Young Tim was a lucky boy. Or should I say blessed? Yes, blessed is much more accurate. He had a mother whose relationship with Jesus was real and alive. His grandmother too. Sadly, we know nothing of his father’s faith. Since he’s never mentioned, it’s not too far-fetched to assume he was not a man of faith.

But back to Tim and his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois. These two matriarchs (and I call them that because they do indeed appear to have been the spiritual head of their families) passed on a living faith to young Tim.

Here’s how…


Ashley is one of my favorite people. As teenagers, she and her brother began attending one of the churches I served. I’ve kept up with her over the years and been blessed to see a thoughtful, gifted young lady who most definitely marches to the beat of a different drummer. That drummer is Jesus. But the beat to which Ashley marches is not the same as the beat to which many in the institutional church today are marching. And that’s perfectly fine. In fact, it’s refreshing.

Christianity is not a set of rules to be followed. Neither is it a…


Navigating the troubled waters of the institutional church.

It was never the intention of the great reformer, Martin Luther, to break from the Roman Catholic Church. And John Wesley never intended to break with the Church of England. But the consciences of both men would not allow them to remain silent about the many ways in which their churches had lost touch with the Christianity of the New Testament. Sometimes following Christ means doing and saying things we would rather not.

I’d rather not criticize the institutional church or Christendom, as it is often referred to, with its budgets and…


In my first full-time church as a pastor, I was approached by one of our young teens. “I really like you’re preaching,” he said. “You’re not like most preachers. How do you manage to make things so simple and easy to understand?”

Frankly, I was taken back by his words. Taken back because I was not some master instructor, gifted at taking difficult teaching and reducing it to easily understandable lessons. I was just someone who loved studying the Bible and explaining it, as best I could to others. I’m not sure I could teach any other way. Even as…


Throughout our home, we have various gifts and memorabilia collected during our years of pastoral ministry — a limited print by the famous Texas artist, Robert Summers, an ornate piece of pottery received from a house church in China, a colorful vest from a former tribe of head hunters in northern India (now a Christian tribe, thank God!), a stringed musical instrument from Cambodia, a princely turban from a conference in Karnataka, India, and several other items that serve as reminders of where God has led and how he has worked through our lives.

But of all the cherished items…


We all need to be yoked, in harness, and moving forward with a clear purpose in our lives. Without purpose, there is no place to plant our feet, no stability, no familiar ground. That’s how I’ve been feeling for over a year now.

In my most recent post, I shared with you the vertigo I am experiencing both literally and spiritually in my life. For over twenty-four hours, I lay flat on my back in bed, unable to open my eyes. The room just would not stop spinning! A prolonged, mandated meditation session was forced upon me by God.

As…


I’m a huge U2 fan. My last night in Seoul, I attended the first-ever U2 concert in Korea with some good friends. It was a great send-off after over a decade of ministry in a country and among a people I grew to love dearly.

U2 has been severely criticized for years by many in the church, and to be honest, I was one of their early critics. Sell-outs watering down the gospel for personal popularity and profit — that’s how these young rockers from Ireland were described by many Christians. …


He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ (Mark 7:6–7)

Jesus was a religious rule breaker. He regularly broke the norms and traditions found at the very heart of the religion of his people. …


You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Mark 7:8)

I’m not sure that we understand just how much of a radical religious revolutionary Jesus was. He constantly challenged the motto of the religious legalists both then and now, who hold tightly to the “We’ve never done it that way before.” theology often so prevalent in religious circles.

Christ also assaulted the sacred cow of the teaching of the elders. These elders were well-known theologians, who since the fifth century before the birth of Jesus, had played a powerful role in shaping…


Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

A few years ago, we were considering adding a man to the Leadership Team of our church in Seoul. He had served as a leader in previous churches, and he appeared to be an excellent choice. He and his wife attended regularly, gave graciously to the mission of our church, and were well-respected by our members.

But during the process of considering this man, another trusted church leader asked to meet with me privately. The two men worked together in the same office, and it turned out that our potential new leader led a very different life outside of church…

Dan Armistead

Dan is the former pastor of Seoul International Baptist Church and Adjunct Professor at Torch Trinity Graduate University in Seoul, Korea.

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