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In step



This is How to Get Your Emotional Intimacy Needs Met​

Are you frustrated in your marriage because your needs aren’t being met?

You’re not alone. Many people don’t know how ask for what they need, much less give someone else what they need.
We usually need what we didn’t get. And if we didn’t get it, we don’t know how to give it.

Having needs doesn’t make you needy; it makes you normal​

We’ve all got them. Needs.
Here are the top 10 emotional intimacy needs*:
1. Acceptance-The need for unconditional love.
2. Affection–The need for physical touch or closeness.
3. Appreciation–The need for gratitude.
4. Approval-The need to feel important.
5. Attention-The need to know you’re cared about.
6. Comfort-The need to have someone respond to your hurt.
7. Encouragement-The need to have someone cheer you on.
8. Respect–The need to know you’re valued.
9. Security-The need to know you’ll protect me.
10. Support-The need to know you’ll be there through my struggles.
Emotional intimacy needs are powerful motivators for behavior. They determine how you relate to your husband and how he relates to you.

Unmet needs are a major source of frustration in marriage​

We want what we didn’t get, so we end up either demanding it from others or manipulating them into giving it to us.
There’s an easier way.
Here are 6 steps to set the stage for getting your needs met:
  1. Look over the list and decide on your top three needs. Give your husband an opportunity to look over the list to decide his top three needs.
  2. Set aside time with your husband. Set aside time each week to talk about your relationship. Find a quiet place so you can have uninterrupted time. Listen to what he needs and share your intimacy needs with your husband. These are information gathering sessions.
  3. Meet his needs. After finding out which needs are most important to him and why, find ways to meet those needs. This will require you to become a student and your concentration will be your spouse.
  4. Help him feel secure and confident in your support. Your husband doesn’t want to seem “needy” either. He needs to be assured you’ve got his back, and he’s got your confidence.

  5. Avoid playing emotional games. You don’t get what you need, you’re afraid to ask for it so you form unhealthy behavior patterns. David and Teresa Ferguson in Intimate Encounters call these marital games and they’re driven by unmet emotional needs. They are usually manipulation techniques, which end up making us look “needy.”
  6. Tell your husband what you need. Speak plainly in expressing your needs. Using an “I wish” statement is different than using an “I need” statement.
A large part of getting your needs met depends on your willingness to meet your husband’s needs and your willingness to let him know what you need.

It takes practice​

Your husband may have a tough time articulating his needs because most men aren’t verbal creatures.
They have a much lower daily word count than women, which means they talk a lot less.
You may have to experiment until you find out what he likes. Become a student of him. He may be your favorite subject ever.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
  • Call him at work or send him a text to tell him you love him
  • Initiate sex
  • Tell him you appreciate his leadership
  • Prepare his favorite meal or snack
  • Take him to dinner or a movie
  • Talk him up in front of others
  • Compliment him
  • Listen
  • Assure him of your support
  • Tell him you trust his judgement
  • Praise him for helping at home or with kids
  • Pray together
If you still don’t know, ask him.
Learning to meet each other’s emotional intimacy needs takes practice.
You can learn to meet each other’s needs and recapture the feelings of love and tenderness that attracted you to him in the first place.



5 excuses unhappy couples make​

When we’re committed to something, we make a way. When we’re not, we make an excuse.

My wife, Ashley, and I have connected with couples from all over the world, and one alarming trend we’ve discovered is that there seems to be an “Epidemic of Excuses” in modern marriages. What I mean by that is many couples seem to be caught in a trap of justifying an unhealthy marriage or even a choice to divorce by making excuses instead of working together to make a better marriage.

Below are some of the most common and destructive “excuses” out there. If you find yourself using these, I encourage you to take a step back and reevaluate. This post isn’t meant to minimize the very real challenges you may be facing; it’s meant to give you hope by changing your perspective. Changing your perspective is the first step in changing your marriage.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com
This is not a comprehensive list, but these are among the most common marriage-damaging excuses:

1. My spouse doesn’t make me happy anymore.
One of the biggest dangers with romance novels and pornography (as well as much of our mainstream entertainment) is that it warps our minds into thinking other people (even our own spouses) exist for our our happiness and pleasure. This is a distorted and destructive view. It’s selfish, and selfishness is the enemy of love. It’s not your spouse’s responsibility to “make you happy.”
2. The kids have to come first.
It’s true that we should be willing to jump in front of a moving bus to protect our children, but I’ve heard way to many people use this excuse to justify an unhealthy marriage while trying to look like a selfless martyr for their kids. If you really want to protect your kids, then love your spouse! Give your children the security that comes from seeing their parents in a loving, committed relationship with each other! You’re teaching your kids what marriage should look like, and chances are good that they’ll grow up to repeat the kind of marriage (or divorce) you model for them.
3. We’d be better off apart.
On the surface, this seems like a selfless admission that the best thing for everyone would be to part ways. It’s almost never the truth. It’s usually an excuse to take a quick exit from your marriage instead of dealing with your issues and then taking those same issues into a new relationship and repeating the same dysfunctional cycle with someone else.
4. My spouse isn’t doing their share.
It can be incredibly frustrating when one spouse is consistently working harder than the other, but you need to give your very best even when your spouse isn’t doing the same. This is a very tough truth, but your level of commitment cannot be conditional upon your spouse’s level of commitment. Marriage is not 50-50; divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It’s not dividing everything in half, but giving everything you’ve got. Your spouse is more likely to respond positively to your selfless example of excellence than to nagging, coercing or complaining.

5. I’ve got nothing left to give.
I know many people are in exhausting and frustrating places where there seems to be no hope, but I’ve seen too many marriage miracles to believe in the word “hopeless.” Don’t give up! Invest in each other. The resources below can help you get started. Remember that a “perfect marriage” is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.



2 Tips to Help Guard Against Intruders In Your Marriage​

Over the years, I have been seeing how today’s society doesn’t value the sanctity of marriage. More and more couples are experiencing the devastation of broken marriages and divorces. From a Christian perspective, God values marriage. God’s idea of marriage consists of an unbreakable covenant between a man and woman (Matthew 19:6). It is His desire that marriages be instruments that He can use to show the image of His faithfulness and everlasting love to the world (John 13:35).

At a marriage seminar a few years ago, my husband and I heard a powerful story surrounding the circular shape of your ring and how it is a symbol of protection from “invasions” into your relationship. We learned that it is important to cover your marriage and guard against “invasions” that seek to gain access to destroy your union. Here are 2 “invaders” that we learned to look out for to share for growth in your marriage.

1. Time Stealers​

Time is something that couples should invest in their marriage. It is too easy to let time stealers invade moments designed for quality time with the one you love. Be careful to not let subtle time stealers such as hobbies, emails, TV, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media become distractions that stunt growth. Here are a few tips to reclaim quality time to find intimate moments together:
  • Schedule weekly date nights.
  • Cook dinner together.
  • Send your spouse love notes by email and text during the day.
  • Cuddle while watching a movie.

2. Emotion Stealers​

Communication is a must have in your marriage. After all, intimate talks to share your heart, feelings, goals, and dreams deepen your marriage’s bond and connection. However, improper relationships can seek to “invade” the space that only belongs to your spouse. This can take the form of sharing your heart with someone of the opposite sex or “venting” to friends about your spouse. Remember, honoring your commitment to God and your spouse requires continual connection and communication to strengthen your marriage (Proverbs 4:23).
These 2 tips will help you guard against invasions to solidify growth and build your marriage as God’s platform to reflect Him and your commitment to Him for all to see.



It's Dark Out There, But ...​

[ 1 min read ★]

The people dwelling in darkness
have seen a great light—Matthew 4:16

Picture a world where everyone around you is kind, caring, encouraging, and willing to help when you need help. Everyone. Spouses, family members, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, bosses, political leaders, presidents. They are for you. Picture a world where everyone is quick to try to understand, quick to apologize, and quick to forgive.

Brother, we don’t live in that kind of world. We will. Rest assured, it’s coming. But our world today is quite a bit different.

There’s a darkness upon the earth. Think of the corruption. The atrocities. The hatred. The competition. The selfish cruelty. The callous brutality. All the killing. All the lying. All the godlessness. There is so much of it today that it’s impossible to even take its measure. Things have simply stopped making sense.

Our generation is struggling—mostly alone. And yet, most of us, especially us men, forget or forgo what’s available and intended to help us survive and even thrive in these evil days: authentic Christian community.

Scattered, men are assailable. United with brothers and God, though, we’re protected—ready for anything this world might threaten.



The Effects Of Unconfessed Sin On A Heart For God​


Do you remember the first time you lied and got away with it? I do. I was in first grade. And thus began my life of crime, lying when it benefited me!

All of us are tempted to lie from time to time about our sin. When we are younger it is lesser offenses, when we are older it becomes more severe. One of the worst things that can ever happen to you is lying and getting away with your sin. It teaches you a habit that gets very difficult to break with age.

King David, lied, and got away with it too, almost.

2 Samuel 11:1 tells us King David was supposed to be at war but instead he stayed home.
He was dislodged from his position and disengaged from his purpose.
This is a recipe for disaster!
The Enemy waits until we dislodge ourselves from our position and disengage from our purpose, and then he offers an alternative. It always appeals to our flesh. He can’t position us for a fall, we have to do that, but once we put ourselves in a compromising position, he offers us the most delightful temptation to our flesh. This is how the enemy worked in David’s life and this is how the enemy works in our lives.

Right after this 2 Samuel 11:2 says, “It happened.” David walked out and saw a beautiful naked woman bathing.
The Enemy knew beautiful naked women were King David’s kryptonite. Do you know what your kryptonite is?
Once we dislodge ourselves from our relational position in life, husband/wife, father/mother, friend, truth-teller, follower of Jesus, then the Enemy serves up the appetizer our flesh craves.

David sent and inquired who the woman was. The servant he inquired from told him Bathsheba was married, but that boundary didn’t stop David. He sent for her and lay with her. She sends word she is pregnant.
Now what do you do? The fun is over, and she has a message for you, “I am pregnant.” Now what?
The famous Christian apologist, Ravi Zacharias, would often times say, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, cost you more than you would ever want to pay.”

Sadly, we know now, Ravi knew this personally, because he was living this story in his life.
So, sin has taken David further than he wants to go.
David sends for Uriah.
We have hope for King David. He is going to confess to Uriah, “I slept with you wife.”

Here is David’s moment to continue to be a man after God’s own heart. Instead, 2 David sends Uriah to his house with a present from him. David tried to use money to solve his problem. Whenever we use money to cover up sin, we always make it worse in the end.
Once we have sinned and we don’t immediately confess, sin encourages us to avoid the truth by covering up the truth.
Like David, when we don’t immediately confess sin, we then create shadows that appear true.

Instead of confessing to Uriah, David created a scenario where Uriah was to sleep with his wife, He was going to let an innocent man believe he had a child. And he was going to expect Bathsheba to live a lie with her husband.
He shows by his actions he cares only for himself.
Cover up makes us myopic.
What is myopic?
Myopia is a condition in which visual images come to a focus in front of the retina of the eye, resulting in defective vision of distant objects, also known as nearsighted.

Unconfessed sin makes us myopic; it makes us nearsighted to the consequences of our sin, because of this our judgment worsens with time.
David’s judgement worsens and he tries to get Uriah to sleep with his wife so he will think the child is his, but Uriah doesn’t, and David becomes more desperate. He tells Uriah to remain a few more days before going back to battle so he can come up with a better lie.

Unconfessed sin makes better liars of us with time.
Because David refused to confess his sin, he is now going to step off into a world he never dreamed he would enter. He gets Uriah drunk to sleep with his wife.
David is now influencing others to sin to cover up his sin.
David’s plan didn’t work, God didn’t allow it. Uriah refused to sleep with his wife even drunk.
Uriah was a better man drunk than David was sober.

Here is another chance for David to confess. Instead, he devises a plan to have Uriah murdered.
His plan worked and when it worked, he justified it to those who knew.
David had convinced himself that what he was doing was in the best interest of everyone. Sin had taken him further than he would ever imagine he would have gone.
Once Uriah is dead, David brought Bathsheba to his house, and she became his wife and she bore him a son. David was now living a lie as if it was the truth. And they lived happily ever after, right?

2 Samuel 11:27 says, “it displeased the Lord.” This is the final effect of unconfessed sin covered up.
To sin is human, to cover it up is evil. God does not forgive sin unconfessed. If we don’t expose sin, it eats our hearts for God like a bacterium eats away at one’s flesh. Recently I read an article by Apple that said they are creating software to detect child pornography on internet devices. Even the world knows hidden sin is not good, how about the church and Christians who follow Jesus?

Don’t let sin take you any further down the dark whole of its effects and eat more of your heart for God, confess it and forsake it today.



God Promises Blessings Not Prosperity​

A friend of mine was once doing a short internship at an African-American church in the United States. During the Sunday morning service, when the offering was taken up, the congregation would sing a song about sowing in generosity and reaping a blessing. My friend would always shake his head at this, feeling somewhere between bemused and alarmed at this flagrant display of prosperity theology. He felt no small dose of shame when it finally dawned on him one day that the congregation was in fact singing the words of St. Paul in 2 Corinthians:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.

Just to be clear, God is not a slot machine. We do not put money into him and hope that the odds are in our favour and he pays off big sometime soon. Neither is God a Ponzi scheme where we offer him our financial gifts with a view to sharing in his riches until it all goes bust. Nor is God an investment opportunity where we get the the inside track of an exciting new project with the guarantee of exponential profits after a short period. God is nothing like this.

What is certain, because it is scriptural, is that God is generous and he generously blesses his people. It is from that blessing that we in turn feel the tug of the Holy Spirit at our hearts to bless others out of our abundance and to bless God back out of thanksgiving. Divine generosity creates a contagious habit of giving that exponentially increases as it is experienced and shared with others. This isn’t about algorithms or karma, it is the circle of divine generosity that begins with God and ends with God, because God is the giver of all good things, and we are part of that circle in our own giving and receiving of gifts.

It is dangerous, because it is so obviously alluring, to think that if we give to the church or to charity, that God somehow owes us. That’s not true, never has been, never will be. Who can lend to the Lord that the Lord should owe him or her anything? God has no creditors, only debtors, those who have been redeemed from debtors prison! What is true, however, is that if we give to this circle of divine generosity, we will contribute to an abundance of blessing for those in need (sowing) and we ourselves will benefit from it in due course (reaping). The little boy who gave Jesus five barley loaves and two small fish saw his gift miraculous multiplied and used to feed others and himself probably ate more than he brought along that day.

When we engage in feats of generosity, we are never to think about what we can get out of it. Rather we should be driven by thanksgiving and a desire to bless others as we ourselves have been blessed. We are to believe that from our meagre or mighty resources that God is able to do much, and as much as we give, we can confidently expect the circle of divine generosity to spin faster and wider, and to find ourselves experiencing the exponential blessings of its increasing revolutions.



Emerging from Isolation​

[ 1 min read ★ ]

For where two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I among them—Matthew 18:20

Imagine, for a moment, a man ever isolated, living alone in the mountains, perhaps. Imagine him living a vigorous, adventurous, spiritual life, but lacking community. The knowledge this man would have of God, the knowledge he’d have of himself, would be modest compared to the knowledge he’d have of both, were he to have full access to relationships, friendships, brotherhood.

You see, the isolated man may know about God. But, no matter how much he might read and study, he cannot know God. That takes community. We get to know God by seeing his Holy Spirit moving in others. We encounter God, we experience him, we understand him when he works through the love and sacrifice of other people. In brotherhood, we get to show God to one another. And, the more we’re in community with brothers, the deeper our understanding becomes.

The isolated man may also know about himself—his talents, his likes, his dislikes. But, he cannot know himself. He cannot know the man God intends him to become. That too takes community. It takes others around him, who know his story, who spend time with him, who watch him, to discern and affirm and call forth things true and eternal in him, things God longs for to emerge. It takes brotherhood to call forth the true man.

Okay, so what do we do?​

Though we live in cities and towns, many of us are yet like the man isolated in the mountains. We know about God, but we don’t know him. We know the men we’d like to be, but we don’t know the men he created us to be. This message, right now, is another call for brotherhood. It’s a call for you, brother, to get into community with other men. Find some brothers; find your place.



How can I get my teen to STOP relying on social media so much?​

Dear Shaunti,
My kids’ obsession with Instagram and other social media has gotten to ridiculous levels. My teenage daughter takes photos of her outfits before she goes to school and wears the option that got the most likes. She’s already placing far too much value on what her peers think of her, and social media is making it worse. I’m ready to throw her phone in the trash. How can I get her to stop relying on social media so much – especially for her self-identity?

-Irritated with Instagram

Dear Irritated –
Absurd as it may seem to us who grew up without social media, our teens have no frame of reference for life without it. So although it seems “ridiculous,” it’s time to embrace the fact that this is a big part of your teen’s world. That doesn’t mean social media use shouldn’t be controlled (it should) or that it should drive their identity (it shouldn’t) but it does mean giving up the illusion that a teen can live a normal life without it today.

It also means recognizing that if you want to guide your daughter away from relying on anything (social media included) for her self-identity, that you have to enter in to this part of her life, rather than trying to keep her entirely from it. You need to understand her motivations, how she uses social media, who her digital friends are, and what she thinks about it all. And the good news is that, statistically, she probably wants you to!

According to my For Parents Only research with middle school and high school kids, our kids want us to make the effort to understand their life and their world, and be a part it. It sends the message that we care enough about our child and who he or she really is (rather than who we might want them to be) that we’re willing to step into a social environment that may not come naturally, in order to better understand them. It sends the message that they can trust us.

So instead of giving your “disapproving” glance whenever your daughter checks her Instagram comments, ask her about them. I assume you are already checking her phone, social media use and texts (hint hint), so next time you take a look and hand her back her phone, ask open-ended questions to show your interest. “Who comments the most on what you post?” “What do you think about what Paige said?” “Read me some of your favorite posts!”

This involvement almost certainly will lead to more meaningful questions that give you windows of opportunity for guidance. “Do you ever wear an outfit that got voted down, just because you liked it best?” “What do you think, when you see that Jamie has 300 followers and you have 67?” “Do any of your friends just not care whether anyone comments on their posts? Why do you think they are free of the need for that approval?”
Casual questions with deep opportunities.

A woman business leader that I know tells the people who work for her, “I can’t grow you unless I know you” – and the same principle applies to you as a parent. You can’t grow your child, and help her avoid the temptations to rely on friends and approval for self-worth, if you know very little about a huge part of her life.
And once you do know her better, you’ll know best how to share some key truths in a way she’ll accept – like the fact that although it is natural to seek affirmation in the affection or praise of others, it is only in knowing that we are God’s children, created in His image, richly loved in spite of our flaws that we find true affirmation.

That is simply not something we can get from anything or anyone else! You’ll be able to help her see that relying on Instagram comments for happiness is a road to heartbreak.
And since she will now know that you care about her, and that she can trust you – she’ll be far more inclined to listen.



5 Signs that Your JOB Might be Hurting Your Marriage​

Work is an important part of life. In fact, it’s where many of us spend the majority of our time working hard to advance our careers and provide for our families. And, that’s a good thing. However, whether we realize it or not, there are certain ways that our job can greatly harm our marriage. Here are five of the most common:

1. We consistently choose to stay at work well beyond working hours.

In certain jobs, overtime is a periodic requirement and also provides much financial gain. I am not talking about this. I am referring to a spouse on salary that constantly chooses to stay a couple of hours later for various reasons. Our time with our families is often so limited, so let’s do everything we can to spend as much time as possible with them and make them a priority, especially one-on-one time with our spouse. Whether it means shortening your lunch break or saving some work for the next day, leavng work on time and going home to our families just may save our marriages.

2. We often spend time alone with someone of the opposite sex.

I understand that there are times that you must have a work meeting with someone of the opposite sex, but when these must happen, we need to conduct the meeting in a certain way that is respectful to our marriage and our colleague’s marriage. I would suggest you meet in an open area, with others around. If the nature of your professional discussion must be confidential, try finding a meeting room that has multiple windows.

I know some of you may think this is overkill, but I promise that I have seen too many marriages fail due to inappropriate work relationships that became full blown affairs. None of us want this for our marriages, so we need to guard our hearts and limit one-on-one interactions with our fellow workers of the opposite sex. I would also encourage you to turn down lunches with those of the opposite sex at work, unless you are in a larger group of colleagues. We need to avoid the flirtations and inappropriate conversations that can happen when we continue to spend time with a colleague of the opposite sex in private.

If you are currently doing any of these things, please put an end to this immediately. Go home and spend time with your spouse. Flirt with him/her. Share your heart with him/her. Sleep with him/her. Please don’t seek to fulfill these needs outside of your marriage. When we play with fire, we will be burned. We must protect and fight for our marriages daily.

3. We let negative, anti-marriage colleagues influence how we view our own marriages.

When we spend as many hours as we do at work, we are bound to make some pretty good friends of the same gender. In fact, I hope all of us do. It makes the work day go by so much faster when you feel as though you are working among friends. Depending on the nature of our job, we may have long periods in our day when we can have conversations with our work friends.

As with any of the relationships in our lives, we need to make sure that our work friends are people who encourage us in our marriages and family life. If we find that we often end up in a spouse-bashing session with our work friends, we need to find better “friends” and spend our work time around others who share our family values. We are so affected by the company we keep, so let’s have positive and encouraging company. It’s uncanny how we can become more like the people we are around the most. If your friends constantly see their husbands/wives in a negative light, you will start viewing your spouse in the same way. When we come home after a long day at work, we don’t need that negativity ringing in our ears. We need to see our spouse in the most positive light possible and greet them with a genuine smile.

4. We share too much information about our marriages with the people at work.

Before I jump into this subject, I want to address a particular group of readers. If you are in a verbally, mentally, or physically abusive marriage, I know you are desperate to talk to someone you can trust. I encourage you to, first of all, seek safety, and then please find a professional Christian counselor, pastor, or social worker you can talk to. They will be able to help you navigate your situation without bringing it into your work place. I would hate to see you be put through the ringer or the rumor mill at your work place, so please take these steps to get the help you need. You are not alone, and there is hope for you and your family.

Sometimes, we are just worn out with the daily grind of our marriages or just angry with our spouses, and we so desperately want to talk with someone about it. Unfortunately, the work place is probably the worst place where we should do this. First of all, when you air out your dirty laundry, you are asking for all kinds of opinions to come your way, some of which offer terrible advice.

Secondly, it undermines your credibility as a professional. Even though all of us go through difficulties at home from time to time, it is unprofessional for us to bring our marital troubles up at work. I encourage you to find a Christian counselor or pastor that both you and your spouse can meet with together. Early in our marriage, Dave and I saw a licensed Christian counselor, and we received the help and perspective we needed to strengthen our marriage. There is absolutely no shame in getting help; we must be willing to do whatever it takes to save our marriages.

5. We allow our boss/colleagues to completely dictate our schedule–including our family time.
This is a tough one, but it is also a pervasive one in many marriages. In most job situations, we are required to report to a boss every day. And, more often than not, the boss dictates the daily work schedule. However, we run into trouble when we allow our boss, or even our colleagues, to pull us into unnecessary overtime and work trips. We have more power over this than we realize. If we are constantly being asked to stay later and to travel more, our family will suffer.

So, we must be willing to be upfront with our superiors about the great value we place on our family time. It’s up to us to set this important professional boundary. Sure, it may mean that you don’t advance in your career as swiftly, and it may not sit well with your boss and co-workers at first. But, your marriage and family will benefit greatly. And, no promotion or work experience is more valuable than they are.

Friends, if you read through this list and feel a little uneasy, please know that there is hope in creating a healthy work routine that brings out the best in your marriage. Sit down with your spouse and talk through these things. Be willing to hear what he/she has to say. Then, take the steps necessary to put your marriage and family first. You will NEVER regret that decision.



Your spouse’s 5 most annoying habits​

Habits that seemed “cute and quirky” while you were dating can become really annoying after years of marriage.

After informally surveying many couples through our Facebook “Marriage” page, I’ve compiled the most common pet peeves you have about your spouse.
Some of these habits are “annoying” but some are downright dangerous to your marriage. I am listing them here simply to start some conversations in your marriage, so you can work through your “annoying habits” before they lead to much bigger issues. A marriage is built on healthy communication, so let this spark some healthy communication in your relationship.
And remember to always love each other (even in those unlovable and “annoying” moments)!

Another tool to help you strengthen your communication in marriage is our FREE video series on “The 4 Pillars of a Strong Marriage” which you can watch by clicking here.
Men’s most annoying habits (according to women):
In no particular order…

1. Burping and farting out loud.
2. Not listening or “tuning out’ during conversations.
3. Not communicating important details.
4. Checking out other women.
5. Being “obsessed” with video games and/or sports.

Women’s most annoying habits (according to men):
1. Saying “nothing is wrong” when something is wrong.
2. Overspending.
3. Bringing up “old dirt” as ammunition in arguments.
4. Giving (or asking for) too many “unnecessary” details in conversations.
5. Being “obsessed” with social media (Pinterest, etc.).
Like I said, the whole point of this is just to get husbands and wives talking with each other in a more productive way and replacing “annoying habits” with mutual respect, mutual appreciate for our differences and stronger intimacy in your marriage.


Got Risk . . . Discomfort?

For a day in Your courts
is better than a thousand elsewhere—Psalm 84:10

Years spent in luxury and comfort can’t compare to one day spent with God—in his presence; experiencing his love; living his truth; doing his work. And, astonishingly, God doesn’t offer us just single days . . . mere glimpses, fleeting encounters. He offers himself “more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20-21). He offers all of himself, all the time—as much as we want, as much as we choose.

One proven method of choosing him is to strip away worldly comfort, strip away predictability and self-sufficiency . . . and intentionally move into situations we can’t handle on our own. Jesus sent his disciples into such situations: “I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (Luke 10:3). He told them to travel light and resist taking anything that could provide comfort, predictability, self-sufficiency: money, extra clothing, extra stuff (Luke 10:4). They had to rely on him. And they returned full of joy (Luke 10:17). Because they’d been willing to move, in faith, into risk and discomfort, they got to spend precious days with God. Jesus told them:

“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Luke 10:23-24).

Ask yourself, what am I doing—right now—that requires faith? We get used to choosing risk and discomfort by practicing. So, look for ways to practice, brother. Look today for what moves your heart. Reach out to someone who needs help. Spend time with someone who needs a friend. Commit to a service project. Sign-up for a short-term mission trip. If you do, you’ll too have great stories to tell.



You Bear No Guilt for Sins Done to You: Why We Must Reject “Generational Guilt”​

In a tweet, Skye Jethani–host of the “Holy Post” podcast–recently said this of generational guilt:

When we willingly accept responsibility for sins we did not commit we look like Jesus on the cross. When we refuse to own the sins of others to maintain our self-righteousness we look like the people who put him there.
Jethani’s tweet got a strong response. Many people liked and retweeted it. As one of the core convictions of woke ideology–very popular today–this does not surprise us. But others raised strong concerns. One of them got my eye. A woman named “Mary” responded as follows:

Huh ? I am not responsible for my fathers sins of sexually abusing me and raping me. That’s what keeps incest survivors silent… carrying others sins. That’s NOT what Jesus wants.
I don’t know Mary. I don’t know her story. But I do know this: she raises a very important question for those who promote “generational guilt” for sin. If you argue that Christians should “accept responsibility for sins we did not commit,” you have to answer for many things. For example, if you believe in familial generational guilt, you will automatically need to “accept responsibility for” all the sins your family committed. That will necessarily (inescapably) include sins done to you–encompassing, among many other evils, abuse committed against you.
No doubt Jethani stumbled into this logical trap unwittingly. I do not believe that he and others who promote generational guilt and reparations are intending to make survivors of sexual abuse guilty for sins done against them. My sense is that this is an unintended error; I do not believe for a minute that Jethani supports abuse of any kind. Further, as a teacher, I have compassion here, for we all fail to think out our systems. None of us connects all the dots, and at times we can land ourselves in very difficult positions, even as Jethani has done.

But this does not mean that we escape accountability for our errors, unintentional or otherwise. This is especially true for public teaching, which is held to the strictest standard (James 3:1). In Jethani’s case, he says “refusing to own the sins of others” is functional self-righteousness. Again, he no doubt has in mind sins of a racist kind (that we all deplore). But this is the problem with sweeping moral claims that are not grounded in the Bible. They may sound good in one area, but they will quickly rebound on you. Man’s wisdom always ends up being self-refuting. It never leads you to the truth. Instead, it takes you places you do not want to go.

Let me put this as starkly as I can: there is no generational guilt that transfers through time. There can be generational effects of sin; I address this important distinction in my new book Christianity and Wokeness. But texts like Ezekiel 18:19–20 show us that God does not hold us responsible for other people’s sins, even people as close to us as our family:
[19] “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. [20] The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

This passage does not deny the federal headship of Adam and Christ. But outside of those two representatives, it shows decisively and definitively that sons are not guilty of the crimes of their father, and fathers are not guilty for the crimes of their son. It cannot be. God holds every person to account for their own sin. We do not bear the weight of anyone else’s iniquity. Our own evildoing is enough, and in fact is far, far, far too much for us to bear.

The Bible teaches us that no one can atone for their own sin (Isaiah 64:6). We cannot come within 10,000 miles of doing so. We need a divine rescuer. Through the Spirit’s application, we need the blood of Christ that satisfies the just wrath of the Father for us. This is our hope, and it is our only hope. There is no other way to be cleansed. There is no other way to be forgiven. There is no other redress of sin appointed by the Father (see Ephesians 1:3-14). This is the only way. Blood, the Son of God’s blood, is the only solution.
The foregoing realities lead us to several heartening conclusions. Let me list them here.

  1. You are a sinner deserving of eternal damnation. We all are, without exception.
  2. But if you are in Christ through repentance and faith, you are forgiven–totally forgiven.
  3. Your past no longer defines you. It may have shaped you, but you are a glorious “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:21). You may have done terrible things (whether publicly or privately) and had terrible things done to you, but all that is washed by the blood of Christ.
  4. This means that you are not your past sin. It does not mark you. Nor are you the sum total of past sins done to you. If you have suffered horribly from evil hands in abusive situations (not sins of a mutual kind that implicate you), none of this is your identity.
  5. You thus will not and cannot atone for your own sins, nor the sins of anyone else. You have no responsibility to bear generational guilt. Said more simply: you are not generationally guilty.

  6. There are no reparations for you to make for the sins of others. The blood of Christ makes all things new. If you have wronged people in the past, you’ll seek restitution with guidance and help (for it is not always easily forthcoming). You may also address generational effects of sin (making restitution for unpaid debts from deceased family members, for example). But you are not guilty in any way for the sins of others, and you have no call from God to offer guilt-driven “reparations” for what other people did.
  7. For all your days, God will continue the work fore-planned before the world began, secured in the cross, and realized in justification: he will sanctify you, grow you, and help you live as a new creation. Some such change will be rapid; other forms of holy transformation will take time. But no matter what, your identity is not in any sin pattern (to any degree), nor in your past (however bad it may be). Your identity is in Christ and Christ alone. I repeat myself: you are a new creation in Christ. If this were not a divine miracle, it would be too good to be true!
We could say much more here, but we’ll conclude this short post. The key takeaway is this: if we are not biblical in all our thinking, we will surely end up in unintended doctrinal and spiritual locations. Doing so will–even unintentionally–corrupt the gospel and leave people without the hope of Christ. As I have explored at length here, this is happening all around us in our day; we must fight against this trend.

May God give clarity in our day on these matters. And may he use such moments of debate and possible error to show many how wonderful the good news truly is. This is what we are after in the final analysis: not simply to refute error, but to exalt the miracle of salvation for sinners like us.



If This Bible Hero Could Get Past His Past, Anyone Can​

The Apostle Paul was a prolific church planter and missionary, planting churches all throughout the Roman Empire. Paul would then write letters to keep up with and instruct these churches, and these letters have been preserved for 2000 years as part of our New Testament. Here are some of the most famous quotes from the Apostle Paul, and how he continues to inspire Christians today:

I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

Those verses and so many more continue to inspire Christians today, so it’s real easy to assume that the Apostle Paul was always a rock solid Christian, probably grew up in Sunday School, loved youth group, went to a Christian college and has been changing the world ever since.

But when we first find Paul, then known as Saul of Tarsus, he was a violent persecutor of the Christian movement. Saul grew up as an extremely devout and religious Jew, and he correctly saw Jesus as a threat to the established religious Jewish temple system. So after the resurrection, when the disciples wouldn’t stop talking about their claims to see the resurrected Jesus, Paul led the charge to persecute them. In fact, the first Christian martyr, died at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders, and Saul was central to his killing. Here’s what happened next:

And Saul approved of their killing [Stephen]. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. Acts 8:1-3

This wasn’t Saul persecuting Christians in the media, calling them names or trying to shut down their buildings. This was Saul ripping apart families and putting people in prison. People died because of Saul. And then Jesus personally recruits Saul to start playing for the home team. Jesus appears to Saul, and Saul is so convinced that Jesus actually rose from the dead, proving that he was everything he claimed to be, that he gave his life to Jesus, changed his name from Saul to Paul, and the rest is history.

But, it’s not quite as easy as that. Have you ever done something from your past that you regret, something you wish you could go back and change? How many of you would like to have your high school years back? How many of you would like to have your 20s back? Your first marriage back?

As legitimately painful as that all is, I hope none of you ever have to deal with what Paul dealt with. Paul literally had blood on his hands. Paul killed people. More than that, Paul killed Christians before he became one. Do you think Paul needed freedom from the guilt and shame from his past? You better believe it! And he obviously found that freedom, because of how much inspiration he still gives us today. If God can help a murdered like Saul find freedom in Jesus, and not only that, redeem his life to inspire generations of Christians for the next 2000 years, there is absolutely nothing you cannot come back from.

For years, perhaps you’ve been disqualifying yourself from God’s love, God’s forgiveness, from God’s redemption because you’ve convinced yourself that what you did was too horrible, too unforgivable. Do you know what Paul would say to that? He would say, “Is that all? Come back to me after you’ve killed dozens or hundreds of people, then we can talk about how you can still find freedom and forgiveness and redemption in Jesus.”
So this is for every single person, no matter what you’ve done. Freedom is for everyone! Here’s a great summary of what drove Paul in freedom:

One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14



Filled With Appreciation​

[ 1 min read ★ ]

Outdo one another in showing honor—Romans 12:10

The apostle Paul challenged us to go big in honoring one another. Well, my brother, let me tell you about some people who surprised me by honoring my newest book, Rescue: When God’s Cavalry Arrives to Deliver You from Quiet Desperation. Eleven mighty men agreed to read the manuscript before anyone else; all of them chose to write endorsements. Here are a few:

“I had anticipated that Justin’s book Rescue was going to be an insightful look at the world of brotherhood relationships. What I did not anticipate was being drawn into an adventure that would inspire and deeply challenge me. In today’s world there has never been a greater need and opportunity to awaken men to the call for genuine brotherhood relationships. I encourage you as a man to go through this book with another man or as a leader of men to have all your guys go through it together. I can guarantee that your lives will never be the same.”
Randy (RT) Phillips, former president of Promise Keepers, cofounder of CORE, men’s pastor at LifeFamily Church, Austin, Texas

“Having spent one year of my life as an Air Force pilot of the Super Jolly Green Giant (HH-53) rescue helicopter in Vietnam, I know how intense and exciting a rescue experience can be. Through his incredible rescue stories, Justin Camp has set the stage for the greatest rescue of all—God’s loving rescue of the human heart and soul. Biblical foundation, quotations by God’s saints through the ages, practical guidance on building community are all captured in his new book, Rescue. Justin has given us a spiritual jewel, a Holy Spirit–led tool that will help us build personal rescue teams to save us through Jesus Christ the Lord.”
Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Charles C. Baldwin, US Air Force, Chief of Chaplains (ret.)

“Justin Camp’s Rescue brings into sharp focus humanity’s need for dramatic and cosmic rescue. But how does one obtain it? Where does one go? What if previous attempts to reform have failed? Is there any hope? The answer—always good news!—is that God in the crucified and risen Christ Jesus is the giver of all mercy and the redeemer of all broken lives. He’s the one who answers our prayers for rescue every time, and Justin’s book helps us find that rescue through the supportive kinship of other people.”
Chaplain (Col.) Tom Decker, US Army (ret.), former smokejumper for the US Forest Service, author of Fire Starters

Okay, so what do we do?​

My new book—the third in the life-changing WiRE Series for Men—will absolutely give you everything you need to find new life through the Christian brotherhood that God has waiting for you. It's chock-full of practical wisdom for how to conceive, start, and run worthwhile men's groups.
It releases Nov, 2, 2021, but you can preorder your copy of Rescue at Amazon today! I pray you do!



knowing the times | an introduction to Ecclesiastes 3​

Knowing the times: “Open your barns when it is the time to do so; and plant in season, and let the clusters be cut when they are ripe, and launch boldly in spring, and draw your ship on shore again at the beginning of winter, when the sea begins to rage.” (Gregory Nazianzius, On Holy Baptism.xl.xiv).

i. the times for everything, an introduction to Ecclesiastes 3​

“It is clear, even with a moderate insight into the nature of things, that there is nothing by which we can measure the divine and blessed Life. It is not in time, but time flows from it; whereas the creation, starting from a manifest beginning, journeys onward to its proper end through spaces of time; so that it is possible, as Solomon somewhere says, to detect in it a beginning, an end, and a middle; and mark the sequence of its history by divisions of time (see Eccl iii.1-11). But the supreme and blessed life has no time-extension accompanying its course, and therefore no span nor measure.” (Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius.i.xxvi)

setup for Ecclesiastes 3 #shorts​

Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzus compare the particularity of the times in Ecclesiastes with the keyrgma by the Apostles and the times they face. Therefore, as recipients of the Gospel and salvation, every Christian should be engaged in their particular work of salvation. What is God doing in the times of each of our lives? There are right things to do with our time and wrong things to do. Every time is the right time for prayer, but Theological reflection should be given a proper time…
Now about the last sentence, I would hate to question Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzus, but I would ask what one of my professors asked in our class, “Does anyone read deeply of Theology devotionally?”

I suddenly realized my hand was in the air and nobody else’s was.
Maybe it was a rhetorical question.
For those who have a bent toward Theology, whether historical or post-critical, or both, or some other branch, the literature itself serves as a devotional as we explore the Scripture.

ii. understanding the times​

The poetry of Koheleth in this passage is deep, reflecting on the times and meanings of life. “To every thing there is a season, and a time . . .” (Eccl iii:1).
Koheleth is the term “preacher,” the pen-name of author of Ecclesiastes. To read about the authorship CLICK HERE
The language is both literal and figurative. “Every” is used, and can refer to everything or everyone, depending on the context. Koheleth often uses it to refer to everyone. The opening line of this poem could read, “For everyone there is a season.” A “season” is a set, appointed time, similar to our definition so far.

The term “time,” however, may be a little different than how we define it. Time includes the idea of regular, recurring events such as seasonal weather patterns.
It can also mean a set, or appointed time.
The times refer to something more than a chronological clock. Time refers to the events within life and the value of those events. Time also points to God who oversees everything that occurs.

iii. times transliterated from Hebrew and from the Greek Septuagint

This word for time in the Hebrew is eth. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into the Greek Septuagint, the term kairos was chosen to represent the value of the times.
The two primary Greek terms for time are chronos and kairos. Chronos represents the order of time, or quantity.
Kairos is often used to refer to the quality of time.
What is occurring during the times?
What opportunity is that moment in time affording?
Kairos is usually associated with opportunities to change our hearts, repent, etc.

iv. there is “a time for every matter” (verse 1)​

Matter or purpose right there is a word which is also translated “will” and may also be used in reference to the will of God. It is interesting to note that the core meaning of purpose or will is delight and pleasure.
Purpose signifies what one longs for or delights in. We often have a formal concept of the will of God. But God is not toying with your life like a cosmic game of chess!
Here we see that the greater purposes of God are linked to something simpler, His delight, His passion, His emotion, His love, etc. Therefore discovering the will of God may be easier if we stop trying to guess His next move in some cosmic game of chess, and simply try to capture His heart “under heaven.”

v. Basil the Great exclaims that every matter includes our delight in our Lord​

“We may praise God sometimes with the tongue (when this is possible or, rather, when it is conducive to edification); or, if not, with the heart, at least, in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, as it is written.” (The Long Rules xxxvii.ii)
The last part of Basil the Great’s thought references Colossians iii.16. Not only Pentecostal scholars, but others as well, refer to “spiritual canticles” (songs) as spontaneous singing in tongues within a congregation. For those who have been caught in the rapture of such a moment, there is Biblical and growing Theological evidence for the experience. Ephesians v.19 uses the same language.

When we understand time as Koheleth does, we see meaning in life. More than chronological time, our lives are made up of times within time, divine opportunities, brushes with eternity, events ordained by God.
“People’s lives, of course, appear to be different, since they start at different points and unfold in different ways, but what all share is the constant rhythm of change brought about by the coming and going of certain eternally established times.” (James L. Kugel, The Great Poems of the Bible: A Reader’s Companion with New Translations, Free Press, p. 311)



What is good news and how do we communicated it? (Isaiah 40:1–11)​

What is good news and how do we communicate it?​

David C. Cramer​

Read Isaiah 40:1–11

Isaiah 40:1–11 is addressed to a people—indeed, to a nation—that is slowly emerging from a prolonged, painful experience of collective trauma.
Old Testament scholars observe that verses 1–11 serve as the prologue to the second major unit of Isaiah, chapters 40–55. The first unit of Isaiah, chapters 1–39, speaks words of judgment on Judah for its sin, idolatry, and oppression. This section leads up to the ultimate judgment on the people in 587 BCE, when Jerusalem is conquered and destroyed by the Babylonian Empire, and many of its people are taken into exile.

In contrast, the second unit of Isaiah is written to the people of Judah as they are returning from exile. As Old Testament scholar Michael Chan observes, “The exile is anticipated in Chapter 39 and then only assumed in Isaiah 40. It’s as if the editors didn’t need to—or perhaps couldn’t bear to—talk about ‘that’ time, when God handed over God’s beloved Daughter Zion into the hands of a vicious foreign army.”
Chan thus describes how the author is “forced to preach to an audience that had experienced trauma and whose relationship to God had been deeply wounded as a result. For this audience, God’s hiddenness was far more real than God’s presence.”

As with post-exilic Judah, we too are in a moment of (hopefully) emerging—however slowly it may be—from a period of collective trauma. Between a pandemic that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States alone and has caused untold suffering around the world and the magnitude of racial and sexualized violence that many of us are just beginning to comprehend, we are a traumatized people.
Yet this text is addressed not to the people themselves but to the messenger or messengers to the people. It’s addressed, quite literally, to those charged with bringing the news to the people. To the herald who brings the press.

This passage, in other words, is all about words—about communication. Old Testament scholar John Goldingay writes, “The importance of the notion of communication in vv. 1–11 is indicated by the frequent use of words for communication, ‘say’ (four times), ‘speak’ (twice), ‘call out’ (four times), ‘raise [the voice]’ (twice). The passage is substantially about words.”
The question, then, is this: What’s the good news I have to communicate? In addition to this question are two related questions: For whom is the news I have to communicate good? And how can I communicate this news in a way that it is heard as good?

Max Pixel / Creative Commons

What’s the good news I have to communicate?

Having grown up in an evangelical context and come into the Anabaptist fold in my early 20s, I spent a fair amount of time wrestling with the age-old question: What is the gospel? Is it the spiritualized message that I learned in my evangelical childhood and youth? Or is it the social message that I was encountering in my reading of Anabaptist historians and Bible scholars? Or is it perhaps the political message I was encountering among the more radical Anabaptist theologians and activists?
These questions led me to write my theology dissertation on the influence of the early twentieth-century social gospel theologian Walter Rauschenbusch on contemporary Anabaptist theology and ethics.
But now that I’m in pastoral ministry, I’ve become weary any kind of essentialized definition of the gospel. The gospel, or Greek euangelion, just means good news. And good news just is news that is good.

For those returning from exile in Babylon, the good news was a simple but profound message of comfort. Their sins have been paid for. They will again see the glory of the Lord. The Lord will protect them and gently shepherd them. According to Ivan Friesen, this “prologue announcing good tidings” presents “a theology of hope resting on a foundation of the Lord’s power and presence.”
For Jewish peasants in first century Palestine, the good news was the arrival of their long-awaited messiah, who would reveal the salvation, deliverance, or liberation of God.

For many who heard Walter Rauschenbusch preach, the good news was that the Kingdom of God is advancing on earth as it is in heaven.
For many who heard Billy Graham preach, the good news was that they could be at peace with God.
As author Osheta Moore has poignantly shared, the good news for many of our sisters and brothers of color today is that Black lives matter.
In hindsight, it’s kind of silly to do so much hand wringing over the definition of good news. We know it when we hear it! And just because a message of good news isn’t the comprehensive message of good news for all times and all places doesn’t make it any less good or any less news.

For whom is the news I have to communicate good?

As an editor at Baker Academic and Brazos Press and now at the Institute of Mennonite Studies, I have had the pleasure of reviewing many a book proposal. And there’s one question on every book proposal that provides a dead giveaway about how realistic the author is about their project: Who do you envision as the intended audience for your book?

You would be surprised how many authors write something to this effect: Although this project is written with other scholars in mind, it could be used in an undergrad or seminary classroom or read by pastors or your average person in the pew.
What that kind of answer indicates immediately is that the author has no idea who their message is for, which means there’s a good chance it’s not for anyone. As it turns out, the average person in the pew doesn’t find academic Mennonite theology that interesting, nor do academic Mennonite theologians find books written for the average person in the pew.

As much as we like to believe that our good news should be good news for everyone, more often than not there’s a specific audience who needs to hear it.
For the prologue to the second part of Isaiah, the good news was for the people of Zion, Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah. Kristin Wendland observes of this passage:
At the end of this passage the city of Jerusalem, also identified as Zion, is personified. This is a common trope in Isaiah 40-66. . . . However, the place in the Old Testament in which Zion is personified most consistently is in the first two chapters of the book of Lamentations. In Lamentations 1-2 Daughter Zion cries out against the destruction wrought her. She speaks words of accusation against her human enemies and even God. The refrain that comes again and again is, “There is no one to comfort her” . . . At the end of her speeches—and even the end of the book of Lamentations—Daughter Zion receives no response to her cry.

The response to Zion’s laments comes, rather, in other biblical books. The response comes in verses such as Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, O comfort my people.” The response comes in verses such as Isaiah 40:9 in which the words for Jerusalem to speak are not those of lament but of good news. She is no longer told to wail but to raise her voice without fear. The message given is confident and hopeful, “Here is your God!” Here is a God who comes to feed the flock, to gather the lambs, to lead the mother sheep—to bring comfort. Here is God in whom one may have hope.
We’re all familiar with Jesus’s inaugural sermon in Luke 4:18–19, where he reads from this same scroll of Isaiah to proclaim:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
This is a message of good news with a concrete and specific audience. And, while it was received by its intended audience as good news, there were many others for whom it was heard as a threat to their way of life. While ultimately the liberation of the oppressed is good for both the oppressed and the oppressor, it is more likely to be heard as good by the former than the latter.

How can I communicate this news in a way that it is heard as good?

This prologue in Isaiah 40 is an extended instruction on how to communicate the good news in a way that it is heard as good by a traumatized people. In verse 2, the prophet is told to “comfort” God’s people and “speak tenderly” to them. But at the same time, in verse 9, the heralds of good news are instructed to “go up on a high mountain” and “lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid.” Michael Chan sees in this passage a “primer on preaching”:
Isaiah 40:1–11 represents the very best kind of preaching. It is the kind of preaching that is grounded in proclamation and promise, but shaped fundamentally by careful listening to those things that afflict the hearts of his audience. Great preaching one might say involves two ears and one mouth. Like all of us, Second Isaiah was forced to preach to an audience that had experienced trauma and whose relationship to God had been deeply wounded as a result. For this audience, God’s hiddenness was far more real than God’s presence, and the preacher’s job, at least in part, is to point to those places where God is present (“Here is your God!” verse 9).
Osheta Moore challenges peacemakers to pursue peace by building others up as opposed to calling others out. She shares how she tries to humanize an issue by telling personal stories from her own experiences or the experiences of others. That is the comforting, tender side of the how.

But there is also the “lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid” side. And this is where Moore calls “dear white peacemakers” to speak up and speak out on behalf of racial justice. To not be afraid to say the wrong thing or be guilty of “whitesplaining” but to use your voice to proclaim the good news that black lives matter—to you and to God.
I’m writing from my office at Keller Park Church in South Bend, Indiana, where I’m the teaching pastor. The sanctuary will be empty on Sunday when we stream our service. But while we haven’t gathered indoors as a church for worship for many months, our sanctuary is getting more use than ever.

Back in March 2020, when we received word that the South Bend Community Schools would be closing in light of the governor’s orders to shelter-in-place, we knew that meant that many of the kids in our neighborhood would go without adequate nutrition, since many of them rely on school meals throughout the week.
Even with the school corporation providing sack lunches at various pick-up locations throughout the city, many kids would go without a regular hot meal. And so, on March 16, 2020, our congregation sprang into action.

Overnight we transformed our sanctuary into a food distribution center. We stacked chairs and put tables in their place. Boxes of cereal and bottles of water filled the front of the stage where music equipment once stood. Large roasters and to-go containers covered the ministry table. Bright colored masks made by volunteers found their place in the sound booth.

We assembled a small but dedicated team of food preparers and distributors from those of us who live in walking distance to the church. The rest of the congregation contributed by making donations to our new “COVID-19 response” fund on our website or by dropping off extra groceries in a cooler on the front steps of the parsonage.
For the first three months or so, we served three hot meals out of the church a week. In the summer months, we switched to one hot meal on Saturday mornings along with boxes of food for the week on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

On Thanksgiving day, knowing that many people wouldn’t be traveling to see family or wouldn’t have the means to prepare a traditional meal, the pastors and our kids along with another family made an assembly line in the sanctuary that served 125 Thanksgiving meals in an hour.
Some might look at this use of our space as a nice soup kitchen or food pantry but not the work of the gospel. But, for our neighborhood reeling from the physical and economic trauma we’re experiencing from the pandemic, a hot meal and a food box is the most tangible kind of good news we could offer.



Developing Christian Self-Control​

Developing Christian Self-Control

Galatians 5:22-23

Developing Christian Self-Control is the final sermon in the sermon series on Developing Christian character.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.” (Galatians 5:22–23, CSB)

Developing Christian Self-Control brings victory

John Maxwell, in his book Developing The Leader Within You, says that “The first victory that successful people ever achieve or win, is the victory over themselves.” The moment we begin to have victory over our own flesh and our own desires and become self-controlled, then all of a sudden we can become victorious over other things in life.
Whoever has no rule over his own spirit Is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28, NKJV)
The Greek root for the word self-control means “to get a hold of ” or “to get a grip on”.

It literally means to get your hands on something until you are in control of it. Today, we’re going to talk about getting our hands-on and getting control of ourselves. Proverbs 25 states, “A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.” Cities in the ancient world were safe only because of their walls. And the proverb writer says that the moment that we lose self-control and self-discipline, we are a city without any kind of protection.

The reason is that anything in my life that is uncontrolled can harm my relationships. Let me share with you five examples of appetites that can harm my relationships if I let them get me out of control. You will notice something. These are worldly. These are selfish. They are not Godly. These are appetites that when they go in the wrong direction, they cause harm. The world teaches me to fulfill these appetites in the ways that they encourage me. You will notice that none of these appetites have a positive result. They end in harm. These appetites also have a way of controlling you. So instead of the Holy Spirit leading you, you let your uncontrolled appetites lead you. So, as Christians, we have to control these appetites and re-direct them. There are five uncontrolled spiritual appetites that can harm the ability in developing Christian self-control.


Anger (Proverbs 29:11)​

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise person holds it in check.” (Proverbs 29:11, CSB)
Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3, CSB)
My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” (James 1:19, CSB)
The first spiritual uncontrolled appetite is anger. This is an emotional appetite of release. You just want to vent because you dislike something or someone. The Holy Spirit is telling you to be calm but you are wanting to vent. That’s the appetite of anger and you need to quit feeding it and allowing it to control you.

Drinking (Proverbs 23:29-35)​

Who has woe?… Those who linger over wine; those who go looking for mixed wine. Don’t gaze at wine because it is red, because it gleams in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a snake and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and you will say absurd things. You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast.” (Proverbs 23:29–34, CSB)
The second spiritual uncontrolled appetite is alcohol. When I am not seeing fulfillment in my life, I may look to alcohol as a way to fill that hunger or thirst. The problem is that drinking can get out of control real quick. The writer of Proverbs observes that fulfilling your spiritual appetites with alcohol leads to a dangerous path.

Lust (Proverbs 6:26)​

For a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread, but the wife of another man goes after a precious life.” (Proverbs 6:26, CSB)
The third spiritual appetite that can get me into trouble. In this same chapter, we see that the young man who lets his appetite for lust get fulfilled will regret it.
Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on burning coals without scorching his feet? So it is with the one who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.” (Proverbs 6:27–29, CSB)

Ambition (Proverbs 23:4)​

Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; because you know better, stop!” (Proverbs 23:4, CSB)
A fourth spiritual uncontrolled appetite is ambition. When I decide to let ambition rule me, then it can cause problems later. Here, the proverbs warn that my ambitions can wear me out. The reason is that they don’t actually provide fulfillment. Fulfilling selfish ambitions can be dangerous.
The righteousness of the upright rescues them, but the treacherous are trapped by their own desires.” (Proverbs 11:6, CSB)
You can even proclaim Jesus Christ for the wrong reasons.

the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, thinking that they will cause me trouble in my imprisonment.” (Philippians 1:17, CSB)
This is the reason why so many pastors and preachers, and other leaders in the church can seem like great men of God. However, they have misplaced Godliness with ambition. Their ambition leads them to preach Jesus, but they also try to tear other people down. So ambition, when uncontrolled, can cause problems, even with other people in the church.

Spending (Proverbs 21:20)​

Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of a wise person, but a fool consumes them.” (Proverbs 21:20, CSB)
The fifth spiritual uncontrolled appetite is my spending. We live in a spending, not a saving culture. The American economy is primarily run by the spending of its consumers. As Christians, if we are not careful, we can easily let ourselves spend too much and get ourselves into debt.

H. B. London once said: “What we do upon some great occasion will probably depend upon what we already are. And what we are will be the result of previous years of self-discipline.”
So if there areas in my life that can get out of control. How do I exert the self-control I need to help me? Developing Christian self-control may seem hard to do. Let me give you 5 very simple starters of living a self-controlled, self-disciplined life. I think many times we take a character trait such as self-discipline and make it more difficult than it is. It’s very simple.


Here are some “starters” of self-discipline that can help me in developing Christian self-control.

1. Start with yourself​

Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27, CSB)
Paul looked to himself and said that He had to bring himself under control. He’s not just talking about physical exercise and discipline. He is talking about controlling his appetites.
Jack Paar once said: “Looking back, my life seems to be one long obstacle course… with me as the chief obstacle.”

No, that’s a little disgusting, isn’t it? Wouldn’t we rather start with someone else? How many of you know somebody you really wish could hear this message? I’m saying don’t start with your brother, your sister, your husband, your wife, your neighbor, your dad, your mom, your kids; start with yourself.
D. L. Moody, that great evangelist of the last century was asked, “Of all the people you come in contact with, who gives you the most trouble?” He said, “D. L. Moody. I have the most trouble with myself.”
There was a sign on an office door that said, “If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for weeks.” Start with yourself. I’ve got to start with myself.

Your Competitor

An enemy I had, whose face I stoutly strove to know,
For hard he dogged my steps unseen wherever I did go,
My plans he balked, my aims he foiled,
He blocked my onward way.

When for some lofty goal I toiled, he grimly said to me, Nay.
One night I seized him and held him fast,
From him the veil did draw,
I looked upon his face at last and lo … myself I saw.
The whole issue of self-control starts with self.

2. Start early​

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping your word. I have sought you with all my heart; don’t let me wander from your commands. I have treasured your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:9–11, CSB)
Self-discipline is the first lesson that ought to be learned, but usually is the last.

In fact, the earlier the better. I consider self-discipline the most important part of a person’s character. It will give them success and help them reach the highest potential that they can possibly reach. So I would encourage you to start early.
Much to my regret as a child, my father started early on me. I can still remember him giving my brother, my sister, and me our chores for the week. Now some of them I had to do every day, but some were once a week deals and I could pick when I did them. For example, my job every week was to clean the basement.

3. Start small​

Then, even if your beginnings were modest, your final days will be full of prosperity.” (Job 8:7, CSB)
Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.” (Luke 16:10, CSB)
““His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’” (Matthew 25:21, CSB)
What you are going to be tomorrow, you are becoming today. It is essential to begin developing self-discipline in a small way today in order to be disciplined in a big way tomorrow.

I think so often when we look at life we think we’ve got to do something big. No, don’t do something big. There’s an old joke, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” How do you tackle the big issues in your life? Start small. Do what you can do today. How do you become a great spiritual giant? You don’t by starting out praying for an hour a day. You do it by spending a little time with God every day. Maybe it’s 5 minutes, 3 minutes, 10 minutes.

How do you build a great marriage? You don’t by coming upon great discoveries the first year that you’re married. Good night, you’re lucky to keep your marriage together. But you do the small things and you don’t despise them and you do them well. And you pay the price. And you make those building blocks until someday you’re able to tackle the big things in life. But start small. Don’t try to do everything. Just do some things exceedingly well.

4. Start strategically​

Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3, CSB)
The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit, but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.” (Proverbs 21:5, CSB)
Christopher Robin said to Winnie the Pooh: “Organizing is what you do before you do something so that when you do it, it’s not all mixed up.”
Look at the things that you need to get control over. There are areas that we need to get control over, that we’re not disciplined in all areas. You can’t tackle them all or knock them all out in one day. So what you have to do is just list your three weakest areas. And if you’re not sure what they are, ask your spouse.

And of those areas that are weak, which one hurts you the most? Well, which is really the one that’s defeating you the most, that keeps you from living that triumphant life? Once you decide, then you begin to work daily in that area. Just a step at a time and have someone hold you accountable in that area. Begin to chart your progress. Just get organized and get control of certain things in your life, and then begin to do them a step at a time.

5. Start now​

If the clouds are full, they will pour out rain on the earth; whether a tree falls to the south or the north, the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. One who watches the wind will not sow, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:3–4, CSB)
Pay careful attention, then, to how you live—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Ephesians 5:15–17, CSB)

John Hancock Field says, “All worthwhile men have good thought, good ideas, and good intentions, but precious few of them ever translate those into action.”
I encourage you that the best time to get self-control of your life is today. Not tomorrow. I’m amazed at people who are always going to do something someday. Most of the time, those people have dreams, but they’re never going to accomplish them. Every one of us knows what it’s like to procrastinate with things that we need to be doing right now. Start now.

How many of you have ever sung in the shower, and have had your spouse yelling from the bedroom telling you to shut up? In the shower, we all get good ideas, don’t we? You start off in the morning just rubbing the body down and you’re starting to smell pretty good. And you’re starting to sing a little bit. You get a good idea. How many of you have ever had a good idea in the shower? For those of you who didn’t raise your hand, how many of you have ever had a good idea?

Now, can I tell you the difference between a person who’s successful and one who’s unsuccessful in this area of self-discipline? It’s very simple. We’ve all had good ideas. The question is when you dry off, do you implement them or do you leave them where the shower is? And the next day you get back under the shower and say, “Oh, that’s a good idea.” Start now.



The Doctrine of Followship: We Need to Do More Than Believe Jesus…We Need to Follow Him​

by Roland Wrinkle

Well-Worn Sandals​


Apparently, we have a peripatetic savior…and not a cross-legged guru on a hill. In the three short years narrated by the gospels, Jesus of Nazareth walked well over 3,000 miles. He was a man on the move. And he was a man of imminency and intention. Remember: “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (Luke 9.51) and Mark’s notorious use of “immediately” (euthys or eutheos) (Mark uses this word more times, incidentally, than any other gospel account from his more long-winded brethren.)

Ernest Zacharias Platner/National Gallery of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
This constantly moving messiah was constantly moving because he wanted folks to follow him. He wanted to take the “ordinary” ikons, made by and in the image of, his Father, and turn them into a community, a family, of fervent and dedicated apostles, disciples, students and agape-ites, thereby launching the greatest social movement in human history.
And he wanted to do it by traipsing thousands of miles across harsh desserts, up and down daunting mountains, across raging waters, to and from big cities and isolated hamlets, so he could reach both enthralled masses and encounter furious mobs. He did it all so that people would follow him. And he did it all in sandals.

No wonder he was won over by the sinful woman who poignantly washed and perfumed his feet. Yet, notice what Jesus said to her immediately after her heartfelt supplication: “Because you believed, you are saved from your sins” (Luke 7.50). So, it sure seems to me that two things are going on here: Believing and Following. It also seems to me that much of popular Christianity has squashed the latter by over-promoting the former.

Believe? Yes.​

In verse after verse, the red letters cry out for the followers of Jesus to believe him. To believe in him. To believe in the nearness and majesty of the Kingdom of God. To believe he is the Son of God, the long-awaited restorative King of Israel and Creator of the Universe, the enigmatic Son of Man, the very image of the living God, the Savior of all of fallen Creation.
The writers of the canonized letters go on to expand upon the centrality of belief. “[The gospel] is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1.16). After Jesus “utter[ed] things hidden since the creation of the world” (Matthew 13.34), the fact that there is no such animal as a nonbelieving Christian, is no longer hidden.

We Need to Believe, But We Also Need to Follow.​

Having said all of that, it seems to me that the whole of the New Testament advocates a perspective where belief is not an end (teleos) in and of itself – we tend to overread passages such as Romans 3.22, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe,” in a simplistic, tradition-supporting way – but stands as the necessary precondition to what Jesus is really after: having us follow him.

Jesus told Peter and Andrew, “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people” (Matthew 4.19). In other words, he told them to gather more followers! He told a second set of recruited siblings the same thing. He told an unnamed disciple (rather shockingly), “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” (Luke 9.59-60). He told Matthew to abandon his tax collector booth and “Follow me.” (Matthew 9.9). He told the folks at Caesarea Philippi, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16.24).

He told the Rich Young Ruler, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” And in the very next verse, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19.28).
All of these verses have precisely nothing to do with entering a celestial, ethereal, disembodied heaven upon bodily death, let alone the idea that the mere professed, intellectual assent to a particularized set of orthodox beliefs gains the confessor entry.

Yes, Jesus was big on belief, but he was even bigger on exhorting people to get in line and follow him. If you take all four gospels together, either Jesus says, “follow me” or the author says, “they followed him,” nearly a hundred times. He was too busy trying to tell the religious elite of his day that they needed to stop holding up the Hebrew Scriptures as a rule book and, instead, to keep in mind God’s reasons for the stories, which are justice, grace and mercy. It was more important to get your kid (or ox) out of a pit on Saturday than to keep the Sabbath (Luke 14.5).
Four centuries before Christ, God told Jeremiah to tell everyone else that, when He came back to restore all of creation and bring heaven and earth together, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” (Jer. 31.33). In other words, godly actions would follow from active habituation, not imposed legalism. The bible is an irresistible call to action.

When God called Abraham, he didn’t say, “You need to ascribe to these commandments, right principles and correct beliefs.” Instead, God told Abraham, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Did Abraham respond by saying the “Sinner’s Prayer”? By answering an alter call or professing an approved system of belief? By reciting the current version of the latest creed that came out of the latest gathering of “church experts and leaders”? No. “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.” (Genesis 12.4). He didn’t say a word. He got his feet moving.

When it came time for Jesus to gather up his gang of apostles and disciples, he didn’t command them to discern and discover all of the scriptural rules and laws to govern their conduct and learn what they should believe. No. In Matthew 4.22, Jesus came upon James and John, and “called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.” So should we.
The Apostles’ Creed, found in the front of our hymnals at church, and which we occasionally recite, reads, “I believe…” in nineteen postulates. The Nicene Creed (also in our hymnals) has us confessing 27 “beliefs.” Not once does either menu of prescribed axioms say, “I believe…that faith is all about following Jesus.” It is stunning to me (I fully understand and appreciate their original purpose) that neither has anything to say about the three-year ministry of Jesus on earth other than he was born and he was executed. Our confessional creeds are not wrong, they are just sadly incomplete.

Of course, beliefs are important. They’re critical. Why would you get up and follow anybody or anything unless you believed that she, he or it was worth following? But once “you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,” (Romans 10.8), spring into action, look over the hill, spot the man with the worn-out robe and crusty sandals walking on a road to somewhere and follow him. Don’t ask where, just follow him.

First Believe and Understand God’s Future for His People … Then Get to Work Now!​

Paul capped off the longest, sustained exposition of bodily resurrection in all of scripture (1 Corinthians 15) with this “therefore” directive: “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Now about the collection for the Lord’s people [i.e., the poor in Jerusalem] ….” (1 Corinthians 15.58). Whoever wrote the Book of Hebrews upbraided his Jewish Christian audience for not converting their new-found “beliefs” (repentance, faith in God, baptism, resurrection of the dead, and judgment) into “actions.” And he used an agricultural metaphor echoing the parable of The Sower to emphasize that it is what a believer “produces” that counts in the now-and-yet-to-be Kingdom of God.

When an “expert in the law… who wanted to justify himself” and burnish his orthodox credentials tried to test the correctness of Jesus’ beliefs, Jesus responded, not with canon, confession or catechism, but with a story about a mugged stranger who was abandoned by two religious bigwigs. (See Luke 10.25-37). Internecine wars over doctrine and dogma still rage, while the injured and desperate are left by the side of the Jericho Road.

Where is He Leading Us?​

Right smack dab in and through the gates of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom that he preached about more than any other topic. The Kingdom that is now (“The kingdom of God has come near to you, Luke 10.9; “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand,” Mark 1.15) and yet to be (in the “new heaven and new earth…God himself will be with them…[and] there will be no more death…crying or pain” Revelation 21.4).

Just look at all the parables he spun concerning what that Kingdom would look like and be like when it comes in fullness at his Second Coming. Jesus is leading his followers to be resurrection people long before we are bodily resurrected. To be people of God right here and right now. People who work to do justice, help others, love all of creation and love all humans “as I have loved you” … and to even love our enemies.
Yes, believe…and then hit the trail so we can all “act justly and … love mercy and … walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6.8).



Trust No One​

[ 1 min read ★ ]

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts—Psalm 28:7

The Apostle Paul set a challenge before us: “having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor” (Ephesians 4:25). No small thing, that one. We men have such a hard time with transparency, with vulnerability. “I don’t know you guys that well.” “I have a hard time trusting other people.” “I don’t know everyone here.” These and objections like them surface naturally in men facing the prospect of being transparent and vulnerable with brothers in community. We’ve all said them, in some version or another. But, this approach, of hesitating and waiting to open up, waiting to tell our brothers what’s really going on, what we’re afraid of, what we’re struggling with, until we have complete trust of the men we’re opening up to, is foolish and based upon misplaced trust.

You see, we can trust no man completely. All “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So, waiting for complete trust means waiting for something that’ll never happen. We’re all broken, capable of wickedness even toward those we love most. God, however . . . God is not. So, in him and in him only, brother, should we put our trust (Psalm 118:8). He calls us to be transparent, vulnerable with others, so we must. Now, it might not always go well (at least from our perspectives). That’s okay. It’ll go well from God’s perspective—our obedience to him always does. And, he knows better than we.

Okay, so what do we do?​

Next time you meet with a brother or two or three, look around. Which of them do you trust more than God? In that moment, tell yourself: “I trust God. So, I know what I must do” No more lies. No more pretending. No more posturing.



These Guys are Awesome​

[ 1 min read ★ ]

Outdo one another in showing honor—Romans 12:10

The apostle Paul challenged us to go big in honoring one another. Well, my brother, let me tell you about some people who surprised me by honoring my newest book, Rescue: When God’s Cavalry Arrives to Deliver You from Quiet Desperation. Eleven mighty men agreed to read the manuscript before anyone else; all of them chose to write endorsements. Here are a few:

“I had anticipated that Justin’s book Rescue was going to be an insightful look at the world of brotherhood relationships. What I did not anticipate was being drawn into an adventure that would inspire and deeply challenge me. In today’s world there has never been a greater need and opportunity to awaken men to the call for genuine brotherhood relationships. I encourage you as a man to go through this book with another man or as a leader of men to have all your guys go through it together. I can guarantee that your lives will never be the same.”
Randy (RT) Phillips, former president of Promise Keepers, cofounder of CORE, men’s pastor at LifeFamily Church, Austin, Texas

“Having spent one year of my life as an Air Force pilot of the Super Jolly Green Giant (HH-53) rescue helicopter in Vietnam, I know how intense and exciting a rescue experience can be. Through his incredible rescue stories, Justin Camp has set the stage for the greatest rescue of all—God’s loving rescue of the human heart and soul. Biblical foundation, quotations by God’s saints through the ages, practical guidance on building community are all captured in his new book, Rescue. Justin has given us a spiritual jewel, a Holy Spirit–led tool that will help us build personal rescue teams to save us through Jesus Christ the Lord.”
Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Charles C. Baldwin, US Air Force, Chief of Chaplains (ret.)

“Justin Camp’s Rescue brings into sharp focus humanity’s need for dramatic and cosmic rescue. But how does one obtain it? Where does one go? What if previous attempts to reform have failed? Is there any hope? The answer—always good news!—is that God in the crucified and risen Christ Jesus is the giver of all mercy and the redeemer of all broken lives. He’s the one who answers our prayers for rescue every time, and Justin’s book helps us find that rescue through the supportive kinship of other people.”
Chaplain (Col.) Tom Decker, US Army (ret.), former smokejumper for the US Forest Service, author of Fire Starters

Okay, so what do we do?​

My new book—the third in the life-changing WiRE Series for Men—will absolutely give you everything you need to find new life through the Christian brotherhood that God has waiting for you. It's chock-full of practical wisdom for how to conceive, start, and run worthwhile men's groups.
It releases Nov, 2, 2021, but you can preorder your copy of Rescue at Amazon today! I pray you do!