Who would it be if you had to choose a man from the Bible that resembled you? I’d go with Peter in short order. Maybe it’s because I can relate to Peter’s apparent ADHD and ability to speak before he thought things through. While there is truth to that similarity, the more significant parallel between us would be the pendulum swing between Peter’s strong faith and his sometimes stronger fear which he gave into. I get that.
When people drum up illustrations of strong faith, they often highlight the occasion when Peter stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus walking on the water. None of the other apostles dared that adventure. Then, however, things went south with Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus, focused on the waves around him, and began to sink. Peter started in faith, but his fear overpowered him leading to his failure.
The more significant lesson of faith, fear, and failure may have come from his denial of Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75. (more…)
the best thing to do when you’re at the end of the rope is to trust God and
just do the next thing. A while back on a Sunday afternoon, I was physically
exhausted and emotionally spent after preaching that morning. I was also
handling a number of church projects and concerns that felt like a
mountaineering backpack filled with lead, all the while knowing I had an
important meeting that night. But after a short crash on my bed and watching my
favorite football team get beat, I threw some water on my face, stood still for
a moment, asked Jesus for physical help, and put one foot in front of the
don’t see that a lot in the Bible, but that’s pretty much what life is. We like
the action stories of David whopping Goliath, but we silently ignore all the
days that David was in the desert waiting on God. Eventually, God worked
through that normal Hebrew teenager who was stepping out in faith on a daily
was a good meeting and teaching time that Sunday night. I was still physically
beat when I got home, but there was more of a smile on my face than when I
left. I’m not sure what caused the positive change in my demeanor that night.
It could have been something as simple as the additional dopamine in my brain
chemistry caused by the physical action of getting up and moving. Maybe it was
a swath of encouragement from the Holy Spirit. Or maybe it was just a sense
that if I kept climbing, I’d eventually reach the summit of the mountain, and
that’s a good thought.
What is the next step before you today? What will it cost you to take it? What will it cost you if you do not take it?
That’s right — one year ago today, the Kickstarter campaign funded and the book project, Confessions of a Pastor, was set in motion. I can still remember thirty days prior, at the launch of the drive, praying, “Ok Jesus, this is now in your hands. It will either fund or fail.” The project did fund and I am still amazed at the results today. I continue to thank Jesus and so many of you for bringing Confessions to life.
Early in the editing process we changed the official name to simply “Confessions” with the subtitle of “Finding Hope Through One Pastor’s Doubt.” Thinking of Hope, the heart of Confessions has already borne fruit in bringing hope to many and so I want to give a huge thanks on this anniversary date to everyone who gave and prayed for the venture. Not only is the book bringing encouragement to people and drawing them closer to the love of Christ, but once our final financial requirements with LUCID Books are completed, 50% of any additional royalties from the project will go toward world missions.
What about you? If you have read Confessions, what stories can you share of encouragement or testimonies from those you know? If you’ve not had a chance to read Confessions yet, you can get an e-copy or paper back from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sources.
As I begin a summer study break in a few weeks, I will explore the possibility of turning the print into an audible work and also begin to seriously flesh out the next major writing project. But for now, I’d love to hear your stories from the release of Confessions. You can share them here, on social media sources, or even write a review for Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Again – thanks to everyone who made this project a reality!
In lieu of the regular “Mid-Week with Steve” encouragement, today I’m sharing the Book Trailer that Lucid Books just produced for Confessions. Check it out and share with a zillion people . . . or I suppose just your friends. Of course, you can also pick one up today through B&N or Amazon. Be encouraged – Be Strong!
Ever doubted your faith? You know; it really is ok to answer that question. Most of us experience some form of doubt when it comes to God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Atheist, agnostics, and authentic Christ followers have questions about the Divine which can’t always be answered in a nice cookie cutter fashion. With that in mind we began a short series at The Crossings this past Sunday entitled, “Oh God, Help My Unbelief!” The launch pad for our study comes from Mark 9:24 with a man who struggled with his belief. The man had tried everything and prayed feverishly for a son with horrendous sufferings. Jesus came, healed the boy, and encouraged the man’s faith. But what about you and me and our questions? What about the times when Jesus doesn’t seem to swoop in and save the day? What about the times when we doubt? (more…)