An Urgent Charge

Paul wrote with urgency, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season.”

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Good Will Come

As a pastor, counselor, and seminary chancellor, I have often found myself in an unpopular spot. An individual who has come to me pours out his or her soul. And God very clearly leads me to confront . . .

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Dealing with Disrespect and Resentment

A man named Naaman was a high-ranking Syrian soldier. He was influential, wealthy, proud—a man of dignity, courage, patriotism, and military clout. There was only one problem: the man had leprosy.

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A Critical Appraisal of Our Times

Need a picture of just how hopeless and empty society really is? Just glance over 2 Timothy 3. Within the first thirteen verses, I find three undeniable descriptions of our world: difficult, depraved, and deceived.

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Reading, Part Two

Due to the tragic problem of ignorance and passivity in our world today, I’ve been extolling the benefits of reading. Yesterday, we talked about number one: reading sweeps the cobwebs away; it expands us. Today, I’ll note three additional benefits. 2. Reading increases our power of concentration. Through this discipline, the mind is programmed to observe and absorb. It replaces the “Entertain Me” mentality with “Challenge Me.”

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Criticism

Looking for a role model on how to handle criticism? It would be worth your while to check out the book of Nehemiah. On several occasions this great-hearted statesman was openly criticized, falsely accused, and grossly misunderstood. Each time he kept his cool . . . he rolled with the punch . . . he considered the source . . . he refused to get discouraged . . . he went to God in prayer . . . he kept building the wall (Nehemiah 2:19–20; 4:1–5).

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The Ghost of Ephraim, Part Two

As we have been discussing, homes and churches across the country today are haunted by ghosts of the Ephraimites, men who were skilled and fully equipped for battle but who turned and fled when the going got tough (see Psalm 78:9). Yes, “Let’s just quit” are household words. A marriage gets shaky and hits a few hard jolts—”Let’s just quit.” When a personal dream or goal in life is met with hurdles and hardship—both goal and dream are soon forgotten.

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Miscommunication, Part Two

I repeat: Don’t garble the message! We’ve been talking about how easy it is to take one thing and transform it into another as it leaves our lips. Exaggerate this detail or rearrange that fact and you’ve got a recipe that’ll make more mouths water than hot fudge on a rainy night. Don’t be too careful with numbers, omit a few specifics, leave room for a subtle innuendo or two, and for sure, add some color to make the things more interesting.

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Observation

A small bottle containing urine sat upon the desk of Sir William Osler. He was then the eminent professor of medicine at Oxford University. Sitting before him was a classroom full of young, wide-eyed medical students listening to his lecture on the importance of observing details. To emphasize his point, he reached down and picked up the bottle. Holding it high, he announced:

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Only for the Lonely

Make every effort to come to me soon . . . . Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service . . . . At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me. (2 Timothy 4:9, 11, 16–17)

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