Tag: Christian Living

Making God's Will Your Will

I will speak for myself. Perhaps some might say an “Amen” to it because they are or have found themselves in the same space. Though I would NEVER dream of renouncing my faith in Jesus, I can functionally reduce Jesus to something instead of...

Why Scars Give You an Advantage in Life

The setting was sobering. Our tour group of 51 people was at Yad Vashem (The World Holocaust Remembrance Center) when our amazing tour guide told us, through tears, the gut-wrenching story of how his parents both survived the horrors of Wor...

Finding Life When Everything Points to Death

"The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, 'Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.' But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died. Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud v...

How Do We Understand God's Glory?

So many of our days are made up of ordinary moments. Clean the kitchen. Write an email. Do the laundry. Buy our groceries. We live in a series of ordinary, necessary patterns and somehow lose track of this truth of the incarnation: “And th...

Five Ways a Church Becomes Tolerant: The Church of Thyatira

"For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17).If the church of Pergamum is an example of the compromising c...

The Post Modern Blasé Attitude: Have You Been Infected?

In 2010, a horrific incident happened in New York City. A woman was accosted by a man on the street. Another man named Hugo Tax-Yale stopped to help her, but he was then stabbed by the woman’s assailant. The woman ran off in one direction a...

Give the Problem to God & Watch Him Work

Life can be hard, harder than hard at times. There are those moments in all of our lives when we think the difficulty is so large that there is no way out. It’s over. I’ve come to the end. We so often face situations where we think all is l...

God is Always Doing Something New

My 16-year-old daughter was able to participate in a six-week program in Hungary called "A Vision For Life." It’s basically Bible college condensed into six weeks for high schoolers. It was a mix of Bible classes, outreaches, dorms and gene...

Love and the New Humanism

There is a bridge in Paris that joins the Louvre on the right bank of the Seine River with the Academy of Les Beaux Arts on the left. It’s a walking bridge with wooden planks as flooring, a few scattered benches and a handrail to lean on an...

The Dangers of Obeying God Halfway

Don’t stop halfway! There is a story found in Genesis 11 and 12 about the call of Abraham; it is a tale about not stopping halfway. In Genesis Chapter 12 verses 1-4, we see God call Abram. “The Lord said to Abram, leave your country, your p...

For Everything There is a Season

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes that life is made up of seasons: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;...

Why Complaining is Self-Inflicting

God hates complaining! Why? Because the person who complains is focused on earthly things instead of on spiritual things. At least, that’s what God was trying to teach the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. In Numbers 21 the p...

A Secret to Not Fear

"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). I read the above scripture recently, and was nonplussed for a bit. How do you be brave when you know you are...

Revival Birthed by Radical Prayer

The Church in America is full of people who are quietly, deeply hurting. Many are losing heart as they experience terrifying fears. We know that we--the Church of Jesus Christ, this country, the world--find ourselves in a very deep, dark, h...

A Letter to the Modern Church

There is no such thing as the perfect church. Someone once said you'll never find the perfect church--and if you do, don't start attending there because you are imperfect, and you'll ruin the perfect church! Jesus had something to say to s...

Am I Walking in the Spirit?

Life truly begins as we die to ourselves and trust in Christ. Once we receive Jesus into our lives, His Spirit joins with our human spirit, and we become born again as new creations in Christ. Our sinful life is exchanged with the righteo...

Who Determines What Mercy Looks Like?

"But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison" (Genesis 39:21). When Joseph's brothers sold him as a slave, they had no idea that they were the first group of God's peopl...

Is Your Life Perishing Because You Have No Vision?

Recently, the hashtag "#goals" has been widely used on social media. If a person is scrolling through Instagram and sees a beautiful couple, they might comment with the hashtag #relationshipgoals, or if they see a stylish outfit on a person...

The Feeling of "In Between"

We all go through seasons in our lives. It can sometimes feel like everything around us is flourishing much like springtime, or that we are losing all our hard earned work, resembling the trees dropping their leaves in the fall. Sometimes w...

What If Prayer is Unanswered?

Life is unexpected. Have you noticed that things often do not turn out the way we think they will, even when we pray? Perhaps you have been praying for a certain friend or loved one, and you have not gotten the answer you had hoped for. Or ...

Keeping the Main thing the Main Thing

We were about six months into our church plant in Oregon, when I headed out one day to a nearby lake just to spend some alone time with the Lord. For a church plant, things were going ok. We had a great school to meet in, and people were co...

God Still Works Miracles

"Come and see the works of God, who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot; there let us rejoice in Him!" (Psalm 66:5-6). One effective temptation to despair i...

When Everything Falls Into Disorder

While Evangelical Progressives applaud recent cultural changes, those of the Conservative branch are concerned as traditional values are thrown over in favor of the Moral Revolution. What they need to remember is that this is the way it’s b...

The Necessity of Applying the Gospel to My Own Heart

I’ve spent most of my adult life in the city. I like the feel of concrete under my shoes, the convenience of functioning public transportation and rubbing shoulders with people from all walks of life. Several years ago, my family needed to ...

Don't Stop Crying Out to God

The story of the blind beggar, found in Luke 18 is one that has recently had a powerful impact on my attitude toward prayer. The healing of Bartimaeus is the final miracle Jesus performed during His time on earth. I think it is profound th...

Be Faithful to Your Calling

Almost a year ago there was a need for a new youth worship leader, and therefore I was thrust into a whole new world. I thought, “I’ve led worship for years. This’ll be easy!” Famous last words.  I committed to a year of serving in yo...

Making Sense of the Unfathomable

"When I remember God, then I am disturbed; when I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. Selah. You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak"– (Psalm 77:3-4)   It’s one thing to bring your troubles to God. It’s anot...

Why Burdens Aren’t Bad

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is full...

Finding Peace in Surrender

The idea of surrender, most commonly, has negative connotations. We think of armies and nations that have surrendered in wars; they saw that they were defeated by the victors, and so they gave up, admitted defeat and surrendered t...

When God Has Another Plan

The pain got worse, as all my gym friends surrounded me on the ground, and I heard one of them whisper to the other, “Oooh, it’s…”  I could only imagine that my ankle wasn’t looking so hot and was possibly ballooning to double it’s size. Su...

A Building is Only as Strong as Its Foundation

A building is only as strong as its foundation. The walls can’t even support its own weight. But when that weight is transferred to the foundation, the whole building is stable.I learned this as I meditated through Psalm 55:22: "Cast your b...

An Open Letter from a Pastor to His Sons

To my sons whom I love more than words can say: "If there was only one principle that I could impart to you, what would be the most impactful for this life and the life to come? By the grace of God, the priority of this value is so clearly ...

A Culture of Wannabes: Be Imitators of God

A "wannabe" is defined as: 1. A person who wants or aspires to be someone or something else or who tries to look or act like someone else.2. Something (such as a company, city or product) intended to rival another of its kind that has been ...

Fight the Lies of Fear with the Truth of God

There was a time in my life when I was totally paralyzed by fear. I lived in a perpetual panic attack for a period of about six months. At that time, I believed that I was physically sick; I was having strange and terrifying symptoms that w...

Are You Praying with Honesty?

I was driving alone in the car, and I was thankful for the solitude. The silence was like an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, and I yearned to just visit with for awhile. As I drove up Warner Boulevard, my head was spinning with the...

Be Anxious for Nothing

I will never forget the day I received the hospital bill in our mailbox. I was having a particularly cheerful day up until that moment. As I reached in and perused the typical "junk" advertisements for a car lot sale, coupons for Memorial D...

How to Stay Free in Christ

God our Father has given us an awesome, divine, eternal and precious gift that will take us into an adventurous, exploring and very secured joyful ride, filled with wonder and with all the provisions we will ever need. That gift is Jesus Ch...

Three Principles in Pursuing God

How do you have a decent quiet time? What does one do? And most importantly, why even do it? George Mueller, who sustained his orphanages by prayer, thought he had to travail in prayer every morning. He would go quite a while working at it,...

Why I Need to Discern My Thought Life

In Deuteronomy 1, Moses spoke to a new generation about to enter the Promised Land. He gave them both a history lesson and reminded them of the terms of their covenant with God. He wanted to make sure they didn't repeat the error of their p...

Three Hindrances That Need to Be Stripped From My Life

A few years back I had this great idea of restoring a 1972 Chevy Blazer 4X4. I loved that specific year, great body lines, removable top, and it looks great with a 6" lift kit. A good friend in the restoration business started the search an...

Is God Listening?

“O You who hear prayer, to You all flesh will come” (Psalm 65:2). I am so thankful for the character of the Living God! He is a good God…and He is a God who hears prayer!! What if God was deaf to our prayers, or didn’t care? Many think of ...

Three Key Steps in the ART of Letting God Lead

Recently I was given the great privilege of seeing some of the fruit from the youth ministry I pioneered over 15 years ago while speaking at a youth retreat. As I observed those I once encouraged encouraging others, it led me to consider th...

Funky Feet and Fixed Focus: Lessons and Warnings on LOVE

"Forgive me for being so ordinary while claiming to know so extraordinary a God." —Jim Elliot (1927-1956), martyred for sharing the love of Christ. In the next article, I will tell you about when a heavy jug of aged, North Philly [homeless-...

Robbed of Joy

I wasn’t always a pastor. I remember the first job I had in college, working for my uncle at his car lot in a questionable part of town. I drove my old ’86 Dodge convertible to work each day and always parked it with the top down on the sid...

Don't Fear Loneliness

I have known loneliness in my life. When I first started to follow Jesus, I was 24 years old. Soon after making that decision, I moved to a new house. During this period I lived alone in a house with no television and no internet. I lived l...

"Rock of Ages:" Three Aspects of Salvation

Nothing in my hand I bring,simply to the cross I cling;naked, come to thee for dress;helpless, look to thee for grace;foul, I to the fountain fly;wash me, Savior, or I die. It was a stormy night in Somerset, England, in 1763. A large thunde...

Jesus Brings (More) Life

While all God’s Word is inspired and profitable ( 2 Timothy 3:16), most Christians have favorite passages. Sometimes we talk about our “life verse” by which we mean something especially relevant to our entire lives. Then there are seasons i...

Merry Christmas from CalvaryChapel.com

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'"– Luke 2:13-14 Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from ...

Christmas Eve: “Emmanuel at Street Level”

I wrote a Christmas song a few years ago imagining the Nativity story from Joseph’s point of view. I was driving home from Sacramento, California, late at night, listening to Christmas music in mid-December. Here’s a verse or two of that so...

Home for Christmas: Pondering the Gospel this Advent Season

Christmas is often a time of reminiscing, rejoicing and reconnecting with family and friends.  It is the occasion to celebrate with friends and family that make the Christmas experience so meaningful. In fact, it is often a time when we lov...

Good News for Zechariah and for Us

“And Zechariah said to the angel, 'How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.' And the angel answered him, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you thi...

Christmas and the Incarnation of Christ

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). Christmas is a celebration of God in His humanity. Our faith is unique among world religions for this simple belief: Our God chose to stoop, to lower Himself, to become one of us...

How Creation Reminds Us to See the Glory Behind the Beauty

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:1). “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him...

"I Can't Get No Satisfaction:" Consumerism for the Believer

In the West we live in a consumer culture. By nature we are consumers. Let me list just a few of the items we consume daily: coffee, phones, fashion, handbags, shoes, house decor items, jewelry, watches, cars...the list goes on ad infinitum...

Work Out Your Own Salvation

Maybe you’ve heard of CrossFit. I’m one of those crazy people who have bought into their way of using constantly varied, functional movements at a high intensity. Basically this just means you work really hard, never at the same things, in ...

Lessons on Compromise and Concession from Gibraltar

Wars have been fought for almost every reason: land, resources, honor, greed, politics, religion...They are costly in human lives and for local economies. At times, the best the victors can hope to gain is a stronghold, a place to anchor do...

How Does a Believer Follow Jesus?

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (...

The Reformation Through Jewish Eyes

As the Church prepares to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation on October 31, 2017, there is much to celebrate. Truly the Reformation has been an impetus for glorious eternal good. Yet, it may be helpful to understand the Refo...

Where Are You Placing Your Identity?

We all had a starting point in life. I was born into a Christian home with a pastor for a father. My parents have been married about four decades. My family ate dinner around the table almost every night, did Bible devotions and went to chu...

Understanding the Difference Between Abiding & Abounding

I don't know how I did it. How did I somehow change the word "abound" into "abide?" Allow me to revel in either God's ability to redeem a typo or perhaps God's wisdom and sovereignty to actually set up a misunderstanding. Through a series...

Three Christlike Attributes We Find in the Warrior Caleb

In Israel's heyday, to call someone a "dog" was an insult, not a stage name in the rap game. Some say the name "Caleb" meant "dog." Well, not anymore. The Caleb of Israel changed all that. We know Caleb as a warrior, a man of faith, a fait...

The Blessings That Come When We Fear the Lord

"Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it" (Proverbs 15:16-17). "Better is." What a phrase. It strikes me as final,...

The Effect of Being Reasonable in Conversation

On Labor Day, my wife Karen and I hosted a BBQ in our condo complex, and some of our neighbors joined the fun. One couple has been married 59 years. They met in Memphis and were high school sweethearts. His sister used to hang out with Elvi...

The Good Kind of Lack

Lately I’ve been finding that lack is good. I live in a foreign country, in the capital city of a people with a different culture and beautifully complex language. I often don’t understand. I’m always guessing, based on people’s hand gestur...

JESUS IS GREATER Than Everything Today Throws At Us

Whether you encounter difficult trials or unexpected joys today, it’s imperative to remember that God is greater than anything you experience. He’s bigger than any obstacle, enemy or tragedy, and He’s better than any material blessing. The ...

WHY SHOULD I WAIT FOR THE LORD ANY LONGER?

“Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?” This is a question King Jehoram of Israel asks during a long lasting and grueling siege of his city. Have you ever asked this question? Are you asking it right now? Sometimes our situation seems ...

The Power of Spiritually Healthy Habits Part 2

In part one of this article, I shared four tips I gleaned from the New York Times bestseller: The Power of Habit: Why we do What we do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I’ll add to it with steps five through nine here: 5. DEVELOP A KE...

The Power of Spiritually Healthy Habits

While most Christians desire to become more consistent in studying the Bible, many struggle with making it a daily part of their lives. We commonly bear witness to Paul’s battle revealed in Romans 7:15, “…For what I will to do, that I do no...

How Do You Handle Betrayal?

Betrayal is like a shadow and tense music in a horror film. It fills us with anxiety and clouds our lives with its presence. Sometimes it can be anticipated. There are signs that it's about to ruin a friendship or work environment, but it's...

Has a Piece of Sin Latched Onto You?

You don't exactly plan to be living in luxury on a mission trip, but you do hope to at least get a good night's sleep. Our hopes were dashed a little in the middle of our mission trip to Vietnam. There's no nice way to put it; the hotel we ...

Where to Find Wisdom

I love the book of Job. I am so glad that God included it in the Bible. Its wisdom and raw gritty honesty about suffering is refreshing. One of my favorite sections, though there are many, has been Job’s cry for wisdom in chapter 28. It is ...

Nothing is Impossible with God

I've been through a lot of pain in my life. If you know my story, you know I've faced death of family, heartache and depression in my short years. Not long ago I was in so much emotional pain I wondered if I would ever be happy again. But m...

Where Strength is Found

“And they said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah: “This day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth’"(2 Kings 19:3).This verse paints a vivid picture as the...

"Sinner" is No Longer Your True Identity

At the beginning of every year, every season of life, or every day, we can say, "We have not been this way before." A new adventure, a new way, things that never happened to us before give us the opportunity every day to experience God’s pr...

Digital Distractions: What Can We Do?

In my last post, I discussed the damage digital distractions can inflict on our lives if we don’t find a healthy balance. Not only are we susceptible to physical pains and compromised productivity, but we become insensitive and apathetic to...

Four Ways the Bible Encourages Creative Expression

God likes creativity. It’s possible to think He is merely a strict taskmaster in the sky, begrudging us any sort of enjoyment in life. But He is the Creator God, and we are made in His image and likeness. That situation holds plenty of impl...

Should I Still Trust When Life is Unstable?

I was probably about 11 years old, and we were having a small gathering at our house for some people from our church. A man with a huge glass of iced tea walked over to our rickety piano bench to sit down. As soon as he sat on the unreliabl...

Example of God's Constant Presence From 1870 Paris

There are times in history that seem difficult to find the Gospel light (periods when Christians appear to be lost in the background of governmental upheavals and war). Often, these are used by critics of the faith who point to a Christian ...

The Sobering Gift of Leadership

Jeff Jackson will be a workshop speaker at the 2017 Pastors & Leaders Conference, happening in 7 DAYS! Visit pastorsconference.calvarychapel.com for more information or to register! As a follower of Jesus, the greatest leader that has e...

Don't Quit

Every difficulty we experience in life is either an opportunity or an obstacle. The Chinese symbol for the word “crisis” is actually two separate symbols: one for the word “danger” and the other for the word “opportunity.” Many of us are vi...

Uncertainty Opens the Door for Faith

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of...

Where Did the Word "Refugee" Originate?

It is no understatement to say the refugee crisis in the West is troubling. I find myself looking nervously at images of the masses fleeing one situation while they etch out a hope for a better existence. The situation continues to grow and...

What Worship Can Accomplish

Pastor Ray Bentley will be speaking at the 2017 CCCM Pastors & Leaders Conference, happening June 26-29! Do we know what worship means and does? Singing in church with fellow believers, raising your hands and feeling emotionally moved ...

Where Love is Infinite & Need is Fulfilled

The story of the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:21-34 has always been one that has stuck out to me in the Bible. It is a stunning encounter with the compassionate heart of Jesus, where we see Him heal a woman who would have been de...

What is Radical Consecration?

Radical Consecration will produce radical and permanent deliverance with lasting transformation that will lead to personal revival. Consider this example from the Bible. Paul, a former serial killer, was surprised, delivered, transformed an...

Seven Principles for Cross-Cultural Impact

Pastor Jeff Jackson will be a workshop speaker at the 2017 CCCM Pastors & Leaders Conference on June 26-29. For more information, please visit the website. The book of Daniel contains some of the most incredibly accurate, predictive pro...

It's Not About What You Ought to Do

Sometimes I feel trapped by the all the things I think I ought to do. I ought to do more; I ought to sin less. I ought to feel better; I ought to become stronger. But somehow these oughts remain, and I’m still lacking. You see, oughts, no m...

Three Principles to Conquer Giant Problems

The story of David and Goliath is a familiar one to us all. But could it be that in the familiar, we miss the important? Three principles about conquering giant problems in our own lives are taught through the story of this one young man. I...

Consecration, Hope & Prayer

For God, our Father to surprise us with His wonders and unlimited blessings, He requires our unwavering and intentional, radical consecration to Him, with a commitment to obeying Him with a willing and grateful heart. Doing so will then mak...

Why Do Spiritual Droughts Happen?

Back in the 80s, my buddies and I wanted to go on a mountain hike up to the top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The La Luz Trail was the way to go. We embarked early one Saturday morning on a typically hot day. Sandia Peak is 10,...

The Surprising Wonders of God our Good Father

God is eager to surprise us with his wonders when we pray radically to love radically. We need to pray with great anticipation, radical expectation and unwavering confidence in the finished redemptive work of Christ Jesus. Then God will sur...