often leaves youth pastors feeling beaten down, discouraged, and defeated. I have composed five lies that the enemy wants all youth pastors to believe.
Ever been to summer camp? Experienced waking up to worship? Opened your eyes to be surrounded by hundreds of people who know Jesus?
It’s the most wonderful thing. Encouragement and accountability overwhelm you in the best way.
Unfortunately, camp doesn't last forever and school comes back around. Our friend Craig, a 17-year-old junior from Ebenezer Baptist Church in North Carolina shared some of his challenges about the semester after camp and some practical ways he overcame temptation.
Ministry can be a lonely endeavor, if you let it. There are few careers that tend to isolate you like the one I am called to. To be sure, you can become a Lone Ranger in any line of work if you choose to, but by nature, ministry seems to push us away from the very people we are called to love and serve. The more we give and pour ourselves out, the greater the tendency to pull away from deep, personal friendships and ultimately, a deep abiding relationship with Christ Himself. Read more for five reasons ministers quit.
You get to choose your perspective on the life you've been given. While it's easier on the front end to complain about all the things that haven't gone right in your life so far, the long-term consequences of negativity are enormous. Studies consistently show that negative people who complain not only see the world through the worst possible lens, they are also unhappier, unhealthier, and more lonely than people who choose to be positive.
Learn six ways to approach the holidays with a good attitude.
This lingering thought haunted me over and over again as the plane carried me across the ocean for two years. All the things I would I miss...
Everything from decorating the tree, baking, and making gingerbread houses to the rush of shopping for, wrapping and delivering gifts. Christmas music on the radio, advertisements for toys, billboards splashed with all things red and green.
11 months later, my Thanksgiving meal and the daunting December calendar were the only reminders that Christmas was just around the corner. The South Asian town I lived in was quiet during this time of year. No music. No flashing lights. No advertisements. No rush to shop. No Santa.
As a rule, I'm usually asleep most nights by 9:30. That doesn't mean I'm in bed. I'm usually on the couch. I don't make it to bed until around 11pm when I wake up and find the lights and TV are turned off and everyone has left me all alone in the den. That is, unless there's something really interesting on TV that won't allow me to slip into unconsciousness. Like the Super Bowl, game 7 of the World Series...or last night's Presidential election.
I confess that I stayed up way too late (or early) because I was glued to the unfolding story that's dominated the headlines in America for the past year. I also realized, rather recently, that the rest of the world has been watching our democracy approach this election with great concern and interest. While traveling in Europe last month with my staff and family, a gas station attendant in Greece told me that he was afraid we'd elect the wrong candidate...all the way across the world in the United States.
Many times as we think about my life, my calling, my purpose, we have believed the individualistic lie from the enemy.
The question is usually phrased something like: “What is God’s purpose for me?” Or “What is God’s plan for my life?”
When I look to the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, I simply do not see an answer to this question. Rather, I see something much greater.
Every person on the planet has an invitation into the mission of God.
There is a simple way to discover what you love in this life.
And I’m not speaking of love in the way that you might love a hot dog. However, that does bring a story to mind...
When my sister was in 2nd grade she loved hot dogs. I mean really loved them. She even received a note home from school from her teacher. I vividly remember my mom asking her, “Did you eat hot dogs every day for lunch this last year?!” My sister responded, “On November 13th, I had a piece of pizza!" I couldn't help but laugh hysterically. She really had eaten hot dogs almost every day. She loved hot dogs!
Since I became a Christian in 1987, I've constantly heard the phrase "Culture Wars" thrown around. It usually refers to the clash of two perspectives in America: a more traditional worldview based on a Biblical understanding of how a society should function and a more liberal view of culture where old perspectives are challenged and replaced with new viewpoints and ideas on everything from marriage to education to economics to the power of government.
Christians today find themselves in a tough spot. As the culture shifts further away from the long assumed Christian ethos of American history, we as followers of Christ remain firmly planted in our convictions on essential values and beliefs. But the cultural shift means that as society moves farther from the way things used to be, evangelicals look more and more odd to outsiders.