5 Questions to Help Determine Whether Your Church is a Movement or a Monument


 Movements move. One of the great movements in American history was the 1960s Civil Rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (among others). It made major advances in equal rights for all races. Fifty years later, that movement in many ways has finished. It’s served its purpose, and it’s now a monument. A monument on the Washington Mall, to be precise. On October 13, 2011, President Barack Obama dedicated the MLK memorial with these words, “The movement of which he was a pa … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 21 (Final)


This is it! You made it! 21 days ago you started down a path in search of the peace of God to guard your heart and your mind, of a closeness to God that would transform you from the inside out, and of contentment that would rise above any circumstance in your life. Those are the three promises of Philippians 4. To get there, we cultivated four habits from Philippians 4:Habit #1: Choose to be joyful.Habit #2: Pray with thanksgiving.Habit #3: Think on noble things.Habit #4: Repeat … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 20 (Friday, Jan 29)


Extra Credit: Give generously. READ IT “As you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. . . I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to G … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 19 (Thursday, Jan 28)


Extra Credit: Restore relationships. READ IT “I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:2-4The context to the famous command to ‘Rejoice in the Lord!’ is a fight … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 18 (Wednesday, Jan 27)


Habit #4: Repeat daily.READ IT “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. . . I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation (Philippians 4:9,12)Contentment is measured in weeks and months, not hours and days. The Philippians 4 Challenge can be a long, hard slog. Doing the hard work of catching your thoughts and redirecting them, of choosing to be joyful when everything inside of you is screaming can be exhausting. … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 17 (Tuesday, Jan 26)


Habit #3: Think on noble things.READ IT “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. . . and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)Thinking on noble thinks will ultimately lead you to Jesus and will ultimately bring you closer to Jesus. Look at the list given in Philippians 4:8, and see who or what qualif … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 16 (Monday, Jan 25)


Habit #2: Pray with thanksgiving.READ IT “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)Why are we so anxious? Anxiety can spring from many fountains, but its main source is lack of control. When you can’t control the situations and circumstances around you, it’s natural to … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 15 (Sunday, Jan 24)


Habit #1: Choose to be joyful.READ IT “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! . . .I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:4,12)For every action there is a reaction. For every choice there is a consequence, even if it cannot be immediately seen. If you drink and drive, you could get arrested and seriously harm yourself and others. If you neglect your marriage long enough, you’ll be served divorce papers.Yet this princi … [Read more...]

Philippians 4 Challenge: Day 14 (Saturday, Jan 23)


HABIT #4: Repeat daily.READ IT “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)It’s easy to get the wrong idea about faith. I‘m not sure about you, but I grew up thinking that faith in God was a one-time decision. Walk an aisle, prayer a prayer, talk with a pastor, get baptized. Whether it was the last night of youth camp or revival, whether it was on a Sunday morning or by the side of y … [Read more...]

Sam Watts Funeral Message


Here is the funeral message I preached yesterday for my cousin Sam Watts: We’re here today to mourn the passing of a father, a son, a brother, a friend. I remember Sam as that shy, awkward middle schooler coming to church and trying to find his place in the world. Since moving away I never really got to see the man, the father he had become. And let me go ahead and tell you that I can’t answer the one question we’re all asking today: Why? Why now? Why him? Why when he was getting his … [Read more...]