Category Archives: Ministry

How do we face persecution?

This week, Life Groups at Real Life Church are talking about being a church that faces persecution. Many of you have faced “trials of many kinds” far more severe than anything I have gone through. Others have been tested in ways that, as the author of Hebrews says, “the world is not worthy of them”. I am NOT one of those people. But in studying for a message, God brought this outline together before my eyes and I thought it might encourage you as much as it does me.

How do we be a church that faces persecution?

  1. Desire godliness
    • 2 Timothy 3:12 – “In fact, everyone who wants to live a GODLY LIFE in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
    • We don’t desire persecution.
    • We don’t go looking for a fight.
    • Hebrews 12:2 – “Fix your eyes on Jesus”.
    • We face persecution by desiring godliness.
  2. Don’t be surprised
    • John 16:33 – “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble.”
    • When don’t you have peace?
      • Before getting on a roller coaster?
      • When a child or loved one is very sick?
      • When a job is up in the air? Or gone?
      • Tax day?
    • We don’t have peace when we don’t know what will happen.
    • Jesus tells us what will happen. We WILL be persecuted.
    • We face persecution with peace, because we aren’t surprised.
  3. Consider it joy.
    • James 1:2 – “Consider it PURE JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds”.
    • Persecution is a sign of our closeness to Jesus and the “prophets who were before you”. (Mathew 5:12)
    • Do your Life Group homework to be inspired by the lives of people who know what it means to have joy in the face of persecution. (Or check out the Persecution Blog by Voice of the Martyrs.)
    • We face persecution by considering it joy.
  4. Preach the word.
    • Acts 8:1 & 4 – “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria….Those who had been scattered PREACHED THE WORD wherever they went.”
    • What is the goal of our preaching? To produce more people who desire godliness… who will have peace… who will consider it joy… who will preach the word…

How do we face persecution? Desire godliness. Have peace because you aren’t surprised. Consider it joy. Preach the word!


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Relationslips Week 3 // Parentnoid

As we continue in our Relationslips series at Real Life Church, I’d like to try something different.  For Week 3 we are talking about Parentnoid – avoiding or overcoming the mistakes we make as parents.  Since I have made too many “slips” to condense into written form, I thought we’d try a live parenting web seminar.

This Friday, October 2nd, at 9:00 PM (Pacific) I will be HERE talking about parenting.  You’ll be able to watch live on your computer as I share some of my thoughts, experiences, and yes, “slips”, on parenting.  You’ll also be able to submit questions or leave comments as I’m talking.  If you want more on a specific topic, or have questions, or just want to tell me how good my hair looks, you’ll be able to do all that in a “chat window” right next to the video feed.  I’ll keep an eye on that as I talk so I can respond in real-time to what you want to know more about.

But I’d love a head start on what parenting questions/issues/topics/slips you would like to talk about.  Click the “Comments” link below and leave me your questions.  Feel free to ask anything.  I’ll handle everything that I can on Friday (and follow up with you later if I don’t get to your question).  And then remember to tune in HERE this Friday, Oct 2nd, at 9:00 PM to join in the conversation!

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Relationslips Week 2 // Fly Guts



“Oh, I got it!  Ew! Ew! Ew! Ew! Ew!”

Today Molly spotted a fly on the back door and took a swipe at it, not really expecting anything to happen.  But something happened.  She wound up with a handful of … well … fly guts.

Reminds me a lot of sin.  We see a temptation buzzing around.  We take a swipe at it, in reality not expecting much to happen.  But something happens.  And we find ourselves with a life-full of fly guts.

Or a marriage-full of fly guts.  This week we are talking in our Life Groups about marriage – “Holy Matrimonotony”.  Fly guts (a.k.a. “sin”) make marriage messy, difficult, and slippery.  One little opportunity to be dishonest.  One hour alone with the computer.  One business trip out of town by yourself.  One daydream of “What life could be like with ________…”  One little swipe at sin and –  SMACK – you got it.  And now you wish you hadn’t.  You see why it was dumb.  You regret ever having the idea.

So now what?  Molly could have stood there with a handful of fly guts in denial that anything was wrong.  She could have blamed the fly for being there.  Or not moving.  She could have rubbed it on her clothes or the wall or her brother (who ran over to look) and made a bigger mess of things.  But instead, she got rid of the fly guts – she washed her hands.

In your marriage (or life in general), you have choices, too.  You can act like nothing is wrong and get defensive when people question you.  You can blame someone else…or the computer…or society…or whatever.  You can point out other people’s sin, too, and make a bigger mess of it.

Or you can confess it, ask for forgiveness, and get rid of it.  Now doesn’t that just make the most sense?  What is keeping you from getting rid of the fly guts in your marriage?

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What Hit the Fan


You know that distinctive sound of an object being thrust into a box fan?  Kind of a really fast repetitive thud?  Yeah – I had the pleasure of hearing that noise a few nights ago as my kids were playing upstairs.  Followed by a gasp.

“What hit the fan?” was my immediate – and a little bit worried – question.  Nathan sheepishly came down the stairs holding his hand.  “What hit the fan?” I asked again.

“I think my finger got in there.”

“You think your finger got in there?”


How many times do we give God those kind of answers?

“I think some unloving words came out of my mouth.”

“I think my temper got lost.”

“I think my eyes looked at those pictures.  Again.”

This Sunday I talked to the Renovate men about obedience.  We looked at John 14.15 – “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  For followers of God, obedience is not an option.  God is love and we want to obey him.

But Nathan’s experience with the fan teaches us another important lesson: When we disobey God, we hurt ourselves. Are you lying to your employer?  Guess who gets fired when they find out.  Looking at images or movies you shouldn’t be?  Guess whose relationships are going to be destroyed.  Putting control, pleasure, image, wealth…ahead of God?  Guess whose life will be empty, lonely, and filled with fear.

Fortunately Nathan’s finger didn’t suffer any damage this time.  But he certainly learned the lesson we have told him time and time again.  Will you be wise enough to learn that lesson, too.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” — Jesus

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You’re Hurting Me!

We have this conversation often in our house:

One of the girls, in mostly-pretend tears – “Dad!  Nathan hit me with (insert just about any object that can resemble a light saber).”

Nathan, running down the stairs behind her – “I didn’t hit her hard enough to hurt!”

Me, to Nathan – “But, you DID hit her?”

Nathan – “Yes, but not hard enough to hurt.”

Me – “But, you DID hit her?”

Nathan – “Yes, but not hard enough to hurt.”

[Repeat until Nathan just says, “Yes”.]

Me – “Do you get to decide what hurts someone else?”

And then I get convicted myself.  How many times have I argued with Amy about why what I said or did shouldn’t have hurt her?  How many people have I brushed off or flat-out ignored because I thought they were acting more hurt than they really should have been?  How does that square with the times I get angry and bitter at  people who refuse to believe that what they did actually hurt ME?

Who in your life is saying, “You’re hurting me!”?  What would change if you started believing them?

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