Category: Blog

When I was in high school, there was a prominent Christian music scene in our area. There were so many Christian rock bands that anyone you talked to inevitably played bass, or drums, or electric guitar and was trying to pull together a musical act. At one time, I was in no less than six bands because drummers who could keep a steady rhythm and be on time to practice were in short supply.

A Shrinking Savior

When I was in high school, there was a prominent Christian music scene in our area. There were so many Christian rock bands that anyone you talked to inevitably played bass, or drums, or electric guitar and was trying to pull together a musical act.

Behavior Change

A dad discovered scribbling on the seat in front of where his family sat in church. He knew his three-year-old did it, so he leaned down and whispered, "Don't do that. Jesus wouldn't want us to color on his pew." His daughter closed her eyes and bowed her head. With her hands crossed dutifully, she […]

The Problem With Prayer

It was the day that I lifted eight large bags of concrete that I noticed something change in my lower abdomen. A lump that had not previously been part of my physiology was now clearly present, and it was causing some measure of pain. Over the following weeks, I saw doctors, who all agreed that I had an inguinal hernia.

A Need For Teams

You dry as Aunt Loola washes the dishes. After a moment, you notice a smile stretch across her face.  “Hey, do you have time to go see a friend of mine?” Loola asks.  “Sure, why not,” you say. You grab your keys and escort Aunt Loola to the car. She directs you toward the interstate, […]

Goal Swap

You show Aunt Loola around the house and offer her a seat at the kitchen table. You start a dark pot of coffee brewing and pull out some eggs and a skillet.  “So, are we going to work in the garden today?" you ask as she shuffles into the kitchen. “I am concerned," she says.  […]

Forgetting The Purpose

Your car pulls up in front of Aunt Loola’s house far earlier than you prefer to be awake. Though you have an urge to lean grumblingly against the horn, she emerges from the font door before you have the car in park.  “Where to?” you say when she gets in the passenger side. She points […]

Too Much Sowing Seeds

You arrive at the feed store at ten thirty with a thermos of coffee in hand. You head straight for the gardening section in search of Aunt Loola. She's finishing up with a customer when you arrive. The customer leaves with a cartload of gardening supplies.  “Can I help you?” she says with a wink.  […]

Conditions Are Right

You arrive at Aunt Loola’s house the next morning with a pen and notepad. You’re eager to get instructions. You feel as if you’re finally making progress, as you now know where you have to focus.  You knock on the door, but there is no answer. You knock again and wait. You're about to go […]

Focus On The Soil

You wake with the sun streaming through your window and are at your garden in a few minutes. With transformation on your mind, you wonder where to start.  “I thought I might find you here,” comes a now familiar voice.  “Hey, Aunt Loola,” you say. “What are you doing here?”  "You visited me; I thought […]

Soil

By now you’ve spent weeks staring at the garden. You have checked the fruit tree sapling. It is a tough plant. It continues to survive, but it is far from thriving. In fact, it hasn't grown a single centimeter since shortly after you planted it.  Each time you visit the wild garden, you kneel down […]

You Can't Do It

You've spent a few weeks dreaming about fruit, now. Each morning you stand in the place where your fruit tree sapling is planted. You can't wait to see that little sprig spring into a vibrant giant with heavily laden branches of edible delights.  As you sit among the vines and thorns waiting for the fruit […]

A Selfish Gardener

You're standing, once again, in that overgrown wood that you can't really call a garden. There is hardly anything redeeming about it. It's packed with rocks and thorns. Vines block out the sun from reaching the ground. The place is a wreck. You've visited the unkempt property for weeks now but haven't seen a change. […]

Garden Goal

You find yourself in a jungle of sorts. Your feet squish into the floor of this overgrown stretch of wilderness. The sun is shining dappled softly downward. Its amber warmth caresses the side of your face. Green surrounds, but you wonder how many of these plants are poisonous. Thorn-laden vines, weeds, and fungus grow everywhere […]

In Pursuit Of Fruit Intro

Not-so-famous Amos wants to lead an army into battle or carry a king, but he's stuck carrying a pregnant woman to a small town called Bethlehem. Enjoy this new Christmas children's book, with a kid you love. Read free below or see all our buying options here. .

Not So Famous Amos

Three brothers are visited by a flying train and a magical conductor. They are told about the Land Of Light, and what they must do to get there. This book is a great tool to teach kids about the Kingdom of God and how to "store up treasure" there. Read and listen for free on […]

Adventures Beyond Mudville

This colorfully illustrated children's book follows the adventures of a little boy and his friends as they learn about heaven and the great rewards that lay in store for those who follow Jesus. Read free on this page or find out about other buying options here. .

Evan Wants To Go To Heaven

When a little girl asks her Dad if she is good enough to get into heaven, he takes her on a fun adventure through a set of seven zany attempts at being "good enough." Good enough is a fun illustrated children's book. Read free below or see all our buying options here. .

Good Enough

My wedding day began with me and my dad stealing a truckload of bamboo. Kristah wanted an arbor of greenery that we could stand under for the ceremony. Like always, I had waited until the last moment.  "There's some!" I shouted as we rolled down the road in Dad's truck. I hopped out, machete in […]

Married

"You want to come over tomorrow?" I asked Kristah on the phone.  “Sure,” she said happily.  "Ok. Bring shoes and jeans, because I want to show you the new trail I cut in the woods," I said as if it were just another of my bizarre projects born of long hours alone in among the […]

Engaged

As the invitations to speak dried up, I began to realize that I needed the break. I had to gather my thoughts and reconsider everything. It was brash of me to think that I was ready to talk publicly about something so new to me. There were dozens, maybe hundreds of questions that I needed […]

Improve

Although I had officially exited vocational ministry a few years earlier, I still occasionally received invitations to speak at church-sponsored events. In the south, there is a tradition called 'See You At The Pole.' Christian students gather around the flag pole of their school and pray for their friends, teachers, and a host of other […]

Rejected

"Have you ever heard of free grace theology?" I asked my friend Teddy. Free grace was what I had learned to call the theological outlook which I had now adopted. I was finding it difficult to explain to my old friends what my new perspective was. Teddy was a pastor in his late fifties. He […]

Clarify

Kristah and I had been dating for a while when she asked me to join her for a Bible conference in Dallas. It was the annual meeting of the Grace Evangelical Society. I had never heard of the group, but I would later come to find out that they are an organization that has spent […]

Chasing Mist

Dating Kristah was unlike any other experience I have ever encountered. Most of the relationships I had with girls had been fraught with uncertainty and unwanted drama. I grew up with only brothers, so the vagaries of the feminine mentality were mysterious. Usually something incomprehensible to me destroyed the relationship. That was not the case […]

Believe And Follow

"I don't want our first kiss to be some sloppy slobber job in the parking lot of the Mall," I had said the first week we were dating. "I want it to be somewhere special that's worth remembering." I had enough girlfriends in the past to know that usually, the first kiss is more underwhelming […]

A Kiss

After the movie, apparently, neither of us was quite ready to say, "good night." The car didn't seem to want to shift into drive as long as the destination was an ending to all that was good in my world. Being a creative duo, it didn't take long for one of us to offer up […]

First Day

The first day of shooting on our movie, which we clumsily called Cookie, just so happened to coincide with the first day of Kristah's internship. The free labor arrived at a perfect time, considering that I needed a film crew. No doubt, it's not what she had expected to be doing for the first day […]

Last Day

"I want to admit something, but you can't laugh," I typed. I hadn't seen Kristah since that day in class, but I had a regular line of communication open through facebook messenger. I was careful not to be too friendly, always remembering that she was an eighteen-year-old college kid, and I was in the mid-twenties. […]

Intern

It took me two weeks to get up the nerve to send Kristah a message online. I had found her on Facebook the same day but didn't want to seem too eager. It was difficult to wait that long, but it was the obligatory interval for avoiding the appearance of being a creepy stalker.  We […]

Twilight

Around that time, I was invited to judge a graphic design project at Kilgore College. My dad had taught advertising and design there for about twenty-five years. He often would invite media professionals to come to the college and critique the student's work. That added a real-world feel to the presentation of the student's design […]

Her

When I was a high school sophomore, I directed a short film called Janitor Wars. It was a spoof of Star Wars set in a high school. Two janitors battle for dominance with mop handles aided by the force. My team and I won the first-place state-wide award. In the years that followed, I had […]

Show Biz

I slid into my unassigned seat for my 8:00 AM evangelism class. I like to think I was more excited about this class than anyone else there. I assume that many of the students had to take it as part of their core curriculum. For me, this was my one class, and I had handpicked […]

Evangelism

I needed answers. I had lived with a theological limp for years. Bible college worsened the hobble. Being in ministry meant that I had to hide the hitch in my step. I had one last hope. I imagined, as naive as it may seem, seminary would be the hospital that could finally apply the healing […]

Cold Seminary

1. DO YOU KNOW FOR SURE THAT YOU WILL GO TO HEAVEN?  If they answer yes, then a great follow up question is, “How do you know?” If they answer no, a great follow up question is, “Would you like to know for sure?” Almost anyone can honestly answer that they would like to know […]

The End
Conclusion

The other day a friend in his mid-sixties asked me to give him some tips on how to use Facebook for his business. I went into teacher mode. I said something like, “You can use targeted audience data for business page ads. In addition they give you analytics that show your market penetration.” I thought […]

Repeating Isn't Enough

What to emphasize in the verse: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) What to say:  God loved the world a lot. That’s a good thing because the world has a big problem.  What to […]

Present The Gospel

I love to draw. I grew up doing art. That’s because my dad, even when my brothers and I were young, was a locally known painter. We studied the craft under his tutelage. His paintings and murals can be seen all around our area in banks, restaurants, and hospitals. In this section I hope to […]

Share It
SECTION 7: The Obvious

Though it is Jesus’ job to fully convince anyone who hasn’t yet believed by providing ample evidence, there is quite a bit one can do to put themselves in the right frame of mind. In a pursuit to believe it’s easy to miss out on a powerful tool: Prayer. James wrote:  If any of you […]

Fairly Consider

In the first-century testimony of Christ was more accessible. Eyewitnesses of Jesus were available to whom you could go. I am convinced that virtually all of Israel, around 2 million people in that time, witnessed Jesus with their own eyes. It was easier then because most people from that region knew someone who had been […]

Jesus as a Prophet

Jesus gives a fourth category of evidence to prove His authenticity when He says:  “If it were just Me talking about Myself, My testimony wouldn't be valid. John announced the truth about Me. The works the Father gave Me to do, prove I'm the real thing. The Father Himself has testified about Me. The Scriptures […]

Messianic Prophecy

Not only had John the Baptist, and Jesus’ miracles testified about the Messiah’s identity, but so too did God the Father. In an attempt to persuade the religious leaders that He was the Messiah, Jesus reminded them that the Father had given an audible endorsement of His Son. He said: “If it were just Me […]

The Father's Testimony

Though all of Jesus' miraculous works were fantastic, none is greater than His resurrection. On the Sunday after the terrible events of crucifixion Friday, Jesus came out of His grave. This was the most important moment in all of human history. Years later Paul said:  For he [God] has set a day when he will […]

Proof From The Grave

We learn a lot about a person from the way they face death. Some are fearful and trembling at the end. Others are calm and at peace. I remember watching my grandmother in the last weeks of her life. She faced death with a determined peace and certainty. My grandfather, who survived her by about […]

Proof On The Cross

Jesus is known as a miracle worker. Even those who know little to nothing about Him know at least that. Did He just like to shock and awe, or was there some purpose behind His actions? Nothing Jesus did was without purpose. In attempting to convince a group that He was the Messiah, He said: […]

For The Sake Of Signs

Every political campaign cycle features a round of endorsements. The candidates rally for the support of famous and influential people. A candidate for Congress who receives the endorsement of his peers is admirable; but one who receives the endorsement of the president and other high offices is sure to have a considerable advantage. Did you […]

John the Baptist

I was discussing faith with an atheist online a while back. He typed this: “The anus is on you to prove that Jesus is authentic.” Oh my, I thought. What have I gotten myself into? What our conversation had to do with the termination point of the gastrointestinal tract I could not see. He quickly […]

It's Jesus' Job
SECTION 6: The Onus

I remember the first time I ever flew in a plane. I cried at the beauty of the world passing below. It gave an amazing sense of perspective as we rushed over the unaware world of miniature proportions. We’ve come a long way. Thus far, we’ve looked at eternal life and how to receive it […]

The Giver Of Eternal Life

I did something stupid to one of my friends. It was something that got me into trouble with him. He was right to be mad at me over it. Let me explain.  Financially, he was in a tight spot a number of years back. He was between jobs and needed some cash. I had an […]

The Present Possession Of Eternal Life

I used to live in a place on the edge of some woods in Tyler, TX. The rent was cheap, and it was owned by one of the secretaries of the church where I worked. When I moved in, I noticed some interesting things. First of all, it was nestled low at the bottom of […]

The Security Of Eternal Life

Years ago I opened an account with a new bank. I picked the bank because it had the tallest building in town. After opening the account, I got a letter in the mail from the bank. Inside was what looked like a check for one hundred and fifty dollars. It appeared to be some kind […]

The Cost Of Eternal Life

We sat on the stairs as I struggled to explain the situation to my three-year-old. She scrunched her face up trying to grasp what it all meant.  “Do you remember what happened to Grandpa’s dog?”  “Milo?” “Yeah, Milo,” I said trying to envision how I would word this. She beat me to it.  “Oh, did […]

The Need For Eternal Life

Lyrics from the American rock band, Queen: This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us. Who wants to live forever?  The flaming lips answered when they sang: Everyone wants to live forever. Thinking that it'd be a lot better. Everyone wants to live forever, But no one ever gets it together A […]

The Objective
SECTION 5: The Objective

What does it mean to be the Christ? The simplest answer is: The Christ is what the Christ does. Let me illustrate this idea with a practical example. If I claim to be an artist that means I do art. An artist is what an artist does. I’m not an artist if I’ve never made […]

Title Or Ability

Most great leaders are known for a single idea. That doesn't mean that great leaders only have one idea, but in terms of history, most are remembered for one thing. Just about every historical figure can be boiled down to a main claim. Abraham Lincoln's main claim was that slavery must end. He may have […]

Jesus' Main Claim

I drive old cars. My first car was a Nissan Pulsar. It cost me six hundred dollars to buy and seven hundred to get it operational. Since then I've driven used and abused cars. My newest car is fifteen years old. Fortunately, my vehicles run without me having to know what's going on under the […]

Know It All

I was not a very good English student. I was not good at the technical side of writing. I struggled to keep grammar rules straight. Even through college, I remained weak in English. I had to take a remedial English class my senior year of my undergraduate. I remember my teacher saying, "Lucas, by the […]

The Object Of Your Belief: Jesus

There were a handful of illustrations and analogies that I had picked up during my youth ministry days. I had used these clever-sounding parables at the climax of sermons and Bible lessons. They were part of my shiny tool kit of preacher sayings. They had aroused interest and intrigue from my audiences, but the gilding […]

Illustration
SECTION 4: The Object

I was heading out to my office, which is behind my house, and my wife stopped me. She said, “Did you take my dongles?" They weren’t dongles, I thought but didn't say. I knew what she was referring to, but I decided to be an annoying know-it-all instead of a helpful husband. That's because as […]

Convinced In the Bible

I have this friend who always is asking for definitions. Anytime we talk about anything important, he says, "Now what do you mean by the word ____." He likes to lock in definitions because he's big on understanding the person he's talking to. Honestly, it's an excellent way to be. In fact, It's a good […]

Convinced In Greek

I was sitting with some buddies at my favorite burger shop. I watched through the front window of the building as a lady in the drive-through ripped the wrapper off her straw and tossed it out the open window of her car. I was the sole witness of this heinous crime, or so I thought. […]

Believe
SECTION 3: The Obligation

The only New Testament book left out of this discussion so far is Acts. Doctor Luke, the author of Acts, had a purpose in writing. His purpose was to legitimize the Apostle Paul's authority,⁠1 and to demonstrate the universality of Christianity,⁠2 after it had spread to the Gentiles.⁠3 Acts is not an evangelistic book.  The […]

Acts

When I was in high school, I noticed an interesting phenomenon in the Bible. At the time I didn't know how to make sense of it. I noticed that some passages claim that salvation is a free gift. At the same time, I noticed loads of verses with stipulations, instructions, and commandments. I remember asking […]

Matthew, Mark, and Luke

An engineering friend of mine works at a power plant at one of the nation's largest chemical companies. He works with power systems so great that an arc flash, which is hot enough to vaporize copper, could set the entire chemical plant ablaze. To say that his work is complex is a massive understatement. He […]

New Testament Letters

If you want to know what you have to do to receive eternal life, what book of the Bible should you turn to? This question has divided scholars and laypersons alike. However, it doesn't need to be a lightning rod question. Scripture itself gives the answer. All of the Bible is valuable in helping a […]

Gospel of John, The Primary

I was on a road trip with my family. We had bought this old church van and converted it into a camper. When I say old, I mean it's nearly my age. The camper van ran well for about 2,500 miles. When we were as far away from civilization as we had been on the […]

The Bible's Purpose

The fountain of youth has been dreamed about since the early Greek philosophers, maybe even earlier. Herodotus fantasized about this fountain in the 5th century BC. The concept was revived during the Crusades by Prester John. I suppose one way to motivate medieval troops to march across Europe to defend the Holy Land is to […]

Where To Look For Living Water

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SECTION 2: The Obsession

In the fourth chapter of John, Jesus is talking with a thirsty lady by a well. He says: If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water. (John 4:10) The living water Jesus is […]

Clearing The Water

You can be part of the solution. You can play a considerable part in fixing this massive shipwreck. Let me explain. Think about Paul’s words in Romans: How can they hear without someone preaching to them? …faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:14, 16) According to Paul, the Gospel […]

The Gospel Needs People

What I discovered in my research seems likely connected to a phenomenon that you've probably spotted. If you've been a churchgoer for any length of time, you will have noticed that there are fewer shoes under pews as of late. Sure, some churches are growing in number, but the broader picture reveals that church attendance […]

A Church In Exodus

The entire experience left me with more questions. I wanted to know how unified Christians, especially evangelicals, are on the subject of the Gospel. Specifically, I wanted to know if the majority of people agreed on the content of the saving message. Over about two years, I have built a sizable online audience. I have […]

People Disagree

The conference’s work-force was made up of the 600 staff members of the host church. They worked for the church where this famous pastor regularly spoke. One of the things that I had noticed was how consistently the conference staff used specific terminology. Clearly, they had been trained to use the same words when talking […]

The Staff Is Confused

A few years ago I attended a massive four-day conference at one of the largest churches in the nation. Its focus was to encourage and train church staff. Pastors and ministers from thousands of churches throughout the country come to this conference and soak up all there is to learn. The pastor of the hosting […]

Celebrity Pastors Don't Know Everything.
SECTION 1: The Oblivious

Most of the friends I had were either in music or youth ministry. Some of them were in both. I had a buddy who had taken a ministry job at a church one town over. He was primarily a music minister, but he was good with students as well. He had never studied at seminary […]

Once Saved

For a semester, I attended a university in Dallas. Living on campus was incredibly lonely since most of the students I met during the week were commuters. My dorm was a closet-sized room with three stinky college students crammed inside. Our bathroom was shared by six. Consequently, I spent long hours alone on the edge […]

In The Buff

In the corner of the Bible Belt, where I grew up, there was this pervasive idea that faith equals fervor. Disregarding the fact that the two words have entirely separate etymologies and semantic domains, the cohabitation of these two terms never seemed all that questionable to my developing mind. In practice, it merely meant that […]

Before The Lord

"If you can't feel the presence of God in this place, you should check your spiritual pulse!" I heard a sweating revival preacher say once. It frightened me. I was not all that moved by his preaching antics, which seemed surprisingly similar to a red-faced temper tantrum. I had known since I was a child […]

The Passion

Why should the Kingdom matter now?  I was burned out like a piece of bread in a jammed toaster. I had been in church for years and even worked as a full-time minister. None-the-less, the fire had gone out for me, and I was still smoking with bitterness and frustration. I was confident that I […]

A Note From The Author

After a beautiful week in Jerusalem full of feasts, singing, and celebration, the micro delegation from Sundar was preparing to go home. They had gathered in the palace's courtyard. They had packed their travel bags and gathered them into a pile. Avi made general thanks to each. Jenil and Mr. Patel thanked him. Amoli shook […]

Next

Avi could feel the music flowing through his body, raising every hair. By the end, David and Zariah were standing next to him, singing along. Their harmony was like honey and wine. Every word sent warm chills down Avi's back.  Coming out of the melody was like being unbound from a musical spell. The drifting […]

Festival

The sky fanned out with rainbowic ribbons of borealis. The colors of the aurora above painted the faces of the people who watched. The shimmering light in the sky was a sign that the royal broadcast of the festivities had begun. The music that would follow, Avi’s voice, was being broadcast across the entire earth, […]

A Song

The next day the festivities began at dawn. Trumpet blasts rang through the city. The courtyard of the palace was being prepared for a massive banquet. Noise and movement were all about the grounds. By midmorning, they were on their way to the parade grounds.  Eliah and his daughter Zariah joined Avi and the delegation […]

The Grand Parade

Zariah led Avi up a winding set of stairs that must have spanned twenty floors. She kept stealing stray glances at him as they climbed toward the top. After a plethora of steps, they finally came to the stoop of the corner tower of the Palace. They exited the stairwell, which opened onto a balcony […]

The Temple

“Hello,” King David said as he stepped out from behind the drum kit. He was glowing bright white. Seven golden rings encircled his head. “My name is David Ben-Jesse.”  “I—uh—I’m—” Avi stuttered. Zariah giggled gently.  “Yes, my granddaughter has told me all about you, Avi,” David said. “You have made quite an impression on her.”  […]

Making Music

"Well, do you want to finish our walk?” Amoli said in an incredibly friendly voice. Her request seemed devoid of affection yet pleasant and inviting. He could see she would make a pleasant friend.    “Yeah, that'd be nice,” Avi said. He felt as if he had just made a new friend. Though, she proved […]

Eavesdropping

“I’ve been talking to Nimit Patel about our arrangement,” Avi’s father said. They were walking in the courtyard among the colonnade of the royal palace. The evening was turning to night, and the moon was already peeking over the tops of the beautiful city silhouette. The rest of the family and friends had retired to […]

She's Here

"Avi, Carina!” his father said. Silhouetted against the sunshine outside stood both his father and mother. Around their legs were a half dozen of their children, Avi's siblings. His mother held baby Galiun. As soon as she spotted her big brother and sister, Margreth came running.  “Avi!” Margreth said as she charged full speed toward […]

Reunion

“Stay out here, Boy,” Avi said to Bhoora.  “I’ll have someone bring him something to eat,” Eliah said. “Does he like Aubergine baba ganoush?”  After making the arrangements, Eliah led them into an opulent room where a low table was already being set with food. A young man poured wine into several large goblets.  “Adelaide, […]

A King's Sons

The shuttle set down gently outside the city. As soon as Avi was out of the massive compartment, he paused and surveyed the incredible scenery. The eager travelers streamed out around him, but he didn’t notice.  “During the Old Earth era, this was all desert,” Rachit said, pointing to the surrounding scenery. Avi could hardly […]

The Capital

“Aircraft in the old world were limited by relativistic physics,” Carina said as Avi and Rachit slurped at their drink pouches. Rachit’s eyes scanned the room as Carina continued. Avi did his best to show interest in Carina’s knowledge of the archaic.  “What does that mean?” Avi asked. “The more acceleration, the more it would […]

Orbit

The three stayed in Low King Hans's estate for another few days as they awaited their departure to the capital. Avi, Carina, Bhoora, and Rachit arrived at the sky port sometime near dusk. They had been instructed to gather their things and prepare for departure for Jerusalem. Amos accompanied them there before saying goodbye at […]

Shuttle

Having seen a trial that ended in execution, Avi was entirely undone as Hans turned his attention toward Rachit. He was so frightened that without realizing it, he was clutching Amos' sleeve. He could hardly breathe. Thinking of such dark things was more than Avi had ever had to endure.  “What are the charges,” Low […]

A Need For Mercy
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