I’m sure you know the tragic story of Joshua Harris: a respected Christian author, a pastor for 17 years, and a leading voice for sexual purity in the Christian community, who left his wife, left his faith, and left Jesus.
It was a shocking moment for many, especially those who had been impacted by his writing and preaching. It was shocking to me. It made me question some things: how do we know if someone is truly saved? If it’s true that “you shall know them by their fruits,” how do I know which fruits are fraudulent and which ones are genuine?
Many times this year, I’ve been in the car on my way to the office, when it suddnely dawns on me: “I can’t believe I get to do this full time!” It’s an incredible privilege to be in full-time ministry, and it's something I hope I never take for granted. I’ve learned so much in my first year as a senior pastor, and I hope these lessons that I’m still learning will be a blessing to you as well. I’m jotting down them down in no particular order and I fully expect I could list even more than just these.
Sometimes, to be a leader, you need to be defined not only by what you are but also by what you are not. This article is meant to describe what I am not. In this article, I want you to know that I am not a continuationist. I’m not writing this to persuade you to my camp, but just to explain why I am not a continuationist.
It seemed like such an odd detail. In a list praising Abraham for being willing to sacrifice his son, Moses for giving up a life of luxurious living, and Noah for building a boat and saving all of humanity, the statement about Jacob really stood out to me. “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21). I was preaching through Hebrews 11 when I first paid attention to that verse and was confused by the statement. What in the world did leaning on a staff have to do with faith?
The day is coming closer. The day you dread every year. The day you wish would never come. If you could just snap your fingers and skip this day completely, you would. The day that will find you constantly thinking about the loved one you lost. Grief is already hard to bear, but facing the anniversary of the death of a loved one can sometimes feel like you are reliving the whole thing again.
Six years ago this Saturday (July 27), my world came crashing down. My brother and best friend, Chad Phelps, was tragically killed in a bus accident that also claimed his wife, Courtney, their unborn baby girl, and one of the youth sponsors also on that bus. Each time this day rolls around on the calendar, I’m reminded of the shock of that day six years ago.
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