Christian

Why College students are Really Leaving the Church

I’ve read several articles on the subject of  “Why the youth leave the church.”  Usually the articles give reasons such as, “They were never really saved,” or “they were never taught the importance of fellowship,” or “they weren’t discipled,” and the lists go on. While I don’t think the points made in the articles are incorrect, I do believe most of the lists are incomplete and do not adequately address one of  the biggest reasons people leave the church after…

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come back to church

American Easter: A letter to Easter-only churchgoers.

I sent a draft of this to my sister, Jaclyn. She said it made her cry, and she said you have to read it to the end. Easter Sunday afternoon, I wrote a Facebook post that said, “Happy ‘never see them again’ Sunday.” I shouldn’t have written that, especially in that way. I had some family quickly point that fact out. It was written out of a deep-seeded frustration. I’m not saying that makes it right, but today I’m going…

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greed

Ignored Sins Part 3: Greed

Ask your pastor how many people he has counseled about their struggle with greed. I would guess that number would be much closer to “zero” than it would be to a big number like “three.” Have you had a heart-to-heart with a friend about how much you need to break the stronghold of greed in your life? Are you greedy? In my opinion, I doubt many of us would know how to answer that question even if we were being…

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gluttony

Ignored Sins Part 2: Gluttony

I have often heard that “gluttony” applies to over indulging in anything. There is no escaping that in Biblical terms, gluttony is, in fact, about food. If you were hoping for an escape, I would encourage you to do a word-search for all passages about gluttony. Nearly all of them address eating. While taking any legitimate pleasure to excess can be harmful, talking about non food-related gluttony is usually an excuse to ignore its most literal and plain definition. Regularly…

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Ignored Sins Part 1: Gossip

For a few weeks, I’d like to address sins that are extrememly common, and even accepted as “no big deal” within the church. None of these sins would ever be categorized by a preacher or congregant as nothing to worry about, but in practice they are largely ignored. Most simply defined, gossip is disclosing information about others which does not need to be disclosed. The truthfulness of the information does not make the action any less gossip. Gossip might be…

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Stop complaining about people you aren’t trying to reach: A rant about ranting.

When was the last time you heard or went on a rant about some general demographic? Foolishly, I often find myself guilty of the very subject of this article. In fact, this short op-ed might come across as a bit of a rant. I prefer to think of it as a challenge to a general demographic, namely, “Christians.” Either way, it is perfectly biblical to challenge our brothers and sisters who reside within the fold to operate in a more…

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What Boldness is Not

I want to be bold. You know? I want to live a life that makes a difference and one where people don’t have to wonder who I really am or what I believe. I think that’s good. Right? Lately, as I study the scriptures, I have been encouraged by the boldness of Jesus and His followers. Interestingly, what is standing out to me is what boldness is not. As a personality expert, I spend an abnormal amount of time analyzing…

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Unacceptable Answers for Your Thinking Teens

I spent Dec. 29–31 at the Youth Alive conference in St. Louis. About 300 students from Missouri youth groups were in attendance. It’s been more than a week since the conference, but I’m still recovering as I was a room sponsor for my home church, was on the Questions and Answers panel, taught a breakout session and played bass in the band. I’d like to share with you something I learned at this conference. The youth group students in your…

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Disunity is a Luxury Good: In Praise of Doctrinal Statements

Have you read your church’s doctrinal statement? If you haven’t, or if you haven’t recently, you should read it. There is something about it that I think we should all pay particular attention to: The things that are not in it. I’ll use the doctrinal statement of the Baptist Missionary Association of America as my example, but I bet yours (if you’re Protestant or Evanelical of any kind) is similar. I don’t know who wrote the revised doctrinal statement for…

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When Naaman Went Home

*Disclaimer: My featured image for this post has nothing whatsoever to do with my content. If you’ve ever heard a sermon on the story of Naaman (found in II Kings 5) then you’ve probably come away with a great lesson on humility, trusting God’s command or avoiding greed — unlike Elisha’s servant, Gehazi. If all of this is unfamiliar to you, please read the passage. It’s great. Naaman was a commander in the army of the king of Aram (Syria).…

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