God Doesn’t Want Blood, He Wants Life

Hebrews 9:22 provides the main reason Christians believe that if Jesus had not shed His blood for us, we could never have been forgiven for our sins.

I forgive people all the time without requiring that they shed blood for me. And I’m really glad that people forgive me all the time without asking that I open a vein or kill my cat for them.

God doesn’t want blood. God wants life! It is WE who think that God wants blood (when He doesn’t). The idea of God demanding blood is borrowed from pagan religions. Jesus went to the cross, not to reinforce and support this idea, but to expose and redeem it. That’s a huge idea which would take us down a whole new rabbit trail.


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Imitating Christ, The Suffering Servant

The only Christian theodicy which I find credible is the confession that God does not exempt himself from the horror of human suffering, but is fully baptized into it. God in Christ joins us in a solidarity of suffering, and somehow by his wounds we are healed. Christ saves us from sin and death only by hurling himself into the abyss. The ultimate imitation of Christ is to patiently absorb sin and offer pardon in the name of love. This is grace.


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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.


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How Martin Luther Found Grace And Ben-Hur Gave Up On Revenge

Luther wrestled with the idea that God is holy, and that no matter how hard Luther tried, he was a poor, miserable sinner. Martin Luther could not see how a holy, perfect and righteous God would ever forgive and love a sinner like himself. Luther had done everything the church told him to do, he had performed all the rituals, said all the prayers, done the penance, but at the end of it all, he knew that he did not have the ability to produce the kind of life that would please God.

Then came grace.


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Yep, You Screwed Up, Now What?

I won’t coddle you, like those other bloggers will. You probably are not doing so great…but… everything will be ok. That is, everything will be ok if you look to Jesus. Don’t get caught up in your failures. Stop looking at yourself.  I am not saying brush your sins off. Admit your sins. Call them out by name. Claim them as your own, confess them, and then stop looking at yourself and look to Jesus instead. Wage war on your sin in the strength that he provides. He didn’t fail.


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You Have Two Options When Someone Wrongs You

Someone may have robbed you of some happiness, reputation, opportunity, or certain aspects of your freedom. No price tag can be put on such things, yet we still have a sense of violated justice that does not go away when the other person says, “I’m really sorry.”

When we are seriously wronged we have an indelible sense that the perpetrators have incurred a debt that must be dealt with. Once you have been wronged and you realize there is a just debt that can’t simply be dismissed-there are only two things to do.


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Francis Chan Destroys The Bad Doctrine Of Good People

Francis Chan tackles two of the most insidious and destructive lies that are commonly propagated today. People tend to think they are good people. The Bible says otherwise. Also, people have a problem with the idea that God has wrath and will punish. If that were so, would we still find God to be good if he did not oppose the wickedness of the Devil? Probably not. We only want God to refrain from punishment when it is we who are on trial. Make no mistake, we are not good and God will punish sin.

See previous post to see this point applied to parenting. (more…)

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Your Child Is A Sinner, This I Know, For The Bible Tells Me So

Sure, there are some “bad apples” out there, but your cute little Johnny is an angel, I’m sure. The bad doctrine of good people (see next post) doesn’t apply to your saintly little progeny, right? After all, how could there be a sinful heart behind that incredibly adorable smile?

We have to reckon with the truth of Scripture on this topic and be prepared to parent accordingly…


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How To Overcome Sin

So often we tell the sinner to “Just stop sinning and repent.” And when he returns to his sin again, his shame grows more and more as he starts to think that Jesus doesn’t care for him because if He did then He would have completely removed this thorn. I hear you. Yours is a constant refrain that I hear from Christians of various backgrounds, “Maybe I am lost. Why can’t I just get over this?” I have been there myself.  “Why can’t I get over this?  Why are you not helping me God?”


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Let’s Kill The Sinner’s Prayer

I believe that a true “sinner’s prayer” will gush out of anyone who is truly seeking God and is tired of being enslaved to sin. The very act of “leading someone in a prayer” is utterly ridiculous. You will find nothing even remotely like it in the Bible, or among the writings and biographies of those in Church history. It completely savors of crowd and peer pressure tactics, and (please forgive me) brainwashing techniques. I do not believe that Jesus wants to have his disciples “repeat after Me,” I believe He wants them to follow after Him!



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The Real Truth About Your Dirt

I showered at the barn already. I just have to change out of these clothes.”

“Levi, son.” I lay my hand on his shoulder —

“You need to go look in the mirror.”

“Oh. Guess I didn’t get my face?”

“Guess I am still dirtier than I thought.”

I fold laundry. Still dirtier than I thought. I put another load in. Levi runs the shower.

Our hands are so stained with sin, that even our best works can leave traces of dirty prints.



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