What is Lent and why should I observe and practice it? 

Although Lenten practices vary depending on denomination and congregation, it generally includes three primary areas of focus:

  1. Prayer: Beginning with Ash Wednesday, Christians spend intentional time in prayer considering our desperate need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. We are sinful, broken, separated from God, and completely unable to save ourselves. Our condition is terminal, our need great.
  2. Fasting: Traditionally, Lent involves fasting from all meat for forty days (fish is permitted). Others have modified the fasting observance to allow each individual to choose the item from which they will fast. For example, I have a friend who chose to fast from french fries during lent, one of her favorite foods. Regardless of the details of the fast, the purpose is to allow the hunger pangs of personal sacrifice to stoke our memory of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
  3. Giving: After admitting our deep need for rescue and acknowledging Jesus’ sacrifice to save us, we must respond to God’s mercy and grace by offering the same to others. That is why many use the season of Lent to do acts of charity or serve those in need. Mercy received becomes mercy given.

Being Unoffendable: The Ridiculous Idea

We won’t often admit this, but we like being angry. We don’t like what caused the anger, to be sure; we just like thinking we’ve “got” something on someone. So-and-so did something wrong, sometimes horribly wrong, and anger offers us a sense of moral superiority.

That’s why we call it “righteous anger,” after all. It’s moral and good, we want to think.

But inconveniently, there’s this proverb that says, “You may believe you are doing right, but the Lord will judge your reasons” (Prov. 16:2 NCV).

In the Beginning...

The first study in The Jesus Bible Study Series, Beginnings, is designed to usher you through the first act of God’s story, which is revealed most fully in the opening two chapters of the book of Genesis. Later biblical authors also wrote about God’s creation and the purposes behind his work, so we will pull from those portions of Scripture as well as we go along.

Experience God’s Word for What it DOES

Because God speaks to us through the Bible we can see the Bible as an agent God uses to communicate with us. In these scriptures God instructs and rules and determines and prescribes and orders and promises and shows the way for us. The Bible is a gift to us and is for us.

4 Ways to Use The Marriage Devotional in Your Church

I have a strong conviction that as goes the marriage, so goes the family, and so goes the world. While a frail marriage can lead to heartache and brokenness that ripples into all those affected, a strong marriage can be the root of so much stability, strength, and healing. My wife, Jennie, and I wrote a 52-day devotional called The Marriage Devotional with this in our hearts and minds – to speak Jesus into every hear, home and marriage that would be willing to read.

Reading the Gospel of John: Believing in Jesus

Special Note to the Reader: The purpose of the Gospel of John is explicitly stated at the end of the Gospel (20:30–31). Because that passage is so important to understand how this Gospel works, we begin with it. The purpose is to enhance faith in both believers and to promote faith among those who are not yet believers. If we keep this in mind as we read the Gospel, we will read the Gospel as John wants us to.

Abide Bible Course: Five Practices You Can Use to Engage With the Bible

These five daily devotions are based on Randy Frazee and Phil Collins' Bible study, The Abide Bible Course. will walk you through five innovative practices that will take you beyond ...

The Four Lies of Worry

Worry. There’s no shortage of it in our society and throughout our daily lives, and for many it can feel inescapable. Instead of worry being an occasional encounter, we have ...

Three Questions to Ask before making a Career Change

In April, over 4 million people quit their jobs.

That’s four million people who woke up the next day wondering, “What do I do next?”

What’s even more interesting is that April was not an anomaly.  It follows a trend of the months before where millions and millions of people simply quit, walking away from their jobs. 

Guiding Teens on Sex and Sexting

It’s awkward and even terrifying for parents to discuss their child’s sexuality. Yikes! You may be afraid you’ll give them ideas. News flash: God created us as sexual beings, and they already have ideas (plenty, actually). I would much rather you give them ideas than let their peers fill that void. Sexting is a modern-day reality.

Guiding Your Teens on Social Media

Social media is a reality of twenty-first-century parents. It’s a great way to connect and seek support. But as parents, we often don’t give posting much thought. It’s called “sharenting”: venting frustrations about teen drama, funny bath photos, relief over being “kid free” for the moment, asking advice on personal struggles, angst about teen dating or driving, posting awkward photos making gentle fun of your teen. Here’s the thing. You are the literal caretaker of your child’s digital footprint. One day they will look at everything you posted and see themselves through your eyes. What will they see?

The Strength That Prevails - Resilient

Right now, we’re in a sort of global denial about the actual cost of these hard years (which are not over). We just want to get past it all, so we’re currently trying to comfort ourselves with some sense of recovery and relief. But folks, we haven’t yet paid the psychological bill for all we’ve been through. We would never tell a survivor of abuse that the trauma must be over now that the abuse has stopped. And yet that mentality is at play in our collective denial of the trauma we’ve been through.

Bible Engagement Podcast for Church Leaders

Our friends at HarperChristian Resources have a new Bible-engagement-centered podcast hosted by author and pastor Randy Frazee. The Bible Roots Podcast is for pastors and church leadership who want to help their congregation or ministries actively and effectively engage with the Bible

A Course-Correction for Christians in Divided and Uncertain Times

Paul's letter to the Colossians has been increasingly compelling for me as we find ourselves today in the midst of such strange and uniquely challenging times.

The Yale historian, Jaroslav Pelikan once said that regardless of what anyone may personally think or believe about him, Jesus of Nazareth has been the most dominant figure in the history of Western culture for almost 20 centuries. And it's pretty difficult to argue that point. You know our calendars, the, the very way and means by which we set and mark our days hinges on Jesus, his birth and his life.

Lead Like It Matters with Innovative Minds

If what your church or ministry is doing now is effective and changing lives, enjoy it while it lasts. Because what’s working now won’t work in the future. The message we preach must never change, but how we communicate it must change as the world changes. This may sound discouraging, but it’s true. If you don’t change, you won’t last. If you don’t adapt how you share the gospel, your effectiveness will likely lessen over time because the world is changing too fast. William Pollard said, “The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

If you are ready for change, you are ready for growth. This mindset changes how you see problems. When you think about it, every innovation is really a solution to a problem. Problems aren’t things to be feared but opportunities to embrace

How Your Pain Becomes the Path to Living Again

Everyone aches to be whole. We ache to be healed. We ache to be restored. Most of the time, though, we wouldn’t put it in those words. We just know we are broken because our child is addicted. We ache because the depression of our youth is now the depression of our golden years. We are stretched to the point of breaking because our career ambitions position us to commit to a pace we can’t sustain. Miscarriage, divorce, loneliness. In all of it, we ache. We ache for some way to walk through this life and not give up or give in.

Free Resources

Using How (not) to Save the World with your church or small group?

Using How (not) to Save the World with your church or small group?

Here are some tools to help: 

The Small Group Tool Kit includes two mobile-friendly invitation cards, reflection cards to enhance your small  group experience, and a worship song playlist curated by Hosanna Wong that can beplayed during small group meetings or personal Bible study time. 

The Church Tool Kit includes a downloadable poster, bulletininsert, invitation card, and Power Point slide.

Is your church talking about anxiety, depression and mental health issues? You should be.

Is your church talking about anxiety, depression and mental health issues? You should be.

Shawn Johnson, lead pastor of Red Rocks Church, gives a
searingly honest portrait of anxiety and depression and shows readers how to fight back and live free. He also has put together three free tools pastors can use to help their congregation have a productive conversation around mental health, including a discussion guide, sermon notes and key Scripture verses.