The Wilderness Journey of Faith

The Wilderness Journey of Faith

Sometimes God’s deliverance feels like abandonment. When you read the story of the Exodus, the people of Israel have barely left Egypt before they start complaining about the situation into which God has led them. After 400 years of slavery in an oppressive, pagan, foreign country, God finally frees his people. Yet at the first sign of struggle, they would voluntarily put their shackles back on than journey into uncertainty. I love the sarcasm of the Israelites when they complain to Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?” — (Exodus‬ ‭14:11‬ ‭ESV) This is exactly the kind of lip I find myself giving to God when he places me in a position where more faith is required. You see, most of us would trade the slavery we can predict for the freedom we can’t yet see. We fall back continually into the same traps because there is comfort in the familiar, but God rewards those who walk in the hope of what is yet to be revealed. Most of us would trade the slavery we can predict for the freedom we can't yet see. #Faith Click To Tweet To be saved from a difficult situation can feel like exile because the distance between Slavery and the Promised Land is the wilderness journey of faith and struggle. The heroes of our faith from Abraham to Elijah to David to Paul, all voluntarily journey into the wilderness after leaving oppression in order to be the beneficiaries...
Four Hope Quotes for Leaders

Four Hope Quotes for Leaders

Hope is the thing that most separates Christians from culture.  Ours is not a flimsy hope, but a confidence in the promises of God even when life is hard.  Rooted in a holy discontentment, Christian hope knows that God leads us to something better. Here are four quotes from preachers whose hope has been made sight:   Why is it then, that ye so anxiously expect such great consolations from this present life as to seem incapable of ever being completely satisfied? Were it not for the fact that God wants us to live to proclaim him, to thank him, and to serve the brethren, life is such as to suggest its voluntary termination. This service, therefore, let us render unto God, with all diligence. Let us look forward with continual sighs to that true life. – Martin Luther Let us look forward with continual sighs to that true life. - Martin Luther Click To Tweet “God is wont to open a door of hope, a door through which there flashes a sweet light out of heaven upon the soul. Then comfort arises, and then is there a new song in the mouth, even praise unto God.” – Jonathan Edwards God is wont to open a door of hope. - Jonathan Edwards Click To Tweet There is no crown except for warriors; there are no rewards, except for those who contend for the mastery against flesh and blood, against Satan and against sin… There is much that you will never perform except the Eternal God be at your back; nevertheless, if you have this hope in you, if you have...
The 3 Places I Write Sermons

The 3 Places I Write Sermons

There’s no right or wrong way or place to write a sermon.  Let’s just start there. Because sometimes people ask me how I write and what my process is, here’s my pulling back the curtain a little—for better or worse—on where and how I write sermons.  In truth, I don’t write my sermon in one place, but in three. 1.  The office. The first several hours of my writing process start at my desk in my office.  We believe in teaching straight through books of the Bible, so I spend hours just on the text at my desk.  This normally isn’t in one dedicated chunk of time, but in short bursts over a few days.  I like to print off a copy of the passage I’m teaching and spend time highlighting, underlining, and marking it up.  I ask questions, look for key words, etc.  Then I start answering those questions and doing word studies.  I also read commentaries, articles, and others’ notes on the passage to be sure I haven’t invented something that isn’t there or missed something that’s critical.  At this point, I decide on my main point; everything else is like a puzzle piece of information that may or may not be worth using in the actual message. 2.  The shower. I take long showers.  Really long showers.  It’s how I wake up, and it’s where I do my best thinking and daydreaming.  I would contend that most of the last century’s greatest ideas were conceived in a shower.  For certain, all of my messages get their first draft in the shower.  I test out in my mind different...