Stop Reading Your Bible

My latest from Boundless is up today. It’s called “Stop Reading Your Bible.”:

I have a dare.

Stop reading your Bible. Just close it, stand up and embrace the desert. Feel the heat and touch the dry ground. Step on the rocks and thorns known as confusion and chaos. Or put on your brown boots and slosh through muddy streams and thick marshes of the Land Without the Bible, which just so happens to be full of guilt and worldly entanglement. Yes, even explore the dark wooded areas where the lost begin their march.

You will find much in this journey.

But most of all, you will find out what time completely without the Word of God in your life looks like.

Do it. Just see it for yourself. I once did. And quite honestly, there are days I still do.

Read the rest here.

The Feeble Shadow

Nursing homes are never my favorite, with their drab colors and odd-smelling corridors, but when I went caroling recently, I found myself outside the circle of church members singing and instead glancing into a room of an elderly man who had just been given a Christmas card from one of our younger members. This is what I learned.


I looked at a feeble shadow of myself.

His body was gnarled, wrinkled. His features were like a crumbling rock – except this mountain had tears pouring down its face.

The vibrations of his hands hindered him from holding the small Christmas card made out of construction paper.

His room was dark except for the blue flashes from his muted television set. He struggled to hear the sounds the group was making outside of his door. Suddenly, he joined the chorus in the hallway with a quiet, baritone voice.

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King…”

His tear-streaked cheeks were taken over by a broad smile as he lifted his hand a waved to me. I smiled back, strangely warmed in this smelly “home” for those who were so lonely, so forgotten, this week of Christmas.

There are so many whom we pass by.

Even if our message is delivered in the equivalent of a construction paper Christmas card, we all have been called to deliver the message of hope, the message of the gospel, the message that we celebrate year after year. It is not only to those in nursing homes we must share this hope, but to the lost we find in our workplaces, our circle of friends, and even our homes.

That feeble shadow of myself – well, I seem to see that every day now. I see in the eyes of the lost a feeble shadow, a lost shadow in desperate need of a savior. In desperate need of a message of hope delivered to them in their greatest need.

I am strongly aware this Christmas season of the lost and dying around me. My prayers have been long, and my heart especially heavy this year with the names of so many I am not only praying for, but sharing the gospel with.

The gospel is the message of Christmas – it’s not just a baby in a manger, or a star in Bethlehem, or gifts under a tree.

It is the story of a perfect man who was born to die in our place.

One day, I am certain that there will be tears streaming down my rocky face – but I pray they are tears of joy as I think of the gospel – and when I think of those I know have been changed by the gospel this year, and the years to come.

How To Serve Your Church Staff

Whether you find yourself in a big church or a small church, Sunday mornings are hectic for every staff member. It is an important day, and they have important tasks to complete on this special day in order to serve you and help you worship. We too want to serve and bless them, particularly on this day – and here’s a few ways we can all do this.

1. Pray
Our staff needs our prayers each and every day. They spend hours upon hours laboring on things beyond the worship service. Counseling, calling, planning, and visiting are just a few of the tasks that the staff has the pleasure of doing. But these things require those long hours of hard labor both physically and spiritually. The devil is always lurking and trying to bring them down. It is easy to be discouraged. We must lift them up in our prayers, particularly on Sunday mornings as they fulfill a great number of important tasks, and it is easy to get distracted. Pray for wisdom, for encouragement, and for them to continue to preach and sing the gospel.

2. Perceive and Discern When Best to Have A Long Conversation
We all love talking with our staff. And they want to talk to us as well. But if it’s not an emergency on Sunday morning, we may want to wait on the longer conversation that we need to have with them for another day. We can bless and serve them by calling later. This will help them stay focused on the many tasks that they have on Sunday morning and be able to help everyone worship. Worship on Sunday mornings requires intense preparation spiritually, mentally, and relationally. We have an opportunity to serve them in a great way by not taking them off their course Sunday morning.

3. Put It In Writing
We all can get lost in the busyness, including staff members. If we mention something to a staff member on a Sunday morning, we can help them remember by putting it in writing. We can jot down a note and hand it to them on Sunday morning, use of the tear-off portion of the bulletin to give information, or jump on our computers and fire an email reminding them of what we said. The staff will be able to more effectively serve us if we put it in writing so they can be reminded the next day.

4. Be Pro-Active in setting up meetings
Sunday is a great day to see the staff and connect. Although staff is busy on Sunday because of the many tasks they have to complete, the rest of the week is perfect for getting together for longer conversations. We should be pro-active in setting up those meetings. Sunday mornings are a difficult time for the staff to set up meeting times in the midst of their important tasks in worship. We you can help, bless, and serve them by calling Monday morning and setting up that conversation we’ve been needing to have. The staff wants to serve us in the best way possible, and not to simply give us half their time on Sunday morning.

5. Punctuality: Be on time.
We all know it’s tough getting to church on time. But we have our kids in school on time and arrive at work on time (well, we should!). In other words, we all know it’s not impossible. To minimize distractions during worship, we should do our best to arrive on time. This will bless not only the staff, but all of us as well. Worship is difficult when our minds are in a million places. Arriving earlier allows us time settle our souls and prepare to worship God through both the singing and preaching. Maybe that means going to bed earlier the night before, or waking up earlier on Sunday morning. We can’t allow excuses to hinder worship. We need to make a game plan for how to arrive early, enact that game plan, and keep trying. It will pay dividends!