Two mistakes to avoid in how we see God

It is possible to make two mistakes in our thoughts about God. They correspond to the mistakes we can make in our thoughts about ourselves—either not needing forgiveness, or being too bad to be forgiven. We can think of God as so Holy, so transcendent, so “other,” that we dare not approach Him. Or, we can think of Him as our buddy, the Old Man Upstairs. This is so disrespectful I hesitate to write it. The Bible says He dwells in unapproachable light and that we can boldly come near the throne. (1 Timothy 6:16; Hebrews 4:16) Reverence and intimacy come together in addressing God as our Father. He is Father, not just Sovereign One. He is not Buddy. One more thing. — Josh Hunt, The Habit of Discipleship (Pulpit Press, 2015).


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

A Disciple-Making Community

I have just released a new Bible study called The Case for Antioch, based on Jeff Iorg’s book by the same title. The big idea of this study is to challenge your people to be a church like the Antioch church.

Here is an excerpt:

A transformational church changes lives.

Following Jesus in community is one of the primary ways Christians are shaped to become more like Jesus. At least that’s the way church is supposed to work. God designed the church to be a transformational community. It welcomes sinners, assimilates new believers as members, and shapes them into fully devoted Jesus followers. The Lord explained this when He spoke what is commonly called the Great Commission, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:18–20).

Because English translations often put “go” at the beginning of verse 19, usually capitalized and set apart with a comma, readers incorrectly assume the emphasis in this passage is on going. This interpretation is strengthened by our evangelical propensity for missions and evangelism. We know we should be going, so we emphasize this aspect of Jesus’ instructions. But the linguistic emphasis in this passage is on making disciples, not going. To capture the appropriate emphasis, consider this slight adjustment to the above translation: “Go, therefore, and make disciples.” Understanding the Great Commission with those words emphasized will help us keep the emphasis straight. Jesus told His followers to make disciples by baptizing and teaching, both activities that can only be done in community. (Think about it—at least two people are required for either activity!)

While baptism signifies entry into a new lifestyle, the primary means the church uses to develop disciples is teaching. Teaching shapes the mind. As new thoughts emerge, new attitudes and actions result. Paul amplified these ideas when he wrote, “The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4–5). Spiritual growth is rooted in changed thinking. Carnal thought patterns, the strongholds of “arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God,” naturally dominate the minds of unbelievers and new believers. Learning God’s Word and God’s ways takes time and may call for undoing years of wrong thinking and learning to think biblically and to behave accordingly. The best word to describe this process is transformation.

The theological word for this is sanctification. While that word literally means “to make holy,” the doctrine of sanctification broadly encompasses all aspects of spiritual transformation. While justification describes your once-in-a-moment conversion experience, sanctification involves a lifetime of spiritual growth, change, and development. Sanctification is becoming more like Jesus, God’s process of every believer’s being “conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). While this process is personal, it wasn’t designed to be accomplished in isolation. Spiritual formation requires a group effort.

The biblical metaphors for churches are collective descriptors implying life, growth, and change. The church, for example, is called the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12–31), a temple of living stones (1 Pet. 2:5), branches on a vine (John 15:5), and the family of God (1 Pet. 4:17). All of these images communicate the corporate nature of church life and spiritual growth. Through their teaching ministry, churches play a vital role in personal discipleship. A church provides biblical instruction necessary for spiritual formation. Paul admonishes believers to “not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). The mind is renewed through new information, biblical truth, producing the enlightenment necessary for God-honoring choices. Through this process a believer develops “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) or the capacity to consider, reason, and understand life from a biblical perspective or worldview.

This type of transformation—a renewed mind producing new choices based on an ingrained biblical worldview—should be a church’s goal for every member. Disciple-making in a corporate context leads to personal renewal. Spiritual formation, spiritual growth, and spiritual maturity all describe becoming more and more like Jesus in character and actions. While the results are personal, the best context for producing these changes is the fellowship of a church. While the results are individual, the ultimate conclusion is corporate—a transformed and transformational church.

Jeff Iorg, The Case for Antioch (Nashville: B&H, 2011).


This Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Holy, holy, holy

The significance of the repetition of the word holy can be easily missed. It represents a peculiar literary device that is found in Hebrew forms of literature, especially in poetry. The repetition is a form of emphasis. When we want to emphasize the importance of something in English we have several devices to choose from. We may underline the important words or print them in italics or boldface type. We may attach an exclamation point following the words or set them off in quotation marks. These are all devices to call the reader’s attention to something that is especially important.

The Old Testament Jew also had different techniques to indicate emphasis. One such device was the method of repetition. We see Jesus’ use of repetition with the words, “Truly, truly, I say unto you.…” Here the double use of truly was a sign that what He was about to say was of crucial importance. The word translated “truly” is the ancient word amen. We normally think of the word amen as something people say at the end of a sermon or of a prayer. It means simply, “It is true.” Jesus used it as a preface instead of a response.

A humorous use of the repetition device may be seen in Genesis 14. The story of the battle of the kings in the Valley of Siddim mentions men who fell in the great tar pits of the region. Some translators call them asphalt pits, or bitumen pits, or simply great pits. Why the confusion in translation? Exactly what kind of pits were they? The Hebrew is unclear. The original text gives the Hebrew word for pit and then simply repeats it. The story speaks literally of pit pits. The Jew was saying that there are pits and there are pits. Some pits are pittier than other pits. These pits—the pit pits—were the pittiest pits of all. It is one thing to fall into a pit. But if you fall into a pit pit you are in deep trouble.

On a handful of occasions the Bible repeats something to the third degree. To mention something three times in succession is to elevate it to the superlative degree, to attach to it emphasis of super importance. For example, the dreadful judgment of God is declared in the book of Revelation by the eagle in midair who cried with a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth.…” Or we hear it in the mocking sarcasm of Jeremiah’s temple speech when he chided the people for their hypocrisy, by which they called out, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.”

Only once in sacred Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that he is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory. — R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993), 37–39.


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

An Entrepreneurial Mind-Set

I have just released a new Bible study called The Case for Antioch, based on Jeff Iorg’s book by the same title. The big idea of this study is to challenge your people to be a church like the Antioch church.

Here is an excerpt:

A transformational church innovates to advance the gospel.

Openness to innovation, which often leads to significant change, is required to sustain a transformational church. That’s troubling news for some Christians who don’t like change and don’t want to hear any proposals about innovating new forms of ministry. Many well-meaning believers want their church to remain just as it is. A person usually joins a church for the church it is, not the church someone else envisions it becoming. When a church begins to change or even when pastoral leaders start talking about making significant changes, the comfort level among the membership usually declines. Consequently, the anxiety level for leaders often soars. Innovation and change can be unsettling for everyone. While a healthy sense of stability contributes to emotional equilibrium, both personally and corporately, rigid resistance to change is counterproductive to growth. Healthy organisms, including churches, are either growing and changing or dying.

Leaders are change agents. It’s in our DNA, a core part of our role and responsibility. We resist the status quo and welcome new initiatives. Learning to lead healthy change, not just change for change’s sake, is our challenge. Some leaders are poor change managers. They introduce unnecessary change using inappropriate methods for uncertain purposes. These changes are counterproductive to church health, often doing more harm than good. Without a doubt leaders need to develop and improve their change-management skill set.

Sometimes, however, the problem isn’t the leader. It’s the followers. Some Christians resist even simple changes, much less major innovations, adamantly rejecting all proposals for anything new. In those cases the problem isn’t lack of skill in presenting a change. It’s a much deeper spiritual problem. When it comes to experiencing change, both leaders and followers need to avoid the common mistakes that undermine this process. Learning to manage change effectively, to be transformed in healthy way, is foundational to building a healthy church.

Jeff Iorg, The Case for Antioch (Nashville: B&H, 2011).


This Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

What does “holy” mean?

If you ask ten different people at church what the word holy means, you’ll probably get ten different answers. It’s important to understand the definition, though, because that word is going to be a big part of our future. Revelation 4:8 tells us that four creatures will stand in front of God’s throne in heaven and say, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come”—for all eternity.

We cannot understand God without understanding his holiness. To be holy is to be completely separate from sin. It’s more than just taking a strong stand against sin. It’s more than just judging people who do evil. The fact that God is holy means sin cannot exist where he is—just as darkness cannot exist where the sun is.

God’s holiness is what makes salvation necessary. Anyone who is guilty of sin cannot be in God’s presence. And since we’re all guilty of sin, we need Jesus’ perfect sacrifice to make us pure and reconnect us with God.

Praising God for his holiness should be a big part of our worship. Thanking him for his gift of salvation should be a big part of our praise. — Christopher D. Hudson, Once-a-Day at the Table Family Devotional: 365 Daily Readings and Conversation Starters for Your Family (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012).


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

A transformational church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.

I have just released a new Bible study called The Case for Antioch, based on Jeff Iorg’s book by the same title. The big idea of this study is to challenge your people to be a church like the Antioch church.

Here is an excerpt:

Spiritual Power

The church at Antioch was empowered by the Holy Spirit. In our day of complex church programs created and managed by professionally trained ministers, advocating dependence on the Spirit to empower the church sounds anachronistic and outdated. Words like anointing, unction, and filling aren’t common descriptors of church leaders or church ministries. Few conferences promoting ministerial leadership methods prioritize experiencing the Holy Spirit. When we analyze a leader’s resume, we usually look more for educational achievements and ministerial accomplishments than for evidence of spiritual power. We often measure churches the same way, focusing on external accoutrements like buildings or programs rather than considering spiritual depth.

Both personal and corporate successes can be Spirit empowered, and let’s hope they are! They can also result from concentrated human effort. It takes spiritual discernment and disciplined thinking to know the difference between fleshly competence and spiritual power. A transformational church is empowered by the Holy Spirit. An empowered church requires Spirit-filled leaders. Courageous leaders won’t settle for less, personally or corporately.  Jeff Iorg, The Case for Antioch (Nashville: B&H, 2011).


This Bible Study  is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

What is a seraphim?

The seraphim are not sinful men burdened with impure hearts. Yet as angelic beings they are still creatures, and even in their lofty status as consorts of the heavenly host it is necessary for them to shield their eyes from a direct gaze on the face of God. They are fearfully and wonderfully made, equipped by their Creator with a special pair of wings to cover their faces in His majestic presence.

The seraphim have a second pair of wings. The second pair is used to cover their feet. This equipment is not intended as a sort of angelic shoe to protect the soles of their feet or to facilitate walking in the heavenly temple. The covering of the feet is for a different reason, a reason reminiscent of Moses’ experience with the burning bush:

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:2–5, NIV)

God commanded Moses to take off his shoes. Moses was standing on holy ground. The ground was made holy by the presence of God. The act of removing the shoes was a symbol of Moses’ recognition that he was of the earth—earthy. The feet of man, sometimes called “feet of clay,” symbolize our creatureliness. It is our feet that link us to the earth.

The seraphim are not of the earth. Their feet are not made of clay. As angels they are spirit-beings. Nevertheless they remain creatures, and the imagery of Isaiah’s vision suggests that they too must cover their feet, acknowledging their creatureliness in the exalted presence of God. — R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993), 35–36.


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

Inviting people just got easier

“82 percent of the unchurched are at least “some what likely” to attend church if they are invited. Perhaps we need to pause on this response. Perhaps we need to restate it: More than eight out of ten of the unchurched said they would come to church if they were invited. If you take anything from this book, please remember this point.” Rainer, Unchurched Next Door

“Only 2 percent of church members ever invite an unchurched person to church”. — Rainer, Unchurched Next Door

If you want this this to be different in your church, work to influence this change.

Let’s think about solving this problem through the lens of some of the Influence strategies we have been looking at. (If you missed these, or would like to get ahead on reading all the articles written so far, see http://www.joshhunt.com/InfluencerIndex.htm)

We tend to bemoan these kind of facts without building a strategy to change it. Here are some steps you could take.

Step #1. Make inviting intentional (at least) twice a year.

Easter is the #1 most likely time for unchurched people to come to church. Make a push to invite people for Easter.

Words are the least effective form of influence but influence almost always starts here. If you have not done so already, ask everyone in your group to invite someone for Easter this weekend.

We ought to do this at least twice a year where we make a big, church-wide push to invite people. Last Sunday I asked my folks to make a list of everyone they knew that lived within 20 minutes of the church and did not go to church any where. I asked them to put a check mark by everyone who “something really bad would happen if you invited them.” They are off the hook on inviting them. Everyone else, invite them.

The other time we ought to do this is in the fall–time change Sunday.

A grass-roots movement is building to make this a national event. Vernon Brady got this vision while attending the Southern Baptist Convention a few years ago. Bobby Welch preached a sermon on The Little Lad who brought what he had to Jesus in the story of the feeding of the five thousand. Big Idea: we all have something to bring to Jesus.

Vernon says he felt God speaking to him: “You are the little lad.” The thing he could do for Jesus is put together a Super Friend Day Package. (Goes by the name My Friendship Connection). Friend Day was an old (but effective) program developed by Elmer Towns and widely used by churches. Vernon Brady’s My Friendship Connection takes that basic idea and builds on it. He has added Sunday School lesson for 5 weeks prior to theFriend Day, as well as sermons. The package takes on the feel of a Purpose Driven Life Campaign with sermons, devotionals, and small group Bible Studies all working together.

Vernon began asking pastors to participate in a unified Friend Day on time change Sunday each year. (There is a natural bump in attendance on this day in the fall.) The first year there were 42 churches. The next year, 526 from 36 states. On average, attendance in these churches doubled or better on the Friend Day. Consider participating this Fall.

Recently, Vernon got the news that the national Friend Day will be on the Southern Baptist Convention Calendar starting in 2012. Yeah God!

 

Step #2 Lead by Example

I have invited some friends for Easter, have you? We must lead by example. We cannot ask people to do what we are not willing to do. The leader must embody the vision.

Bill Hybels wrote an excellent book called Axiom. It is just as the name suggests–76 short chapters of random ideas about church leadership. Chapter 29 is entitled, “Speed of the leader, speed of the team.” Here are a couple of quotes.

  • The most powerful two-word leadership phrase Jesus ever uttered was “Follow me.”
  • Leaders must never expect from others anything more than they’re willing to deliver themselves. They should never expect higher levels of commitment, creativity, persistence, or patience than what they themselves manifest on a regular basis. If you cannot say, “Follow me,” to your followers—and mean it—then you’ve got a problem. A big one.
  • Speed of the leader, speed of the team.

If you don’t respect Bill Hybels, consider this quote from another Christian leader–the apostle Paul:

  • 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Sound scary? Here is some really scary news: people will follow the leader’s example whether or not he asks them to.

If you want people to double their class every two years or less, lead by example. If you want people to have a quiet time, lead by example. If you want people to give Friday Nights to Jesus, lead by example. If you want people to invite people to church on Easter, lead by example.

Step #3: Make it easy. / Put it on autopilot.

The size of your plates has more to do with success in weight loss than does the strength of your will power. If you want to influence people to do almost anything, make it easer.

When we want to influence people, we almost never think of the physical environment, but the physical environment has a huge impact on people, as this amazing story illustrates.

Imagine you go the movies and they hand you a huge bucket of popcorn for free. Only problem is, it doesn’t taste very good. You find out later it was actually engineered to taste bad. For one thing, it is a week old. You hear the person next to you say it tastes like Styrofoam packing peanuts. You tend to agree. But, hey, it is free–and they gave you a huge container of it. A friend attends the movie with you. They get one too. Everyone gets a bucket of their own.

As you examine your friend’s bucket you notice it is larger than yours–significantly larger. No matter; you both have more than you can eat.

Question: do you think you would eat any more or less than your friend who received the larger bucket? Remember, you both have more than you can eat and the popcorn is terrible.

Turns out your friend would eat more than you–a lot more. Researchers conducted this test and found that people with the bigger buckets at 53% more popcorn. That is 173 more calories and 21 extra handfuls of popcorn–popcorn that was terrible.

The complete article on this is here:  http://www.joshhunt.com/Influence11.htm

The application for inviting people to church is this. Put in on the calendar at least twice a hear. I recommend these two dates: Easter in the Spring and Time Change Sunday in the Fall. (If you wanted to add a couple more events, you might think about a “back to church day” just after school starts and just after the first of the year.

To make it easier and automatic, you might provide some kind of invitation card for people to send out. What about a cool graphic that people could email to their friends that stated the invitation.

In a way, it is easier than it has ever been. We are all so connected by Facebook and email and tweets and so forth. We just have to take advantage of the tools in our hands.

Step #4: Social proof

People are profoundly influenced by the behavior of the people in their group. Profoundly influenced. This is whey we like to buy best selling books and songs and go to the movies our friends say are good.

This is why the Bible says, Psalms 1:1 (NIV) “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.”

Why is this important? Because if we walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit where mockers sit, we will start to behave like them. We are profoundly influence by “our people.”

This is why the Friendship Connection has a group component built in. The way the old Friend Day worked took advantage of this dynamic and the leadership dynamic.

Ever heard someone say, “If everyone will just bring one person next week we will double our attendance.” This is a statement of fact. Anyone ever see it actually happen? I didn’t think so. Yet, using the Friendship Connection, churches routinely see an increase of attendance of 100% to 200% on the big day and will keep about 15% of these.

The reason is this. Four weeks before the big day the pastor stands before the people and says, “I am inviting a friend, I want you to do so too.”  Three weeks before the big day, the staff and deacons and leadership stand before the people and say, “We are inviting someone, we want you to do so too.”  Two weeks before the big day, the teachers stand before the people and say, “I am inviting someone, I want you to do so too.” One week before the big day, everyone else bring their commitment or invite.

This takes advantage of the principle of leadership and the principle of social proof. If my people are inviting, I am inviting.

This may all be like way too much trouble to you. This is where people make a big mistake in attempting to influence (“Persuade men” in the words of Paul). Influence masters know that influence in hard work. This is why they tend to over-determine success. This from Influencer:

  • But it takes a combination of strategies aimed at a handful of vital behaviors to solve profound and persistent problems. In fact, this is the core principle demonstrated by virtually all the change masters we studied. No single strategy explained their success. In fact, it became quite evident that individuals who succeed where others have routinely failed overdetermine success—that is, they bring more influence strategies into play than they might assume would be the minimum required for success. They leave nothing to chance.
  • Individuals who routinely hit their change goals overdetermine vital behaviors in order to make change inevitable, meaning that they routinely look at all six sources, find methods from within each source, and continue adding new influence strategies well after others have stopped searching for change levers. They do this for a good reason. Typically the change they’re attempting to orchestrate is so audacious—so completely hopeless—that they pull out every influence tool available.

You don’t have time of course, to do all this by Easter. Here are four steps you can take:

  • Invite a friend for Easter.
  • Send an Email/ text/ Facebook message/ Tweet to all your friends saying, “I am inviting a friend to church on Easter, I want you to do so as well.”
  • Put a Friend Day on the calendar for Time Change Sunday in the Fall. (First Sunday in November.)
  • Pray. Pray before. Pray after. Pray during. Jesus said we can do nothing without Him. Pray for your pastor that He would deliver the Word. Pray that God would move in a mighty way.

Every time I watch the news I find myself saying, “They need Jesus.” They do. The whole world does. Jesus said the fields are white unto harvest. Let’s invite them this Sunday.

I stumbled onto a new website that will make this even easier: check out https://churchinviter.com/

Why is LORD all caps?

Notice how in Isaiah 6:1 the word Lord is printed. It begins with a capital letter and then is finished with lowercase letters. This stands in contrast with the word LORD that occurs later in the text and frequently in Scripture. Sometimes the word Lord appears in all capital letters—LORD. This is not an error in printing or a mere inconsistency on the part of the translator. Most English translations of the Bible follow this device of rendering the word Lord sometimes in lowercase letters and other times in uppercase letters. The reason for this difference is that two different Hebrew words are used in the original text, but both are rendered in English by the word Lord.

When the word Lord occurs in lowercase letters, the translator is indicating to us that the word Adonai is found in the Hebrew Bible. Adonai means “sovereign one.” It is not the name of God. It is a title for God, indeed the supreme title given to God in the Old Testament. When LORD appears in all capital letters it indicates that the word Jahweh is used in the Old Testament. Jahweh is the sacred name of God, the name God revealed Himself to Moses with in the burning bush. This is the unspeakable name, the ineffable name, the holy name that is guarded from profanity in the life of Israel. Normally it occurs only with the use of its four consonants—yhwh. It is therefore referred to as the sacred “tetragrammaton,” the unspeakable four letters.

We see, for example, this contrast in words found in the Psalms. Psalm 8 reads, “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.” What the Jew was saying was, “O Jahweh, our Adonai, how excellent is thy name in all the earth.” Or we could render it, “O God, our Sovereign one, how excellent.…” Again we read in Psalm 110: “The LORD, said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand.” Here the Psalmist is saying, “God said to my sovereign, sit thou at my right hand.”

LORD is the name of God; Lord is His title. We speak of President Ronald Reagan. Ronald is his name; President is his title. If the highest office in our land is the office of president, so the highest office and title in Israel was the office of Sovereign. The title adonai was reserved for God. It was the title that was given to Jesus in the New Testament. When Christ is called “Lord,” he is invested with the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament adonai. Jesus is called the Lord of the lords, the King of the kings, gaining a title that beforehand was reserved only for God, the supreme Sovereign of heaven and earth.

When Isaiah came to the temple, there was a crisis of sovereignty in the land. Uzziah was dead. The eyes of Isaiah were opened to see the real King of the nation. He saw God seated on the throne, the sovereign one. — R. C. Sproul, The Holiness of God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1993), 29–31.


I have just completed a seven-part Bible Study called Ancient Words. It explores seven key Hebrew words we need to understand in order to really understand the gospel. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

The victory that is our is Christ

When our family lived in Florida, we lived near the Indian River, which is a saltwater lagoon that stretches many miles up and down the east coast of Florida. It is a very beautiful body of water that is perfect for sailing. In the evenings, it was my joy to come home, kick off my shoes, put on an old pair of trousers, get one or two of the kids, and go sail into the sunset on this river. What fun we had telling stories, laughing, joking, and enjoying one another.

One day I walked down to the pier to go sailing, and the little boat was gone. Somebody had taken my beautiful little sailboat. That boat was almost like a member of the family.

Several weeks later I was driving through the center part of Merritt Island where we lived, and I looked over at a marine shop. There on a special little mound was my boat. And it had a “For Sale” sign on it.

I went in the store to inquire about the boat, and the man told me the price. I asked him where he got the boat, and he said he was selling it for someone else. I informed him that it was my boat, and I was coming for it. He said, “Mister, you had better not touch that boat.”

I went home and got my boat trailer. I came back to the marine shop and began to load the boat onto my trailer. The owner of the shop came out and said, “What are you doing?” I said, “I am taking my boat home. If you disagree with what I am doing, I suggest that you call the police.” He turned and went inside. That’s the last I saw of him. As you read this book, unless God has providentially intervened, that little boat is in my backyard.

Satan may bluff, but we need not be afraid. We need to keep our eyes focused and appropriate that which is already ours in Jesus Christ. And that which we have is Kingdom Authority!

Adrian Rogers, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority: Getting an Upper Hand on the Underworld (Nashville: B&H, 2002).


I have just completed a six-part Bible Study called based on Adrian Rogers’s book, The Incredible Power of Kingdom Authority. This article is an excerpt from this Bible study. The Bible Study is available on Amazon. It is also avail as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

This service is like Netflix for Bible Lessons. You pay a low monthly, quarterly or annual fee and get access to all the lessons. New lessons that correspond with three of Lifeway’s outlines are automatically included, as well as a backlog of thousands of lessons. Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking, as well as answers from well-known authors such as David Jeremiah, Charles Swindoll and Max Lucado. For more information, or to sign up, click here.

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