Why Grace Is More Liberating Than You Believe | Influence Podcast


“There is power available to you that can unlock your soul and all of its hidden longings,” writes John Lindell—“the buried hopes of the past, the strength needed for the moment, and the dreams for a beautiful future. That is the power of the best news: the gospel is able to change your life at this moment, even now.” In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk with John Lindell about this power, which is the power of God’s grace. Lindell is pastor of James River Church, a multisite congregation in Springfield, Missouri. He is devoted to seeing the local … Continue reading Why Grace Is More Liberating Than You Believe | Influence Podcast

Truth Plus Love | Book Review


In the Church’s first few centuries of existence, Christians spread the gospel by means of Roman roads. Today, the internet and social media are Roman-road equivalents, giving Christians the ability to share the gospel farther and faster than at any time in history. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians — especially, though not exclusively, in America — are blowing it. Take a look at your Christian friends’ social media posts, if you doubt me. Many use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like innocuously enough as platforms for sharing grandkid pics or corny jokes. To the extent that they use them to … Continue reading Truth Plus Love | Book Review

Truth + Love = Influence | Influence Podcast


Jesus Christ is the greatest news the world has ever heard, and the internet and social media give contemporary Christians effective means to share it. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are blowing their chance, as even a quick glance at Christians online shows. How can we better use these communication tools for greater gospel influence? I’m George P. Wood, executive editor of Influencemagazine and your host. In Episode 172 of the Influence Podcast, I’m talking to Matt Brown about the biblical formula for influence, whether you’re online or off. Matt is an Assemblies of God minister, founder of the online … Continue reading Truth + Love = Influence | Influence Podcast

Review of ‘You Are What You Love’ by James K. A. Smith


This review first appeared at InfluenceMagazine.com. James K. A. Smith, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2016). You Are What You Love by James K. A. Smith is a small book with large ambitions. It aims to reshape the way evangelical Christians understand discipleship, replacing their emphasis on thought with an emphasis on desire. Rather than saying, “You are what you think,” Smith urges Christians to say, “You are what you love.” For Smith, this reshaping of discipleship is not something new, but something old. Both the Bible and the pre-Enlightenment … Continue reading Review of ‘You Are What You Love’ by James K. A. Smith

Love: The First Mark of the Ideal Church (Rev. 2:1–7)


As Christians, we know who we are: sinners who need to repent. But who should we be? According to John Stott, Jesus’ letters to the seven churches describe “seven marks of the ideal church”: love, suffering, truth, holiness, sincerity, mission, and wholeheartedness.[i] Let us take a closer look at each, beginning with love. Love is perhaps the most indiscriminately used word in the English language. The statements “I love God,” “I love my children,” and “I love crispy tacos at Taco Bell” use the same words to describe radically different affections. After all, if you love God and Taco Bell … Continue reading Love: The First Mark of the Ideal Church (Rev. 2:1–7)