Today, there are leaders within historically evangelical institutions who don’t immediately answer “yes” to the question “Are you an evangelical?” because they don’t know how the questioner defines the term. This shouldn’t surprise us. A decade ago, this conversation was anticipated by Os Guinness, who spearheaded An Evangelical Manifesto, a statement of evangelical belief that sought to distinguish between evangelicalism as a renewal movement and its too-frequent political connotations.
Amid “widespread concerns over the direction” of Moody Bible Institute (MBI), the historic Chicago school announced today that President J. Paul Nyquist and Chief Operating Officer Steve Mogck have resigned, while Provost Junias Venugopal has retired.
I have worked in women’s ministry in the context of my local church for some time now. Because I am leading, teaching, and ministering to women I try and stay attuned to what they’re reading, what’s popular, to whom they are listening, and what messages they are believing. What I’ve noticed, while it doesn’t shock me, does deeply concern me. The message is not specific to women but, for whatever reason, I see it most presently among my gender. The message I’m referring to is that of a self-elevating gospel of personal identity that leaves Jesus on the sidelines or nowhere to be found at all.
Second Life was supposed to be the “next big thing” on the internet back in 2003 when Philip Rosedale invented the platform. Linden Lab, the company that created Second Life, has seen surprising success, even though it was surpassed quickly in notoriety by Facebook. Over 36 million users have spent over 217,000 collective years using the program and have spent $3.2 billion in real dollars to purchase various program upgrades—ranging from virtual yachts to body modifications. Second Life is designed so that “anyone can be anything,” according to one user. This virtual utopia, as Jamison documents, allows women who in real life are infertile to create a virtual family with children. People who are physically handicapped can create “avatars” that are physically capable. One such woman, as described in Jamison’s article, suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. But in Second Life, she spends her time exploring various waterslides that other users have created.
Over three decades of ministry, I’ve heard some preaching in need of a restart. Sadly, much of it has spilled from my own lips. Like my brother, I started wrong in a number of areas, until my pulpit swinging was corrected by either bad fruit or good counsel. Some of my mistakes were common to early preachers. Other rookie errors, thankfully, I avoided.
Here are seven of the more familiar ones. If you’re in the first few innings of a preaching ministry, perhaps this list will help you to start right, swing straight, and stick with it.
This is an important read.
A favorite from the archives:
I’m not saying I have this problem licked—I don’t. I’ll admit, there are days when my mind lingers a little too long on the what-ifs, all usually around the theme of “if I had a little more money…” But something pulls me back before too long: the realization that money is not what I serve. It is not what I want most. Christ is.
What money can’t satisfy, Christ does. The satisfaction I’m tempted to try to find in money can’t be found there. Instead, as the late theologian Notorious B.I.G. said so well, “mo money, mo problems.” But Christ satisfies and fulfills us in a way that no other person, no object, no ideal, nor anything else ever can.