1. Growth Points 67: How to Rebuild Your Joy

    September 23, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    If your experience is like mine, you’ve discovered that Satan does everything he can to rob you of your joy in the ministry.

    But it’s not just ministry. In every area of life, we face ongoing pressure and the potential for a loss of joy. We have to be wise to sense when that discouragement is developing so we can rebuild and maintain the joy of the Lord.

    In this short growth points video, I share six ways the Lord has taught me to maintain or rebuild joy:

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

  2. Syria and Iran: What Can We Do?

    September 11, 2015 by Paul Chappell


    I hope you’ve seen the pictures. Three-year-old Aylan washed up on the shore, drowned while escaping. Masses of refugees crowding streets under the shells of bombed out buildings. Inflated rafts spilling over with people fleeing war-torn Syria. The seventy-one suffocated bodies found in a refrigerated truck, all victims of human trafficking. Refugee camps stretched out acre upon acre of makeshift tents.

    The plight of the Syrian refugees is heartbreaking. A humanitarian crisis. An immigrant migration not duplicated since World War II.

    Europe is struggling to handle the crisis as 381,000 refugees have arrived this year alone. Millions more are displaced. Over 3,000 are missing—likely killed or kidnapped. Many are drowning en route to safety.

    In a Wall Street Journal article, Peggy Noonan wrote, “According to the U.N. refugee agency, 53% of the migrants are from Syria, 14% from Afghanistan, 7% from Eritrea, and 3% each from Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq and Somalia. Seventy-two percent are men, only 13% women and 15% children. Not all are fleeing war. Some are fleeing poverty. Not all but the majority are Muslim.”

    And then there is the Iran Deal. I never thought I’d see the day when the President of the United States would sign an agreement that leads to the development of nuclear arms with a sworn enemy of both the U.S. and Israel. The unrest in the Middle East is real, and it is only going to get worse. (more…)

  3. Why I Love Laboring in the Work of the Lord

    September 7, 2015 by Paul Chappell


    If the ministry is anything, it is labor. Paul told Timothy, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Timothy 3:1). And that is exactly what it is—work.

    I know there are many who look at a pastor or those who serve on a church staff and think they have something close to a one-day-a-week job. But the truth is far different. Caring for the church as a faithful undersheperd requires not only sermon preparation and administrative work, but also the love, prayer, care, bearing others’ needs, and intense spiritual warfare that Paul referenced when he wrote, “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28).

    But the work of the ministry is a great work. It’s a work I love, and I get to do it for people I love. Does it have inherent burdens? Yes. But does it have inherent joys? A hundred fold more. (more…)

  4. Overcoming the Natural Drift toward Apathy

    August 21, 2015 by Paul Chappell


    In the previous post I pointed out seven symptoms of one of the most dangerous spiritual diseases—apathy.

    A diagnose without a cure, however, is unhelpful.

    The direct counsel Christ Himself gave to the church at Laodicea was to humble themselves in repentance and recognize their need for Christ:

    Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.—Revelation 3:17–19

    How can you as a pastor lead a church in applying this counsel to the areas where apathy is beginning to manifest itself?

    The first step is to recognize the need. The second is to humbly cry out to God—for direction as you lead and for His conviction in those you lead.

    From there, here are some practical applications to help combat the natural drift toward apathy that every Christian and church battles. Each of these relates to the symptoms mentioned in the previous post. (more…)

  5. 7 Early Symptoms of Spiritual Apathy

    August 17, 2015 by Paul Chappell


    “The nice thing about apathy is you don’t have to exert yourself to show you’re sincere about it.”—Anonymous

    The bad thing about apathy, however—at least, spiritual apathy—is everything.

    There are few things a pastor or spiritual leader fears more than apathy. (And if we’re wise, we fear it creeping into our own hearts as much as we fear it undermining the spiritual growth of those we lead.)

    How do we recognize and diagnose apathy before it’s too late? Below are seven symptoms of spiritual apathy in the local church: (more…)