Depression: It’s Time to Openly Talk About It

We have a problem and we can’t ignore it any longer.

It’s time we were honest with ourselves and with each other. To pretend we don’t face a serious issue would be a life-threatening mistake. I’m talking about depression among pastors and ministers (and everyone else). Depression is a reality, and I can’t bear the thought of losing one more pastor, one more person, to depression that ends in suicide. Continue reading “Depression: It’s Time to Openly Talk About It”

The Mission Field Within the Mission Field

Aparna had no idea what to expect when she arrived in America and on the campus of East Tennessee State University. Johnson City couldn’t be more culturally different from her home in Northern India.

She didn’t know anybody when school started. One day she saw a group of people standing around and wandered over to see what was going on. It was the Pop-Tart Cart, a ministry of the ETSU Baptist Collegiate Ministry. Sure, it is a place to grab a pack of Pop-Tarts and a cup of coffee, but it is really a connecting point for BCMers to share the love of Jesus and the gospel with fellow students. One of them struck up a conversation with Aparna and invited her to the BCM. That invitation changed her life.

She made lots of new friends in the following weeks and frequently heard the gospel. It wasn’t long before she realized her need for a Savior and gave her life to Jesus. Awesome!

But the story gets better. Continue reading “The Mission Field Within the Mission Field”

Teaching Millennials: Be Online

170315young-woman-using-smartphone-tablet-smilingMy family recently moved to Memphis. While moving is always stressful, the one aspect that my wife and I dread most about moves is “the church search.” We both hate visiting churches. We’re both introverted, a little guarded and, now, super protective of our daughter. All of those elements combined mean we like to learn as much about a church (as well as a ministry or person) as possible before we even consider attendance or involvement. Continue reading “Teaching Millennials: Be Online”

Five Elements of an Evangelistic Culture

1. Intentional (Acts 20:20).  An element that is common amongst churches in Tennessee that tend to baptize 20 or more people a year is intentionality. The highly evangelistic churches do not share similarities in worship style, dress code, ecclesiological structure, etc. The similarities they share are that they all love Jesus, the community around them and are intentional when considering how to engage their community with Jesus’ love. PRACTICAL: Be intentional to tell someone of the hope, love, peace and forgiveness of Jesus. Continue reading “Five Elements of an Evangelistic Culture”

Preaching Is Supreme… but Where?

Biblical proclamation is not only for the pulpit.

We hear much about the content of preaching and disciplines such as hermeneutics. Discussions of preaching revolve around what we are preaching and the listener sitting in the church.  The content is of precious focus and let me suggest that the context is as well.  Many of our seminaries, literature and teachers propose that you cannot have a healthy church without healthy preaching.  I do not disagree, but only offer an additional characteristic.  Where does preaching/proclaiming take place?  Where did it take place in the Bible? Continue reading “Preaching Is Supreme… but Where?”

Teaching Millennials: Be Application-Minded

hand-holding-bible-studyingI am a graduate of a Southern Baptist seminary. As you may know, Southern Baptists are very fond of expository preaching. We are so fond of this particular method of preaching that it is the only method in which I have received training, either formally or informally. Our fondness for expository preaching is so pervasive that I was taught that even if I were to decide to preach a topical sermon, I should do so in an expository fashion. Continue reading “Teaching Millennials: Be Application-Minded”

Four Simple Ways to Bring Diversity to Your Church

160928hands-diversity-ethnic-group-circleDecades ago, Martin Luther King Jr. called the 11 a.m. hour on Sunday morning “the most segregated hour in America.”

Statistics show that it still is. A vast majority of American churches have congregations that are primarily made up of one racial group, rather than the diverse ethnicity of the general population. People still worship in white churches, black churches, Asian churches and Latino churches. Continue reading “Four Simple Ways to Bring Diversity to Your Church”

A Determined Response

door-to-dark-room-with-bright-lightLast week’s national nightmare seemed unending.

The unrelated shooting deaths of two African-American men and the heinous sniper attack killing five Dallas police officers left me crying out to God in desperation over the hate, division, and spiritual darkness consuming our country. Habakkuk’s words ring loudly with contemporary clarity.

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted (Habakkuk 1:2-4). Continue reading “A Determined Response”

I Love to Tell the Story

I love a good story and I love good storytellers and that may be one of the reasons I love the Bible. Talk about good stories. Begin at Genesis and read all the way through and you have real people living lives of suspense, drama, espionage, intrigue, romance, comedy, and more.bible-hand-silhouette-sharing-silhouette-sunset However, the greatest story in the Bible is the overarching story of God’s activity in history culminating in the crucifixion and resurrection of His Son to save His enemies, to save us. What a story.

My friend and state missionary, Paul Clark Jr., and I share a favorite hymn: “I Love to Tell the Story.” I really love telling God’s story and I especially love sharing it with my grandkids. That’s exactly what the Bible tells us to do. Psalm 145:4 says, “One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” Continue reading “I Love to Tell the Story”