Quarantine Reading: Eight Books to Renew Your Soul, Feed Your Mind and Refresh Your Heart

You’re locked down at home and looking for ways to spend your time that don’t involve endless trips to the refrigerator to see if something’s magically appeared that wasn’t there the last time you looked (it hasn’t); entertaining the kids (for once they’re looking after themselves); one more Zoom conference call (will they never end?); or yard work (hallelujah!). What to do next? How about reading a good book—that thing people used to do before Netflix? So here are eight books to help keep you sane, balanced and maybe even grow your faith however long the quarantine lasts. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually […]

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Easter without Church

This Sunday most of us will celebrate Easter—the holiest day of the Christian year—without worshiping together. No one is really happy about it. Blame it on COVID-19 and the social distancing that’s followed in its wake. Schools are out. Restaurants are closed. Many businesses have closed and many that remain open have furloughed their workers. Grocery stores allow only a few people at a time to shop. Until the virus runs its course, authorities tell us, we need to keep our distance from one another and stay at home. And that means not going to church on Easter. Not everyone understands how big a deal that is. For example, those […]

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COVID-19 Is Teaching Us How to Wait

COVID-19 is teaching us some hard lessons but one of the main ones may not be the most visible—we’re learning how to wait. I’m not trying to downplay the severity of the pandemic by imagining some sunny upside. The medical crisis is real, and the way the virus has swept across the globe in three months terrifies almost everyone. The economic disruption left in its wake may turn out to be an even greater problem, with unemployment and financial suffering perhaps lasting years. But America has weathered worse storms than this. The global crises of the last century—the Great Depression and World War II come to mind—prove that by God’s […]

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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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