1. The Challenge of Christmas Curriculum

    October 24, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    A Season to Celebrate

    The last six weeks of every year—from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s—are full of incredible reminders of God’s presence and goodness.

    But these weeks also tend to be incredibly busy and demanding. It’s easy to spend these weeks pulled from one special ministry event or family celebration to the next with no time to breathe in between. For many the season simply passes by in a blur of activity and hurry.

    Add to that the pressure as a teacher or preacher of preparing holiday-themed lessons or messages—multiple years in a row to the same people—and there is another demand on a full calendar season.

    Yet, for Christians, Thanksgiving and Christmas ought to be two of the most celebrated and reflected upon holidays of the year. And the New Year ought to be approached with renewed dedication to the Lord, not frazzled leftovers from a stressed out month.

    It is for these reasons that I recently wrote a brand new adult Sunday school curriculum—A Season to Celebrate: Experience God’s Grace in the Busyness of the Season. I am so excited about releasing this mini-series, and I pray it will be a help and blessing to teachers and students alike. (more…)


  2. Why I Stand with the Five Houston Pastors

    October 21, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Bible-on-pulpit

    Houston made headlines last week over the subpoena issued to five pastors surrounding the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

    The short background to the story is that Mayor Annise Parker (the first openly lesbian mayor of a major city in the US) signed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (also known as “the bathroom bill” because it would allow men who identify themselves as women to use public ladies restrooms and vice versa) into law. For obvious reasons—including common sense public safety concerns—Christians in Houston began gathering signatures to put this measure on the ballot. Pastors spoke out against the sin involved and encouraged their congregations to sign the petition to get the measure to voters in Houston.

    Petition organizers collected over 50,000 signatures—well over the required 17,269. The city secretary approved the signatures, and all was set to see Houston vote on this law.

    Then the mayor and city attorney went back through the approved signatures and said that enough of them either weren’t submitted or authorized correctly to bring the number below the required amount. Petition organizers disagreed and filed a lawsuit against the city.

    What happened next is where a sad story becomes bizarre and alarming. (more…)


  3. When Godly Leaders Differ

    October 18, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    arms-crossed

    We all know there are plenty of situations in which good people differ. But why do good people differ? And how can we understand and benefit from these differences?

    This is by no means an exhaustive list, but below are five areas which can easily account for many of the differences godly leaders may have with one another—as well as five ways we can benefit and work through these differences.

    Temperamental Differences

    Terrie and I now have six grandchildren—two sets of which are siblings. Even at their young ages, it is amazing to me to watch the temperamental and personality differences already beginning to show. In both of these families, there are two children with the same two parents and surroundings—who each have absolutely different preferences, tastes, and approaches to life.

    The reality is that we do all have different personalities and temperaments. Even within the twelve apostles, we see this clearly. To mention just a few: There were James and John who Jesus called “the sons of thunder.” Apparently they had strong personalities. There was Peter who was impetuous. There was Andrew who seemed to have an ability to relate to others. And there was Philip who apparently had organizational capabilities. And yet, they were all chosen—and used—by Jesus. (more…)


  4. Growth Points 56: Growing through Adversity

    October 15, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    After twenty-nine years in the pastorate, I can tell you I have faced difficulties I never thought I’d face in ministry. (Of course, I’ve also had more blessings than I anticipated too!) When you think about the reality of adversity, we probably should be more perceptive about the fact that it’s going to come. Second Timothy 3:12 tells us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

    Whether you are facing financial burdens, ministry trials, family difficulties, or any other kind of adverse circumstances, I’d like to encourage you that God has a purpose and is working. In this growth points video, I share several reasons God allows adversity in our lives as well as five steps to make your season of adversity a time of growth.


    (If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.


  5. 5 Ways to Engage Your Community with the Gospel

    October 4, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    city

    When I came to Lancaster, California, I had one goal in mind—reach this community with the gospel of Jesus Christ! Every pastor or leader in ministry that I know has the same goal. You want to reach your community with the gospel.

    So how should you do it? It’s a big task for sure, but the short answer is “in as many ways as you can!”

    In other words, you want to saturate and engage your community with the gospel. The Apostle Paul did that “publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20), and I believe a strategy that involves both is important.

    Here are five ways we have found effective to engage our community with the gospel: (more…)