Fisher of Men

I’m a Feminist Too

Jesus Feminist.That’s one of the more well-crafted book titles I’ve read in a long time. It’s intended to strike at an apparent contradiction resident within the psyche of the evangelical culture. Two terms, normally in opposition to one another in our theological, biblical, political and social constructs as conservative Christians, are brought together in a juxtaposition. The volume itself is intent on demonstrating the simultaneous validity of both following Jesus and being a feminist activist. The title gets the reader right to the central question of the book – Can you follow Jesus and be a feminist? Sarah Bessey’s, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women, Exploring God’s Radical Notion that Women Are People Too, is a new offering in the ever growing genre o...

Are Disasters a Sign of God’s Judgment?

Christianity.com: Are natural disasters a sign of God’s judgment?-Michael Horton from christianitydotcom2 on GodTube. Are Disasters a Sign of God’s Judgment? There’s a place in John’s Gospel where Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders, who talk about a man who was born blind. And they ask Jesus, trying to trap him in a theological question, “Who sinned? This man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” And Jesus said, “Neither. He was born blind for this moment, to show the glory of God.” In other words, as difficult as it is to swallow, there’s something bigger than you and your personal happiness, and that is God and his purposes displaying his mercy.  He was born blind up to this point for God’s purposes, because h...

Learning from the Pilgrims

By all appearances, we Americans still cling to the Thanksgiving holiday, setting aside a few hours for a special meal with family and friends before turning on the football game or heading to the mall for a deal on electronics.  But we have long since abandoned any idea of a Thanksgiving season, an extended period in which to anticipate the holiday, reflect on its significance, and live out its meaning.  Christmas decorations go up in the stores as the Halloween decorations come down.  The calendar page turns to November and the Hallmark Channel begins its “Countdown to Christmas” programming.  With admirable candor, Amazon.com simply trumpets the “Countdown to Black Friday.”  Sigh.  This is sad for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact th...

Opportunities Busy Pastors Miss

Busyness in ministry is an epidemic. As our world moves faster and faster, pastors are being sucked into a vortex of tasks, projects, emails, and goals. The problem is that when you get overwhelmed, you get tunnel vision. Your perspective of your church becomes as narrow as your to-do list. What inevitably happens is that the important, but not urgent aspects of ministry get pushed to the bottom of the list. Yet, if we are honest, it is in those important, but not urgent areas where we make the biggest impact. It is where the best opportunities lie. But we sacrifice that for an empty email inbox. What opportunities are you missing out on because you are overwhelmed in ministry? Below I list three opportunities busy pastors might miss when they get too task focused. I’ll warn you, these are...

What’s the Christian Life All About?

Over the past several years the church seems to have experienced some degree of gospel renewal. We now have conferences like The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel, a fresh emphasis on preaching the gospel from all of Scripture, and lots and lots of books with the word “gospel” somewhere in the title. I think this is a good thing and consider myself largely in step with this movement. But there is a danger of turning “gospel” into a buzzword. A few years ago, member in our church expressed confusion about how often our church’s teaching used the word “gospel.” In her thinking, the gospel was the plan of salvation and she found it confusing when we talked about the gospel being the solution to this or that problem. But she also said that when we started talking about the person an...

Today’s Speed Bumps to Evangelism

“Now that we no longer have a Judeo-Christian basis for our country,” explained evangelical theologian Norman Geisler in a recent interview, “we are realizing that we are losing all our freedoms along with it.” According to the Christian Post, Geisler went on to say, “Our job is to speak to the culture and help re-establish our Judeo-Christian basis or our freedom is going to be swept away.” There is no question that Geisler is correct about our freedom. As I wrote several weeks ago, our liberty is being compromised beginning with our religious freedom — the freedom on which all other freedoms depend. And there’s no question that Geisler is correct that our freedoms are founded on a Judeo-Christian worldview. History makes it clear that once you take that worldview away, fr...

Duck Dynasty’s Miss Kay

The beloved matriarch of Duck Dynasty, Kay Robertson, talks about her new book, “Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Kitchen.” Faith in God and enjoying great times around the dinner table have brought their family together for generations and the same can be true of yours. Originally published October 29, 2013.

Reformation Day

Try reading the book of Acts in the Bible and not getting excited about the growth of the early church. The disciples heard and obeyed the risen Christ when he commanded, “go into all the world and preach the gospel.” (Matthew 28:19)   Through that phenomenal growth, the Roman Catholic Church developed. It was the only official body of believers for hundreds of years until the great schism in 1054. At times there was discord among Roman Catholic leaders. But when one 16th-century priest publically disagreed with some practices, it was a turning point in church history.   In autumn,1517, the sound of a hammer was heard throughout the world and it did not come from a construction site. It originated in the heart and soul of a Roman Catholic priest who had...

Five Keys to Intentional Discipleship

When I was a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill, my campus staff worker for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship approached me, asking if I would like to meet on a weekly basis over the course of the semester.  Over the next three years, Deanne mentored me on a variety of topics from relationships to ministry to Bible study. Her example of being an intentional discipler has been invaluable to me. As I reflect back on our times together, five important principles emerge. As you grasp the importance of being intentional about the way you pursue Christ and help others to do the same, consider these principles before you begin a structured type of mentoring relationship. These should help to set expectations and provide a shared vision for your time together. Principle #1:  Set a scheduled mee...

God Knows What You’re Going Through

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes. – Jack Handey My friend Adam is a wise guy. Not in a, “A rabbi, a priest, and a vegan walk into a bar” sort of way, but in a Proverbs, real life street wisdom sort of way. He is a residence director at our local university, which means he works with college students every day. He deals with students in trouble, students in the dumps, students on academic probation, students on drugs, students who have been assaulted, and students who are on the verge of dropping out of college. In other words, he deals with kids who are pretty vulnerable. Kids who have really been slapped around by life. When interacting with vulnerable kids Adam cou...

Halloween & Reformation Day

There’s a curious connection between Halloween and Reformation Day, and it’s more than just proximity on the calendar. Why did Martin Luther nail his famous 95 Theses to the Wittenberg church door on October 31, 1517? He was confronting two religious observances that promoted false saintliness and exploited people’s fear of judgment and purgatory.  Reformation Day Reformation Day (October 31) commemorates Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany on October 31, 1517. This act triggered the Reformation, as they were immediately translated and distributed across Germany in a matter of weeks. The Protestant Reformation was the rediscovery of the doctrine of justification—that is, salvation by grace alone (Gal. 2:21) through f...

The Unapproachable God?

Modern believers have two primary concepts of public worship. One concept is that we are to be extremely quiet and still before God, for this gives the appearance of being reverent before his holiness. At the other extreme is the concept that we are to be a noisy and active as possible before God, for this gives the appearance of celebrating his mercy and grace toward us. Both approaches have not thought enough about the character of God. Once we know more about the God we worship, as Paul celebrated in the doxologies in 1 Tim. 1:17 and 6:15-16, then we can better understand how to worship him in a way that truly honors and pleases him. First, the God we worship is invincible (15b-c). Paul describes God as the “blessed and only sovereign.”  “Blessed” could be translated as “happy,” if...