America’s Churches Can’t Stay Closed Much Longer

Who could have imagined a time when America’s churches would close? Whether natural disasters, wars, tragedies and depressions, Americans have always turned first to their churches in times of national crisis. But two weeks ago the Coronavirus changed everything. In the face of a pandemic that defied medical intervention and government policy, churches of every size, denomination and setting suspended worship, closed their buildings and told their people to stay home. Like almost every other public organization, group or business, congregations went into the self-isolation that health experts pointed to as the best response to the growing threat. It was a hard decision for us pastors to make because we […]

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Building Our Children’s Faith in the Time of Coronavirus

The spread of Coronavirus is threatening untold numbers of lives, de-stabilizing national economies and disrupting the lifestyle of people across the world but for Christian parents it poses an additional risk—the spiritual well-being of our children. How can they learn about faith if they’re surrounded by uncertainty, anxiety and fear? It’s not that we shouldn’t be concerned. The danger of this new virus is real and taking extreme precautions only makes sense. That’s why we’re washing our hands more in an hour than we used to wash them in a day. Trying not to touch our faces. Staying away from crowds. And making sure we have plenty of toilet paper. […]

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Young Parents Don’t Have Time for God and What to Do About It

How can young parents find the time to stay close to God with all the other stuff they have to deal with every day? It’s not that preachers don’t try to help. I encourage my people to personal prayer and Bible study on a regular basis, not out of a sense of religious duty but because of the nature of relationships. If love is a function of time–and it is–how can we expect to love God if we don’t spend time with Him? The problem is that most young parents don’t have time to spare. They wake up in the morning to kids who need breakfast, grocery shopping put off […]

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The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

If hurry is an epidemic–and I think it is–then most people I know are infected. Meetings, appointments, calls, texts, emails, chores–life today can get so filled up with stuff that without really meaning to, you can find yourself trapped in a perpetual state of hurry. “Honey, we’re gonna be late.” “What’s taking the kids so long? The game starts in 10 minutes.” “Why’s that driver going so slow?” “The boss needs to see you right now.” “If you don’t act today, you’ll lose the special price.” “Your paper is due by 4:00 today.” “You have eight meetings scheduled this afternoon.” A Hamster on a Wheel It goes on and on, […]

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How Young Men Come to Jesus

Few things say “Baptist” more than a baptism service, especially when it’s held at a river and and a big crowd shows up to celebrate. What makes it even more memorable is when most of those being baptized aren’t who you expect.   That’s what happened earlier this week at our church’s annual “Baptism at the River.” It’s our largest evangelistic outreach each year and during the decade we’ve hosted it, hundreds have professed faith in Jesus. But this year I saw something new.  Among the twenty-five people who were baptized, half were young adult men.   In modern America, young adult men are among the hardest demographics to reach […]

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Ciudad de Dios, the City of God

9:00AM. CIUDAD DE DIOS. The name Ciudad de Dios or City of God, could be a civic leader’s lame idea of morale-boosting or maybe the misplaced hope of the first people who settled here because it’s so hard to find anything divine in this little town. Pushed to the fringes of Chepen proper, it lies down a dirt road a few hundred feet off the main highway. What you see as you drive in are decaying houses, fallen fences and a few dogs nosing through piles of garbage.   We were greeted by a cool breeze when we arrived after a 30-minute trip from our hotel. It won’t last. In […]

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Healing Body and Soul

8:00AM Chepen. Our medical mission is in a building as different from an American clinic as is a new Lexus from one of the many Volkswagen Beetles we see rattling along Peruvian highways. But the team has figured out a way to make it work, and in a space barely large enough for a family of four, we served 180 people yesterday. We’re looking for more today.   Patients are greeted under an awning set up outside the front door and extending into a street busy with taxis, motorcycles, cars and an occasional truck. The sidewalks are packed with people walking to work, students dressed in black and white uniforms […]

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The Hard Work and High Purpose of Mission Trips

9:00. Chepen, Peru. I’m watching as a line is already forming for the free medical clinic our church sent us here to for, and over the next few days we expect to provide care for about 400 men, women and children. The team from our church is prayed up, trained up and ready to go. But it’s not just about the medical care. We’re in partnership with a group of Peruvian Baptist churches about 100 miles south of here, in the major city of Trujillo, and many of them are here, too. They’ll translate as we share the gospel with the patients. In the afternoons we’ll lead Vacation Bible Schools […]

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Would You Like Cheese with Your Guinea Pig?

Every mission trip includes eating local food–an experience that sounds good in theory but takes on a different meaning when, say, your Morrocan host puts a goat stew in front of you with eyeballs swimming in the gravy. You pretty much have to do it. The people we go to serve in far away places often show their appreciation by preparing dishes unique to their culture. To refuse would be offensive so one of the informal rules of dining etiquette when on mission is to eat what’s put in front of you. If you’re in Kenya and monkey is on the menu, dig in. India? Get ready for curry so fiery […]

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God Draws Straight with Crooked Lines

God draws straight with crooked lines. That’s the only way I can explain the story of Ronald and Marcia, a young married Peruvian couple I talked with earlier today. That’s them in the picture.   Ronald spent much of his childhood living on the streets of Trujillo, a major city in the northern region of the country. Somehow in the middle of the violence, drugs and hopelessness, an uncle took the time to share the gospel with him and against all odds, Ronald turned to Jesus in order to begin a new life.   While Ronald was going through his spiritual formation, God also was working in Marcia through a Christian […]

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