How Your Beach Vacation Can Lead to Spiritual Renewal

Later this month my family will head to the beach for vacation. I’ll build sand castles with grandchildren, soak up the sun, body surf, play golf, eat more than I should and in general step out of my normal routine. But I expect something else will happen there, too. I’ve learned that a week at the beach is also a great opportunity for spiritual renewal.   At the beach, it’s like you flip the switch in your head labeled “obligation” to another setting called “living.”   That probably comes as a surprise because spiritual renewal is the last thing most of us are looking for when we go to the […]

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Can Religious Liberty Survive Homosexual Marriage?

Jack Phillips isn’t presently a household name in evangelical churches. But this fall it will be. That’s when the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments seeking reversal of Phillips’s conviction by a Colorado court for refusing to decorate a cake for a homosexual wedding. The high court’s decision will go a long way toward settling the collision between religious liberty and civil rights that became inevitable when gay marriage was legalized two years ago. It remains to be seen if religious liberty will survive the impact.   Phillips is the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, a small bakery near Denver. In 2012 Charlie Craig and David Mullins—who had earlier been […]

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People and Churches Are Looking for the Real Thing

Among all the changes going on in modern American churches—music, dress and organization to name a few—one thing is beginning to stand out. Today’s congregations value authentic spiritual experience more than anything else. And after the last few decades of the rotating buffet line of church programming, it’s a relief to see people and pastors starting to pay attention to what matters most. If you can’t come to church for a real encounter with God, why come at all?   A friend of mine, a nominal believer, brought the point home to me earlier this week. He took several days off and went by himself to New York City to take in the […]

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Millennials Are the Church’s Next Great Generation

Millennials—the demographic cohort born from the 1980s through the early 2000s—have a reputation for being self-absorbed, liberal political leanings, an obsession with social media, rejecting traditional morality and a lackadaisical work ethic.  Most of all—if you believe the various surveys that claim to measure such things—Millennials are known for rejecting the Christian faith of their parents.   A recent Pew Research study seems to bear this out:   While the overall decline in the country’s religiosity is driven partly by modest declines among Baby Boomers and those who are part of the Silent and Greatest generations, generational replacement appears to be an even larger factor. In other words, Millennials, who make up a […]

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The High Cost of Tearing Down President Trump

It wasn’t surprising that comedian Kathy Griffin earlier this week released a photograph of her holding what appeared to be the severed, blood-soaked head of President Trump. The media feeding frenzy surrounding the president has reached such an insatiable level that Griffin’s publicity stunt was inevitable. The surprising thing is that someone hasn’t done it before now.   Celebrities aren’t the only ones making the president their whipping boy. Prominent politicians and media analysts seem to be in competition with one another to see who can express their criticism in the most vulgar way. John Burton, outgoing Chairman of California’s Democratic Party, may be the winner to this point. When he presided over […]

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Marriage for a Lifetime: Showing Christian Couples How to Build a Great Marriage

Nothing is more important in modern church life than teaching couples how to improve their marriages–the problem is it’s so hard to do.   I’ve tried everything. I’ve preached on marriage more times than I can remember. And while people were in general kind and grateful for the sermons, I’m not sure any hit their target. When a sermon tells wives to submit and husbands to be patient, well, it doesn’t always work. In fact, it may actually be counter-productive because a hostile spouse dragged to church against their will rarely gets fixed by being told to do more or less or better. On the other hand, their more hopeful […]

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Final Thoughts

Friday morning 6:30AM The picture at the top of the post is of our joint team of folks from Lexington along with the national Peruvian hosts, at breakfast yesterday morning. Tito Savilla, our host pastor, is at the head of the table. We call him The Godfather. We had a packed day yesterday, the last day of our mission trip, on the fourth straight day of running the medical/eye clinic from 9:00AM until 2:00PM. Then hosting a children’s VBS at the same site. Back to the hotel for dinner. Finally, teturning to the site for an evangelistic service from 8:00-9:00PM. Last night’s service was full–maybe 100 people there, packed onto […]

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Why Should Peru’s Baptist Church Look Like Ours?

Wednesday 10:30PM I mentioned yesterday that today’s plan was for our group to split up, so after an early breakfast this morning two group members and I, along with our national host Tito, left for the two-hour drive to the Baptist seminary in Trujillo. We were met by Pastor Julio, the director of the seminary and a key Baptist leader in the country. Like every other Peruvian leader I’ve met, he was open, friendly and passionate. His vision for Kingdom ministry in his country is to train pastors so that churches can be planted throughout the country. While I was speaking at the seminary, the rest of the team was […]

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Modern Day Apostles

Tuesday 8:30PM Today’s schedule was like yesterday’s only more so. Attendance at the medical clinic doubled to 250 people, evenly divided between the regular clinic and the eye clinic. Responses to the gospel also doubled, with maybe 60 people praying to receive the Lord. And at tonight’s evangelistic service we had over 60 people–again, twice the number that attended last night. The picture at the top is of team leader John Payne preaching at the evangelistic service with team translator Jose Vazquez beside him. The tent extends out into the street; the doorway behind leads into the church. I don’t want to get too caught up in numbers, but I […]

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Helping Hurting People

Monday night 8:30PM We’ve finished our first full day of ministry here in Chepen and all of us are worn out. But I wanted to post a few comments to keep you guys informed. More than that, I want to let folks know–especially those of you thinking about taking this kind of mission trip–what it looks like. Wake up call was early and we walked out the door to breakfast at 7:00AM. All our meals are at a local restaurant a couple of blocks away so we took the short walk and sat down at what’s become a community table. Together with the national believers who are a part of […]

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