• Biblical,  money,  Thoughts/Reflections,  Tough stuff

    The One About Giving

    Let’s be honest, most ministry activities and the things we do as churches require resources – they require money. Sometimes the amount of money necessary appears on boards positioned at the front of the sanctuary. Sometimes it is only visible in the quarterly finance reports. No matter what, it is an unavoidable truth that churches and ministries need money to operate, and the Bible gives some very clear instruction on giving. I’ve heard it stated more than once that Jesus spoke more about money than he did about any other single subject. I honestly haven’t looked too deeply into that supposed “fact” but he certainly didn’t avoid talking about it…

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  • Bible study,  Biblical,  marriage,  Sermon/Devotional,  Tough stuff,  Uncategorized

    Bible in the Bedroom: Toward a Biblical View of Sex

    You should have seen some of the looks I got when I told the congregation I was going to talk about sex. For as long as I can remember (which isn’t very long comparatively speaking) the topic of sex has been more than a little taboo in the Church. To be sure, sex is a very personal and intimate topic that should be discussed with utmost care and sensitivity. However, as our culture has become more and more sexualized we Christians have tended more towards the head-in-the-sand approach. It is as if we think if we ignore it, it will go away. We have done an outstanding job at rejecting…

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  • the truth about,  Tough stuff

    Life and Liberty: NIFLA v. Becerra

    North Carolina (my home state) is one of 17 states that has some form of alcoholic beverage control commission. This commission operates a number of ABC stores which, in our parlance, is code for “where you go to get liquor.” This commission comes under the authority of the Department of Public Safety – a part of the state government. According to their website, NC ABC stores generate approximately $1 billion annually through the sale of controlled beverages. That’s a pretty penny, no? Imagine with me for a moment that the State of NC passed a law that required substance abuse rehab centers to post prominent advertisements for the nearest ABC…

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  • Biblical,  the truth about,  Tough stuff

    Christianity and Weed

    Two nights a week I teach Adult Basic Education at our local prison…I mean “correctional institution.” Naturally, many of the people who find their way into prison have had some experience with drugs, and sadly, many are hoping to have more experience with drugs after they leave. So, last night somehow the topic of marijuana (weed, smoke, bud, pot, Mary Jane, etc.) was brought up in our discussion of World War Two (Please don’t ask me how. They can turn the conversation to weed if you’re talking about Mother Teresa). Of course, these guys know that I am a pastor and a Christian so comments were made about how the…

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  • Sermon/Devotional,  Thoughts/Reflections,  Tough stuff

    Cultural Icon to Missionary Outpost: The Shift We Must Make in How We View the Local Church

    There was a time, not so long ago, when Christianity was the dominant religious force in our culture. As you may or may not know, I write from the context of the “Bible Belt” and I believe this shift away from cultural Christianity has happened slower here than in other places in our nation and world. However, even if it has happened almost imperceptibly, it has happened none the less. You see even back when I was a kid (1980’s and 90’s) there was an overall sense that going to church was what you did on Sunday morning, and it was good and right. Generally speaking the values and morals…

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  • Biblical,  Theology,  Tough stuff

    How Can I know That I Am Saved?

    I’m sure many Christians, and most pastors, have been asked, “How can I know that I’m saved?” Let’s just state up front that this is a monumental question that deserves our utmost attention and care. After all, we’re talking about someone’s everlasting soul here, and there have been volumes written on the subject. What follows is my feeble attempt to answer that question concisely, carefully, and biblically (I care more about the last one than the other two).   Before we go any further I want to answer the precursor question which is also very important, “Can I know that I am saved?” Some would say, no, you cannot know…

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  • Thoughts/Reflections,  Tough stuff

    The Way We’ve Always Done It

    I think most of us who have been a part of the Church for more than a few weeks have heard someone say, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” In fact, if you’re like me you’ve probably been the one who said those fateful words from time to time. Now, before I go any further, I’m not trying to be ugly here or castigate anyone who says something related to that phrase. Like I said, we’ve all said it before and if we haven’t we’ve all thought it before. Humans are creatures of habit and we like things to be comfortable and predictable. I get that and for…

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  • Biblical,  Tough stuff

    I Don’t Care About Middle Ground.

    Recently, at least in my little world, there seems to be a firestorm of controversy among believers. I know, I know that’s really nothing new. However, it seems to be increasing on my Facebook news feed and in the small part of the blogosphere that I frequent. For anyone living near the Charlotte, North Carolina area there has been a series of news stories about Elevation Church and their pastor, Steven Furtick. I was mildly surprised when an author/speaker/blogger friend of mine from Michigan chimed in on the Elevation debate. Most in the conservative evangelical world are well acquainted with the ongoing debate between John MacArthur and…well…the rest of the…

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  • Biblical,  Theology,  Tough stuff

    Come on People!

    The other day I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook when I ran across a link that a friend of mine had posted to a blog post. The post was clearly dealing with the issue of homosexuality, that much I could see from preview. It also looked like it may be coming from a slightly new angle so I clicked on it to investigate further. One of the primary arguments that the author was making was that many Christians are very literal in their interpretation of the Scriptures on issues such as homosexuality. However, when it comes to other issues like alcohol, gluttony, divorce, etc. we beg for “a…

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  • Biblical,  Revival/renewal,  Tough stuff

    Unbinding the Prophets

    This morning I was continuing my study of the book of Amos and found myself in the second chapter of this prophet’s writing. Some of you may be familiar with this passage because this is where God declares His judgment on Moab, Judah and Israel. The long and short of the message is that there will be no stopping God’s wrath upon these people and the prophet explains exactly why in each case. One thing stood out to me among the rest of the indictments and it is found in verse 12; And you commanded the prophets saying, “You shall not prophesy!”Before we get into why I think this is…

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