The podcast has been on hiatus because life got complicated and priorities changed. But I wanted to post this interview with Alistair Begg, senior pastor of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and leader of the expositional teaching ministry Truth for Life.
An editor friend asked me to interview Dr. Begg for an article about the new Spurgeon Study Bible, which he edited, and our conversation touched on several interesting topics about 19th-century British pastor and preacher Charles Spurgeon:
What we can learn from Spurgeon about proper Christian patriotism
Spurgeon’s impact on Protestant theology and preaching
His relevance to Christians in the 21st century
How Spurgeon’s preaching always touched on the Gospel’s implications for daily life
How Spurgeon might position himself in today’s discussions about Calvinism and evangelicalism
The interview wasn’t pursued as a podcast, so the format of what you are about to hear is different than usual. The audio has been edited for length and relevance. I hope you find Dr. Begg’s comments as interesting and helpful as I did.
In this episode, we talk with award-winning singer-songwriter Tanya Godsey, whose album, “Love Lines The Last Horizon,” brings us a hope-filled reminder that God’s love is strong enough to quench our fears and cover our failures, limitations and even our questions.
Tanya candidly discusses how, just as she was emerging from a long struggle with paralyzing fear, her family’s world was turned upside down by her husband’s sudden and unexpected battle with depression and anxiety. She shares her discovery that even when we are too broken and weak to reach for God, he is always reaching for us.
In this episode, we talk with Jeremiah Carlson of The Neverclaim worship band. Jeremiah has a marvelous story of God’s breaking chains and turning brokenness into beauty — and it finds powerful expression in the band’s music.
Jeremiah’s story makes it very clear that, while we all struggle with brokenness, none of us are defined by the past. As followers of Jesus, our mission is to walk with others as they learn who they are in Christ and learn how God can use them to bring redemption and healing into other lives too.
Learn more about Jeremiah Carlson and The Neverclaim’s music at their website, theneverclaim.com.
In this episode, we talk with Chuck Lawless, a noted conference leader and author who is the dean of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, NC.
As president of a church consulting firm and a seminary leader, Chuck constantly interacts with pastors and pastors in training. In those conversations, he hears too many stories about the horrible toll pornography addiction is taking on the lives of pastors and Christian men, their families and their churches.
Recent studies indicate about 1 in 4 smartphone owners store porn on their handset, and 67% of young men say viewing porn is an acceptable way to express one’s sexuality. Even worse, almost two-thirds of Christian men say they watch porn at least once a month.
Chuck has some excellent insight about how men can be set free from this addiction — or protected from falling into it in the first place.
In this episode, we focus on “The Insanity of God,” a popular book that’s now become an inspiring documentary movie about the courage of Christians who keep standing with Jesus in spite of severe persecution, even martyrdom.
Nik Ripken and his wife, Ruth, undertook a global pilgrimage to hear firsthand the stories of persecution and martyrdom our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing. Nik and Ruth interviewed more than 600 believers in 72 countries — and what they learned offers crucial insights for believers who want to be part of God’s revolution.
An estimated 70% of Christians worldwide are practicing their faith in environments of persecution. Nik describes this as “normal Christianity.” These believers are persecuted only because because they have chosen not to keep silent about salvation in Jesus Christ. By the same token, Christians are not persecuted in the West because we don’t try to give Jesus away.
Persecution is Satan’s reaction to those who choose to follow Jesus and be obedient to his command to make disciples. Jesus told us to not be surprised when the world hates us because it hated him first. If the world doesn’t hate us, it’s because we aren’t confronting people with costly Christianity.
Click above to listen to the interview. To read Jim and Henry’s story, A Tool in God’s Hands, click here.
Henry with Jim Gash at the Ihungu Remand Home in Masindi, Uganda.
What most Americans know of the criminal justice system is what they see on TV dramas: a crime is committed, police investigate and gather evidence against a suspect, who then is arrested and brought immediately before a judge, who schedules the “speedy” trial we all are guaranteed by the US Constitution.
We don’t realize how unusual our system is in the larger world. In many places, you can be arrested and thrown into prison while police investigate and gather evidence and decide whether to even charge you. That can take months, even years, because the law doesn’t require those authorities to move quickly.
If you are innocent of a crime, you still may spend many months in jail. And if you’re a teenager, the interruption to your education could easily ruin the rest of your life.
In this episode of God’s Revolution, we talk with Jim Gash, an American lawyer who was headed for a “divine collision” with Henry, a teenager unjustly held in a Ugandan prison. Gash not only helped get that young man out of jail but he also helped change Uganda’s entire legal system to help keep injustices like that from happening in the future.
The subtext of the story is that God can use ordinary Christians – all of us – to accomplish far more than we can even imagine, if we just let him write the story of our lives, instead of always trying to write it ourselves.
Our world is full of ethnic and racial tensions that seem to intensify constantly. The sad fact is that most Christians seem to be as susceptible to these tensions as their unregenerate neighbors. Alan Cross’ book, “When Heaven and Earth Collide,” explores how cultural racism took Southern evangelicalism captive. In the process, he helps us all consider how our own attitudes about race and ethnicity are shaped by our culture in ways we don’t even realize.
If God’s people are going to do Kingdom justice in community, we must come to terms with the attitudes in our own hearts that get in the way of reconciliation and Gospel advance.
In this episode, we talk with Alan Cross, who founded an organization in Montgomery, Ala., called Community Development Initiatives in 2007 and served as a pastor of Gateway Baptist Church in Montgomery for more than 15 years.
Many believers and congregations simply don’t make disciples, and many that do aren’t experiencing the multiplication of disciples the Lord wants to give them. Jeff Christopherson of the North American Mission Board shares some profound insights on the subject of multiplying disciples who make disciples.
This discussion with Reggie McNeal, missional leadership specialist for Leadership Network and author of numerous books on church leadership, focuses on perhaps the most fundamental issue facing the church today: How the need to promote our church organization actually keeps us from advancing God’s kingdom in our communities.
Our consumer-oriented society demands services, and churches respond by providing an ever-widening range of programs. Those programs, of course, require church members to provide ever more human resources to support them.
Church leaders find themselves under pressure to constantly innovate programs and recruit church members to staff them. And church members wind up getting the idea that the measure of faithfulness is their level of their participation in the organization’s activities.
If you compound this with a gospel message focused primarily on the afterlife — perhaps even a disavowal that the quality of this life has anything to do with salvation — you have a very serious problem. Even lost people understand that Jesus helped people in need and that his true followers do that too.
We try to mobilize church members to witness to people about eternity, but we don’t help them understand how to be salt in a society that is decaying around them. God’s people don’t understand their role in “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
If we aren’t trying to help people live abundant lives now, why would we be surprised when they discount our message about eternal life hereafter? Why would we be surprised when people lose interest in our organization’s activities? Why would we be surprised when even our members drift away?
God’s Revolution is about a world in captivity — and the Creator’s mission to set us free and bring us full circle back to the peace he created us to enjoy. An essential part of that revolution is showing people how to live life the way God designed us to live. If we are to be part of God’s revolution in this world, God’s people must do God’s justice in their communities.