Election 2016: Where Is God and Where Are You

Election 2016: Where Is God and Where Are You

Editor’s note: When I asked my colleague Tim Abraham to write what God put on his heart, I never expected a piece on politics. And this isn’t a site about politics. It’s a site about leadership. That said, journey through this wonderfully written piece by Tim and you’ll see why this isn’t just relevant to Christians in general but leaders in particular. Those of us who want to lead well in our churches must understand what it means to navigate politics in 2016: all eyes in your church are on you. We would all be wise to learn from Tim’s thoughts here. Enjoy. Politics and religion—the two topics that either extinguish or ignite conversations. With the continued rise of social media and the devolution to the one-minute news cycle, ignited conversations continuously combust into uncontrollable wildfires.  The fires’ wake leaves scorched remains of divineness, destruction, and decay on our social and individual levels. The toll of the 2016 presidential election process—in only its middle stages—looks more like the dark, scorched earth after General Sherman’s march compared to the bright, shining light Lady Liberty represents.  Prominent voices from all spectrums of politics and religion attempt to resonate louder with words of critical analysis, calls to action, criticism and admonishment, and a cupboard of anything else. Christians are not above these actions, immune to their implications, or free from their fallout.  So, we must ask:  In this tumultuous political and spiritual time, how are we to follow Jesus and share His gospel, all for God’s glory?  Said differently:  How will God work in us and through us so we may mature in our relationship with...
The Four Sources of Suffering

The Four Sources of Suffering

Across all nationalities and all generations and all religions, suffering is the common human experience. For the past couple of days I’ve been writing a message that I’ll preach soon on the relationship between glory and suffering, but before I could get past suffering to talk about glory, I needed to tackle the question everyone asks: Why do we suffer? If God is so good, if he is so powerful, why do we suffer? I’ll tackle this quite a bit in the message when I preach it (Note: if I get a recording of it, I’ll link here later). But since the topic has been on my mind all week, I wanted to write about this question in more depth here. Religion has long sought an answer to the cause of suffering and long sought the ability to end suffering. In fact, Buddhism, one of the largest religions in the world, is built strictly on defining suffering and its end. But all religions have attempted to define suffering and root out its cause because it encompasses so much of the human experience: sadness, depression, anger, fear, pain, loss, confusion–all of these emotions are connected to suffering. One could argue that the average human life is comprised far more of suffering than the absence of it. As believers, where does Scripture tell us suffering comes from? The Bible actually identifies four sources of suffering: 1) Our sin. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve committed the “original sin” which condemned all flesh to be not only inheritors of sin but active participants in it. Regardless of where you land on the...
Church Leadership Matters Podcast- Episode 1

Church Leadership Matters Podcast- Episode 1

It’s here, friends. The Church Leadership Matters Podcast has officially launched! The Church Leadership Matters Podcast is a show were we discuss the things that matter to leaders because your leadership matters. This interview-style show focuses on topics that matter to leaders because their leadership matters. In each episode, I interview an expert in a particular area–sometimes well-known guests and other times “in the trenches”-type guests. The podcast is designed to help ALL leaders from volunteers to senior pastors maximize their leadership potential. Each episode concludes with a “Leadership Lifeline” which is a free digital resource (made available to email subscribers only) that will help podcast listeners put into action principles gleaned from the interview. Each episode is approximately 30 minutes. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here. — From the Church Leadership Matters site today: Today’s show was all about cultivating a love for the Word in our churches, and that process begins with us. We interviewed LeAnne Blackmore (Obscure No More), an incredible speaker and Bible teacher who is also author of the upcoming book Rooted. LeAnne not only has a deep love for the Bible herself, but has spent the last several years teaching others and instilling passion in them. In our interview with LeAnne, we tackled three main topics: 1) Why it’s so important for churches to develop a culture where a love for Scripture and Biblical literacy are self evident. -Studying the Word is a priority to God, so it needs to be a priority to us. -Psalm 138:2 says “You have exalted above all things your name and your word.” -True disciples abide in the Word. -Studying...
Make Time for God in the Grind

Make Time for God in the Grind

Our first three and a half years in church planting centered around the insanity of setting-up and tearing-down in a YMCA. For the first 18 months, my wife and I lived forty-five minutes away (thirty minutes if you drive like me), and every Sunday was physically draining. Set-up at 7am meant leaving at 6:15am which meant waking up around 5:30am. After stumbling into the building, we would roll out the cases of gear and methodically transform a gym into a worship center. Exercise rooms would become children’s spaces where they would hear and experience the truth of Jesus. It was incredible. The first couple of years, when I was leading worship weekly, the band would start to sound check at 7:45am and work out the kinks. A final team prayer came at 8:30am. Then at 9am, it was go time. Two identical services back-to-back. All of our spiritual, emotional, and physical efforts poured into each 75-minute service. Then the services were over. The YMCA opened at 1pm, and so… it was time to load everything back into cases. So the team hustled through the stretch and rolled the last case back into the closet just as we heard people stepping onto elliptical machines and the faint whir of a treadmill. Drive 45-minutes back home, eat some food, and it would be 2pm or later, and time for a nap. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. The Sunday morning experience for pastors and leaders is far more exhilarating-yet-draining than any church-goer could possibly know. Yet, my experience tells me that it’s not Sunday morning itself that’s the hardest part. It’s Monday morning. On...
10 Misconceptions Christians Have About the Bible

10 Misconceptions Christians Have About the Bible

The Bible is intense. It’s scary. It’s violent. It’s dark. It’s tough. It’s challenging. It’s cumbersome. It’s not easily dismissed. It’s confusing. It’s divisive. It’s unsettling. And, it’s hard. Yet when you ask any Christian which book they would turn to when they need hope, encouragement, direction, or inspiration, they say: the Bible. How can it be that a book that is undeniably difficult can also be relentlessly rewarding? Years ago, my family traveled to Florida for vacation. In fact, we were there for the opening day of Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We bought our tickets weeks in advance, got up extremely early, and made our way to the park to await the opening. When the gates to the main park opened, thousands of people flooded in, moving quickly to get in line for the opening of the new section. My family was in the masses. We weaved our way through the park and saw where the line of people were queuing up. And we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. Finally, about twenty minutes before Harry Potter World was supposed to open, we saw some movement among the employees. One of them had a megaphone. She said, “This is NOT the line!” My family looked at each other, confused. We weren’t in some small, rogue line with a dozen or even a hundred people. Hundreds and hundreds of people were in this line. Again she said, “This is NOT the line!” To make her point, she said, “If you want to go to Harry Potter world, you need to be in the...
Intercessor for Sinners (Genesis 18:16-33) Free Download

Intercessor for Sinners (Genesis 18:16-33) Free Download

It’s one of the most bizarre conversations in Scripture. Abraham speaks with the Lord on the side of a mountain looking down upon Sodom and Gomorrah, knowing that doom is coming. Abraham pleads to God to spare the city for the sake of his nephew Lot. The interaction is strange, at best, yet when we scratch beneath the surface we learn more about Abraham, the character of God, and even about our own calling as Christians. Stream or download this free audio message.   http://scottball.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Intercessor_for_Sinners.mp3   Click here to take advantage of this corresponding Study Guide, free for personal use. To enquire about booking Scott for a speaking engagement, please click...