The enemy has duped us into believing that what makes our lungs uniquely Christian is that they don’t have any tobacco in them. This is a trick. Tobacco-free, cancerous, nicotine-free, or carbon monoxide-ridden — what God wants most is for his church to have gospel-centered lungs: lungs that breathe in God’s grace and sing out God’s praise. So, the aim of this … [Read more...] about Gospel-Centered Lungs
Hope deferred makes the heart stronger. Just kidding. No, it doesn’t. Proverbs 13:12 reminds me: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life”. Yes, I know. God is the only one who can provide for and fulfill our eternal salvation and eternal longings. But I also know God made us so that practical, human … [Read more...] about Our Earthbound Longings and the Art of Deference
So, I took one of those clickbait online quizzes the other day. I was preparing to preach to my church on spiritually-healthy self-awareness from Psalm 51:3 and perhaps, I thought, by taking the "Are You Emotionally Healthy?" online quiz, I might gather a good joke or two. The quiz was full of describing ink blots and giving titles to paintings and, to be honest, it had me … [Read more...] about Spiritual Health for People Who Lack Self-Awareness
What makes a church a church? Well, before we endeavor to answer that question, I'd like to pose another, because I think the answer is the same for both. What makes a team a team? Does talent alone define a team? Is it the skill of the individual players? I'd say no. To be sure, talent has a big role to play when determining the success of a team, but it's not the only … [Read more...] about Keys to Gospel Togetherness
I've always found the fungi kingdom fascinating. During the days of my teenaged, knobby-kneed forest wanderings, I received one of my all-time favorite books: All That the Rain Promises and More by David Arora. It's a slim, yellow-spined volume with a startling cover, designed to fit snugly inside cargo short pockets. Hundreds of glossy, vibrant pages divulge the secrets and … [Read more...] about The Cure in Confession
Confessions of a Young Church Planter I remember the moment when I wanted to erase one of my church's practices. I lead a church plant with a membership mostly made up of Christians who didn't grow up with our church's practices. One of these practices is confessional liturgy on Sunday mornings when, between worship songs, a liturgist walks to the front of … [Read more...] about For the Bored Church Member
Interesting fact; you didn't save you. If you’re a Christian, that is, if you've been purchased by the blood of Jesus for his glory - then you are a recipient of life-giving grace. Plain and simple. You didn't decide one day to wrap your arms around a soft and winsome philosopher who promised you a pleasant stay in the afterlife. You were lovingly (and violently) … [Read more...] about You Didn’t Save You!
John and I were the sorts of friends who grew up side by side and stayed in touch despite the different paths we took in life. Life allowed our paths to cross a year ago before my brother left for China. We were having a going-away party, and John arrived in his usual quiet manner. He smelled of coffee and men’s cologne. I gave him a hard time about never keeping in touch with … [Read more...] about Unexpected Times of Sheer Joy
The plane landed on the sandbar of Ecuador’s Curaray River that January morning of 1956. Five missionaries, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming and Roger Youderian were making their first in-person contact with the extremely remote Waodani tribe; a feat that few others had attempted. Famous for their merciless killing sprees, it was estimated that 60% of all … [Read more...] about The God Who Makes His Enemies His Family
As followers of Christ and members of his church, we must affirm that there is, in fact, a real and present enemy at work souring God’s beautiful song of salvation. This enemy, though restrained, runs rampant in pulpits across America and beyond - singing a song of its own, threatening all who lend an ear to its sweet and savory tune. This cover song of sorts is what Bonhoeffer … [Read more...] about Cheap Grace: Bonhoeffer and The Cost of Discipleship
Imagine, if you will, that you had a sibling, a brother or sister — a twin, let’s say. Perhaps you don’t have to imagine too hard and this reality is all too real. But you and your sibling get along usually well, save for the occasional scuffle or two. One day, your mother calls you both in from rough-housing outside, coaxing you with ice cream. This works like a charm and the … [Read more...] about That’s Not Fair
It seems like every neighborhood now has its own yoga studio. Stores that sell yoga specific clothes have profit margins that will make your head spin. The rumors of the benefits of yoga are flying around weight-lifting and climbing gyms, running clubs, and cycling shops (I’ve even met a guy doing yoga to improve his golf game). With 36 million practitioners in the US, … [Read more...] about Is Yoga Demonic?
The Epistle to the Colossians is a fascinating and highly debated book. Like all of Scripture, every verse may be deeply mined, constantly yielding new theological and pastoral ore. Immediately following the greetings to his letter, in 1:9-14 Paul prays for the Colossian church. His prayer expresses his desires for their faith and Christian walk. He then leads into one of the … [Read more...] about Colossians 1:9-14: Paul’s Prayer for Your Church
I can still remember the first time I pondered that question some years ago. I’ve shared that view with several people since and predictably got some raised eyebrows in return. How could such a cool and incendiary guy be dangerous? Wouldn’t his reach be diminished if he was spouting falsehoods and platitudes? Questions like these are actually part of the … [Read more...] about Is Carl Lentz the Most Dangerous Person in Christian Ministry?
Dating is hard in general, but bad theology makes it harder. Let me explain. Dating takes time and it takes a certain level of vulnerability. When you put yourself out there, you run the risk of rejection, hurt, pain, etc. When the risk does not work out, we wonder what we did wrong, and how we can make sure that what happened the last time never happens again. Sometimes, those … [Read more...] about Don’t Let Go But Let God