Welcome to my blog. I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and – join the conversation.

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Quick Bio
I’m a businessman, elder in one of the more conservative mega churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan and for over 25 years a full time spiritual mentor of men. I love introducing people to Jesus and truth from God’s perspective. I’m also an NPR listener and student of our culture because I want to understand how the world and a younger generation think, so I’m prepared to engage in conversations which are true to the Bible, intellectually honest and gracious.

Following Jesus is the only hope I have of living this life with purpose, energy and expectation. I hope to end my days on earth still meeting young men at Starbucks who have no interest in God, being the patriarch of my family, cheering them on to godliness, making sad people smile and the lonely – laugh, giving the poor hope, pointing wayward men back to their families, teaching the whole counsel of God and keeping myself unstained – God’s reputation and mine intact.

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Welcome to my blog.
I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and join the conversation.

This edition from Simon and Schuster has been totally revised with expanded teachings and a study guide. Available in stores and online now!


   
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Why I’m Hesitant to Ask People to Pray “The Prayer” Anymore
Posted by Clare
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When I came to real faith almost 35 years ago, Billy Graham was in his prime and Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, was leading people to Christ in elevators. Evangelicals used little booklets like The Four Spiritual Laws and Steps to Peace to introduce people to Christ. The last step of course was to pray out loud a short prayer acknowledging your sin, receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and thanking him for your salvation – “The Prayer”.

So why is it I’m so cautious about asking people to pray the prayer?

Because, even 30 years ago, most people knew the basic storyline of the Bible, including Adam and Eve’s decision to sin. The majority of Americans had gone to Sunday School or church, or their parents had, so there was a general awareness of sin and God’s displeasure with it. And they also knew that Christians believed Jesus died to save us from our sins.

Nobody is exactly sure what happened, but today I find very few non-Christians, especially those under 40, who believe they are sinners and therefore that they have a problem with God. Either they’re indifferent to God, or if they believe in God at all, don’t think they have a problem with him. Guys can be living with their girlfriends and aren’t the least bit ashamed to tell me. The purpose of this blog isn’t to whine about how that happened, but it did!

So, here’s the problem for them and the dilemma for the church: If you don’t know you’re a sinner, you have no need for a Savior!
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Slaves for Life
Posted by Clare
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When we think of slavery, most of us automatically think of Africans kidnapped, brought to this country, sold and worked six days a week, treated more like farm animals than humans. It’s still stunning to me that “Christian” slave merchants and slaver owners were able to ignore this clear command of God.

“Anyone who kidnaps someone is to be put to death, whether the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession.” Exodus 21:16

God required the death penalty for kidnapping people for slavery, or holding people they knew were kidnapped!

But in the Old Testament, God imagined some masters so kind and compassionate that slaves would voluntarily choose slavery for life.
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This Life is an Audition for All Eternity
Posted by Clare
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For the first 31 years of my life, I was a cultural Christian. A product of Christian schools, church every Sunday and a Sunday School teacher. I believed every word of the Bible to be true. Of course I was saved! My sins would all be forgiven and after death I’d live with Jesus, the angels and the rest of the believers, forever! Doing what? I didn’t know. I wrote this in The 10 Second Rule regarding my thoughtless and careless attitude about heaven.

I just didn’t see the point of being overly obedient or spiritual. I didn’t need box seats in heaven – after all, how bad can the bleachers be? I was in!

Not only was I in, but I gave absolutely no thought to the heavenly consequences of my choices on earth. I had no idea that Christians are actually auditioning in this life, for how they will live for all eternity.
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Understanding Your Children, or Grandchildren’s “Brave New World”
Posted by Clare
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I was taking the “middles,” our six middle school age grandchildren, out to eat a few weeks ago. One of my granddaughters received several texts. So, I asked how many texts she received a day. 192 in the last 24 hours! This does not include Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. 192!

She acted like that was normal. And shockingly, she’s a great student and a good kid. No purple hair or nose studs. But that incident compelled me to better understand why young people would even want to live that way and the enormous pressure today’s Gen Z are under.

As parents and grandparents, we can either shake our head in disgust at this ridiculous waste of time, or better understand how we can guide our kids through this dangerous online world.

The following is an edited blog by David R. Smith at TheSource4YM.com.

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