Enjoying the Journey

It has been a joy over recent months to share with you some of my favorite books on a variety of subjects. The weekly “short list” is really just a starting point for those who want to read more, and I hope the recommendations will be a good starting point for some. We have tried to cover a variety of subjects. Obviously no list like this can be exhaustive. A dear friend and faithful reader suggested humorously that I add the following to our series: 5 Places to buy good books5 Ways to earn extra money for more books5 ways to keep my wife from knowing I bought more books Regarding the first I would simply say that I love…

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Growth is essential to life. Throughout the years I have heard countless people say that the only way to grow is to be willing to change. Change has become the contemporary buzzword and measurement of growth. This is very dangerous. Just because a man is changing does not mean he is growing – he may be going backwards! On the other hand, true growth is only possible when one is rooted in those things that never change. In life and ministry the goal must be God and not growth. Remember that it was our God who said, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). His standard is not current trends or acceptable methods, His standard is the truth…

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This week I am preaching for a dear friend and wonderful pastor in south Florida. Tom Odom pastors the First Baptist Church of Southwest Broward in Cooper City. God is using him and his beautiful family and the work is being especially blessed of God. One of the joys in the ministry God has given us is in seeing former students and friends from Crown College. I meet them all over the country. This morning as I prayed my heart rejoiced in the fact that so many are staying true to Christ and to God’s Word. Pastor Sexton and a host of other Bible teachers gave us something that does not fade with time: a high view of God and…

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Henry Longfellow was once asked how he managed a long and happy life. He pointed to an apple tree and said, “The secret of the apple tree is that it grows a little new wood every year.” Today many of us are returning to work and school, to the schedules and demands of normal life. Our first goal should always be spiritual growth. It does not come quickly, it comes gradually. One day at a time. One decision at a time. One discipline at a time. Too often we try to make huge strides and fail to take simple steps. Remember to begin with the basics. Start where you are. The Lord Jesus addressed a tree that failed to bear fruit…

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This week a dear pastor friend and I corresponded about helpful books to share with others. As we near the end of the year I would challenge you to create a reading list for the next twelve months. Be intentional. Begin collecting the ones you do not have. Make a plan to read purposefully in the coming year. I have always found it helpful to read on a variety of subjects and to read both older and newer books. With that in mind, I would like to recommend twelve older books and twelve newer books for you to consider. While I cannot give a blanket endorsement of every author, I can tell you that each of these books has made…

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This is not an article on health and wellness. It is much more important than that. (If my mother is reading this I want to go on record as saying that I do believe we all should eat our vegetables! Love you, mom.) The question is: why would we take better care of our bodies than we do our souls? A man’s spirit is most important because it is the eternal part of him. This is what the Apostle Paul taught when he wrote to young Timothy, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). The greater thing…

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Today is the official beginning of summer. Students will tell you that summer begins the moment they are out of school. For adults, summer doesn’t seem to begin until you leave work for that first day of vacation. It means something different to everyone but almost everyone (except for pastors!) will tell you they love this time of year. Summer is one of the most anticipated and one of the most wasted seasons of the whole year. The warm months are often a time of sloth and spiritual retreat when they could be an opportunity for growth. The vacation mentality too easily permeates every part of our life and instead of rest we retreat. Fast-forward three months from today…Where do you…

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Scott Pauley

It doesn’t mean much to us, but to the crowd Christ was speaking to it was radical, revolutionary, even ridiculous. “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (Matthew 5:41). The Jews lived under constant Roman oppression. One demand by a Roman soldier or citizen would require a Jewish person to carry their burden for a mile. It was an inconvenient and unjust law. Israel lived in anticipation of the coming of Messiah. One who would deliver them from such tyranny! Now, here He stood…telling them they should carry their Roman neighbors pack for a second mile?!? Surely this could not be what He meant. But it was. In this one verse lies the secret…

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Over the last few months we have been clearing a fence row around our new home. The underbrush was thick and the work was slow going. Thanks to my dad’s tractor and my father-in-law’s chain saw some progress has been made, but the work continues! One afternoon, covered in brush and perspiration, the truth of it all came home to my heart. Jesus loved to teach in the outdoors. And He used whatever was at hand as an object lesson. He still does. The physical often reflects a deeper spiritual reality. As I stood looking at the thorns and briers, the Holy Spirit said, “This is your heart. It gets overgrown with the underbrush of life, the debris of this…

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Has your devotional life become dry? As far as you know there is no unconfessed sin. You are reading the Bible and going through the mechanics of prayer, but it seems like mere motion. We have all been there! People often think that preachers must jump out of bed in the morning, always excited about their quiet time with God. Nothing could be further from the truth! We all battle with flesh. Even on our best days there is a struggle to keep the devotional life fresh. Permit me to share a few practical suggestions that have been of help to me…  Sometimes it is good to “switch things up.” All of us can get in a rut – our souls…

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