Embracing Both Holiness and Happiness

Happiness and Holiness

Today’s guest post is by Vyrso’s Author of the Month, Randy Alcorn. Check out his new ebook, Happinesson Vyrso now!

As a young pastor, I preached, as others still do, “God calls us to holiness, not happiness.”[i]

There’s a half-truth in this.

I saw Christians pursue what they thought would make them happy, falling headlong into sexual immorality, alcoholism, materialism, and obsession with success.

I was attempting to oppose our human tendency to put preferences and convenience before obedience to Christ. It all sounded so spiritual, and I could quote countless authors and preachers who agreed with me.

I’m now convinced we were all dead wrong.

There were several flaws in my thinking, including inconsistency with my own experience. I’d found profound happiness in Christ; wasn’t that from God? Furthermore, calling people to reject happiness in favor of holiness was ineffective. It might work for a while but not in the long run.

My study of Scripture and church history since then has helped me understand that true holiness always manifests itself in authentic happiness. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed [happy] is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.”

Tony Reinke gets it right: “Sin is joy poisoned. Holiness is joy postponed and pursued.”[ii]

Holiness doesn’t mean abstaining from pleasure; holiness means recognizing Jesus as the source of life’s greatest pleasure. (Click to Tweet)

Spurgeon put it this way: “Holiness is the royal road to happiness. The death of sin is the life of joy.” For those of us who are Christ-centered believers, our lives should overflow with both holiness and happiness.

In Revelation 20:6, makarios, meaning “happy,” is joined with hagios, meaning “holy.” The following versions capture this beautiful combination:

  • Happy and holy [is] he who is having part in the first rising again. (Young’s Literal Translation)
  • Those who are raised from the dead during this first time are happy and holy. The second death has no power over them. (Revelation 20:6, NLV)
  • Happy and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! (PHILLIPS)

Sadly, too often our message to the world becomes a false gospel that lays upon people an impossible burden, as in “to be a Christian, you must give up wanting to be happy and instead choose to be holy.” In fact, happiness and holiness are inseparable. “Give up happiness; choose holiness instead” is not good news, and therefore it is not the “good news of happiness” spoken of in Scripture (Isaiah 52:7)!

God has made holiness and happiness to enjoy a similar relationship: each benefits from the other. For those of us who are Christ-centered believers, our lives should overflow with both.

When Jesus says, “Be perfect” (Matthew 5:48), we should recognize that true happiness in him is part of what he intends. Our pleasure is won in the “Aha!” moments of discovering firsthand why God’s ways really are best. The more we discover God’s ways and experience the goodness of his holiness, the less we try to find happiness apart from him. (Click to Tweet)

[i] Richard Mansel, “God Calls Us to Holiness, Not Happiness,” Forthright Magazine, March 4, 2008, http://forthright.net/2008/03/04/god_calls_us_to_holiness_not_happiness_1/.

[ii] Tony Reinke, “The World’s Joy-Tragedy,” Desiring God, August 30, 2014, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-world-s-joy-tragedy.


Read Randy Alcorn’s Happiness to learn more about celebrating happiness and joy.

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Should We See a Difference Between Happiness and Joy?


Today’s guest post is by Vyrso’s Author of the Month, Randy Alcorn. Check out his new release, Happiness.

An ungrounded, dangerous separation of joy from happiness has infiltrated the Christian community.

The following is typical of the artificial distinctions made by modern Christians: “. . . There is a big difference between joy and happiness. Happiness is an emotion and temporary; joy is an attitude of the heart.[i]

Judging from such articles (and there are hundreds more out there), you’d think the distinction between joy and happiness is biblical. It’s not. [Click to Tweet!]

John Piper writes, “If you have nice little categories for ‘joy is what Christians have’ and ‘happiness is what the world has,’ you can scrap those when you go to the Bible, because the Bible is indiscriminate in its uses of the language of happiness and joy and contentment and satisfaction.”[ii]

Here’s a sampling of the more than one hundred Bible verses in various translations that use joy and happiness together:

  • For the Jews it was a time of happiness and joy, gladness and honor. (Esther 8:16, NIV)
  • I will turn their mourning into joy. . . and bring happiness out of grief. (Jeremiah 31:13, HCSB)
  • Give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy. (Proverbs 23:25, NLT)

The relationship between joy and happiness in these passages refutes two common claims: (1) that the Bible doesn’t talk about happiness, and (2) that joy and happiness have contrasting meanings. In fact, the Bible overflows with accounts of God’s people being happy in him.

Depicting joy in contrast with happiness has obscured the true meaning of both words. Joyful people are typically glad and cheerful—they smile and laugh a lot. To put it plainly, they’re happy!

Consult English dictionaries and you’ll see how contrived this supposed contrast between joy and happiness is. The first definition of joy in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is “a feeling of great happiness.”[iii] The American Heritage Dictionary defines joy as “intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness.”[iv]

Happiness is joy. Joy is happiness. Virtually all dictionaries, whether secular or Christian, recognize this. [Click to Tweet!]

As I explore in Happiness, according to the vast majority of the usages of these two words in (1) English history, (2) English literature, (3) Bible translations, and (4) English dictionaries, the words have far more in common with each other than not.

For too long we’ve distanced the gospel from what God created us to desire—and what he desires for us—happiness.

We need to reverse the trend. Let’s redeem the word happiness in light of both Scripture and church history. Our message shouldn’t be “Don’t seek happiness,” but “You’ll find in Jesus the happiness and joy you’ve always longed for.”


[i] Brian Cromer, “Difference between Joy and Happiness,” Briancromer.com (blog), April 28, 2008, http://briancromer.com/2008/04/28/difference-between-joy-and-happiness/.

[ii] John Piper, “Let Your Passion Be Single,” Desiring God, November 12, 1999, http://www.desiringgod.org/conference-messages/let-your-passion-be-single.

[iii] Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary (Britannica Digital Learning, 2014), s.v. “joy,” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joy.

[iv] American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., s.v. “joy.”


Read Randy Alcorn’s Happiness to learn more about celebrating happiness and joy.

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Happiness Is God’s Command—and a Pleasant Calling—for His People


Today’s guest post was written by Vyrso’s Author of the Month, Randy Alcorn. In his new release, Happiness, Alcorn dispels centuries of misconceptions about happiness and provides indisputable proof that God not only wants us to be happy, he commands it.

C. S. Lewis said, “It is a Christian duty . . . for everyone to be as happy as he can.”[i]

Happiness is a privilege. However, since God repeatedly calls upon us to rejoice, delight, and be glad in him, we have an obligation to actually do so. [Click to Tweet!]

This makes sense only if the God we love is happy, if the gospel message we embrace and proclaim is happy, and if Heaven is a happy place. It makes sense if we understand that people long to be happy and won’t turn to Jesus if they believe there’s no happiness in him. Others will judge whether there’s happiness in Jesus by whether they see happiness in his followers. Hence, our happiness is, indeed, a Christian duty.

But what an incredibly wonderful responsibility it is . . . like being required to eat Mom’s apple pie! We’re accustomed to thinking of duty as drudgery, not happiness. But a person’s duty to love his or her spouse or to care for a son or daughter, and a soldier’s duty to defend his country—when done with the right heart and perspective—all bring satisfaction, contentment, and happiness.

Paul’s words in Philippians 4:4 are often translated “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” They could also be translated, “Be happy in the Lord always, and again I say be happy.” Commenting on this verse, Spurgeon said, “It is intended that we should be happy. That is the meaning . . . that we should be cheerful.”[ii]

This passage commands us twice to be glad in God. A command carries with it the duty to obey, and when it’s repeated, that expectation is intensified. Fortunately, when God commands us to rejoice, his Holy Spirit empowers us to obey.

The fact that “rejoice” is followed by “always” and is repeated (“again I say rejoice”) makes it one of the most emphatic directives in Scripture. If our lives are not characterized by rejoicing, or if we’ve given up on happiness, we’re missing out on what God intends for us. [Click to Tweet!] We must go to him and ask for his help and empowerment to find joy in him.

Only if we truly want to experience the happiness-driven desires of our hearts will we be drawn to God by verses such as this: “Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desire” (Psalm 37:4, GNT).

The Contemporary English Version and God’s Word Translation both render the final clause in John 16:24 this way: so that we will be “completely happy.” You may not be accustomed to thinking that God commands us to be happy. But it’s a fact. And I’m betting it’s a command most of us would like to obey!

[i] C. S. Lewis, as quoted in Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992), 189.

[ii] Charles H. Spurgeon, “Joy, a Duty” (Sermon #2405).


Read Randy Alcorn’s Happiness today and learn more about celebrating happiness and joy.

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Where Does Happiness Originate? A Guest Post from Randy Alcorn


Today’s guest post is by Vyrso’s Author of the Month, Randy Alcorn. In his new release, Happiness, Alcorn dispels centuries of misconceptions about happiness and provides indisputable proof that God not only wants us to be happy, he commands it.

Some people suppose happiness is uniquely human, unrelated to God’s nature: as he gave us a body and hunger, which he doesn’t have, he gave us a capacity for happiness, which he also doesn’t have. I believe something radically different—that God wants us happy because he’s happy!

To be godly is to resemble God. If God is unhappy, we’d need to pursue unhappiness, which is as likely as developing an appetite for gravel. If following Jesus means having to turn away from happiness, and we’re wired to want happiness, then we can only fail as Christians. Looking at Scripture carefully, we find a happy God who desires us to draw happiness from him. [Click to Tweet!] Yet how many Christians have ever heard a sermon, read a book, had a discussion about, or meditated on God’s happiness?

Not once at church, Bible college, or seminary did I hear about God’s happiness. I have no doubt it would have been surprising, memorable, and encouraging.

Though I studied the Bible continuously, somehow the hundreds of Scriptures indicating God’s pleasure, delight, and joy didn’t register. They were nullified by unbiblical statements I heard from pastors and authors, such as “God calls us to holiness, not happiness.” I’ve always been a voracious reader, inhaling books, including theological works, by the hundreds. But I didn’t read anything about the happiness of God until the late 1980s, after I’d been a pastor for ten years. John Piper’s books Desiring God and The Pleasures of God introduced me to a subject I should have heard about in my first few months attending church as a teenager.

Why did it take so long for me to hear what Scripture clearly teaches? Because God’s happiness simply wasn’t on my radar, nor that of my church or schools. God’s love, mercy, and grace were affirmed—not just his justice and wrath—so perhaps I should have deduced that God was happy. But the thought never occurred to me.

I believe it’s vital that we not leave our children and future generations of Christians to figure out for themselves that God is happy. Most never will. How can they, unless their families and churches teach them and demonstrate God-centered happiness in their own lives? We need to tell them that sin, suffering, shame, and unhappiness are temporary conditions for God’s people. [Click to Tweet!] We’ll once and for all be righteous, healthy, shame free, and happy. Once we’re in his presence, we’ll never again experience the anger, judgment, and discipline of God we see in Scripture (all of which are appropriate and important, but even now do not nullify his happiness or love).

I’m convinced that in the new universe—called in Scripture the New Heaven and the New Earth—the attribute of God’s happiness will be apparent everywhere. Upon their deaths, Christ won’t say to his followers, “Go and submit to your master’s harshness” but “Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, NIV). Anticipating those amazing words can sustain us through every heartbreak and challenge in our present lives.


Read Randy Alcorn’s Happiness to learn more about celebrating happiness and joy.

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Undefeated: A Guest Post from Don Wilton


Today’s guest post is by Dr. Don Wilton, author of Undefeated: God’s Strategy For Successful LivingIn this new release, Wilton leads you straight to the Cross where you will find all you need for success in overcoming life’s battles. 

Through September 25, get Undefeated on sale for just $3.99!

Read Wilton’s guest post, exclusively on Vyrso, about trusting God and living an undefeated life for Christ.

It is impossible for any person to live a sinless life. Only Jesus Christ could do so! But it is possible to lead an undefeated life. Only Jesus Christ can empower you to do so!

The recent and sad exposure of millions of people who used the Ashley Madison website has resulted in many families being devastated and many lives being ruined. Many are professing Christians.

I know of one friend who was so shamed he took his own life. He was, most certainly, a Christian man. He lived in the same world and heard the same Word as we all do. Perhaps he sang the same song we all sing, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus—but to trust and obey!” Like many he went to church, studied the Bible, and even taught others to do the same. But the lure of this world defeated him. He gave in and succumbed. He was caught in the crossfire! The titanic tug o’ war!  The “caught between the rock and a hard place!” The “rock” is the Word of God—the “seed” of life.  The “hard place” is where the seed falls. Our world is a tough place to sow our seed. Weeds are everywhere and the ground upon which it falls is getting harder all the time. So, many moms and dads today have an epic battle on their hands trying to deepen the roots of their sons and daughters so that when the wind blows they will be less likely to bend, crack and even split down the middle. Trees die when they do.

We are a dying people being blown about by the winds of change and challenge. We have become the subjects of the “courts of public opinion,” and this is a dangerous place to be.

The heart of man cannot be trusted.

And so the problem we all have is the proverbial problem posed by the predicament. God’s Word has the answer. Jesus told us to be “in” the world but not “of” the world.

How does this work? I think he was telling us to lead “distinctive” lives not “separate” lives.

How do we do this? This world in which we live is imploding. Believers are now faced with a downward spiral politically, socially, and morally. It seems that everyday’s news brings yet another headline of yet another husband, wife, son or daughter who has been defeated by the enemy. And all of us can be. We are all sinners saved only by the grace of God. In fact, the only difference between the best of us and the worst of us is the grace of God. [Click to Tweet!] This is why I have written this short book “Undefeated.”

I just believe in the power of God working in the heart of man. I believe there is hope for us. I believe God means what he says and says what he means. I believe you and I can trust God. I am convinced you can lead an undefeated life. You and I can be successful and we can live a full and meaningful life. 

Above all else, I believe we can live an entire life worthy of all God has entrusted us with. We can be faithful in marriage and our sons and daughters can look at us with gratitude for lives lived with honor, integrity, and service. We can be forgiven–yes, even when we have fallen and succumbed. There is a new beginning [Click to Tweet!] and a new day and bright tomorrow. As my dear friend Dr. Billy Graham has said all around the world, “the future is as bright as the promises of God.”  I believe it.


Get ready to find a new kind of success and begin living an undefeated life when you add Don Wilton’s Undefeated to your library!

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Whispers: Guest Post from Kayla Aimee


Today’s guest post is  written by Kayla Aimee, author of Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected.

In this new release you’ll experience Kayla’s gripping story as she learns to navigate new-found motherhood in the most unexpected of ways. 

Read Kayla’s post—exclusive to Vyrso—about the goodness of God, no matter our circumstance: 

I think we ask it in whispers.

I think sometimes we’re afraid to say it out loud, to admit the chaos of confusion swirling about in our heart.

“Where is God in this?”

I think that we reluctant to claim it because that might look like failure in the midst of already precarious circumstances.

And here is the scandalous admission: I think it is good of us to ask.

Because “when we are asking that question is when we have the greatest opportunity to find Him. It doesn’t feel like that in the middle of the story . . . when everything burns down to ashes and it seems impossible to redeem the rubble.”*

But the nature of God is to bring beauty from ashes. [Click to Tweet!]

Once upon a time, everything I held dear broke into pieces. My body, my baby, my marriage. In the span of just a few months time it all plummeted into darkness and my grasp on grace became completely unmoored.

I found myself suddenly adrift, questioning everything I had known about the faith that had been such an integral part of my life before the trauma hit.

I felt completely alone.

I asked in whispers “Where is God in this?”

And it was in the seeking that I found it.

Because God promises that if we are seeking, we will find him.

I love this promise.

Because the beauty of the hope we have is that God is constant. That when everything else shatters and we find ourselves standing in the wreckage, there is one thing that will remain firm and secure.

Anchored is an invitation to uncover a hope that holds always, secure in the good times and in the devastatingly bad times.

Because “We have this hope as anchor for our souls, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

 *Quoted from Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected


Find faith pointing toward God’s grace and a hope that stands firm when you read Kayla Aimee’s Anchored:Finding Hope in the Unexpected.

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Forgiveness Always Wins

Sara Horn

Today we have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from Author of the Month, Sara Horn on the topic of forgiveness. Sara has written more than seven books including the popular My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife and her latest release How Can I Possibly Forgive? Rescuing Your Heart from Resentment and RegretGet it now!  

He walked into their church on a Wednesday evening and they welcomed him. As they did every week, the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church settled into a time of Bible study, with no idea that before they were through, Dylann Roof would pull out a gun and murder nine of them solely for the color of their skin.

We have no words when something like that happens. How could something so ugly, so vile, and so heartbreaking happen in a place that should never know those things?

But then we hear the words of the victims’ families, words they spoke to Roof after he was arrested and he stood in court to hear the charges against him.

“Hate will not win.”

“I forgive you.”

“May God have mercy on your soul.”

No one might expect any of these families to utter those words in the aftermath of what happened, but they did. Through muffled sobs and obvious pain, they released what our world would say was their right—to hate, to seek revenge—and relied instead on God’s grace to sustain them. They made the choice to put their trust for justice not in man, but in their Heavenly Father. Though Roof had showed no mercy where their loved ones were concerned, those families instead looked to God for his mercy in their time of need, and for his strength in their time of sorrow.

They forgave someone who didn’t deserve forgiving.

As believers in Christ, we know that forgiveness should be our auto response but generally it’s not. Maybe that’s why the Bible talks about it so much.

Here are just a few of the verses we find in Scripture about forgiveness:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (Colossians 3:13)

“For if you forgive others their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” (Matthew 6:14-15)


Shortly after I’d turned in the manuscript to my last book, How Can I Possibly Forgive?, I was confronted with a situation that required forgiveness—and brought its own share of deep pain, hurt and a realization that my trust in this person had been sharply betrayed. Though they were sorry for their actions, there were lingering consequences—consequences which directly impacted me, though I’d done nothing to deserve what I suddenly faced.

In that moment of my friend’s confession, I realized I had a choice: forgive this person, or withhold forgiveness. I could willingly keep a suddenly broken, far from perfect relationship and take steps to repair it, or I could cut it off completely. Though it was difficult, choosing to forgive my friend reinforced what God had taught me in the previous months before.

Not every situation we encounter will result in a renewed relationship or friendship and in certain cases, it shouldn’t. Some relationships can be toxic, or distracting. Sometimes we’ll encounter someone who refuses to be sorry or admit any responsibility for what’s happened between you. Sometimes filtering a relationship out of your life is necessary.

But is forgiveness still possible in every situation? I believe it is [Click to Tweet!], especially when we think less about that person’s unforgivable actions and more about the forgiveness God extends towards each of us.

Forgiveness is intentional.

It is a daily choice to “forgive freely,” as we find in the meaning of the Greek word charis or charizomenoi. Do a word study as I did—it was interesting to me how often the word “forgive” is used as a verb. Something to act on.

If we believe that “love is a verb,” as the popular phrase goes—then doesn’t it make sense that forgiveness is a verb as well?

Here are three truths about forgiveness we can remember and act on, starting today:

1. Forgiveness is possible with God’s help. God loves to help us come back to him, and when we are dealing with a hurt that brings up pain and resentment and other negative emotions, we are inching or sometimes leaping away from him. But forgiving someone will never keep us at arm’s length from God; our forgiving actions will only bring us closer to him.

2. God expects us to forgive. This has no room for negotiation, friends. God wants us to forgive. He wants us to forgive our enemies who do us wrong, forgive our friends who say careless things, forgive our family members who make us want to cry or tear our hair out. He wants us to let it go, and he expects us to do it. Jesus said in Luke 6:37, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

3. True forgiveness releases hard feelings. The person you need to forgive may never offer an apology or admit any wrongdoing. But your forgiveness for their wrong releases those feelings that keep you from walking forward, maybe even from starting a new friendship or pouring into your current relationships because you’re afraid or because you now have great doubt and mistrust of other people.

Other emotions could be holding you back from the plan God has for you. When we keep kindness and compassion in our hearts (Ephesians 4:32), it’s difficult to hold anger and cynicism at the same time. Get rid of the junky feelings —get rid of those negative emotions that come when we refuse to forgive someone. Offer up forgiveness, breathe in God’s grace, and let that grace shine out to others.

That day my friend came to me with news that hurt our relationship could have been the last day we spoke. But instead, it was the day God led me to lead my friend back to a renewed and right relationship with God. It’s now been over a year, and I have had the blessing of watching my friend grow stronger in their relationship with the Lord, something that might not have happened had forgiveness not occurred. You never know how God will use you for his purpose if you make yourself available to be used. [Click to Tweet!]

The families of the victims of the Emanuel AME church shooting chose to show God’s love to Dylann Roof despite their own human pain and emotion. Roof reportedly wanted to start a race war, but he failed. Because of the actions of those families—not of hatred but of hope, not of spite but sincerity—Roof lost. But there is hope even for this killer.

Even through the process he will undergo for conviction and sentencing, he may still have time to confess, repent and receive salvation as one victim’s son implored him to do, the same opportunity Jesus offered to the thief who hung next to him on a cross. We never know how God may use what those family members willingly offered—grace and forgiveness—to change a killer’s life.

Hate will not win.

Forgiveness always will.


Get Sara’s ebook, How Can I Possibly Forgive? today!

 To learn more about Sara, visit her website at sarahorn.com, sign up to receive updates and receive a free printable of Forgiveness Scripture Memory Cards to help you in your own study and pursuit of forgiveness. It IS possible!

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Jared C. Wilson’s Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo

The Prodigal Church

Today’s post features an excerpt from Jared C. Wilson’s newest release, The Prodigal Church: A Gentle Manifesto against the Status Quo.

In The Prodigal Church, Wilson challenges church leaders to reconsider their priorities when it comes to how they “do church” and reach people in their communities, arguing that we too often rely on loud music, flashy lights, and skinny jeans to get people in the door.

Add The Prodigal Church to your Vyrso library!


 The wider evangelical church is suffering terribly from theological bankruptcy. Brothers and sisters, we ought to recover the roots of real Christianity before those who care are too few to do anything useful about it. Part of that recovery will involve identifying some of the factors that contribute to the problem. Some of these will be difficult to consider, but we ought to consider them anyway. Some of the problems we might explore are these:

1. Pastors are increasingly hired for their management skills or rhetorical ability over and above their biblical wisdom or their meeting of the biblical qualifications for eldership.

Our shepherds are increasingly hired for their dynamic speaking or catalytic leadership rather than their commitment to and exposition of the Scriptures, and for their laboring in the increase in attendance rather than the increase of gospel proclamation.

Now, of course, none of those contrasted qualities are mutually exclusive. Pastors can be both skillful managers and biblically wise; they can be both great speakers and great students of Scripture; and they can both attract crowds and proclaim the gospel. The problem is that, while they are not mutually exclusive, the latter qualities in each contrast have lost priority and consequently have lost favor. We have not prospered theologically or spiritually when we emphasize the professionalization of the pastorate.

2. The equating of “worship” with just one creative portion of the weekly worship service.

The dilution of the understanding of worship is a direct result of the dilution of theology in the church. The applicational, topical approach to Bible understanding has the consequence of making us think (and live) in segmented ways. The music leader takes the stage to say, “We’re gonna start with a time of worship.” Is the whole service not a time of worship? Isn’t the sermon an act of worship?

Isn’t all of life meant to be an act of worship? [Click to tweet!]
 One reason we have struggled to develop fully devoted followersof Jesus is that we incorrectly assign our terminology (equating worship with music only) and thereby train our people to think in truncated, reductionistic ways.

3. The prevalent eisegesis in Bible study classes and small groups.

“Eisegesis” basically means “reading into the Bible.” It is the opposite of “exegesis,” the process of examining the text and “drawing out” its true meaning. Many leaders today either don’t have the spiritual gift of teaching or haven’t received adequate training, and the unfortunate result is that most of our Bible studies are rife with phrases like, “What does this text mean to you?” as opposed to, “What does this text mean?” Application supplants interpretation in the work of Bible study, so it has become less important to see what the Bible means and more important to make sure the Bible is meaningful to us.

4. The vast gulf between the work of theology and the life of the church.

We have this notion that theology is something that takes place somewhere “out there” in the seminaries or libraries while we here at home are doing the real work of the Christian faith with our church programs. In many churches, theology is seen as purely academic, the lifeless intellectual work for the nerds in the church or, worse, the Pharisees.

5. Biblical illiteracy.

Our people don’t know their Bible very well, and this is in large part the fault of a generation of wispy preaching and teaching (in the church and in the home). Connected to this factor is the church’s accommodation and assimilation of the culture’s rapid shifting from text-based knowledge to image-based knowledge. I’ll say more about that in the next chapter, but when it comes to the text itself, I suspect that a lot of the superficial faith out there results from teaching that treats the Bible like Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Fortune-cookie preaching will make brittle, hollow,syrupy Christians.

6. A theologically lazy and methodologically consumeristic/sensationalistic approach to the sacraments.

The rise of the “scoreboard” approach to attendance reporting, some of the extreme examples of spontaneous baptism services, the neglect of the Lord’s Supper or the abuse of it through fancifulness with the elements or lack of clear directives in presenting it—these are all the result of evangelicalism’s theological bankruptcy. We don’t think biblically about these matters, because we’re thinking largely along the lines of “what works?” and consequently we might make a big splash with our productions but not produce much faith.

Don’t treat the Bible as an instruction manual. Treat it as a life preserver.[Click to Tweet!]


Get Jared C. Wilson’s The Prodigal Church for just $8.50!

Content adapted from The Prodigal Church by Jared Wilson, ©2015. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.


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The Next Great Move of God

The Next Great Move of God

Today’s guest post is by Jennifer LeClaire, director of the Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, co-founder and president of Christian Harvest International and Strategic Prayer Action Network, author of several books, and an internationally-known speaker.

Today, LeClaire focuses on themes from her newest release The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening.  


A Divine Crisis. . .

Natural disasters are claiming lives in America. Economic disasters are driving poverty in America. Agronomists are predicting famine in America. Politicians and schoolchildren are being shot in America. Pastors are falling into sexual immorality in America. Violent protesters are taking to the streets in America. All the while some Americans are arming themselves for another Civil War.

Christians are meeting with persecution in the marketplace.

“Without divine intervention, what we call America will be gone within the next couple of years. It’s that critical,” says Evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne, pastor at The River at Tampa Bay. “The handwriting is on the wall. Only God can save us now. This is not a game. If we don’t see a turn in the next two or three years, America as we know it will sink into the abyss and will be gone forever.”

No politician can fix the problems our nation is facing. We need another Great Awakening.

The good news is God wants to bring another spiritual awakening to America [Click to Tweet!].

Making an Appeal to Heaven. . .

The revelation of making an appeal to heaven as it relates to taking back our nation for God unfolded to Dutch Sheets, an internationally recognized author, teacher and conference speaker, through several prophetic encounters over the course of about 12 years—and it’s igniting fires of revival and awakening in the United States and beyond.

Many, including myself, believe that it relates directly to a Third Great Awakening in America.

One of those prophetic encounters was a dream a young man named Thomas shared with Sheets.

In the dream, Sheets was a boxer facing five giants in five rounds. One by one, he knocked out those giants with a single punch, alternating fists. One of the boxing gloves said “Everlast,” which is a common brand name for boxing gloves but nevertheless prophetic. The other glove said “Evergreen.” Sheets knew God was talking to him about taking out the giants in America.

“When I look at the giants in America, I get overwhelmed,” Sheets says. “I have to get my focus off the giants and get my focus on the Lord. He can do this. This is not too hard for God.”

Transforming Revival Is Possible. . .

Transformation is possible in America and indeed transforming revival has broken out in communities around the world.

A transformed community is a neighborhood, city or nation whose values and institutions have been overrun by the grace and presence of God; a place where divine fire has not merely been summoned, it has fallen; a society disrupted by supernatural power; a culture that has been impacted comprehensively and undeniably by the kingdom of God; and a location where kingdom values are celebrated publicly and passed on to future generations.

Transforming revival starts with an appeal to heaven [Click to Tweet!].

It’s time to make an appeal to heaven and many are responding to the call in what some are calling the next great move of God.

In my book, The Next Great Move of God: An Appeal to Heaven for Spiritual Awakening, I was struck by how so many voices from so many camps in the body of Christ—Sheets, Greg Laurie, Reinhard Bonnke, Mike Huckabee, Kenneth Copeland, Howard-Browne, Cindy Jacobs, and the list goes on and on—are essentially saying the same thing. America is a nation in crisis—and God wants to wake us up, bring us in line with his heart and heal our land.

For all the doom and gloom prophecies over America, there is yet a rising cry from respected voices from various streams of the body of Christ that sense God’s heart—and God’s hope—for America even in the midst of discipline.


Want to know more about this topic? Get The Next Great Move of God today,  featuring Dutch Sheets, Reinhard Bonnke, Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham, and others.

You can learn more about author Jennifer LeClaire at JenniferLeClaire.org.


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Rock and a Heart Place: Sharing Stories on Finding God

Rock and a Heart Place

Today’s guest post is from Ken Mansfield author of Rock a Heart Place—get it today.

Ken Mansfield’s legendary career in the music industry began as a member of the Town Criers, a successful southern California folk group in the early 1960s. From there he moved to executive tenures as US manager of The Beatles’ Apple Records, director at Capitol Records, vice president at MGM Records, and president at Barnaby/CBS Records. Ken also produced the Gaither Vocal Band’s 1991 GRAMMY and Dove Award–winning Homecoming album. Ken is now an ordained minister, a sought-after speaker, and the author of five books including Rock and a Heart Place. He and his wife Connie currently reside in Florida.

I had to be convinced that I should write Rock and a Heart Place.

I knew it would require me to go back and relive times spent wallowing in the pits and mire of my own past. I had to embrace the challenge of sitting down with some famous friends and associates and ask them to bear their souls, tell their stories and describe what happens out there in the world of fame and notoriety. I was amazed at how deeply they shared their journeys.

There was a uniqueness and a commonality in every story. They didn’t start in the same place, but they definitely ended up in the one place they needed to be—in the arms of our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

What transpired in putting this book together was a gathering of an unusual gang of ragged saints—people who already have the feeling of being overexposed and intruded upon to the point of wanting to crawl inside their amps and pull the plug.

One of the reasons it was hard for them to share their stories is because in order to tell the reader how blessed they are now, they had to deliver the contrast of their past in order to have it make any sense.

Most of us probably did our best work when we were young and didn’t know any better. I don’t think any of us realized during the early years, the foundations we were laying, the importance of the relationships we were developing, or just how meaningful our passions were at that time. We told our stories and made music because we loved it. [Click to tweet!] We would have done it anyway and would still be doing it regardless if we ever made a dime or not.

Some did get real good and as abilities and acceptance blossomed, many were thrust into adventures never imagined. Yes, there were some train wrecks and as philosophers have said, “It is the journey and not the destination,” that is our reward. I would like to deftly offer that the origins of the journey are equally delectable.

Over time we mellowed and locked into a little tighter and more secure groove, discovering that the memories and peoples of our beginnings are some of our greatest treasures. From whence we came granted us revelation and now in these “later years” we remember who we once were and the innocence of what we were all about when we set out on that journey. Fences have been mended and walls torn down, allowing us to see how special it all was.

We see those days, those people and those places for what they were and the purity of it all. We hadn’t become complicated yet and could pretty much take things and each other at face value. When the only thing we had when we were young was our love of music, we didn’t have to worry about people taking anything from us other than an occasional good idea.

The dear people in this book were unknowing embryonic spokes in a melodic wheel of spinning rhythmic fantasies that actually created whole new genres of music. I am amazed, not so much as to how much music these people have made, but how loud and long the echoes have reverberated through the hearts and souls of so many people in the succeeding decades.

Today these artists sometimes carry their Strats and Yamahas in their hearts instead of anvil cases. In Rock and a Heart Place they blessed us by picking these pages to step out on the stage of life, beautifully unplugged, each one giving of their time and their goodness, to share their souls and soul mates, to bare their years and tears, and tell of their travels and testimonies.

It all started with songs and stories that somewhere along the way turned into personal hymns and impassioned witness.

We found our true Father in places we thought he would never visit [Click to tweet!], and though it was tough for a while, he led us safely out and we feel good about that now. There will always be special things we will miss about those days. But we’ll see them again at the biggest music festival, the greatest worship service of all time, singing together in his eternal choir.

God is The Rock and through the heartfelt stories of the people in this unique book, I pray you will find a place for him in your heart.


Learn more about Ken Mansfield, his collegues, and their life-changing stories in the ebook Rock and a Heartplace—add it to your Vyrso library today.

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