God's present is his presence. His greatest gift is himself.
We just need the government to be that greenhouse that permits our faith to grow.
Stay strong! Your test will become your test-imony, your mess will become your mess-age.
God is not a miser with his grace. Your cup may be low in cash or clout, but it is overflowing with mercy.
We serve a good God who oversees the affairs of mankind.
Others have promised and failed. But God has promised and succeeded. He loves you with an unfailing love.
Here's what I really love: I love a funny story that I can tag a serious line on the end of.
One of the things I discover a lot in marriage counseling is the husband or wife trying to get their spiritual thirst quenched by their partner; I think that's a real common mistake that we make.
What I'm urging people to do is trust in the sovereignty of God.
Baptism is bowing before the Father and letting him do his work.
Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity.
You will never forgive anyone more than God has already forgiven you.
When we see death, we see disaster. When Jesus sees death, he sees deliverance!
God has proven himself as a faithful father. Now it falls to us to be trusting children.
The next time you're disappointed, don't panic. Don't give up. Just be patient and let God remind you He's still in control.
God is using my struggle. My struggle is the answer to the prayer.
God knows just the place where you'll be placed. He has a barren living room in desperate need of warmth and joy. A corner of the world needs some color. He selected you with that place in mind.
There is a difference between grace and mercy. Mercy is the decision of God not to punish us. But grace is the decision of God to save and bless us.
If you are 8 hours a day in a job you hate, you're not going to be a very good spouse; it can contribute to chemical dependency, financial mismanagement.
How we handle our tough times stay with us a long time.
I think we have such a crown jewel in the forgiveness of God, and it changes people's lives.
Worry is irrelevant. It alters nothing. When was the last time you solved a problem by worrying about it?
In March 2011 I'm trying to decide on a sermon series that I will preach in January 2012. So, I'm about six months out.
God grants us an uncommon life to the degree we surrender our common one.
When we're in the middle of a difficult time, we have to speak against that lie that says, "God is not here." We have to draw near to God.
What the new mate, sports car, or unexpected check could never do, Christ says, "I Can." You'll love how he achieves it. He reconnects your soul with God.
You know people just assume, 'Well, all my life I'll be a worrier.' That doesn't have to be true. There's a way to drink from God's presence so much that worry begins to dissipate.
It's always better to step down from the pedestal than to be pulled off of it.
Very, very rarely will I leave San Antonio to speak somewhere else. I used to do that, and it just about wore me out, so I quit traveling.
I want a real take-home quality to the sermon, so I built the whole sermon series around the word grace, those five letters.
Sometimes I wonder if we don't see Christ's love as much in the people he tolerated as in the pain he endured.
I don't get asked a lot of questions about who is the best political candidate or what my position is on what the Senate is about to do.
We may not see the connection between the name Jesus and the phrase "save his people from their sins," but Joseph would have. He was familiar with the Hebrew language.
I don't have any desire to retire in the sense of not doing anything. As long as the Lord gives me strength I want to keep writing and keep preaching.
We live in the most multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic America ever, and I get the sense that because of that reality so many of us are turning nativist.
Be quick to pray. Stop talking to yourself. Talk to Christ.
What is this love that endures decades, passes on sleep, and resists death to give one kiss? Call it agape love, a love that bears a semblance of God's.
I believe a personal relationship with God is healthy, but organized religion has potential for danger, in whatever faith.
When you keep the porch light on for the prodigal child, you do what God does every single moment.
I believe the Bible tells a story we recognize as true. I don't just mean it tells an accurate story -- though it's telling that the Bible stands tall even after more than 2,000 years of secular criticism.
God cast you in His play, wrote you into His story. He has a definite direction for your life. Fulfill it and enjoy fulfillment. Play the part God prepared for you and get ready for some great days.
Let God have you, and let God love you -- and don't be surprised if your heart begins to hear music you've never heard and your feet learn to dance as never before.
The pulpit is no place for self-promotion. It is a great place for self-deprecation.
What I may intend for a story to communicate and what a story ends up communicating could be two different things. And it could be an even more positive thing.
There is a canyon of difference between doing your best to glorify God and doing whatever it takes to glorify yourself. The quest for excellence is a mark of maturity. The quest for power is childish.
Bread of Life? Jesus lived up to the title. But an unopened loaf does a person no good. Have you received the bread? Have you received God's forgiveness?
We refuse to believe that this present world is the sum total of human existence.
Grace is God as heart surgeon, cracking open your chest, removing your heart -- poisoned as it is with pride and pain -- and replacing it with his own.
Just as your earthly house is a place of refuge, so God's house is a place of peace.
Let's be the people who look at the hurting until we hurt with them. No hurrying past, turning away, or shifting of eyes. No pretending or glossing over. Let's look at the face until we see the person.
As long as you are stationary, no one will complain. Dogs don't bark at parked cars.
I think that a church should be setting the pace for social justice.
A Christian in his surroundings should encourage everyone to be better, instead of being the one who stoops to be like everyone else.
You are the only you God made... God made you and broke the mold.
CAN is 100 times more important than IQ.
Fredrick Buechner kind of loosened up my clerical collar, you might say.
Jesus gives us hope because He keeps us company, has a vision and knows the way we should go.
Forgiveness doesn't diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right retribution.
God sees in you a masterpiece about to happen.
Write today's worries in sand. Chisel yesterday's victories in stone.
I do believe that leaders have to be held to a higher standard, especially Christian leaders. I put myself in that camp.
No person is too hardened.
Those who successfully go through tough times do so because they keep insisting.
The One who saved your soul longs to remake your heart. Let's fix our eyes on Jesus. Perhaps in seeing Him, we will see what we can become!
You can do something no one else can do in a fashion no one else can do it.
The English name Jesus traces its origin to the Hebrew word Yeshua. Yeshua is a shortening of Yehoshuah, which means "Yahweh saves.
If God is willing to be born in a barnyard, then expect him to be at work anywhere -- bars, bedrooms, boardrooms, and brothels.
Lower your expectations of earth. This isn't heaven, so don't expect it to be.
Hiding out with the enemy brings only temporary relief.
Whether or not storms come, we can not choose. But where we stare during a storm, that we can.
Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed; no it is far greater than that. It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks.
I think I could do better in my approach to application. I think I could do better in preaching practical sermons.
The maker of the stars would rather die for you than live without you. And that is a fact. So if you need to brag, brag about that.
No one can teach your child like you can. No nanny, Bible school teacher, aunt, or uncle has your authority. What a phenomenal privilege is yours.
We exist to exhibit God, to display his glory. We serve as canvases for his brush stroke, papers for his pen, soil for his seeds, glimpses of his image.
I see that a lot in my own life and in the lives of others.Does the presence of pain mean the absence of God?
When grace happens, we receive not a nice compliment from God but a new heart. Give your heart to Christ, and he returns the favor.
Worship is the thank you that can't be silenced.
Sin is not an unfortunate slip or a regrettable act; it is a posture of defiance against a holy God.
God meets daily needs daily. Not weekly or annually. He will give you what you need when it is needed.
No place is too common. No person is too hardened. No distance is too far. There's no person God cannot reach. There's no limit to his love.
What causes us to think of prayer as the last option rather than the first? I can think of two reasons: feelings of independence and feelings of insignificance.
Fear creates a form of spiritual amnesia.
God wants to help you find your way home.
Of all the things you must earn in life, God's unending affection is not one of them. You have it.
The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials but the ones with the concern.
Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leave you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as Heaven whispers, "Do you like it? I did it just for you.
As we meditate on Christ's life, we find strength for our own.
Be kind to yourself. God thinks you're worth his kindness. And he's a good judge of character.
Real courage embraces the twin realities of current difficulty and ultimate triumph.
The difference between mercy and grace? Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance. Grace gave him a feast.
He saw you in your own Gethsemane and He didn't want you to be alone..He would rather go to hell for you than to haven without you.
Choose satisfaction over salary. Better to be happy with little than miserable with much.
God knows what it's like to be a human. When I talk to him about deadlines or long lines or tough times, he understands. He's been there. He's been here.
Every witness will rejoice at the work God did. This is God's goal for you. This is your inheritance: more victory than defeat, more joy than sadness, more hope than despair.
God is able to accomplish, provide, help, save, keep, subdue... He is able to do what you can't. He already has a plan. God's not bewildered. Go to Him.
Compassion in evangelical churches is out of balance. When I talk about it, I get a lot of glazed expressions.
On the eve of the cross, Jesus made his decision. He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you.
God's glory is the big news of the Bible, and my desire is that it would be all about me, but really it's all about God's glory.
Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realising you were the prisoner!
It was a matter of going back through a lot of sermons and remembering the questions and conversations, where these ideas came from. So the book Max on Life is really kind of a second chance to answer these questions.
Does God care if I'm sad? Look at the tear-streaked face of Jesus as he stands near Lazarus's tomb.
Be gone, sorrow, sickness, wheelchairs, and cancer! Enough of you, screams of fear and nights of horror! Death, you die! Life, you reign!
We may speak about a place where there are no tears, no death, no fear, no night; but those are just the benefits of heaven. The beauty of heaven is seeing God.
Grace is the voice that calls us to change and then gives us the power to pull it off.
When grace moves in... guilt moves out.
Nature is God's workshop. The sky is his resume. The universe is his calling card. You want to know who God is? See what he has done.
We preachers, people entrust us with their time week after week. I'm still stunned that people will let me talk to them for thirty minutes about anything I want to. It's a wonderful treasure that we are to steward.
The purpose of the Bible is simply to proclaim God's plan to save His children.
If you're looking for a place with no change, try a soda machine.
God has a timeline. And because of Bethlehem, we have an idea where we stand on it.
You'll never know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. Are you in the wilderness? Find refuge in God's presence. Find comfort in his people.
I was raised in the greatest of homes... just a really great dad, and I miss him so much... he was a good man, a real simple man... Very faithful, always loved my mom, always provided for the kids, and just a lot of fun.
How does God deal with your bitter heart? He reminds you that what you have is more important than what you don't have. You still have your relationship with God. No one can take that.
When we put someone in our jail cell of hatred, we are stuck guarding the door.
Be a child again. Flirt. Giggle. Dip your cookies in your milk. Take a nap. Say you're sorry if you hurt someone. Chase a butterfly. Be a child again.
If you get a lot of good feedback from people, thats a sign that you have a strength or gift in writing, if not ... try singing.
Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.
He promises a lamp unto our feet, not a crystal ball into the future.
God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.
Were it not for the shepherds, there would have been no reception. And were it not for a group of stargazers, there would have been no gifts.
If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
It's my hope that as you dip your toe into the Bible's story and viewpoint, you'll find yourself feeling that the Good Book knows more about the world -- and about you -- than any normal book does.
God wants us to know we are saved, for saved people are dangerous people, willing to face off with the world, unafraid of the consequences since they know that, whatever happens, they will have eternal life.
A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.
I'm protective of the reputation of Christ and the church.
Prayer is the hand of faith on the door knob of your heart, inviting Jesus to enter.
It's nothing mystical, necessarily. It's nothing secretive. It's just what we do with our body we do with our soul.
Don't worry about having the right words; worry more about having the right heart. It's not eloquence he seeks, just honesty.
God's love supply is never empty.
Answer the big question of eternity, and the little questions of life fall into perspective.
Your requests change history because your prayers change God!
Faithful servants have a way of knowing answered prayer when they see it, and a way of not giving up when they don't.
There's something about compassion that causes society to say, 'We're going to take this person seriously.' Take Mother Teresa. She was confrontational on abortion, but she wasn't rejected by society.
I think you have to be very careful about any story that puffs you up.
Fear may fill our world, but it doesn't have to fill our hearts.
God would rather give up His son..than give up on us.
Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief.
You may go days without thinking of God, but there's never a moment when He's not thinking of you.
To call yourself a child of God is one thing. To be called a child of God by those who watch your life is another thing altogether.
Yesterday you can't alter, but your reaction to yesterday you can. The past you cannot change, but your response to your past you can.
God loves you because He has chosen to do so.
I would guess that about 75% of my stories are like that -- personal experiences that I probably over-milk.
The mind that is full of God is empty of anxiety. Are you troubled, restless, sleepless? Then think of God more!
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.
Jesus tends to his people individually. He personally sees to our needs. We all receive Jesus' touch. We experience his care.
Every movie really does have a message. Somebody somewhere is trying to make a point or advance a cause or promote their agenda. There's nothing wrong with that. They try to do so in an entertaining fashion.
There's an antidote to our fears- trust. If we trust God more,we can fear less.
The church is never a place to show off. Do your good deeds quietly. Serve; don't seek to be seen.
Honesty and vulnerability endear us to people; they don't endanger us in our relationship.
Listen carefully to the feedback your readers give you. Dont write unless people want you to write, a lot of people write just because they want to write.
You are heaven's Halley's comet; we have one shot at seeing you shine.
Let your failures refine you, not define you.
Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist.
I think the one thing that I cannot do without each day is hope. If you put me in a position where you took all my hope away, I'm not sure I could make it through the day.
Bethlehem was just the beginning. I call Jesus Christ's next appearance, Bethlehem, Act 2. No silent night this time, however. The skies will open, trumpets will blast, and a new kingdom will begin.
Some people find the gift of salvation. For others the gifts are smaller: a kind word, a good deed. But all the gifts are from God.
Does God understand you? Find the answer in Bethlehem.
When Christ was born, so was our hope.
Philosophers can debate the meaning of life, but you need a Lord who can declare the meaning of life.
We see a hearse; we think sorrow. We see a grave; we think despair. We hear of a death; we think of a loss. Not so in heaven. When heaven sees a breathless body, it sees the vacated cocoon and the liberated butterfly.
I believe for God not to allow pain to happen in the world is for Him to extract free will from the world.
The wonder of a free-market society is that we can all do our best to package our message in an entertaining fashion and present it -- and then everybody votes with their footsteps.
A nation is blessed when it has godly leaders.
When our deepest desire is not the things of God, or a favor from God, but God Himself, we cross a threshold.
If God was willing to wrap himself in rags and drink from a mother's breast, then all questions about his love for us are off the table.
If we are to be just like Jesus, we must have regular time of talking to God and listening to his Word.
You long for one true friend? You have one. And because you do, you have a choice. You can... ponder the malice of your monster or the kindness of your Christ.
I think "creative preaching" is redundant.
I guess grace doesn't have to be logical. If it did, it wouldn't be grace.
It's not about winning or losing, but love and respect.
A season of suffering is a small assignment when compared to the reward. Rather than begrudge your problem, explore it. Ponder it. And most of all, use it. Use it to the glory of God.
Want to learn to forgive? Then consider how you've been forgiven.
You need someone to lift your spirits. You need someone to look you in the face and say, "This isn't the end. Don't give up. There is a better place than this. And I'll lead you there.
I choose kindness. I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
Are you weary? Catch your breath. Are you strong? Reserve passing judgment on the tired.
We need hope. There's nothing worse than to live a life of despair. For a person to have no hope just sucks the blue out of every sky.
Never let the church become a place where it's just a Las Vegas display place for you to show off.
Humility has such power. Apologies can disarm arguments. Contrition can defuse rage. Olive branches do more good than battle axes ever will.
We get a lot of unsolicited manuscripts here. Im not even a publisher, but we get several a week. I dont read them, but I do glance through some of them, and some people dont need to be writing, they have something else.
Which would you prefer? To be king of the mountain for a day? Or to be a child of God for eternity?
A little rain can straighten a flower stem. A little love can change a life.
Anger is the noise of the soul; the unseen irritant of the heart; the relentless invader of silence.
God understands how you feel and has faced what you face.
If hurts were hairs, we'd all look like grizzlies.
God loves us too much to indulge our every whim.
God forgets the past... Imitate Him.
Are you on the eve of change? Embrace it. Accept it. Don't resist it. Change is not only a part of life, change is a necessary part of God's strategy. To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments.
No one can pray and worry at the same time.
Thats usually what I gravitate to, I read The Perfect Storm, then I read Into Thin Air.
Those in the circle of Christ had no doubt of his love; those in our circles should have no doubt about ours.
Is it possible for an unbaptized believer to be saved? Yes, definitely. Should every believer be baptized? Yes, definitely.
Don't be defined by your failures, be refined by them.
Christ became one of us to redeem all of us.
A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.
The path marked Pride will lead you over a cliff.
What to change your life? Begin by saying, "The Lord is my shepherd.
Why does a mother love her newborn? Because the baby is hers? Even more. Because the baby is her. Her blood, her flesh. Her sinew and spine. Her hope. Her legacy.
Worry is to joy what a Hoover vacuum cleaner is to dirt: might as well attach your heart to a happiness-sucker and flip the switch.
The wonders of nature call to you. The promises and prophecies of Scripture speak to you. God himself reaches out to you.
Your pain has a purpose. Your problems, struggles, heartaches, and hassles cooperate toward one end-the glory of God.
I don't like hassles. But I love Christmas because it reminds us how "God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God" (Rom. 8:28 NLT).
Do you believe that God is near? He wants you to. He wants you to know that He is in the midst of your world. Wherever you are as you read these words, He is present.
God has no cousins, only children.
I don't believe our works save us, but I believe they follow us into heaven and bring glory to God.
History is not an endless succession of meaningless circles but a directed movement toward a great event.
There ain't no future in the past in the past. You can't change yesterday, but you can do something about your tomorrow.
Worry divides the mind.
Resentment is when you allow what's eating you to eat you up. Revenge is the raging fire that consumes the arsonist. Bitterness is the trap that snares the hunter. And mercy is the choice that can set them all free.
When we submit to God's plans, we can trust our desires. Our assignment is found at the intersection of God's plan and our pleasures.
If we could solve the problem of who we are and where we are going, that it would have a huge impact on the culture and waterfall in on some of the more practical and social issues.
Not everybody can create a foundation that's worth a billion dollars, but all of us can figure out those things we do. I really think God loves us too much to give us an assignment we don't enjoy doing.
Forgiveness is choosing to see your offender with different eyes.
Does God know if I am ignored or rejected? Find the answer in the compassionate eyes of Christ as he stands to defend the adulterous woman.
You'll regret opening your mouth. You'll rarely regret keeping it shut.
To see sin without grace is despair. To see grace without sin is arrogance. To see them in tandem is conversion.
It deeply concerns me that somebody who knows little or nothing about the Christian faith would hear Mr. Trump call himself a Christian and then make a decision based on the Christian faith, based on his behavior.
What if you woke up this morning and had only the things you thanked God for yesterday?
The past does not have to be your prison. You have a voice in your destiny. You have a say in your life. You have a choice in the path you take.
A few songs with Him might change the way you sing. Forever.
God never said that the journey will be easy, but he did said that the arrival will be worthwhile.
God will restore his planet and his children to their Garden of Eden splendor. It'll be perfect. Perfect in grandeur. Perfect in righteousness. Perfect in harmony.
The cross is where God forgave his children without lowering his standards.
When words are most empty, tears are most apt.
Gratitude develops faith. The surest path out of a slump is marked by the road sign "thank you, God.
God meets our needs one day at a time.
You'll get through this. It won't be painless. It won't be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime don't be foolish or naïve. But don't despair either. With God's help you will get through this.
You are who God says you are. Spiritually alive. Heavenly positioned. Connected to the Father. A billboard of mercy. An honored child.
I believe ingratitude is the original sin. I believe if Adam and Eve had been grateful for the garden of Eden they had, they would not have been so focused on the one tree they didn't have.
How grimy did God get when He reached down to clean you up? How grimy are you willing to get in order to be an 'imitator of God'?
You may be transferred, enlisted, commissioned, reassigned, or hospitalized -- but brand this on your heart -- you can never go where God is not.
God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of him. It's not about you. It's not about me. It's all about him.
Reading the Bible can be like meeting someone you don't know who, oddly, somehow seems to know you deeply. It's uncanny.
If Jesus heals instantly, praise Him. If Jesus heals gradually, trust Him. When Jesus heals ultimately, you will understand.
There is no way our little minds can comprehend the love of God. But that didn't keep him from coming.
Forgiveness is not saying that the one who hurt you was right. Forgiveness is stating that God is faithful and he will do what is right.
Focus on giants -- you stumble. Focus on God -- Giants tumble.
Just when the truth about life sinks in, His truth starts to surface. He takes us by the hand and dares us not to sweep the facts under the rug but to confront them with him at our side.
As long as you hate your enemy, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is taken. But when you try to understand and release your foe from your hatred, then the prisoner is released and that prisoner is you.
I choose gentleness... Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
Compassion gives us a common ground to stand on regardless of your faith background. It gives us a chance to stand shoulder-to-shoulder rather than go fist-to-fist with somebody.
No one wants your worries...not even you. Anxiety comes at a high cost. Let Jesus lead you beside still waters.
Wilderness begins with disconnections. It continues with deceit.
Since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior. He became like us, so we could become like Him.
We celebrate the First Advent to whet our appetites for the Second. We long for the next coming.
There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes -- seize it, don't miss it.
The worship of safety emasculates greatness.
Have you been called to go out on a limb for God? You can bet it won't be easy. Limb-climbing has never been easy. Ask Joseph. Or, better yet, ask Jesus. He knows better than anyone the cost of hanging on a tree.
Democracy is the right choice and is the greatest form of government ever created.
God is faithful even when his children are not.
If God were only mighty, we would Salute Him. But since he is Merciful and Mighty, we can approach Him.
We're all travelers, all sojourners.
There is no religion like Christianity, it is not one religion among others, it is completely different, its mixing apples and oranges.
As soon as you can, pay your debts.
As long as you can, give the benefit of the doubt.
As much as you can, give thanks. He's already given us more than we deserve.
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
I get one hour, really 25 minutes in a sermon on a weekend, to combat all the hours of the week that people are told you are what you have through billboards, commercials, and sitcoms, and so forth.
Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.