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Five Natural Ways to Get to the Gospel

Think of evangelism like a road trip. Every trip you take has a beginning and an end. You determine your route not only by your destination, but also by your point of origin. 

As Christians called to preach the gospel, we always want to wind up at the person and work of Christ. But depending on where the person is today, we may need to take alternate routes — sometimes longer, sometimes winding, sometimes even taking a dreaded detour — to get our news to their hearts.

Most of us spend our time navigating clumsy conversations without obvious opportunities for the gospel. If Christ is the only hope for the world around us, why does it feel so impossible to connect him to actual people and their circumstances without coming off canned or irrelevant?

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The Real Battle for Sexual Purity

I used to look at pornography nearly every day for a decade. But for the past twelve years, by God’s grace, I have not visited a single porn site. 

For many battling addiction, that sentence embodies what we’re striving for. That sentence, however, is not a success story. 

As we all know by now, lust manifesting in addiction to pornography is rampant in our tech-savvy culture, and sadly it’s little different among Christians. I’m in weekly conversations with college guys at our church who are fighting hard against lust and porn addiction. 

It’s interesting for me to hear how people talk about their struggle. Often when they share, they frame it in terms of “how long it’s been” since their last encounter with porn. The room rejoices with those who haven’t had an incident in a while, and we spout off advice to the ones who have. You can almost see the ranking system build before your eyes: The most recent sinner cowers on the bottom with the lowest score, while the one with the longest record of abstinence stands tall at the top. 

But we may have it more wrong than we think. Why? Because our actions don’t always reveal our hearts.

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Advice for Better Bible Memory

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Experiences or stories like that always inspire us. As soon as we hear it, we rush to our Bible with fresh zeal, open it to our favorite verses or chapter, and get to work. “I can do this!” we think. That is, until we realize that, “These verses sure do repeat themselves a lot.” And, “Was it will or shall?” And, “There’s how many more verses to go?!” What started as a forest fire of excitement and resolve gets snuffed out by the heavy rain of reality: Memorization is hard work.

Many of us know how valuable it is to memorize God’s word. But we often don’t know where to start. We get discouraged. We burn out quickly and move on to something less taxing. I’ve wrestled with these frustrations for years now. As a performer and worship leader, I’ve had to develop techniques so that I don’t drop the ball when I take the stage. I want to share a few of the methods I use regularly when memorizing God’s Word. More could always be said, but I have come back to these principles most often to help make the words stick.  

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The Doctrine of Election Saved Me from Depression

A.W. Tozer wrote, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

For many years, what immediately came into my mind when I thought about God crippled me. Depression was a constant companion. Fear about the genuineness of my conversion haunted me like a ghost. I couldn’t see it at the time, but my feelings were symptoms of my misguided theology. God was small. Worse than that, he was weak. Worse even still, he was fickle in his love toward me. It led me into despair.

About five years ago, as I spent more time in the Bible, I began to see a bigger vision of God. He was not only big and strong, but merciful and steadfast in his love toward me. It changed everything. My depression started to unravel before my eyes, and I rediscovered joy in God.

My understanding of God’s sovereignty in suffering, evangelism, and salvation underwent the greatest and most needed change. For years now, this big God theology has proven to be an antidote for despair. I can’t help but think that there are some reading this right now who have been searching for that kind of comfort, freedom, and stability. 

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Christmas Morning Without Competitors: What If Jesus Was Like Santa?

Yesterday my four-year-old daughter asked me the big question. No, not that question. I heard from her car seat behind me, “Dad, is Santa coming to our house this year?”

Many Christian parents of young children, like me, shudder hearing these words. We’re moved by a deep conviction as believers to keep Christ as the centerpiece of Christmas. But we also can’t help feeling the immense pressure from the media, and even friends and family, not to be our kids’ killjoy when it comes to ol’ Saint Nick. How do we deal with Santa in light of the gospel?

I am not necessarily anti-Santa. It’s entirely possible there are God-fearing families who have found creative ways to redeem him in their Christmas traditions in order to point to Christ. What I am against is any message that undermines the unrivaled depth and sweetness of the gospel of grace.

We must be clear, Santa is preaching a message, too. It’s heralded every year on television and in children’s books. On the surface it seems innocuous, but up his red and white sleeves is a worldview that fundamentally competes and conflicts with the good news of Jesus. As Christian parents we must subject every worldview that enters our households to gospel scrutiny. In that spirit, let me point out four ways that Jesus’s news outshines Santa’s this Christmas.

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