a personal update

I still remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the name Capitol City Christian Church. Sitting at my desk in my home office in Amarillo, Texas, I was holding our youngest son, Carson, who was about three weeks old. Kristen and I had slept a total of fifteen minutes since he was born. An email came through that mentioned the church and encouraged me to consider putting myself forward as the church was looking for a new lead pastor.

As I processed that, my immediate reaction was clear, simple, and decisive. I thought to myself: that will never happen. If our Lord has a sense of humor, I imagine he chuckled at that. Because, obviously, it did happen. And it happened because God clearly, simply, and decisively made it happen. He called me to serve at Capitol City six years ago. And he did it in such a way that those who were a part of the process have never been able to doubt that he was the one orchestrating that call.

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the power of weak people

God loves to use weak people to accomplish big things. Weak, timid, desperate people make perfect receptacles for the Holy Spirit’s power when they turn to him and depend upon him. God’s kingdom does not advance by human strength but by supernatural power, and his supernatural power is best displayed – not through strong, smart, capable people, but through weak, humble, dependent people.

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my prayers for our search team

Satan hates faithful pastors. He abhors gospel ministry and those who seek to labor at it. The idea a pastor humbly loving and serving a church, faithfully exposing to them the truth of God’s Word, patiently urging them toward personal holiness, confidence in the Lord’s promises, and faithfulness in evangelism and ministry…these things make his skin crawl.

All this, of course, means that Satan hates pastoral search teams, too. Or, at the very least, he loves to undermine their work, their unity, and their love for one another and the church, all with the hope of undermining, in the end, the decisions they make about the kind of pastor that they will call. Because Satan hates pastors, he loves to mess with pastoral search teams.

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which king? which kingdom?

The story of 1 Samuel begins with a barren woman, a woman named Hannah. She has no children, and she is miserable. But she prays to God, pleading with him for a child, only to rejoice when God answers her prayer. Hannah conceives Samuel, and when Samuel is born, Hannah prays again. Her prayer is a great prayer of reversal, one that actually anticipates the themes of all of 1-2 Samuel. Hannah prays: The LORD kills and brings to life…The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts (1 Sam 2:6a, 7). And then she adds: He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail (1 Sam 2:9).

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the silence of God

God’s Word is a precious gift, one that he is not obligated to give. No external force or obligation compelled God to reveal himself, his purposes, or his ways to people like us. Yet God did just that, clearly, sufficiently, and truthfully, through his Word. If you were lost in a trackless jungle, without map, guide, or GPS, and someone came to you and showed you the way home, you would recognize their guidance as a blessing, as a gift. That is what God’s Word is like. We were lost, apart from it, yet through it God has graciously shown us the way home. God’s Word is an expression of his grace for people like us.

Yet so often we view reading Scripture as a chore. We approach it as if God’s Word is boring, or reading it an obligation we must fulfill. Why does the reality that Scripture is a precious gift so often fail to shape our habits and attitudes about the Bible?

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responding to tragedy in El Paso and Dayton

Like most of you, I went to bed on Saturday night knowing of and grieving over that day’s tragic events in El Paso. Like most of you, I woke up on Sunday morning to learn of the previous night’s tragic events in Dayton. Like most of you, I’ve spent the last few days trying to discern how I should think, pray, and feel about this…I’ve been trying to discern what I should do.

The issues before us are not simple, nor will their solutions be. The debate over gun control in our country illustrates a deeper conflict between competing worldviews that now defines life in our public square. The prevalence of hatred in our rhetoric, and the real problem of hate-inspired violence, leaves observers feeling more hopeless than hopeful. Finally, the politicization of everything means that these issues are debated in a place and with a posture that seems more focused on scoring political points than actually solving anything.

We need real wisdom from God to know how best to pray and respond to events like these, and to the broader cultural moment we find ourselves in. Yet there are key truths, revealed in Scripture, that we can and should come back to on weeks like this one. These truths, apart from the actions they can inspire and fuel, don’t change everything. But if we are to change anything, we must remember them and live in light of them:

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