A Swordfish Striker’s NDE

Note from John: Stories like this one serve as an important reminder that even in times where death is painfully imminent, God’s Peace is always available when we cry out to Him. When I heard Bill’s story, it reminded me that some people seek a return to the experience of an NDE, yet miss open-mindedly…

Details

Hope for a New Year

Happy New Year! Wow, what an end to 2015 I had. For me, 2015 had the highest highs (my daughter’s marriage, son’s graduation, Imagine Heaven hitting New York Times Bestseller list), and 2015 had the lowest lows (father-in-law getting brain cancer and dying after a 7-month battle, my mom’s death after 8 years of Alzheimer’s…

Details

God for the Dysfunctional

I asked my friend, Vince Antonucci, to guest blog for me. Gateway Church partnered with Vince to start a church on the strip in Las Vegas. What I love about Vince is that he’s real – No Perfect People Allowed started with him! Vince is not only a pastor, but he is also an author.…

Details

Why Christians and NDEs Don’t Always Get Along

Some Christian pastors and bloggers have come out against all near-death accounts (NDEs) as deceptive or satanic—demanding they be banned. Why? Well actually, this is partially the reason it’s taken me decades to finally write Imagine Heaven. Here are the main concerns that I seek to explain in Imagine Heaven.   Some NDE accounts say…

Details

Evidence of the Afterlife?

Dr. Mary Neal was kayaking with friends in Chile. Forced over the wrong side of a waterfall, her kayak lodged between two boulders, pinning her several feet under the waterfall. “I repeatedly and forcefully tried to reach the grab loop of my spray skirt, but the power of the water forcing my arms downstream was…

Details

The Messiah and His Kingdom

We continued our series at Gateway Church in Austin called Epic! To get the most out of this series, read through the daily Scripture readings and the Next Steps with your family, with running partners, or in a life group. You can also watch previous messages in the series at www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast. Here are some of what I shared this…

Details

The Garage Sale

  If you think about it, everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to simply love his or her neighbor. Yet that’s all God needs to change the world. If every person sitting in an Austin church loved 8 to 10 neighbors, 2 million people would be impacted! I hope you’re willing to practice…

Details

When God Doesn’t Care About You

As you probably could have guessed from another long absence, I’ve been taking vacation to just unplug from everything. I’ve spent every morning praying and seeking God’s replenishment and restoration. I needed it. If you read my last blog, I shared just a small snippet of the compressed highs and lows of the last nine…

Details

Four Funerals and a Wedding

I realized that I haven’t really blogged since April. There’s a reason: my mom died (funeral number one), then I had to lay off some of my good friends the week after her funeral (felt like funeral number two), our now son-in-law went into the hospital for bile duct/gall bladder surgery, my daughter graduated from…

Details

Young Leaders Wanted

We’re starting an AsUR residency at Gateway Church in Austin. Why? “The Christian share of the U.S. population is declining, while the number of U.S. adults who do not identify with any organized religion is growing, according to an extensive new survey by the Pew Research Center.” We may be planting churches, but we’re losing…

Details

Science and Faith in Conflict? Says who?

This weekend I interviewed Dr. Walter Bradley, co-author of The Mystery of Life’s Origin. We talked about three big questions surrounding Science and Faith that you can listen to or watch on our website: Gatewaychurch.com/podcast. If you want to go deeper into each of these questions, keep reading. I’ve included several additional resources.   Faith…

Details

The Secret of the Unburdened Way

This Easter I talked about the Unburdened Way. I’m just convinced that so much of the weight we carry emotionally, relationally, spiritually comes from going our way instead of God’s way. The cross tells us that we can be forgiven, even when we go our way and fail and fall. But forgiveness is not the…

Details

Loved … Even When You Don’t Feel It

“Here I sit, day 11 of watching my mom slowly die—holding on. It’s brutal. But 8 years of the slow deterioration of Alzheimer’s is brutal too.” That’s all I could write three weeks ago, and then I quit. I couldn’t even blog at all. Day 12, my sweet mom went to be with Jesus and…

Details

I Have No Problems

It’s a difficult realization, but so incredibly liberating… “I have No problems.” I’ve been saying it to myself over the last 5 months, as everything around me seems to be falling apart at times. “I have no problems.” Of course, the other truth is I could list three pages of things I’ve “counted” as my…

Details

Super Bull of Preaching

We had a lot of fun this weekend as Rick Shurtz and I went head to head in our first annual Super Bull Smackdown of Preaching. We had a lot of fun, lots of laughs, as we taught through Hebrews 12:1-3 on Winning the Game of Life. And yes, the random phrases we had to…

Details

Your Spiritual Legacy

This weekend I got a surprise visit from Dave White, a man who invested in me by encouraging me when I was a 25-year-old engineer working for Chevron. As we walked around Gateway Church, I got to introduce him to person after person who said to him, “Thank you, because God changed my life because…

Details

A Sign For The Nations

    Leading up to Christmas, we’ve been looking at God’s revealed character, “The God You Need,” in our Sunday services (listen at www.Gatewaychurch.com/podcast ). Isaiah “proves” God exists by giving many threads of historical evidence pre-written (see past 3 blogs). Let’s continue looking at what Isaiah foretold 680 years before Jesus—that the coming Messiah…

Details

Messiah

I had someone ask me why God chose one people group over others (referring to the Jews). Chosen does not mean all Jewish people are automatically right with God, or more loved by God than Arabs or Americans or any other people group. Chosen means chosen for a responsibility. God created the nation of Israel…

Details

A Sign For The Nations

I have never heard a better argument for the existence of God than the foretelling, 2600 years beforehand, of the rebirth of the nation of Israel. Never in humanity has a people group been scattered across the globe, without a land or government, then suddenly re-born as a nation (and after nearly 2000 years dispersed!?).…

Details

God Proof

Can you prove God’s existence? That’s a common question, but I find few willing to actually seek answers—because there are amazing “proofs” of God’s existence—but you won’t find them if you don’t seek them. We’re teaching through key passages in the book of Isaiah at Gateway Church leading up to Christmas, and I’m reminded how…

Details

Freedom @ Work, part 2

Picture the scene… It’s 3:00 pm. You’re hungry. Famished. You had to work through lunch and haven’t eaten since you practically skipped breakfast. The only thing keeping you going is a 6:00 pm dinner date. In less than 3 hours you’ll leave the office, head to a local restaurant, and dive headlong into an all-you-can-eat…

Details

Freedom @ Work

I asked Rick Shurtz, Teaching Pastor here at Gateway, to write the next two blogs based on his new book Freebird: Work Free, Live Free.  I read it this summer and it’s excellent! Very creatively written as a story of four friends who coax a member of their group into a dare that turns his view…

Details