Strengthening Yourself

Text: 1 Samuel 30:1-6, 18-19
And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite.  And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God….And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.

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Recapturing the Word of God and the Rest of God

Introduction
Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were able to reflect God’s image because they fellowshipped with Him in the Garden of Eden. After the Fall, the redemption story regarding Christ’s death on the cross is all about trying to restore the image of God in humanity. Without being connected to God again and hearing His voice, it is impossible for us to understand what He wants to restore back to us.

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Ten Views that Radically Alter Your Christian Belief

When I was a new Christian I naively thought that everyone read the Bible the same way with virtually one interpretation that all born again Christians would have. One of the biggest shocks I experienced occurred about six months into my walk with God, when I met a fundamentalist Baptist preacher who was trying to convince me that all Pentecostals were being misled by the devil.

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Ten Contrasts between Entertainers and Leaders

There is a great tendency in human nature to crave the affirmation of other human beings. With some people, their need for affirmation is so great it hinders their ability to discern between the will of God and the will of man. What is more alarming is the fact that those who lead churches and Christian organizations are not exempt from this tendency.

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Eleven Signs Your Church Youth Group Is Really Bad For Your Children

I write this in the context of having been a pastor for more than three decades as well as ministering in hundreds of local congregations. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly regarding youth groups. I learned a long time ago that just because your local church has a youth group, it is not always in the best interest of parents to encourage their children to attend. Also, in the case of functional Christian families, the parents have the primary responsibility of training their children, not the church youth group. (In cases where kids come in without Christian families behind them, then the church has to attempt to disciple them without parental aid, which is extremely difficult.) That being said, whether your child comes from a strong Christian family or not, a youth group can be a blessing or curse.  Read more

Seven Principles for Church Planting According to the New Testament Pattern

I spent some quality time with one of the best church planters in a particular city. In just a few years, he has planted almost 10 campuses or extensions of the original church he started about 10 years ago. He was also involved in a prayer meeting with other church planters for several years. When I asked him if this weekly prayer meeting was still functional, he told me that it no longer exists because most of these planters are no longer ministering in the city and that many of the churches are either closed or are led by another pastor. He said that he has almost no pastor friends left in the area.

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Discerning between wolves, sheep and horses in a church

The Bible uses certain animals as metaphors to depict certain kinds of people in the kingdom. Pastors and senior leaders of organizations need to discern at least three kinds of people in their organizations to effectively lead.

Although most people may have a mixture of all three traits at times in their lives, it is very possible that either the negative or positive traits of a person can suck them fully into either the dark side or the light of the Kingdom of God. It is inevitable that every growing organization and/or church will attract all three of these kinds of people simultaneously.

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A Practical and Biblical View of Courtship and Dating

Courtship and dating are some of the least discussed topics in the church. Yet dating has caused the most havoc, destroyed countless lives, resulted in unwanted pregnancies and abortions, and even split churches apart. Since most of the church doesn’t teach on this subject, a vacuum exists resulting in our teenagers adopting the worldview of popular culture. This has led many church youth groups to become havens for dating and premarital sex.

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Eight Ways a Local Church Can Limit Believers

I have served as a senior pastor for over 30 years, and I have also worked extensively with political, community and business leaders over the past three decades. As my understanding regarding the Kingdom of God and marketplace ministry has evolved, I see church with a new lens and notice the frustration many young people and professionals have regarding their local churches. Many in these categories feel limited rather than celebrated and released into their callings.

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