What Mr. Rogers Teaches Us About Reconciliation

It’s no surprise that when a Presbyterian minister wanted to heal the divide between blacks and whites, to show us how to serve each other, it looked very much like Jesus’ own servanthood. When Rogers asked Clemmons to become a police officer, he asked him to become the enemy in order to redeem the enemy—just as Jesus took on the form of his enemy to redeem us. And when Rogers shared his pool and wiped his friend’s feet with a towel, he was repenting through servanthood—the same servanthood that motivated Jesus to take up the towel the night before his death.

But both acts required humility. Both acts required relinquishing privilege—the privilege of anger on Clemmons’ part and the privilege of comfort on Rogers’ part. And through this humility, both men embody Christ: neither condescending to the other; both simply surrendering to the other. So that in the very same act, the humiliated are brought up and the proud are brought down.

In one brief scene on a children’s television show, we see this happen. We see two men humbling themselves. We see two men cleansing each other through acts of communion and identification. We see two men showing the world how reconciliation happens. And we hear Mr. Rogers say, in his own quiet voice, “Sometimes just a minute like this will really make a difference.”


Continue ReadingWhat Mr. Rogers Teaches Us About Reconciliation

America’s Need For Biblical Literacy

While America’s evangelical Christians are rightly concerned about the secular worldview’s rejection of biblical Christianity, we ought to give some urgent attention to a problem much closer to home–biblical illiteracy in the church. This scandalous problem is our own, and it’s up to us to fix it.

Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates. How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it’s worse than most could imagine.

This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course. Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical it may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God’s Word.


Continue ReadingAmerica’s Need For Biblical Literacy

Spiritual Lessons From “The Walking Dead”

Recently, I finished every episode of The Walking Dead to date. Beyond the compelling characters, rich storylines, and incomparable acting, the parallels to the spiritual walk are impressive. The gruesome scenes, notwithstanding.

What follows are three critical lessons about the Christian life I observed while watching.

You don’t know what people are really like until you observe them under pressure. Only then do their true colors emerge. This sober fact is brought out powerfully in The Walking Dead.


Continue ReadingSpiritual Lessons From “The Walking Dead”

Conquering Co-Dependency & Consumerism In Church Culture

Those churches that sprang from American soil have avoided certain aspects of the feudal model, but unfortunately many have been co-opted by another system. Whereas Constantine poured the early Christian movement into the mold of Roman patronage, many American churches have been profoundly shaped by the mold of democratic capitalism. Ours is a free market system where “church shopping” makes complete sense to most people because the focus is on meeting the perceived needs of individuals. Over the past fifty years churches in America have continued this pattern by placing an ever-greater emphasis on attracting new members by providing staff-led programs tailored to the specific interests of various constituencies.

Apparently we need more than a better marketing plan or a new program to solve this crisis. What began as a dynamic grass-roots movement in Palestine that nearly conquered the Roman Empire gradually became a theology in Greece, an institution in Rome, a state church in Europe, and now a non-profit service provider in America. The question is: what will the next chapter of our story be?


Continue ReadingConquering Co-Dependency & Consumerism In Church Culture

A Biblical Definition Of Success

Two great lies have been promoted in our culture during the past 20 years. They are told to children in school, students in college, and workers throughout the business world.

The first great lie is, “If you work hard enough, you can be anything you want to be.” It is often sold as the American Dream, expressed in sayings such as, “In America, anyone can grow up to be president.”

The second great lie is like the first one, yet it’s possibly even more damaging: “You can be the best in the world.”

These lies are accepted by many Christians as well as non-Christians. They catastrophically damage our view of work and vocation because they have distorted the biblical view of success. These two lies define success in 21st century Western culture. Success, defined as being the master of your own destiny, has become an idol.


Continue ReadingA Biblical Definition Of Success

What Happens When Christians Care About Creation

In the hyper-partisan world of American climate politics, these guys are a minority within a minority—evangelical environmentalists who are deeply conservative.

The shorthand for faith-based environmentalism is “creation care”—the notion that people have been entrusted by God to care for the Earth. But the common perception is that creation care was a concern of liberal congregations, ones far more concerned with social justice talk than fire and brimstone. Murdock and Johnson, however, are among a growing group of conservative Christians who draw bright moral lines, know their Bibles, and make connections between the environment and other social issues such as their opposition to abortion. Rather than joining the liberal ranks, they want to revive a heritage of belief they trace to the founders of the modern religious right.

Continue ReadingWhat Happens When Christians Care About Creation

The Case For Christian Intolerance

We, as Christians, ought to be totally, completely intolerant of evil and blasphemy. We should neither respect it nor dismiss it as mere “entertainment.” When someone mocks our God, we ought to oppose them forcefully and relentlessly. Shouting it down might not always be the answer, but shouting is at least better than whispering or saying nothing.

There are too many “offended” whiners in our culture who get their feelings hurt over the smallest perceived slight, so I am not recommending mere offendedness at personal insults. Those we must endure and often ignore – a skill many of our nation’s college students need to learn. But Christians ought to be outraged, incensed, and infuriated by heinous attacks against God, faith, and virtue. Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek when someone slaps us, but He makes no such recommendation when someone slaps God or His commandments.


Continue ReadingThe Case For Christian Intolerance

The Need For A Consistent Sexual Ethic

I have only two options to deal with the tension of asking someone feeling gay longings to do something as difficult as pursue celibacy:

1. Give him and everyone else a pass for cross-less Christianity, what Bonhoeffer called “grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

2. Call everyone to bear the cross in the area of his or her sexuality.

I must force a clear choice. As Joshua told his fellow citizens: “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy and jealous God” until you “destroy the idols among you and turn your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel” (Josh. 24:19,23). Here’s how our church is trying to do that, often with struggles and still with much to learn.


Continue ReadingThe Need For A Consistent Sexual Ethic

Star Wars Reveals Our Culture’s Hunger For Redemption

We inherit much of our identities from our fathers. This is both a blessing and a curse. Coming to grips with his father’s fallen humanity, while still retaining an independent sense of dignity, ambition, and integrity, is one of the great rites of passages in a young man’s life. That is perhaps how God visits “the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation” (Exodus 34:7).

Luke’s tragedy resonates because, at some level, it is ours. In our most honest moments, when the burden of sin presses down on us, we recognize that we, in our very nature and from the moment of our generation, are something awful.

The Bible’s story leads to repentance and faith in the atoning Christ and his substitutionary sacrifice. Luke and Vader’s story, as it continues in Return of the Jedi, diverges from the Greek and Biblical archetypes, mirroring neither exactly, but combining the two in evocative ways. Luke becomes a sort of messiah-savior by fulfilling his Jedi training, converting Vader and defeating the Emperor. Vader dies the martyr’s redemptive death in his final sacrifice. The original Star Wars saga, like Dante’s, is, in the end, a story of light. But before searching for light, one must meditate on the darkness, which is what Empire Strikes Back does so well. The genius of Empire is to take an ancient Greek tragedy with a dose of Biblical truth, dress it up in science-fiction garb, and sell it as a blockbuster. Few have done better.


Continue ReadingStar Wars Reveals Our Culture’s Hunger For Redemption

Oppose Gambling For The Right Reasons

Conservative Christians can’t talk about gambling, if we don’t see the bigger picture.

We must understand that gambling is an issue of economic justice. We can’t really address the gambling issue if we ignore the larger issue of poverty. Evangelicals who don’t care (as does Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles) about the poor can’t speak adequately to the gambling issues. By this I don’t simply mean caring about individual poor people but about the way social and political and corporate structures contribute to the misery of the impoverished (James 5:1-6). We will never get to the nub of the gambling issue if we don’t get at a larger vision of poverty and the limits of commercial power.

Too many of our “opponents” see us as morally-prissy Victorians who don’t want people doing “naughty” things in our presence. Let’s demolish that pretense, by being the gritty colony of the kingdom that sees the economically downtrodden among us as, when in Christ, “heirs of the kingdom” (Jas. 2:5). And let’s hold out a vision, for all of us, of an inheritance that comes not through predation, and not through luck, but through sonship, through grace.


Continue ReadingOppose Gambling For The Right Reasons

How America Ruined The Gospel

There is a common belief among Americans that following Jesus will help you get what you want in life. In this story, the “good news” is good because it brings individual satisfaction and pleasure. The good news of the biblical Gospel is that people can be reconciled to God. That may or may not have anything to do with your material prosperity or comfort. (more…)

Continue ReadingHow America Ruined The Gospel

What The Imago Dei Looks Like In Police Work

A teddy bear probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of police gear. But for Officer Tommy Norman of the North Little Rock Police Department, teddy bears are essential equipment. You can find them in the trunk of his squad car, nestled right next to a cooler full of cold drinks and packages of chips.

This almost idyllic picture of an Arkansas community is due in large part to Norman’s ability to treat everyone he encounters as if he or she was truly valuable. Part of what attracts us to his Instagram account is that the Imago Dei in each individual — be they child, homeless person, elderly neighbor, or fellow police officer — is highlighted. These encounters are glorious because human beings are glorious; Tommy Norman truly “gets” this, and he treats them accordingly. As one Imgur commenter said, “Officer Norman is teaching us how to be human.”

This moving story highlights some of the often unseen aspects of police work and  reminds us that Norman’s bond with members of his community, especially the children, can be truly life-altering. Norman explains that “the stats that matter are the hearts that you are mending, the trust and the love that’s instilled in the hearts of people that see that.” When they lay their heads down at night and go to sleep, are they at peace knowing that the police officers of their community care about them? In Officer Tommy Norman’s patrol area of North Little Rock, Arkansas, the answer is “Yes.”


Continue ReadingWhat The Imago Dei Looks Like In Police Work

The Evil Inside

The problem for Christian parents isn’t in the desire to shelter children; it’s in the warped perspective that such sheltering can foster.

We begin to believe that sin and rebellion is a problem outside of our home, not inside. We start thinking our kids are basically good and in need of moral direction, rather than recognizing that our kids are basically bad and in need of heart transformation.

We communicate to our kids that it’s ”us” (good) versus “them” (bad) rather than helping them see our family’s role as one of service (“us” for “them”). Then, when evil shows up on the inside of our home, we diminish its significance or hide it rather than bring it out in the open.


Continue ReadingThe Evil Inside

When A Culture Of Death Gives Way To Life In Christ

We in the pro-life movement have no enemies to destroy. Our weapons are chaste weapons of the spirit: truth and love. Our task is less to defeat our opponents than to win them to the cause of life. To be sure, we must oppose the culture and politics of death resolutely and with a determination to win. But there is no one—no one—whose heart is so hard that he or she cannot be won over. Let us not lose faith in the power of our weapons to transform even the most resolute abortion advocates.

Wielding truth and love won’t win over everyone to the cause of life, but it will change those with eyes to see and ears to hear. As truth beckons, “Come and witness the culture of death that undergirds abortion,” minds will be persuaded. As love invites, “Taste and see the culture of life that is Christ crucified for you,” hearts will be softened.

For abortion says, “Your life for mine,” but Jesus says, “My life for yours—even if you’ve killed your own child.”


Continue ReadingWhen A Culture Of Death Gives Way To Life In Christ

This Woman Had An Abortion And That’s Why She’s Against Abortion

I’ve had an abortion. Let’s just clear the air here before we move forward. Yes – this is a Christian site and I am publicly admitting that I had an abortion.

I don’t think women should have abortions. You may be thinking “Jessi, that’s really hypocritical because you did!” However, in all the chaos of womens rights and being in my early twenties – no one warned me of the deep shame and pain that would fill my heart. The whole abortion process was traumatic and lonely. Months later I attempted to commit suicide because of the pain and rejection that consumed me. It was that week that I had an encounter with Jesus and my life turned around.

I think many Christians are wanting the government to not act like the world. They want politicians to give them a solution that the church was always meant to provide.

I think we need to start talking about abortion. Not in the sense of bashing people that have had them, but offering them love and Grace and show them their identity in Jesus. I think we need to show extreme love and Christian women that had abortions near to share their stories of redemption! I wish in my early twenties someone just told me “Jessi, if you make this decision it’s going to really hurt your heart. Jesus loves you so much. If you have this baby – I will help you find it a home. You will not be rejected but you are surrounded by love.” However – all I heard from my boyfriend is “I will leave you and you will ruin your entire life if you have this baby.” All I heard from the global church was “We will reject you.”


Continue ReadingThis Woman Had An Abortion And That’s Why She’s Against Abortion

How Hollywood Teaches Us About Heaven

Year after year, Hollywood churns a host of sequels, reboots, and remakes on a quest to find Eden, because embedded deep within our souls is a nostalgic quest for a lost paradise—and film is often where it leads us.

The reason sequels, reboots, and remakes become mixed up in this desire is because our broken world is deficient to satisfy our hunger. Instead, we attach the desire to something more tangible, but still vague enough to provide an ineffable hope, like memories of feelings we have had in certain times in our past, when things seemed just right. We can expect evidence of this reality when we go to the movies. We are drawn to sequels and prequels because they promise to take us back to a place we remember enjoying. We are drawn to reboots and remakes because they promise to recreate encounters with characters and stories that once gave us comfort. We love these films because they promise to give us something we remember being perfect.

As C.S. Lewis says: “The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.


Continue ReadingHow Hollywood Teaches Us About Heaven

Sunday Sermon: Unstoppable Joy | Rob Rienow

Dr. Rob Rienow examines some of the promises of God and how they should produce an unstoppable joy in the life of believers. This stems from some of Paul’s comments in Philippians.

Before examining the biblical text of the sermon, he takes a few minutes at the start to comment on recent events in our country and how they boil down to an attack on God and his Word. (more…)

Continue ReadingSunday Sermon: Unstoppable Joy | Rob Rienow

The Irrelevance Of Relevant Christianity

Do people want Christianity to be cool? What happens when churches become too driven by the desire to be trend-savvy and culturally relevant? Can a church balance hipster credibility within an orthodox tradition?

Further time will tell whether the legacy of the “hipster Christianity” phenomenon will be one of decline or revival for churches. It could be that in certain parts of the world, and particularly in cities, cool churches are exactly what is needed to inject life into stagnant tradition.

But my guess is that sooner rather than later it will become clear that what people want from church is something different than what is offered on the pages of Vogue or the streets of Brooklyn.

Christianity’s true relevance lies not in the gospel’s comfortable trendiness but in its uncomfortable transcendence, as a truth with the power to rebuff, renew and restore wayward humanity as every epoch in history.


Continue ReadingThe Irrelevance Of Relevant Christianity

Hey Christian, You’re Not As Likely To Divorce As You Thought You Were

This is a game-changer. Talk about “an old wives’ tale.” You’ve heard it said that 1) 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce; 2) most marriages that do happen to make it are, nonetheless, unhappy, and 3) Christians are just as likely to divorce as non-believers.

Shaunti Feldhahn is a Harvard-trained researcher and author. In her recently released book, “The Good News About Marriage: Debunking Discouraging Myths about Marriage and Divorce,” Feldhahn details groundbreaking findings from an extensive eight-year study on marriage and divorce. Among other things, her research found:

  • The actual divorce rate has never gotten close to 50 percent.
  • Those who attend church regularly have a significantly lower divorce rate than those who don’t.
  • Most marriages are happy.
  • Simple changes make a big difference in most marriage problems.
  • Most remarriages succeed.

“The 50 percent figure came from projections of what researchers thought the divorce rate would become as they watched the divorce numbers rising in the 1970s and early 1980s when states around the nation were passing no-fault divorce laws.”


Continue ReadingHey Christian, You’re Not As Likely To Divorce As You Thought You Were

What Frankenstein Teaches About Abortion

We were practical, hard-working Italians, and nothing was going to hinder us from achieving the American Dream for each and every family member.

For most of my childhood and early adulthood, the name “Planned Parenthood” conjured feelings of safety and security. The institution represented for me and my family of origin a bedrock of civilization: a woman’s right to liberation from the oppression of bearing a child. Long before I became a self-conscious feminist supporting the worldview of Planned Parenthood, I believed abortion was more than just some “necessary evil.” I believed abortion was a compelling good.

As I pause today to reflect on the outrage of Planned Parenthood, I think of Frankenstein’s monster. And the monster that I am. And for the life of me, I don’t understand how people like my beloved relative and her unborn child could have been helped apart from God’s people taking her and her kids into their home for long-term, real-life care. She needed more than a word in season. She needed the hands of God.


Continue ReadingWhat Frankenstein Teaches About Abortion

The Double Standard Of A Culture That Mocks Modesty

I’ve been thinking about the “double standards” of modesty supposedly held by men. I’m sure many of us remember quite a tempest in the internet teapot about yoga pants not too long ago. A number of women, bloggers and commenters alike, came down on the “well, just don’t look!” side of things.

What I didn’t see was a lot of concern on the part of women for their own souls. So busy are they, worrying about whether the rest of us ought to police our own eyes that they ignore the fact that the way a person dresses both affects and reflects her own thoughts.

If your heart is tender, admitting and avoiding your own sinful nature, you will avert your eyes. Then, in the world’s view, you are the wrong-doer. They (men and women, don’t forget) want to be sexy everywhere, all the time, and they demand that we not be embarrassed. It’s a pretty glaring double standard, isn’t it, that women think they should be able to call attention to whatever body parts they like, and the rest of us, men and women alike, have to pretend not to see it?


Continue ReadingThe Double Standard Of A Culture That Mocks Modesty

Jim Gaffigan’s Intersection Of Faith & Media

Gaffigan seems to realize that he does have a voice in the realm of religious conversation—as evidenced from the The Jim Gaffigan Show—but his more organic approach to the intersection between his personal life and comedy creates a natural, rather than explicit, response to religious conversation and the culture wars. He’s a comedian who’s also a Christian, rather than a Christian who happens to be a comedian.


Continue ReadingJim Gaffigan’s Intersection Of Faith & Media

The Only Decision That Matters

People are no more lost now than they have ever been, and Jesus is no less Lord now than He will ever be. We dare not cower in our churches as though God has lost anything. The only decision handed down that matters is that the gates of hell cannot prevail against His church!

The first marriage was between a perfect man and a perfect woman. The last marriage will be between a glorified man, the Lord Jesus, and his sanctified bride, the church. Between those two weddings, humanity has marred and defaced the institution of marriage in many ways, including this new way. But the Lord Jesus will have the last say. Until then, I am doing all I can to make my marriage reflect the love of Christ for his church and to share the gospel of grace with everyone. No handwringing, no fear, no hatred, no bitterness. Just love of the Lord Jesus, of the truth, of my wife, of the Lord’s church, and of my neighbor–ALL of my neighbors. Though something in our culture has definitely changed, everything in the Word of God remained the same. I rest in that.


Continue ReadingThe Only Decision That Matters

When “The Only Way” is the Wrong Play

Do you remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?

I wonder if there is an ideological equivalence to Maslow’s theory. I wonder if there is a hierarchy of beliefs?

“Jesus is the only way” is a belief that often requires a long list of presuppositions. Each presupposition may be a unique epiphany, one important step toward Jesus. For instance…


Continue ReadingWhen “The Only Way” is the Wrong Play

History Can Save Us From Apostacy

More often than not, when I talk to twentysomethings who are seriously contemplating walking away from their faith, the main stumbling block is an intellectual one. My faith didn’t have the deep intellectual roots necessary to flourish outside of a youth group setting. For many twentysomethings, the moment the intellectual credibility of faith is challenged and there’s no immediately satisfying answer, they’re out. This is where a robust understanding and deep study of Church history became my lifeboat.

The faith of my youth had mainly been informed by emotional altar calls and evangelical clichés; neither of these components are inherently wrong, but this culture alone wasn’t enough for me to face an increasingly secular world. Through their writings, ancient Church fathers became like mentors who helped me see that the doubts we wrestle with today are the same questions those who came before us struggled with too. Studying Church history  can help us develop a strong sense of what Dr. Duke calls our “intergenerational self.” Or, as Feiler puts it, we begin to understand that we’re part of something much bigger than ourselves.


Continue ReadingHistory Can Save Us From Apostacy

Maybe Christianity Is Loosing Traction Because It’s Boring

And this is the problem with Christianity in this country. Not just inside our church buildings, but everywhere. It often has no edge, no depth. No sense of its own ancient and epic history. There is no sacredness to it. No pain. No beauty. No reverence. Or I should say Christianity has all of those things, fundamentally and totally, but many modern Christians in every denomination have spent many years trying to blunt them or bury them under a thousand layers of icing and whipped cream and apathy.

That’s been the strategy of the American church for decades: just try not to scare people. They put on this milquetoast, tedious, effeminate charade, feigning hipness and relevance, aping secular culture, and then furrow their brows and shake their heads in bewilderment when everyone gets bored and walks away.

There are still plenty of Christians who desire the true faith, but they are mostly ignored or scolded by the very people who should be leading them. And the Convenientists, of course, find no happiness in their secular Christianity, nor do they find it in secular secularism. Even if they don’t know it, they yearn in the pit of their souls for the true message of Christ, but they rarely hear it. And when they do hear it, there are a million competing voices, many from inside the church, warning them that if they go down this road it might involve changing their behavior and their lifestyle, which is a total hassle, man.


Continue ReadingMaybe Christianity Is Loosing Traction Because It’s Boring

‘The Nones’ Are The New Religious Elite

Christianity still dominates American religious identity (70%), but the survey shows dramatic shifts as more people move out the doors of denominations, shedding spiritual connections along the way.

Atheists and agnostics have nearly doubled their share of the religious marketplace, and overall indifference to religion of any sort is rising as well.

The “nones” — Americans who are unaffiliated with brand-name religion — are the new major force in American faith. And they are more secular in outlook — and “more comfortable admitting it” than ever before, said John Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.


Continue Reading‘The Nones’ Are The New Religious Elite

Dignity Begets Modesty

When God dresses you he dresses you better than you could ever imagine to dress yourself. The reason very simply is that we always tend to apply less dignity and value to ourselves than God does, at least in the ways that matter the most.

One trend that you’ll find in the scriptures is that where it is not cool to be wearing fancy clothes for the purpose of showing yourself off, but there are numerous times where it was very cool to be wearing fancy clothes when someone else was showing you off. Same value but in one case you are valuing yourself and in another case someone else is doing the valuing. It seems like it takes an outside force to re-write the stories we live.


Continue ReadingDignity Begets Modesty

Fight Abortion By Telling Stories Of Abortion

Stories are the beginnings of conversations.

The pro-choice movement’s new-found interest in the testimony powerfully reveals the truth that everyone is longing for a place that feels like home, a place to be validated, known through and through, and loved unconditionally. By opening conversation space for post-abortive voices, they have acknowledged that those impacted by abortion are, perhaps especially, in search of such a safe haven.

The church could be this safe haven. Jesus is the ultimate and perfect safe haven. We should not miss this moment.

What storytelling does is give us insight into the contexts and circumstances, the mindset and needs, that lead to abortion. Storytelling can prepare us to intervene and assist in the crucial moments before a woman’s decision. And storytelling helps us better understand the post-abortive reality and how we can speak the truth and healing of Christ over these lives.


Continue ReadingFight Abortion By Telling Stories Of Abortion

Overnighters: A Modern Day Parable Of Loving The Unlovable

What do we do with the people who are seemingly beyond repair? Where is the church in the ministry to the most broken in our world, the ones who will never have the traditional redemption story, who will never be self-supporting, who always fall by the wayside of addiction and rootlessness?

I am reminded of David. Not the handsome boy-king who saved everyone, but the adulterer, the murderer, the warlord, the absentee dad, the unhinged. God consistently uses the most broken, damaged people to bring his kingdom. In the end, the very worst parts in ourselves can become the very place from which love and empathy flow freely.


Continue ReadingOvernighters: A Modern Day Parable Of Loving The Unlovable

God Commiserates When You Are Angry At Injustice

I got angry at others who did not feel the same as me—all of those nice people on Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram, living their normal lives while everyone I knew was falling apart. I tried to poke sticks at other people, bring up genocides and conflicts and statistics on poverty and racism. I wanted them to bleed like I was bleeding too. I wanted others to be overwhelmed, just as I was.

But soon enough, I found them. My tribe. The crazy emotional, the broken, the ridiculous, the happy-one-minute-sobbing-into-their-coffee-the-next tribe. I found people who very much believed in God and got very very angry with him at the state of the world. I found them in the place I least expected, the place I was scared to go all along. I found them in the Bible.


Continue ReadingGod Commiserates When You Are Angry At Injustice

How The Church Can Help Heal The Abuser And The Abused

In more than a decade of research, almost every article I’ve come across addressing sex offenders in church communities reveals pastors and leaders focusing exclusively on the sex offenders—the theological grounds for their presence, the church’s obligation to care for them, how to support them, how to monitor them, how to protect ministries from potential lawsuits due to their presence, and so on—at the expense of the victims/survivors and those who love them.

But offenders are not the only ones in need of a welcome in our churches. Too often when victims/survivors are considered, it is offender focused. Survivors are told they are required to forgive or reconcile with offenders. They are subject to shaming, silencing, and the policing of their emotions and tones by those who feel entitled to advise or rebuke them. Such pressure toward reconciliation is often shortsighted and lacking in compassion.

It is time to move toward balance by shifting focus to the victims/survivors. The reality of sexual abuse dynamics means that if we want safe communities for victims/survivors and healthy communities for recovering sex offenders then we must find true empathy for victims/survivors and how sexual abuse has affected them.


Continue ReadingHow The Church Can Help Heal The Abuser And The Abused

How Islam Will Win The [Demographic] War

A declining fertility rate in our culture is evidence that we have, as a culture, devalued children and family. We have done so to a point that our very future is now in question, though we may not realize it yet. One culture that is going against this trend is the Muslim culture. In countries all around the world, Muslim populations are gradually becoming the majority, no weapons or violence necessary. Muslims will become a dominant force in the world simply by maintaining a strong belief in the power of multi-generational family while the rest of the world squanders its fertility in preference of other short-sighted goals. The changing demographics are a consequence of different values and worldview.


Continue ReadingHow Islam Will Win The [Demographic] War

You Can’t Childproof The World But You Can Worldproof Your Child

My 8 year old looked at me with her deep brown eyes and said, “The world is scary.”

I turned the TV off and wondered how to teach my kids about real love-the kind that makes us pray for our neighbors in the war on terror while shutting out the lure of our anything-goes culture.

It hit close to home. And it made me long for another home. Because I can’t protect my kids from the world we live in.


Continue ReadingYou Can’t Childproof The World But You Can Worldproof Your Child

ISIS: An Opportunity To Pray For Those Who Persecute You

While it may be difficult for us in the West to know how to respond to ISIS, the families of the slain are faithfully practicing Jesus’ teaching to love your enemies. The brother of two of the slain men tells in this interview how his family is rejoicing in this opportunity to see the kingdom of God amid the grief. He does not grieve as one who has no hope.


Continue ReadingISIS: An Opportunity To Pray For Those Who Persecute You

We Don’t Know How To Respond To ISIS Because We Don’t Understand It

Many in the West are confused about how to respond appropriately to the grizzly scenes of Islamic terror littering the headlines these days. The confusion comes from a general ignorance about the teachings of Islam and of the goals driving the efforts of the jihadists. The Atlantic recently published a lengthy exploration of the beliefs and goals of modern day Islamic groups in order to reduce our collective ignorance and to make suggestions about what a more informed response to Islam might look like for Western nations. The article is quite long, but well worth the read for anyone seeking to get more informed about Islam in our world. Click the “Read More” button below to read the article in its entirety.

“Our ignorance of the Islamic State is in some ways understandable: It is a hermit kingdom; few have gone there and returned. We can gather that their state rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of—and headline player in—the imminent end of the world.

We have misunderstood the nature of the Islamic State in at least two ways. First, we tend to see jihadism as monolithic, and to apply the logic of al‑Qaeda to an organization that has decisively eclipsed it. We are misled in a second way, by a well-intentioned but dishonest campaign to deny the Islamic State’s medieval religious nature. In fact, much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.”


Continue ReadingWe Don’t Know How To Respond To ISIS Because We Don’t Understand It

Pope Francis Called Our Generation Selfish – What If He’s Right?

Pope Francis recently spoke blasphemy to a generation that is obsessed with self-esteem and self-fulfillment. He said that people who choose not to have children are selfish:

“A society with a greedy generation, that doesn’t want to surround itself with children, that considers them above all worrisome, a weight, a risk, is a depressed society. The choice to not have children is selfish.”

The pope’s statement has people up in arms because it’s true. The fact that millions of people are extremely upset by this proves the truth of the statement.


Continue ReadingPope Francis Called Our Generation Selfish – What If He’s Right?

ISIS Beheaded 21 People Of The Cross But The Story Isn’t Over Yet

When the day is done and last of the lights are turned out and my head hits the pillow, all I can think of is the faces of The 21 and their surrendered heads, their heads carrying the full reality of the Cross. How the People of the Cross have let themselves be chained to petty and purposeless things instead of praying for the Persecuted Church in chains. How the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.

How once when I was a little girl, I tried to behead a dandelion in full orb and if you behead a dandelion in full head — you send a thousand more bravely out on the wind.


Continue ReadingISIS Beheaded 21 People Of The Cross But The Story Isn’t Over Yet

American Sniper Raises Important Questions About Use Of Language

“Savage” is the term that some Christians, or simply Westerners, used to justify their colonial conquest of indigenous peoples who didn’t have the proper sort of cultures, forms of dress, or skin colors. Without sitting on too high of a horse as we look back on our forebears, we have to remember that some considered it part of the White Man’s Burden to conquer the savages, educate them, and give them the Truth of Western culture so that they might not have to dwell in the darkness of their former bestiality. If some had to be killed, enslaved, or tortured in order for that to happen, well, so be it. Cultural heroism required bearing a heavy load and doing what is necessary to ennoble humanity as a whole.


Continue ReadingAmerican Sniper Raises Important Questions About Use Of Language

Science Used To Think God Was Dead, Now It Proves He’s Necessary

In this video, Eric Metaxas tells the story of how scientific certainty of life on other planets has dwindled over the years. Recent discoveries have shown that the fine tuning needed for the universe to exist at all, much less the life in it, is so incredibly precise that no belief in chance existence is tenable. Thus, science is not proving the death of God but the necessity of God. (more…)

Continue ReadingScience Used To Think God Was Dead, Now It Proves He’s Necessary

And God Said, “Let There Be Laundry”

Many years ago my church was pondering how to create a “third space” in our neighborhood. A third space is a place where people can mix on a regular basis, a place that is relaxed and non-threatening. A lot of people feel intimidated walking into a church. A third space, it was hoped, would be a non-religious place where relationships with neighbors could be formed.

A lot of churches have created third spaces by starting up a coffee shop. That’s a great idea, but coffee shops tend to be a part of affluent White culture. The working poor don’t hang out in coffee shops with their Mac laptops. Nor can they afford $4 specialty drinks.


Continue ReadingAnd God Said, “Let There Be Laundry”

How The Church Shot Itself In The Foot Amid The Culture Wars

When Rome commandeered Christianity, it affixed to the faith something it was never meant to be marked by: Power.

That power, and the privilege, and ease, and comfort, and influence that came with it, at once became synonymous with the Christian faith. A movement that began as the very antidote to status, position, might, and social inequality; suddenly became the establishment, it became the norm, it became the very culture that Jesus pushed so hard against.

Modern Evangelical Christianity, especially in America, is up against a true identity crisis.


Continue ReadingHow The Church Shot Itself In The Foot Amid The Culture Wars

School Shootings Are The Fruit Of A Culture Obsessed With Self-Esteem

So, what causes someone to pick up a gun, walk on to a school campus, and start shooting people?

One researcher has argued that “modern society, with its emphasis on individualism and the pursuit of material happiness, fosters narcissism.” And, in the suburban settings where nearly all the shootings have taken place, “self-worth is defined by the likes of socioeconomic status, achievements in competitive academics and athletics, and fashion.”

In this culture of narcissism, “affronts to self-esteem can be equated with threats to our very survival and … the typical response to such narcissistic injuries is a desire for revenge.”


Continue ReadingSchool Shootings Are The Fruit Of A Culture Obsessed With Self-Esteem

Worshiptainment: The Bane Of The Church

The great heresy of the church today is that we think we’re in the entertainment business. A.W. Tozer believed this to be true back in the 1950s and 60s. Church members “want to be entertained while they are edified.” He said that in 1962. Tozer grieved, even then, that it was “scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction was God.”



Continue ReadingWorshiptainment: The Bane Of The Church

Kingdom Work Is Not Identical With Western Development

In the video above, Brian Fikkert points out how Western notions of success are flawed and lead to a failure to promote human flourishing. In complement to the video, Joshua Butler explains in the article below that we in the West often get confused about what constitutes kingdom work because of our devotion to Western ideals…

I’ve noticed an increasing tendency for Western Christians to identify “kingdom work” with Western development. I’d simply like to make a few practical observations on ways the church might actually be strategically positioned in communities for holistic transformation (ways we might easily miss if too fixated on our Western idols).


Continue ReadingKingdom Work Is Not Identical With Western Development

Free Speech Is About The Right To Be Right

I think it’s time, fellow Christians, that we stop simply asserting that these various public figures have a “right” to their views on sexuality, and instead start exclaiming, in a loud and clear voice, that these people are also right in having those views. They have right to the views, yes, but their views are also right. And the fact that their views are right is no small detail. What makes the censorship of Christian philosophy so insidious is not that it’s simply unconstitutional, it’s that it silences the truth.


Continue ReadingFree Speech Is About The Right To Be Right

Why Christians Should Care About Design

Why, you ask, should design matter more to Christians?

If we are to believe the New Testament, that through Christ, God is reconciling all creation, things on earth as well as things in heaven (see, for instance, Colossians 1:19-20), there is nothing that can be taken for granted. The design and form of our work bears witness to what we believe, just as much as the content of the work.


Continue ReadingWhy Christians Should Care About Design

Ben Witherington Responds To Newsweek’s Article On The Bible

Kurt Eichenwald’s article rips the Bible using 19th-century arguments (all of which have been refuted long ago) alleging that the Bible is full of contradictions, serious manuscript variations, and false additives, thus making it an untrustworthy document.

Then, in a stroke of hand-waving sophistry, the article asserts that it’s not attacking the Bible, only how Christians read it. Those who are well-versed in biblical scholarship will see right through the article and the yellow journalism that floods it.


Continue ReadingBen Witherington Responds To Newsweek’s Article On The Bible

Al Mohler Responds To Newsweek’s Article On The Bible

Newsweek recently published a cover story about the Bible. Prominent Theologian, Al Mohler, offers a response…

Newsweek’s cover story is exactly what happens when a writer fueled by open antipathy to evangelical Christianity tries to throw every argument he can think of against the Bible and its authority. To put the matter plainly, no honest historian would recognize the portrait of Christian history presented in this essay as accurate and no credible journalist would recognize this screed as balanced.


Continue ReadingAl Mohler Responds To Newsweek’s Article On The Bible

The Real And Raw Reasons Why People Are Leaving Church

Hey Church, you may think you know why people are leaving you, but I’m not sure you do.

You think it’s because “the culture” is so lost, so perverse, so beyond help that they are all walking away. You believe that they’ve turned a deaf ear to the voice of God; chasing money, and sex, and material things. You think that the gays and the Muslims and the Atheists and the pop stars have so screwed up the morality of the world that everyone is abandoning faith in droves.

But those aren’t the reasons people are leaving you.

They aren’t the problem, Church.


Continue ReadingThe Real And Raw Reasons Why People Are Leaving Church

Just So You Know: EVERYONE Is Religious

Many in this age of secularism will go about claiming that they are not “religious.” It seems that many believe that a person is not religious as long as they keep their distance from one of the major faith traditions of the world (e.g. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc.). This clever web comic exposes the faulty assumption that subscribing to a major world religion is what makes one religious. In reality, every person who believes something, anything at all, is religious…


Continue ReadingJust So You Know: EVERYONE Is Religious

Maybe Our Cultural Holidays Can Be Redeemed For Missional Purposes

Cultural celebrations are not man-made institutions. Like much of God’s creation, holidays can be—and have been—distorted for all sorts of less-than-holy purposes. But what if “Santa” really isn’t an anagram for “Satan”? What if we can can we redeem this holiday season, and use it for God’s work?


Continue ReadingMaybe Our Cultural Holidays Can Be Redeemed For Missional Purposes

7 Things Every Christian Should Know About Same-Sex Attraction

May I make two requests? Continue to love me, but remember that you cannot be more merciful than God. It isn’t mercy to affirm same-sex acts as good. Practice compassion according to the root meaning of “compassion”: Suffer with me. Don’t compromise truth; help me to live in harmony with it.

I’m asking you to help me take up my cross and follow Jesus.


Continue Reading7 Things Every Christian Should Know About Same-Sex Attraction

You Can Thank Constantine For The Pagan Influence In Christianity

Today’s Throwback Thursday recalls Greg Boyd’s explanation of how Christianity transformed from a community of persecuted, self-sacrificial, loving people into a political power structure under the influence of Constantine in the 4th century. It’s never been the same since.

Note: This video dovetails nicely with another recent entry about the pagan roots of many contemporary practices in Christian circles, including celebrations of christmas and easter.


Continue ReadingYou Can Thank Constantine For The Pagan Influence In Christianity

Have A Theology Of “Enough” Especially As Christmas Approaches

Asking if it is okay for Christians to be rich is a strange question. It is like asking if it is okay for Christians to overeat, or watch too much TV. It may be permissible, but that doesn’t mean it is a good idea. I believe Jesus came to set us free — and one of the things he wants to set us free from is our obsession with money and possessions. Which is why he says such harsh things like “Woe to you who are rich…” (Luke 6:24).

A constant thread in Scripture is that we are not to take more than we need while others have less than they need, a radical critique of the world we live in. Let’s consider a “THEOLOGY OF ENOUGH.”


Continue ReadingHave A Theology Of “Enough” Especially As Christmas Approaches

Take A Peek At The Evangelical Sexual Revolution

Evangelicals have long been known for their ability to sanctify popular culture for religious purposes. Popular culture’s obsession with sex is no exception, which raises an evangelistic question: How do we make the gospel winsome to a society steeped in sex? Our answer, according to a new book, has been to affirm that great sex in marriage testifies to the good news of the gospel. We sanctify sex, promising better sex when the Bible is the primary guide.


Continue ReadingTake A Peek At The Evangelical Sexual Revolution

Experiments In Minimalism Turn Into Insights For Life

I’ve come to believe the integration I now experience can best be described as shalom. Though shalom is widely used to express “peace,” the Hebrew actually communicates a fuller meaning. It suggests comprehensive wholeness, or completion. In a world where God is concerned with the flourishing of all people, changing my consumption habits—from the way I eat down to the stuff I keep in my home—allows others, many who I will never see, to thrive.


Continue ReadingExperiments In Minimalism Turn Into Insights For Life

Ferguson Is About The Failure Of Fathers & Families

At the heart of the Brown case was the responsibility of parents to train their children rightly. “If the parents don’t turn back to God, love Him with all their heart, soul and might, get married, and by good example guide their children in the right way to go, it’s never going to get better, because that is the order of God,” Peterson continued. “According to the Scriptures, God advised us to train our children up in the right way to go, and when you do, you don’t have to deal with this stuff when they go out into the world.”


Continue ReadingFerguson Is About The Failure Of Fathers & Families

Pursue Faithfulness, Not Bandwagons

Much of what we read these days summons us to The Next Big Thing. If nothing else, observes Michael Horton, one thing is obvious: no one wants to be ordinary. Horton calls Christians back to the simplicity of walking with Christ, in the fellowship of his church, for the good of the world. Rather than constantly seeking out the next world-changing craze—#hashtags and all—he urges us to be content with quiet, habitual, step-by-step faithfulness.


Continue ReadingPursue Faithfulness, Not Bandwagons

See What It Looks Like For Science And Faith To Be Friends

The intersection of science and religion clearly has the power to capture the public’s attention, but collisions can happen at that intersection. Is there a way for scientific and religious communities to work together more productively?

We have found that many scientists (both secular and religious) as well as evangelical leaders feel there is something amiss about communication between scientists and religious people, but their lives often never cross paths.


Continue ReadingSee What It Looks Like For Science And Faith To Be Friends

American Beauties Are All East Of Eden

The 1999 film American Beauty captured the imaginations of multitudes of Americans. The film speaks to me on many levels, including the theme that things are not always as they appear.  American Beauty brings me back to the primal story involving the biblical characters Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), where everything was not as it appeared. It is everyone’s story, including middle class people fixated with fictional notions of American beauty.


Continue ReadingAmerican Beauties Are All East Of Eden

How Can We Decrease So That Jesus Can Increase In The Digital Age?

The reasoning goes something like this… If I know I have important things to say and I am going to get others to listen to me, then they have to want to listen to me.  In order for them to want to listen to me, I have to be someone they want to listen to.  It is important therefore, that I sell myself  via writing books, blogging, tweeting, preaching, etc., so I can get the message out.  My ministry needs attention so I can minister to more, more fully. And, of course, it’s really Jesus’ message and mission, so the end justifies the means.


Continue ReadingHow Can We Decrease So That Jesus Can Increase In The Digital Age?

Alan Hirsch’s Vision For The Five Fold Ministry In America

Missiologist, Alan Hirsch, talks with Ed Stetzer about the future of Christianity in America amid its increasingly secularized culture. They also discuss the importance of recovering a vision for the 5 key gifts Christ gave to his Church from Ephesians 4.

Note: Jump to the 6:15 mark in the video to bypass the fluffy stuff and get straight to the good stuff with Alan Hirsch.


Continue ReadingAlan Hirsch’s Vision For The Five Fold Ministry In America

Contrary To Popular Belief, The Bible Actually Doesn’t Talk About Democracy

The Bible does not prescribe an ideal form of government. Yet, for a long time, and to an exceptional degree among religious types in America, evangelicals have found in their national identity a convergence of first principles: They believe in constitutional democracy and they believe that their Bible-based religion is not only compatible with this system, but actually essential to it.

So, where in the Bible do the foundations of modern democracy reside?


Continue ReadingContrary To Popular Belief, The Bible Actually Doesn’t Talk About Democracy

How To Follow Christ Amid The Culture Wars In America

Above all, we should approach American culture without panic or anger. This will be difficult. We will see things happening that we do, and should, lament, things that were kept from happening by the veneer of American civil religion.

The church now has the opportunity to bear witness in a culture that often does not even pretend to share our “values.” That is not a tragedy since we were never given a mission to promote “values” in the first place, but to speak instead of sin and of righteousness and of judgment, of Christ and his kingdom.


Continue ReadingHow To Follow Christ Amid The Culture Wars In America

New Atheists Are Better At Church Than Christians Are

As I observe the tactics of the New Atheism, it causes me to wonder. Are we, the Christian church leaning on our services, on our rhetoric, or on our programs as the hope for our neighbors? Because if we are, we may find ourselves with some increasingly stiff competition.

Or are we leaning on the True Initiator, the one who makes the very question of competition disappear?


Continue ReadingNew Atheists Are Better At Church Than Christians Are

Why The Young And The Restless Should Get Married And Make Babies

You won’t miraculously turn into a better person because you got married and had kids, obviously. But, at their essence, families are built and held together through sacrificial love, and this is something that can — if you give yourself over to it — sanctify you and bring you closer to God.

When you pour your energies and efforts into serving and loving your spouse, raising your children, and guiding your family, you’ll find that, inevitably, you grow and mature in the process.


Continue ReadingWhy The Young And The Restless Should Get Married And Make Babies

We Don’t Need To Bring Prayer Back To Schools Because It Never Left

I object to any mission to bring prayer “back” to school because I can’t support the faulty theology—downright heresyof implying God is only around to hear our prayers when the building sanctions his presence.

Prayer never left schools. And God never did either. To suggest otherwise should make us shudder. And yet, that’s what campaigns full of good God-fearing folks seem to be saying.

What are we communicating with our laments over godless classrooms and demands for established prayer times? We insinuate we have the power to take and put God where we want him. We suggest the act of teacher-led prayer or a public invocation of God’s name keeps us from harm or makes a place more God’s and therefore more worthy than another.


Continue ReadingWe Don’t Need To Bring Prayer Back To Schools Because It Never Left

Car Culture Is Really Affinity Culture And It Affects Church More Than You Think

The fact is undeniable: for megachurches, cars are essential. It’s probably more accurate to say that cars created the megachurch. Without them, these churches simply couldn’t exist in the form they do today.

The abundance of choices and the absence of limitations is the blessing and the curse of the car. And church shopping may not be a problem of character. Not only has car culture nurtured an emphasis on affinity, but it has also altered ecclesiology (our beliefs about the church). Cars have put church “consumers” in the driver’s seat like never before, and church leaders are forced to buckle up for the ride.

Note: Clicking the “Read More” button below will take you to the first of five pages of this article. Use the links at the bottom of the first page to navigate to subsequent pages.


Continue ReadingCar Culture Is Really Affinity Culture And It Affects Church More Than You Think

The Dictatorship Of Relativism

“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism”, Cardinal Ratzinger said, “which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.”

In 2002 Ratzinger noted: “I would say that today relativism predominates. It seems that whoever is not a relativist is someone who is intolerant. To think that one can understand the essential truth is already seen as something intolerant. However, in reality this exclusion of truth is a type of very grave intolerance and reduces essential things of human life to subjectivism. In this way, in essential things we no longer have a common view. Each one can and should decide as he can. So we lose the ethical foundations of our common life.”


Continue ReadingThe Dictatorship Of Relativism

Science Is Cool, But Beware The Rising Religion Of Scientism

The rise of “scientism,” in which science is uncritically treated as a religion, holding the power to decide ethical questions, was predicted by famous 20th century Christian author C.S. Lewis, scholar John West explained.

Neither he nor Lewis are anti-science, West said. Rather, they are opposed to scientism, which West defined as “the wrong-headed belief that modern science supplies the only reliable method of knowledge about the world, and its corollary that scientists should be the ones to dictate public policy and even our moral and religious beliefs simply because of their scientific expertise.”


Continue ReadingScience Is Cool, But Beware The Rising Religion Of Scientism

Disney Says “Follow Your Heart,” But The Bible Says Otherwise

Your heart is a liar and if you follow it you are a fool. I followed my heart into a world of sin and heartache, and no matter how much I tried to blame him… the devil didn’t make me do it. It was all me. My heart wanted what was evil, what was sinful, what was selfish. My heart told me that I would like those things, that those things would make me feel good, and everything would be better. It lied to me. But if I am completely honest, if it were not for the work of the Spirit in my life, I would still follow my heart into the depths of hell.


Continue ReadingDisney Says “Follow Your Heart,” But The Bible Says Otherwise

There’s Pagan Worship And There’s Christian Worship, Can You Tell The Difference?

There is a great misunderstanding in churches of the purpose of music in Christian worship. Music is viewed as a means to facilitate an encounter with God; it will move us closer to God. In this schema, music becomes a means of mediation between God and man. But this idea is closer to ecstatic pagan practices than to Christian worship.

It is important to understand that music in our worship is for two specific purposes: to honor God and to edify our fellow believers. Unfortunately, many Christians tend to grant music a sacramental power which Scripture never bestows upon it.


Continue ReadingThere’s Pagan Worship And There’s Christian Worship, Can You Tell The Difference?

It’s Rosh Hashanah, So What’s The Big Deal?

Today’s Throwback Thursday article reaches back only a month ago to our post about why Christians should observe the biblical calendar. It seems appropriate to recall this article considering that today is Rosh Hashanah (“head of the year”), which is the new year on the biblical calendar. It is commemorated with the Feast of Trumpets. Yom Kippur (“day of atonement”) will follow in 10 days and then Sukkot (a.k.a. Feast of Tabernacles) will finish of the Fall holidays.

We have been robbed of a significant part of our godly heritage through a calendar that was intentionally removed from the biblical one. The early believers in Jesus were all Jewish.

God has a calendar; we have a calendar. He will never get on ours, but it’s best we get on His!


Continue ReadingIt’s Rosh Hashanah, So What’s The Big Deal?

Understand The Difference Between Modern Family And Biblical Family

In honor of Throwback Thursday, we are remembering a video post in which Jeremy Pryor explains how the Bible’s view of family collides with modern Western views of family. The insightful comparisons and contrasts between these two models of family shed a very helpful light on the issue of family and what we can do to correct some of the problems families face today.


Continue ReadingUnderstand The Difference Between Modern Family And Biblical Family

You May Want To Leave Behind The Eschatology Of Left Behind

On October 3rd, 2014 American movie theaters will again be flooded with yet another Christian movie– a remake of the Left Behind cash cow that has taken Western Christianity hostage for more than a generation. Perhaps you’re thinking of going to see the movie– or even worse, maybe you thought of bringing a friend who might actually take the movie seriously. If this is you, please take a moment to consider these 5 things about the Left Behind movie and the theology associated with it.


Continue ReadingYou May Want To Leave Behind The Eschatology Of Left Behind

Christian Principles Make Great Economic Theory

Beware “Jesuology.” That is how British theologian Oliver O’Donovan describes those Christian public theologies that claim to privilege the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Ask a Jesuologist our question and you can guess the answer: “Blessed are the poor” and “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.”

All true. But Jesus also tells parables about servants who are punished for their terrible return on investment. From which Jesus-sayings should we deduce an economic theory?


Continue ReadingChristian Principles Make Great Economic Theory

Why We Look The Other Way When Our Leaders Fail

Perhaps evangelicalism would not suffer so many celebrity-leaders with weak character and shallow theology if it was humble enough to admit that it could’ve prevented the problem early on by simply heeding the warnings of more discerning Christians bold enough to expose unbiblical ministry and character!  But where big numbers and broad public favor are concerned, red flag-raisers are almost universally scoffed at.


Continue ReadingWhy We Look The Other Way When Our Leaders Fail

The Case For Christians To Embrace The Biblical Festival Calendar

We have been robbed of a significant part of our godly heritage through a calendar that was intentionally removed from the biblical one. The early believers in Jesus were all Jewish.

God has a calendar; we have a calendar. He will never get on ours, but it’s best we get on His!



Continue ReadingThe Case For Christians To Embrace The Biblical Festival Calendar

A Glimpse Of Jesus Amid The Michael Brown Tragedy

When the governor put Captain Ron Johnson in charge, something changed. He came not with riot gear, but in his simple uniform. He walked with the people: met with them, listened to them, identified with them. He was from their town. They looked to him and saw him as one of their own. And things de-escalated quickly. He bore his authority in a different way.

Ron Johnson reminds me of Jesus.


Continue ReadingA Glimpse Of Jesus Amid The Michael Brown Tragedy

Atheist Says Africa Needs God

Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.


Continue ReadingAtheist Says Africa Needs God

Alan Hirsch Explains How Consumerism Affects Modern Evangelism

This is part 2 of a two-part series of video posts on Alan Hirsch’s presentation on discipleship. See part 1 here.

You can’t make disciples out of consumers. You can’t consume your way into the Kingdom. It doesn’t work like that.

A culture of consumerism has influenced how we think of evangelism. Consumers respond to evangelism and come to the church thinking they can remain consumers. But they are wrong. Disciples are producers. But the cycle of consumerism continues as consumers recruit more consumers to their consumer-minded churches. We have to break the consumerism cycle.


Continue ReadingAlan Hirsch Explains How Consumerism Affects Modern Evangelism

Sunday Sermon: 2 Chron 7:14 Not A Prooftext, But A Call To Faithfulness

Today’s Sunday Sermon is only 6 minutes long. This video observes how 2Chronicles 7:14 is so commonly quoted in contexts where Christians are bemoaning the evil in the world and the immorality of American culture. There is a tendency to call on God to “heal our land” while we ignore his call to live faithfully.


Continue ReadingSunday Sermon: 2 Chron 7:14 Not A Prooftext, But A Call To Faithfulness

Many Who Think They Are Pro-Life Still Act Like They Are Pro-Death

Jesus’ encouragements are for self-examination first. Jesus invited his people to look at the shared struggles that we all face and even to have the courage to examine our own souls and name the sin that is there.

In light of that, I wonder if we need to start by talking about death. And in response to the words of Jesus, I want to take a few minutes to put my finger-pointing away and instead repent that I support, create, and defend a culture of death. I am, in fact, pro-death.


Continue ReadingMany Who Think They Are Pro-Life Still Act Like They Are Pro-Death

What If The Persecution Of American Christians Is More Imagined Than Real?

Persecution has an allure for many evangelicals. In the Bible, Christians are promised by Saint Paul that they will suffer for Christ, if they love Him. But especially in contemporary America, it is not clear what shape that suffering will take. Narratives of political, cultural, and theological oppression are popular in evangelical communities, but these are sometimes fiction or deeply exaggerated non-fiction—and only rarely accurate. 


Continue ReadingWhat If The Persecution Of American Christians Is More Imagined Than Real?

4 Things Jesus Didn’t Die For

Most Christians have a ready-made response to the question, “Why did Jesus die?” The answers are usually something along the lines of, “Jesus died to save me from my sins.”

And, because of the lack of clarity regarding Jesus’ death, some really deceitful doctrines have crept into our churches. The truths of Scriptures have been twisted into cultural clichés and false teachings about why Christ died, and what was accomplished by his death.


Continue Reading4 Things Jesus Didn’t Die For

What To Do About The Problems Of Celebrity, Consumerism, And Competition In The American Church

Mike Breen: If we think through Celebrity, Consumerism and Competition, the anti-body against all of these is sacrifice. Learning to lay down what builds us up and giving to others instead. Learning to serve, rather than to be served. Looking for anonymity rather than celebrity. To build a culture of producers rather than a consumers. To live in a vibrant, sacrificial community fighting a real enemy rather than competing against the same community God has given us to fight WITH rather than AGAINST.


Continue ReadingWhat To Do About The Problems Of Celebrity, Consumerism, And Competition In The American Church

11 Bitter Ironies Of Churchy Culture And What We Can Learn From Them

Our hope should be that as we address the planks in our own eye that we would then be able to change the culture around us, not simply by our voices or our protests, but because our lives line up with what we preach and proclaim.

The point is not to throw stones at our Christian sub-culture, because we all live in glass houses as far as that’s concerned. The point of this is simply to provoke some consideration and perhaps a different way of thinking about these issues.


Continue Reading11 Bitter Ironies Of Churchy Culture And What We Can Learn From Them

What If We Celebrated Dependence Instead Of Independence?

July 4th is a quintessential American holiday. It’s the day we celebrate our independence. Let’s ask an important question, though: How does a disciple of Jesus celebrate independence in light of the teaching of Scripture to depend on God?

If the 4th of July is to be a celebration, let it be a celebration of Jesus as king. Let it be a celebration of our citizenship in His Kingdom. Let us celebrate God’s supremacy over all kingdoms and rulers. Let us celebrate that we are totally dependent upon God.


Continue ReadingWhat If We Celebrated Dependence Instead Of Independence?

End of content

No more pages to load