grace

Never Will I Leave You

“I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). When I was eight years old, I read Bible verses that explained God’s love, my sin, Jesus’ sacrifice, and my need to repent and accept God’s grace in faith. God spoke to my heart. Although not audibly, He called to me: “Trust Me. Follow Me. […]

Crossing the Jordan

The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (KJV). Let’s see how the truth of this statement is illustrated in a Bible story we all know in the book of Joshua. By looking at the what, who, where, when, why, and how of Israel’s Jordan crossing, […]

Slow Cooker Conversion

My mother-in-law, Linda Whitney (Grandma Linda, to my kids) had more questions than most teens her age in the 1950s. She loved and respected her parents, but at times she wasn’t sure whether she agreed with their beliefs. Linda’s mom, Vernettie Jones, had a houseful of kids, so there wasn’t much time for them to […]

Serving in Hope

My childhood memories of many sermons in church were from men who seemed angry about a lot of things. They preached long and hard about world conditions and the imminent battle of Armageddon. I greatly feared the nations of Gog and Magog! Late at night, I thought I could hear those evil armies crashing over […]

The Priesthood

The theme of reconciliation is as old as humanity itself. Because of sin, humans damaged their relationship not only with God but also with their neighbor. Because of the Fall, communion between Adam and Eve was lost, giving rise to individualism. Both covered themselves with fig leaves, which they had not needed before: “I was […]

Amazing Grace

Jesus has entrusted us with a critical rescue mission where eternal destinies hang in the balance. Most of us realize we let Jesus down. Our lack of faithfulness reflects our lack of love. My purpose isn’t to immerse us in guilt — that’s self focused; but to help us see how much we’ve been forgiven […]

Thy Kingdom Come

The 2000 movie Pay It Forward tells the story of a seventh grader named Trevor, whose new social studies teacher issues an assignment to think of something that could change the world, and then put it into action. Trevor comes up with the idea of doing big favors for three people that are not intended […]

What it Means to Live and Lead from the Center

Word-plays on “the center” and “centering” have come to my attention often in my new role at the Artios Center for Vibrant Leadership.  Books I’ve read that highlight this concept regularly pop back up on my radar screen. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes “Each of us has a center, […]

The Gospel’s Proper Order

“I’d like to be baptized someday, but I don’t think I’m ready yet. I need more time.” I’ve heard statements along these lines several times. Those who speak them wrongly believe that they must first be good enough before receiving the salvation that Christ offers them. Some have parents imposing this false belief on them. Others […]

Why Holiness

We are besieged in our culture with messages about situational ethics and moral relativism. “If it feels good, do it,” we have been told for decades. And where did that get us? What if God has a different message for His children? Peter emphasizes that God’s plan for us is holiness. Quoting Leviticus, Peter reminds […]