Why 90% of My Sermons Are Preached Out of the Gospels

There are 66 books in the Bible, but I overwhelmingly stick to four. I don’t think anyone would disapprove about skirting around the layout of the tabernacle in Leviticus or Obadiah laying into the Edomites. But what about Romans? There’s some deep stuff in there. What about Genesis and its incredible stories? What about Revelation? No one really understands it but it’s always fun to read.


I believe the entire Bible is inspired by God and given to teach us about Him and about life. But the reason I preach the vast majority of my sermons from the gospels is simple: I’m trying to get people to fall in love with a person, not a book. As great as the Bible is, the Bible is not the center of my faith. Jesus is. As profitable as Bible knowledge is, love for Jesus is infinitely more important. (If you have knowledge of the Scriptures but no love for Jesus, the biblical definition for that is a Pharisee). As much time as Christians spend arguing over theology and right beliefs, the seminal command given by Jesus in John 13:34-35 wasn’t to have right theology but to love one another.

Now I see incredible value in the rest of Scripture. I have significant portions of the New Testament outside of the Gospels memorized. But as the Apostle Paul so eloquently put it, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). If Christians today tend to lean to one extreme, it would be the extreme that replaces love for God and love for others with more and more Bible knowledge. We want to explore the deep truths of Scripture, we want to go deep, all the while leaving a lost and dying world in its precarious state.

American Christians have a dangerous temptation to fall more in love with a book than a person. That’s why I preach a majority of my messages from the Gospels. If you don’t think Jesus is deep, I’ll let you take that up with him. He’s deep. He’s challenging. He calls you to follow him. He calls you to action, not just knowledge. I’m trying to get people to fall in love with a person, not a book.

Why Does God Allow Persecution?

A marching band in Brandon MS wasn’t allowed to play at the half time of their football game last week because they wanted to How Great Thou Art. A federal judge had specifically ordered the school not to invoke the name of God in any school function.


Chick-Fil-A is kept out of the Denver Airport because city council members disagree with the Dan Cathy’s recent comments supporting traditional marriage, comments they say lead to discrimination by the whole company.

Christians are being persecuted at a quickening pace. Why does God even allow persecution in the first place? Here are three places to start:

1. We are in a spiritual war. There will be casualties. We aren’t in heaven yet. The Kingdom of God has not yet been fully realized here on earth. Satan is still the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Ephesians 2:2). We are still deep in enemy territory. We aren’t on a cruise ship; we’re on a battleship. This is war. There will be casualties.

2. Persecution refines our faith. For those of you who eat and breath football, you know that football players just finished intense summer workouts. Some call it “two a days” or “hell week.” The reason football players are put through such ‘persecution’ isn’t to punish them, it’s to prepare them. It makes them stronger. Gold is refined only when the hottest flames surround it. Persecution forces us off the fence and forces us to choose sides. Do we follow God because we truly believe in him or because it’s been convenient?

3. God sovereignly utilizes persecution to spread the gospel. Look at the book of Acts. Up until Acts 7, Christianity stayed localized in Jerusalem. But then persecution comes. “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. . . Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.” (Acts 8:1,4). God is sovereign. He is using the changing climate in America to further spread His glory throughout the earth.

None of this makes persecution any easier, but hopefully it will help you see the bigger picture, and perhaps even the part God wants you to play in it.

12 Thoughts on Our Response to the Coming Reality of Gay Marriage (Part 1)


Gay marriage is here. Originally posted: April 10, 2013

I believe that gay marriage is coming, whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not. Rather than another conservative evangelical diatribe on the rights and wrongs of the issue, these next two posts will be suggestions on how we should respond once gay marriage becomes legal nationwide. (Although I doubt it will happen with these Supreme Court cases currently pending, I do think the time is coming, as the current is running swiftly in that direction). **Update: The recent ruling against DOMA did not make gay marriage legal nationwide, but legal in states that have already voted for it.

1. Jesus tells us to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. The world will always force us to take one of two options: either support gay marriage (and compromise our biblical beliefs) or violently condemn gay marriage (and lose our influence in the culture). When the world gives you only two options, choose option three. There’s a way to navigate the minefield. “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:6

2. Why have we singled out gay marriage as the greatest evil in America today? Is it because we don’t struggle with it? The merits or evils of gay marriage aside, here’s my question: where’s the same moral outrage against pornography? Against materialistic excess, the love of pleasure and recreation, against the fact that many of us love our sports teams more than God? Where’s the moral outrage against that? Do we single out gay marriage as the greatest evil simply because we tend not to struggle with it as much? “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

3. Our moral argument against homosexual marriage is destroyed because of the utter decay of heterosexual marriages. Many claim to want to protect the ‘sanctity of marriage.’ When one in two marriages end in divorce, when immorality is rampant, there’s not much ‘sanctity’ left to protect. To claim the moral high ground is hypocritical. He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6

4. Is our goal to preserve conservative values in America or to reach the world for Christ? Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. What’s our ultimate goal? To protect conservative values, or to win the world for Christ? Satan would love nothing more than to distract us on issues that are ultimately secondary. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:2

5. Paul tells us that it’s not our job to judge the world. That’s God’s job. This one hurts. It’s not our job to be the morality police. It shouldn’t surprise us when non-believers actually act like non-believers. Paul makes it very clear: judging the world is God’s job, not ours. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

6. Jesus died for homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. Whether we like to admit it or not, God did not discriminate based on sexuality when he died on the cross. If someone embraces the homosexual lifestyle, then they stand in the same position as a person who’s embraced the heterosexual lifestyle: a sinner desperately in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

QUESTION: Your thoughts? How should Christians respond to gay marriage?

Here’s the link to Part 2 on this topic.

12 Thoughts on Our Response to the Coming Reality of Gay Marriage (Part 2)


Originally posted: April 12, 2013

In my last post, I began to share twelve thoughts on our response to the coming reality of gay marriage. By the sheer number of clicks on that post, it’s obvious that this is a topic that many are working through. So, for what it’s worth, here are six more thoughts on the subject. Would love your comments below.

7. Jesus showed grace to notorious “sinners.” If you look at Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4), Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (John 6), or Jesus calling Matthew (Matthew 9), you’ll quickly discover that even when “religious” people avoided notorious “sinners,” Jesus didn’t. He embraced them. What example does that set for us? As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9

8. James tells us to be quick to listen and slow to speak. This should knock out any angry Facebook rants on the subject. Here’s the reality: you can’t argue someone into the Kingdom. Even if you technically win on points, you’ll still only drive them further away. Was an argument was persuaded you to follow Christ? My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20

9. Paul tells us to speak the truth in love. Speaking the truth in love requires a relationship. If you’re going to share something as foundational as biblical truth on sexuality, you need to build a relational bridge strong enough to support the gravity of that truth. So, before you flippantly condemn the entire homosexual community to Hell, how many homosexuals are you friends with? Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. Ephesians 4:15

10. One of the greatest evangelistic tools you’ll have is a strong God-honoring marriage. A strong, long-lasting biblical marriage of one man and one woman for life is getting rarer and rarer these days. It seems like most don’t make it. If you make your marriage work, you’re providing an incredible witness to the world. God’s design for marriage was to be a picture of his love for the world. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

11. Don’t allow hatemongers to represent us or shame us. There will always be extremists on either side, pressuring us to come out unequivocally in support of gay marriage or to come out and violently condemn the entire homosexual community. Jesus didn’t allow hatemongers to put words in his mouth. Neither should we. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” John 8:3-5

12. This whole issue reminds us that this world is not our home. We look forward to a better place. There will be a day when we don’t have to deal with this issue, or any other dividing controversy. Remember, for believers, this world is not our home. We look forward to a better place. Put your hope in that. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20

QUESTION: What thoughts would you add to this discussion?