Tom Nelson: The Day I Confessed Pastoral Malpractice

"Years ago, I stood before my congregation to make a heartfelt confession. It was indeed difficult to do, yet it would prove transformative for our entire faith community.More than a decade has passed since that day, but I still remember it clearly. Against a backdrop of pindrop silence, I asked the congregation I served to forgive me. Not for sexual impropriety or financial misconduct, but for pastoral malpractice. I confessed I had spent the minority of my time equipping them for what they … [Read more...]

Discovering the Joy of Being Generative

It’s a game we often play. We jockey for position based on what we’ve accomplished – and not just for the social prestige, but also for our self-esteem.Some of us have come to believe what American society has told us – those who really matter have titles that impress, degrees from prestigious institutions, careers as high-level corporate leaders (or, in the current trend, as entrepreneurs), or thousands of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.Christians are not immune. … [Read more...]

The Great (and Worrisome) Irony of APEST

There is an irony that might be missed by those who have embraced the APEST typology advocated by Alan Hirsch, Mike Breen, and others in the Missional Movement.In our desire to overcome an overbearing leadership structure that was found in putting so much power in the Shepherd-Teacher, we are in danger of creating yet another overbearing leadership structure but with different leaders. We worry so much about the destructive nature of institutionalism that we shift the focus from 2/5 of the … [Read more...]

A Caring Critique of Alan Hirsch’s APEST Paradigm for Churches

So, I was going through my Facebook feed and came across a post on April 12 from Brad Briscoe, the director of strategic development for Forge America (the organization that Alan Hirsch founded when he first came over from Australia) that stated, "I am convinced that if a person denies or discounts the importance of #APEST in Eph 4:1-16, they simply haven't dealt with the topic in a serious manner." I was astonished at that bold statement, so I had to comment: "That would be a poor … [Read more...]

Good Friday and Easter Accomplished a Whole Lot More Than We Think

We have been led to believe that the only thing that the shed blood of Christ accomplished is our personal justification.Perhaps, like the churches and seminary I attended, the focus of your church was very much on the Book of Romans.I had come to the conclusion that all I need to know about the shed blood of Christ on the cross is found in Romans. Romans is, after all, the primary document of the New Testament, spelling out what is really important.The Book of Romans is clear … [Read more...]

The Mission of God is Not Limited to Humanity, But Humanity is the Key to It All

What is the Mission of God? And what do we humans have to do with it?I agree with Christopher Wright in his book The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission, that the missio Dei is “The story of how God in his sovereign love has purposed to bring the sinful world of his fallen creation to the redeemed world of his new creation…It is a vast, comprehensive project of cosmic salvation.” The mission of God is to redeem the entirety of his created cosmos. The evangel … [Read more...]

Jesus is More (But Not Less) than a Carpenter

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3).Tom Nelson writes, "As I slowly pondered these words, I began to reflect on the significance of Jesus spending so much of his time on earth working with his hands in a carpentry shop. Here was the Son of God sent to earth on a redemptive mission of seeking and saving the lost, of proclaiming the gospel, yet he spent th … [Read more...]

Are There Two Kinds of Grace?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. As God created everything in the cosmos in an orderly way, we read in Genesis 1 that "God saw that it was good."  After God made it all, we read, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) Think about it. It was very good! How dare we think that our sin can nullify that which God has made!But that is exactly the implication we get from many of our churches - that the creation is so evil that there is nothing … [Read more...]

Four Ideas for Handling a Bad Boss

Oh, Mondays! As you get ready for work, you realized, "Ugh! I have to work with that boss again today!"Perhaps your boss yells at you or your boss demeans you with passive-aggressive behavior.I've had both kinds of bosses. One guy acted like his team was in the military and he was a drill sergeant – he actually thought he could motivate us by yelling at us. It just made me shrink up into the fetal position in my emotions, no longer even capable of doing a good job, let alone a better one. … [Read more...]

The Good Creation Remains

A careful reading of the Bible will see that the original creation is corrupted but not unredeemable. We've all heard well-intended people say that this earth is "not our home." The presumption is that this creation is so corrupted by sin that it is irreparable. The goal for Christians, in this view, is to escape this evil creation and go somewhere else. We call that place "Heaven."But here's the Bible's true teaching: Sin does not abolish God’s love for his creation.Christopher Wright s … [Read more...]