Biblical Self-Control, Part 4

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“No conflict is so severe as his who labors to subdue himself; but in this we must be continually engaged, if we would be strengthened in the inner man, and make real progress toward [Christlikeness].” So said Thomas à Kempis in his famous book on the Christian life, The Imitation of Christ. And Kempis is right. Self-control is one of the hardest of fight, one of the most difficult battles all Christian face, because we fight against an enemy that is powerful and has a hold deeply upon us.

However, sin is a defeatable enemy and, for the Christian, self-control is a necessary battle in the fight against our own sin (Prov 25:28; Gal 5:22-23).… Continue reading

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Reflections from the Cheap Seats on High-Profile Christian Ministry

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Hello, my name is Zach, and I am a nobody.  I am a pastor of a church of about 150 people.  I have not written any books.  I don’t have a podcast.  You won’t hear me on the radio.  I don’t preach at conferences.  I am quite certain that if you are reading this blog and 1) are not a member of my family, 2) a member of my church, 3) a personal friend, nor 4) one of the other writers of this blog – you do not know me from Adam.  A high-profile pastor or ministry leader, I am not.  I observe the happenings of high-profile Christians and Christian ministries from afar; from the “cheap seats,” as they say.  And in recent days, there has been quite the abundance of noteworthy happenings to observe, many of them rather troubling, at least from where I’m sitting. 

I have no desire to dive into any of the particular happenings I’m referring to.  You likely know what kinds of things I’m talking about.  Sex scandals.  Firings.  Debates about the value of third-party reviews.  Apologies for public statements.  And things like these.  I have no inside track perspective about any of these things, and I am woefully under-qualified to wade into public debate about who should’ve done what, and when, and why.  But, watching a number of recent situations involving high-profile pastors and Christian leaders unfold, is leading me to a number of conclusions.  And I thought there may be some value in sharing those thoughts here.  So, here goes…

The spiritual dangers that attend wide visibility & influence are myriad.Continue reading

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You can’t hide from Sin City

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I wish I had a dollar every time someone told me about the dangers of Las Vegas and why they could not raise a family here. I habitually hear, “Oh, ministry in Sin City? Well, just like Corinth they need the Gospel too.” It seems many Christians think Las Vegas the most dangerous place in the world. After all, this IS Sin City! Right? (Or at least that is how we market our city to you). [1] Is Las Vegas the most dangerous place to anyone? Let’s face it, everyone knows the Strip has drugs, gambling, free drinks, and prostitution (even though it is technically illegal in Clark County (LV)).… Continue reading

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Thinking Through A Theology Of Bad Weather

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A snowplow truck removing snow from a tree lined rural road on a cold winter day.

A few weeks ago we canceled Sunday worship at PBC. I absolutely hated doing it. We canceled because of weather, and I was raised to think that weather has no relationship to what must be done. Furthermore the amount of snow we got would have been characterized as an invalid excuse to be late for work amount of snow in Colorado, where I spent all of my adult life prior to moving to L.A. for seminary. It was hard, others didn’t like it, and it discolored to whole week.… Continue reading

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A Simple Outline of Romans

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In late November of last year, I wrapped up what turned out to be a two-year and two-month study of the book of Romans; a letter that many students of the Bible have regarded as the Apostle Paul’s magnum opus and one that a particular pastor even calls “the greatest letter ever written.”  (His words, not mine.  Given that I’m just not sure how to square those words with the plenary inspiration of the Bible, I’d rather call Romans “one of the greatest letters ever written.”  But I digress.)

After spending over two solid years in a single biblical book, it can become easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.  It was for that reason that I decided to cap off our study of Romans with a simple outline that I hoped the folks at our church could store away in their minds for further meditation upon the truths we explored in our study.  Some have shared that this outline was helpful to them, so I thought it may be worth passing on to you.… Continue reading

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