1. 4 Ways to Block God’s Grace in Your Ministry

    September 26, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    We often talk about what God’s grace does for us. And, truly, it is abundant.

    We talk about how greatly we need it in ministry. And we do.

    But have you ever considered if you might be preventing God’s grace from working in your heart? If you might be blocking its flow in your ministry?

    Scripture tells us that we can hinder the work of grace. How? (more…)

  2. 4 Ways Grace Works in Our Hearts

    September 21, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    The grace of God is an incredible gift. It not only brings salvation (Titus 2:11), but it is the ongoing provision for our Christian walk.

    It’s a peculiar thing about grace, however: it seems practically every Christian has their “angle” on the best way to use God’s grace—what grace is really all about.

    Perhaps part of the reason for that is that grace is indeed multi-faceted. It doesn’t only bring salvation, only give Christian liberty, or only produce holiness. God uses His grace at every level in our hearts. It is the ongoing provision for every child of God.

    In a recent podcast, we looked at how God’s grace is one of the key scriptural motivators of the Christian life. But how do you know if you are being motivated (or motivating others) by grace? (more…)

  3. When the Battlefield Terrain Is Different Than You Planned

    September 12, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    Do you ever have a day go differently than you planned? Or a year? Or an entire season of your life?

    I’m a planner, and although I know in theory that God may change my plans and, in fact, has every right to intervene, I don’t always see His hand in the unplanned delays, changes, or upsets in the moment they occur.

    I recently came across the paragraph below, written by an Irish Baptist pastor in 1840. It was a great encouragement to me:

    Nothing can be more consoling to the man of God, than the conviction that the Lord who made the world governs the world; and that every event, great and small, prosperous and adverse, is under the absolute disposal of him who doth all things well, and who regulates all things for the good of his people…. The Christian will be confident and courageous in duty, in proportion as he views God in his Providence as ruling in the midst of his enemies; and acting for the good of his people, as well as for his own glory, even in the persecution of the Gospel.—Alexander Carson

    When you and I believe—not just at a theological level, but as a deep, heart-embracing belief—that God is in control, we can battle valiantly for Him…even when the terrain of the battlefield feels absolutely outside our control.

    Consider the Apostle Paul who lived with constantly-changing circumstances outside his control. His trust in God kept him anchored and gave him the courage and confidence to press forward.

    Think, for instance, of Paul’s words to a storm-tossed ship crew, remembering that these were spoken when “all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.”

    Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.—Acts 27:25

    If you’re having an unplanned day, or living in a season that feels helplessly out of your control, take courage in God’s sovereignty, and take confidence in His goodness. He is acting on your behalf. Love Him, trust Him, and press forward for Him.

  4. 10 Diagnostic Questions to Assess Balance and Sustainability, part 2

    September 7, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    In the previous post, we discussed the need to intentionally evaluate our balance and to make adjustments for sustainability along the way. (If you have not yet read that post, I’d encourage you to read it before reading this post.)

    1. Who do I fear?
    2. How is my tempo?
    3. How is my courage?
    4. How is my spiritual discipline?

    In this post, we continue with six more assessment questions.

    5. Am I coming apart?

    We need to adjust the rhythm of our lives. We can’t constantly march to “Onward Christian Soldiers”; occasionally we need to adjust to reflect on “Amazing Grace.

    Jesus told His disciples as much: “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31).

    This is something I’ve had to learn and still have to work to practice. Part of what makes coming apart difficult is that, even as in Mark 6 when Jesus called His disciples apart, sometimes planned rest gets cancelled for ministry needs. That is simply the nature of ministry. It’s never as easy as it looks on paper, and time apart requires sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as well as a willingness to be flexible.

    That said, it’s not impossible to come apart, and these three questions will help you evaluate how well you’re doing it: (more…)

  5. 10 Diagnostic Questions to Assess Balance and Sustainability, part 1

    September 5, 2016 by Paul Chappell


    We often speak of balance as if it is something you write out on paper and then have attained for life. The truth is, maintaining life balance takes constant adjustment. Like a sailor who is constantly analyzing the wind and adjusting his sails to reach an intended destination, balance for a spiritual leader requires sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and a willingness to make changes.

    Over the years, I’ve learned that, at times, the pace at which I do the work of God can hinder His work in me. But since Jesus tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, I have tried to periodically step back, pray, seek counsel, and adjust for the next leg of the journey.

    These are the kinds of questions I ask myself at these times:

    1. Who do I fear?

    So often, when we evaluate our commitments and balance, we begin by assessing our schedules.

    But an overcrowded schedule may have deeper roots than too many commitments. It may relate to fearing the perception others have of us more than we fear God. (more…)