Books: A Gift Guide

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I know it is hard to believe, but Christmas is just around the corner. I was more than a little dismayed that upon returning from our annual Fall vacation, I found that the candy corn and pumpkins had been replaced with shortbread cookies in the shape of pine trees and artificial wreaths at my local grocery store.

While I’m not exactly sure why Thanksgiving has been blacklisted but it seems to be the Christmas season now, so in the spirit of the season I thought I would a few suggestions of books that will make great gifts.

On Loan From the Lord by Erica Siebert

I’ve often heard people say they know there are faithful men doing great things for the Lord in complete anonymity.  This is a book about just such a man, Josh “JD” Siebert.… Continue reading

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Are You a Domineering Pastor?

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Entirely foreign to every sentence of the Bible is the concept that spiritual leadership is a place of power.  Though this concept is widely embraced, it is entirely contrary to Scripture.  Sadly, it seems to me that a great many Christians and even a great many Christian spiritual leaders have in one way or another failed to understand this.  In a typical Bible-preaching evangelical church in the United States, the pastor of the church is not uncommonly regarded by a healthy percentage of its members as the president and/or CEO of the church.  Sadder still, this is often how pastors in local churches have come to view themselves.… Continue reading

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Reprise: Christian, Be Nice

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smileyface

As a Christian, and as a pastor, one of the things that frustrates, and quite frankly saddens, me the most is how some who claim the name of Christ behave on social media.  I get that sitting behind a keyboard provides an emboldening buffer for many, but for those who claim the name of Christ, this ought not to be.  Even when it comes to online interactions God looks on the heart. This is supremely important. So let me be clear; Christian be nice!

When I say be nice, I am saying treat others, including unbelievers and Christians you disagree with, in other words everyone, with kindness gentleness and respect.… Continue reading

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Reprise: The Believer and Halloween

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pumpkinAlthough written over two years ago this post is still relevant; this topic still comes up every October. In The interest of full disclosure, we don’t have any pumpkins on the porch this year.

Halloween has become one the biggest holidays on the American calendar, spending over $6 billion last year on decorations, candy and costumes. What was once essentially a children’s holiday has become a cultural juggernaut, and as it has, Halloween has become an increasingly controversial and at times divisive topic in the Christian community. But it doesn’t have to be, and to that end I humbly offer a few thoughts.… Continue reading

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On Faith, Works, the Lordship of Christ, and Assurance

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The relationship between faith and works as it’s described in the Bible is not a very complicated one.  “If you love me you will keep my commandments,” says Jesus.  “If you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live,” says Paul.  “Faith without works is dead,” says James.  Or as John says plainly, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  At least one major takeaway from all of this is that genuine faith in Jesus Christ – the kind that is required for a person to be brought into right standing with God – is a fruit-bearing faith.  True faith in Jesus bears the fruit of obedience to Jesus.  And so, a kind of faith that does not bear such fruit, is, in the words of James, “dead.”  It is a useless, counterfeit sort of faith that does not save.… Continue reading

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