Prudence is what makes someone a great commodities trader - the capacity to face reality squarely in the eye without allowing emotion or ego to get in the way. It's what is needed by every quarterback or battlefield general.
The most important criterion is this: hire someone whose character and humility and attitude you would like to have reproduced in your church and in yourself.
God has decided, for his own good reasons, that people are not transformed outside of community.
Both hope and pessimism are deeply contagious. And no one is more infectious than a leader.
The toppling of idols - even respectable, admired, best-practice, fastest-growing idols - is always the road to liberation.
Some leaders are not intimidated by opposition; they actually thrive on it. It wakes them up. It energizes them. It calls them to battle. It causes them to mobilize their thoughts and energy.
A simple way to address hidden curriculum issues is to spend time talking with staff and key leaders about their spiritual lives.
Better to be a loving person without knowing how you got there, than an expert no one can stand to be around.
In my love-challenged condition, seeing a difficulty for someone else can leave me feeling a little more smug or superior-by-comparison.
When preaching is done right, it can change lives. When it's done badly, my failure goes beyond the merely human.
For most of us, the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.
Universities such as Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard all began as Jesus-inspired efforts to love God with all ones' mind.
Evil exists. Evil is real. One of the hallmarks of evil is that it seeks to convince its victims that it exists 'out there.'
What influences our behavior, and what our level of responsibility is, are very complex issues. And anytime we try to make this simplistic, we don't serve people well.
Jesus' life as a foot-washing servant would eventually lead to the adoption of humility as a widely admired virtue.
We call an obsession with having someone's approval 'co-dependency;' the Bible's word for it is idolatry. A country can be an idol. A family can be an idol.
Far more books get written about how to get more people in your church than how to get the people already in your church to have more humility and sincere love.
The question isn't if someone will sign up for spiritual formation; it's just who and what our spirits will be formed by.
No one wants pain. Not even long-time, mature Christians who want to grow. We will always find ways to avoid pain. Pain itself is a bad thing.
Prudence is not the same thing as caution. Caution is a helpful strategy when you're crossing a minefield; it's a disaster when you're in a gold rush.
When people feel they're getting to speak into what's being preached, there is high built-in motivation to participate.
Women are the first witnesses to the resurrection and pillars of the early church.
It strikes me that presidential campaigns can often bring out the worst as well as the best in us.
A bad sermon is like a car wreck - everyone slows down to see what happened.
We all want to feel spiritually vigorous, and we hurt when we don't. This pain is intensified for people who lead church ministries.
The soul is both the most fragile and most resilient thing about you; a healthy soul is what holds you together when your world falls apart. Since you will carry your soul into eternity, it's worth checking up on it at least as often as your teeth.
I'm not sure ministry can ever have the urgency it requires if it is not aware of evil, both externally and internally.
I wrote 'Soul Keeping' because we are taught more about how to care for our cars than how to steward our souls. But you cannot have an impactful life with an impoverished soul.
Sometimes in churches somebody will discover a particular vein of spirituality and seek to recruit others into it, or assume a superior position because they have found certain techniques - but no one actually wants to become like them.
I know that those of us who go into church work are to regard ourselves as servants, are to offer our lives as a gift.
As a preacher, my charge is to proclaim the message of the Scriptures. To help the people in my congregation become a people of the book. I love getting to do this.
Prudence is not hesitation, procrastination, or moderation. It is not driving in the middle of the road. It is not the way of ambivalence, indecision, or safety.
The irony is that 'looking down on everybody else' is a violation of the law of love, which, according to Jesus, is the absolute essence of righteousness.
Churches need to figure out how they will address the spiritual lives of their staffs and leadership teams.
The single dynamic that helps people be most aware of God and most experiencing the fruit of the Spirit is gratitude.
'Who Is This Man?' is about the impact of Jesus on human history. Most people - including most Christians - simply have no idea of the extent to which we live in a Jesus-impacted world.
In community, we discover who we really are and how much transformation we still require. This is why I am irrevocably committed to small groups. Through them, we can accomplish our God-entrusted work to transform human beings.
People cheer the Bible, buy the Bible, give the Bible, own the Bible - they just don't actually read the Bible.
Amusement is a way of boredom-avoidance through external stimulation that fails to exercise our minds. It's mere diversion.
To have my mind racing and my heart beating fast over glorious possibilities is very close to the summit of life experience for me.
Sin is, somehow, at the root of all human misery. Sin is what keeps us from God and from life. It is in the face of every battered woman, the cry of every neglected child, the despair of every addict, the death of every victim of every war.
God has entrusted us with his most precious treasure - people. He asks us to shepherd and mold them into strong disciples, with brave faith and good character.
Jesus viewed his own destiny - to be glorified in and through death - as an expression of a kind of cosmic principle: the pathway to life runs through death.
There are dozens of references to God in the Scriptures for every one to the figure of Satan. This reflects a sometimes forgotten theological truth that the devil is by no means God's counterpart. He is a creature, not the Creator.
People with the strongest and healthiest sense of calling are not obsessed with their calling. They are preoccupied with the Caller.
Authority can be faked. That's why impersonating a police officer is a crime. Sometimes the outward appearances of authority can be deceiving.