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Category: Vertical Church

Too Many Calories—Not Enough Sustenance!

April 10, 2017

I didn’t do it for Lent or anything, but I am on a very strict diet and doing my level best to stay away from the dessert table. Honestly, I have felt for a long time that I could live on ice cream and cookies. But more recently I have been experiencing the good feeling …

Treating God’s Glory as a By-Product

April 27, 2016

  One of the most educational days I ever spent was in Bakersfield, California, with a man named Bill Bolthouse. A deeply committed Christian originally from Michigan, Bill developed and refined the harvesting of raw carrots into those beautiful little rounded carrots you frequently see on a vegetable tray with cauliflower, broccoli, and some ranch-dressing …

On the Road to Focused Sermon Prep . . .

June 13, 2014

Getting down to serious sermon prep takes focus, concentration, and at times, clearing your head of the other stuff you are thinking about. So here comes the mind dump. Hope it’s edifying for you—it sure has been for me.

Get Your Focus Back

January 16, 2014

Hey Pastor: What are you working on today? What are you striving after? Grieving over? Burdened about? Let’s keep our focus: We are not important. We are unprofitable servants on our best days. We have a King—and it is His glory we seek. John 2:11 says, “This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at …

The Most Destructive Error in the Church

April 17, 2013

Soteriology is a word that comes from the Greek word soterios, which means “to save.” Doxology comes from the Greek word for glory and names the single stanza hymn. While many have heard the Westminster Confession that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” fewer have understood that doxology …

Can You Do It Again, Pastor?

December 14, 2012

After another exhausting week, in a string of weeks so far back I can’t see the start, I have yet another day of high-pressure message preparation. No matter what has happened this week or this month, everything is about to fade into a blur over the next 24 hours until just this single responsibility weighs …

The Preaching Pillar

October 24, 2012

“And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22 “And they were all amazed…saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority!

Vertical Church Tour Recap

October 18, 2012

With all my heart I believe the battle that rages in the heavenlies is for the glory of God and His great Son, Jesus Christ. The enemy is very happy with horizontal church. As long as church is boring, entertaining, or self-help, it does not threaten the kingdom of darkness.

What is Distinctive About Your Church?

October 03, 2012

Church consultants are everywhere these days, flying in, costing a fortune, and teaching church leadership teams to “establish their vision,” “figure out their unique value proposition,” “settle on a purpose statement and what they will offer to the community.” Demographic analysis, carefully targeted music,

Evangelism Breakthrough Starts Here

September 20, 2012

My mom, who went to heaven in July 2010, was the most effective personal evangelist I have ever known. It was extremely common during my childhood to see my mother sitting at the kitchen table with her Bible open in earnest conversation with another mom who lived on our street. Some of these were friends, …

15 Cities in Under 150 Seconds

August 28, 2012

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind on the Vertical Church Tour, amazing in so many ways—and we’re not even finished with leg one. So if a picture is worth

The Key Word is Boldness

August 21, 2012

Contrary to popular opinion, God has done more than give us good news He wants to get out. He has given us a manner that must accompany every method and a rationale for that manner.

The single term that best describes the way God wants his gospel given is boldness. And because it’s translated various ways, even faithful students of Scripture might overlook its frequency.

Unceasing Prayer

August 16, 2012

When was the last time you participated in a faith-driven, expectation-filled prayer meeting that invited God to reveal His glory and show up in power at your church? Not where one or two people pray the will of God, but where everyone in the room

If You’re Not Heralding the Bible, You’re Not Preaching

August 14, 2012

Looking back, we can see that much of what went wrong with preaching at the end of the last century flowed from men determined to connect with their listeners. At the time, many preachers were understandably fed up with profitless Bible babbling that inflicts boredom on

Worship: The Most Powerful Thing We Do

August 09, 2012

When Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21), He was punctuating the absolute centrality of worship as the determinant for every human future. Worship or adoration is the most powerful expression

The Power of Crying Out

August 07, 2012

Today, I invite you to pray for the Vertical Church Tour, as we finish loading and set out for the first of 40 events throughout North America. Pray that God would be glorified in every city as His Word is proclaimed and His Son is exalted (Ephesians 3:21).

Prosperity, Popularity, and Other Problem Gospels

August 03, 2012

God commands boldness because it’s the only manner of speaking about Jesus that comes from the overflow of our love for Him. “Now when [the rulers and elders] saw the boldness of Peter and John, … they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been

Is Worship More Than Singing?

August 02, 2012

I often read or hear a servant of Christ insist that worship is “more than singing.” We are frequently told that making a meal for your family or cleaning your car or helping your neighbor are all acts of worship. When these acts are the outgrowth of our love for God

What Only God Can Do

July 31, 2012

You can’t fake glory. You can’t manufacture it, or manipulate it, or manifest it at will. Only God Himself can bring glory into a church, and when He does, communities get shaken and lives get changed, and the fame of Jesus Christ curls continuously upon the shore of human hearts

The Glory of Staying Put

July 26, 2012

When Kathy and I were in seminary in the late eighties, we began to pray, “God, we will go anywhere you want us to go, but if You would allow it, we would like to pastor one church for our ministry.” I had already been a youth pastor at a church of two hundred

An Epic Failure: Ichabod

July 24, 2012

It was Jack Nicholson who famously bellowed to Tom Cruise while playing Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in the courtroom scene of A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth.” I wonder if the screenwriter knew how succinctly he had summarized our culture.


July 12, 2012

Transcendence is the best single word I have found to describe the attributes of God that are only found in Him and what is missing too often from our churches. We are facilitators of transcendence.

The One Thing That Changes Everything

July 10, 2012

A real encounter with the living God changes everything. First it magnifies the Lord, and then it puts me and my ego and my sin and my burdens, that moments ago seemed so big, all in their rightful place.

What Every Heart Longs For. What Every Church Can Be.

July 06, 2012

Church was never meant to be safe. Or comfortable. Or predictable. God isn’t any of those things.

2 Problems with Consumer Christians

May 08, 2012

This weekend I preached from John 2:13-22, on Christ’s response to the consumer mindset that had taken over the temple. And nothing is more of an axe to the tree of vertical church—of God church, of glory church—than “consumer church.”

What Sets You Apart?

May 17, 2011

In wanting to be effective, make a difference, leave a legacy, we can often lose sight of what really makes that possible. Serving Christ and His kingdom is a very big job and it’s essential that we focus on the things, no, the thing, that truly sets a servant of Christ apart, that in the …

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