Friday, August 26, 2016

The Insanity of God - Movie



I spent a few of years in seminary earning an M.Div and an M.A. prior to being an international church planter. Many have asked me over the years if my time in seminary was worth it or did I just waste those years. Although one can argue for both cases, I always tell people to follow wherever you sense God is leading you. If that means seminary first, then go to seminary, if that means never going to seminary, then don't spend the time in seminary.

I'm thankful for my time in seminary and in preparation to move overseas one of the classes that impacted me the most personally was on the persecuted church. This was a week long intensive class that was spent hearing story after story of the persecuted believers around the world, our brothers and sisters in the faith. At some point that week everyone had tears in their eyes as we continually asked ourselves, "Is Jesus worth it?"

Since attending that class I've had the privileges of walking alongside Christians in one of the top 25 persecuted countries in the world. A season in my life that I will never forget and may forever ask myself internally if I should return. A few years after taking the class The Insanity of God book was released, which I cannot recommend enough to help give yourself a glimpse of what the majority of Christians in the world deal with on a daily basis.

Now, the Insanity of God movie is being released in select theaters this coming Tuesday, August 30th. Seeing and hearing this true story will be well worth your time and the time of your church if you can find it at a theater near you. Please do not miss this opportunity if you are able and can find a theater as you too ask yourself "Is Jesus worth it?"

Friday, May 6, 2016

Book Giveaway: All Authority

Joey Shaw recently released his book, All Authority, on how the authority of Jesus upholds the Great Commission. Shaw is the International Filed Officer for the Austin Stone Community Church and has years of experience in overseas ministry.

From the book:

Everybody who follows Jesus will encounter a myriad of “authorities” that directly challenge the authority of Christ. These other “authorities” may be parents, teachers, bosses, presidents, institutions, religions, or ideologies. In order to stay firm in devotion to Jesus, we must believe that He has supreme authority over all. Not partial authority, not most authority—all authority. On the basis of his authority, he commissioned his people to go and make disciples among every people group on earth. This is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever. The doctrine of the supreme authority of Christ not only upholds the work of the church, it is the central message that the church preaches. “Jesus is Lord” is good news!

I am giving away one copy of All Authority because I believe it is the most neglected part of the Great Commission and a key reminder that the church needs.

To win a copy of All Authority you need to do two things:

1. Leave a comment on this post. Include your name and email in the form, and tell us what other books on the Great Commission have helped form your thinking.

2. Tweet or share the giveaway. Point people to the giveaway via Twitter or FaceBook. You can specifically tweet this: "Enter to win a free copy of Joey Shaw's book, All Authority. (Be sure and leave your Twitter or FB name with your comment on the blog so I can find your tweet.)

Entries are cut off Monday morning at 9am (EST), and a winners will be announced shortly after.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

All Authority: How the Authority of Jesus Upholds the Great Commission

Joey Shaw recently released his book, All Authority: How the Authority of Jesus Upholds the Great Commission, which is a book about the authority of Jesus being the basis for the Great Commission. Joey says,"this is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever." I was intrigued by this book from the time I heard of its release because of this simple, yet impactful, phrase at the beginning of the Great Commission that many of us often skip right over in practice.

Shaw sets the book up in a way as to walk through the Great Commission but instead of initially focusing on the obedience to it, like books before it, he focuses on "without the truth that Jesus has 'all authority,' our mission to 'make disciples' of all peoples is not only impossible, it is fatally foolish."

This book became very personal for me because of my own calling to ministry and years spent in overseas missions service by planting churches in South Asia. Many of the stories that Shaw tells in the book are ones that I have experienced and can see in my own memory. While this personally resonated with me, I fear sometimes that books like this put all of their emphasis of obeying the Great Commission by equating it to only overseas missions. 

I do not think that Shaw believes that or those were his intentions, but I do hope readers will see that we are to be about the Great Commission wherever God has placed us; but that is only by His Authority that it is even possible. 

This is a powerful book that packs a lot of punch at just over 200 pages. The authority by which the Great Commission was given is the most left out part of the Great Commission in practice. In reading this book it gives me a hope that Christ followers will start resting in the authority of Jesus before attempting to accomplish the Great Commission in their own strength. 

I highly recommend this book to those that are tired of trying to be on mission in their own strength, and want to find the rest of being on mission by his authority. Specifically if you are involved with church planting locally or globally I would recommend have planters read this book as they are sent out. 

If you are interested in winning a free copy, please check back on the blog this coming Friday to see how to have your name entered. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Leadership Book Giveaway

In March I put out my annual Spring Reading List, which is often made up of leadership books that I am reading or books that have been sent to me by publishers for review. Over the last couple of months I have worked my way through these books and over the next few weeks will be posting a review of each and then hosting a giveaway of one copy of each book. The books will be reviewed and the giveaway will correspond with the order the books are posted below. If interested in winning please check in weekly for the review and follow the instructions for a chance to win. 


On the basis of his authority, he commissioned his people to go and make disciples among every people group on earth. This is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever. The doctrine of the supreme authority of Christ not only upholds the work of the church, it is the central message that the church preaches. “Jesus is Lord” is good news! 


You are a visionary leader and your church probably has a vision statement. Yet most churches are stuck in a trap of generic communication without a truly visionary plan. Just like a visionary restaurant needs a more specific focus than “serving food,” a visionary church needs something more than biblical generalizations like “loving God, loving people” or “making disciples and serving the world.” 


Even though pastor and author Greg Laurie is a “gospel-presenting professional,” in this book he tells stories of his own failure and success. The most important things you will find here are biblical principles that you can apply yourself. Taken from the life and witness of Jesus, and tested over Greg’s forty years of ministry, in both one-on-one experiences and large-scale evangelistic arena and stadium events, these ideas are intended to mobilize every person in the church to “Tell Someone” about Jesus Christ.


Jesus commands his disciples to be baptized, and it’s a glorious picture of a person’s union with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Still, many Christians feel unclear about the topic, having more questions than answers. This short work provides a biblical explanation of baptism. What is it? Who should be baptized? Why is it required for church membership? And how should churches practice baptism?


Congregationalism has a bad rap for well-known reasons: inefficient meetings, upstart members, browbeaten ministers. But biblical congregationalism isn’t so much about the meetings. It’s about empowering the whole church to promote and protect the gospel. Pastors lead and equip. Members get to work strengthening one another and pursuing Christ’s mission in the world.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Cross - Jesus Dies

This post is a summary of content that I developed when I was serving as a church planter in India to teach Hindus through the metanarrative of Scripture. This lesson focuses in on the death of Christ with it being Good Friday an appropriate time to reflect on the cross.

"God shows his love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

First, in essence, Jesus came into the world to die and cover sin.
How did Jesus die?
  • On a cross through crucifixion.
  • Crucifixion is the most excruciating form of death.
  • It was designed for the worst of criminals in society.
  • Jesus was crucified in order to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows (Isa. 53:3-4).
Second, Jesus death on the cross finished his purpose for coming.
  • Jesus himself declared "It is Finished," referring to taking on the sin of the world (John 19:30).
  • Jesus came as our atonement (Rom. 4:25).
  • Jesus came and died in our place:
    • Living the life we were meant to live.
    • Dying the death we deserved to die.
    • Ultimately rising from the dead as a way to prove he conquered sin, death, and the grave.
How does the cross satisfy the wrath of God?
  • The result of sin is death so in order for the wrath of God to be appeased someone has to die.
  • In the Old Testament the wrath of God was appeased through an animal blood sacrifice.
  • In the New Testament we see the ultimate and final blood sacrificed required in Jesus.
  • Jesus, dying in our place, died the death that God revealed we deserved.
    • Hebrews 9:22
    • 1 Peter 1:18-19
  • Jesus ended the need for a blood sacrifice.
    How does the death of Christ justify us before God?
    • God deserves justice and will get justice.
    • Because we are not righteous we cannot justify God.
    • Jesus alone, being the perfect man, could justify us before God (Rom. 1:37; 5:16-17).
    How does God redeem us through the cross?
    • Before the cross we were enslaved in our sin with no hope.
    • Through Jesus alone we have been offered a way out to be redeemed.
      • Justified by his grace (Romans 3:24).
      • Jesus gave himself for us (Titus 2:13-14).
      • Christ became cursed for us (Galatians 3:13-14).
      • Redemption through the blood (Ephesians 1:7).
    So whom did Jesus come to die for?
    • Sinners, which includes all of us (1 Tim. 2:6).
    • He came to be the Savior of all people, but only in a saving way for those that believe/are elect (1 Tim. 4:10).
    How is God triumphant through the cross of Christ?
    • Forgives us of all sin.
    • Expiation
      • Our sin is taken away from us and we are made clean through Jesus.
    • Our sin is taken away and put on Jesus.
    At the cross of Christ we see the ultimate love sacrifice of God for us, which makes a way for reconciliation with God.

    It is Good Friday, the day that we remember the reason that Jesus came to earth to die a bloody gruesome death on the cross in our place. At first look it appears that Christ death was nothing more than death in itself, appearing to some skeptics as proof against the claims of Jesus. But it is only friday and as we will see on Sunday, the resurrection comes and Jesus is Alive!

    Tuesday, March 15, 2016

    Spring Reading Suggestions


    From time to time I like to give a little insight into what I am currently studying or reading as a way to give some insight into where I am being challenged and to make recommendations for others. My reading seems to have slowed down in the last year, which naturally happens at the stage of life I am in with a family and being bi-vocational. Nevertheless, I am still always working my way through a few books at a time and always enjoy passing along recommendations. The following list will also be included in a number of giveaways over the next few months on the blog so if something peaks your interests then be sure to check back here often.


    On the basis of his authority, he commissioned his people to go and make disciples among every people group on earth. This is an impossible commission if it were not for the promise that he is with them forever. The doctrine of the supreme authority of Christ not only upholds the work of the church, it is the central message that the church preaches. “Jesus is Lord” is good news! 


    You are a visionary leader and your church probably has a vision statement. Yet most churches are stuck in a trap of generic communication without a truly visionary plan. Just like a visionary restaurant needs a more specific focus than “serving food,” a visionary church needs something more than biblical generalizations like “loving God, loving people” or “making disciples and serving the world.” 


    Even though pastor and author Greg Laurie is a “gospel-presenting professional,” in this book he tells stories of his own failure and success. The most important things you will find here are biblical principles that you can apply yourself. Taken from the life and witness of Jesus, and tested over Greg’s forty years of ministry, in both one-on-one experiences and large-scale evangelistic arena and stadium events, these ideas are intended to mobilize every person in the church to “Tell Someone” about Jesus Christ.


    Jesus commands his disciples to be baptized, and it’s a glorious picture of a person’s union with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Still, many Christians feel unclear about the topic, having more questions than answers. This short work provides a biblical explanation of baptism. What is it? Who should be baptized? Why is it required for church membership? And how should churches practice baptism?


    Congregationalism has a bad rap for well-known reasons: inefficient meetings, upstart members, browbeaten ministers. But biblical congregationalism isn’t so much about the meetings. It’s about empowering the whole church to promote and protect the gospel. Pastors lead and equip. Members get to work strengthening one another and pursuing Christ’s mission in the world.