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Why We Laugh and Cry at the Cross

235 years ago John Newton wrote Amazing Grace. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. We all know at least the first verse. Newton understood Grace because he understood his wretchedness – he understood his sin in light of God's Glory. Knowing this allowed him to know the Glory of the Cross. We live in a culture that minimizes sin (wretchedness) – we don’t even like the word. We say “Everybody does it,” or, “It’s no big deal.” … [Read more...]

3 Reasons You Lose Faith

There are a number of extra-biblical theories about Jesus. Some argue he was married. Others claim he was not divine, but just a great teacher. And still others are so far off the mark they can make a Hollywood movie (e.g., Dan Brown). Jesus was very aware these things would happen, and that we would lose faith. He explains in detail the three things that will knock us off His path, and one that will bring Life. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus … [Read more...]

Hail, King of the Jews

"Flog him!," Pilot ordered, irritated by the early morning disturbance from the Jewish leaders, and hoping to settle the Jesus matter quickly and quietly. "What? Flog him? But he hasn't been tried, yet! He hasn't been found guilty of any crime!" some onlookers protested. Obeying the orders of their commander, the soldiers went above and beyond a flogging, twisting together a crown of thorns and jamming it on Jesus' head. "Hail, King of the Jews," the … [Read more...]

The Silence of God

Following Jesus is a bit like a walk in the woods. Everything is going great, birds are singing, the sun is shining, but then things begin to shift. The path thins out. Clouds roll in. It starts to rain. Then hail. Perhaps your foot slips into an icy brook. Or you trip on a root and sprain your wrist. Worry, fear, anger, resentment, despair (old friends) quickly come to our aid, sinking us deeper. Lost and empty, we cry out, God! Help me! Silence. In … [Read more...]

The Primacy of Prayer

Prayer is often practiced after something. That is, we pray after we're worried, after we're scared, or after a hard time. We might think we're praying before (e.g., before a surgery or event), but we're already worried. While prayer is encouraged all the time (and under all circumstances - emotional or otherwise), prayer is our primary work - it comes first. Prayer for God's will, His agenda, and His guidance each day (and throughout) is key to following … [Read more...]

The Three Most Important Words

The question, "What are the three most important words?," popped into my head. So did the answer. At first I was surprised, not only that the question was there, poking at me, but that the answer then swept in over me like a wave crashing on the beach. As the water receded, I was left with: Lord Jesus Christ. Some love these three words. Others despise them. Some truly understand them. Others do not. Here are a few thoughts to expand on the words, … [Read more...]

Who Is Sovereign?

I enjoy the Facebook discussions on religion and faith. They reveal the deep culture - what people are really thinking. Worldviews range from hard-hitting Christian evangelists out to save lost souls to people who simply don't think much about God (and are confused as to what the big deal is). One dichotomy constantly emerges though: my way or God's way; autonomy or God's will; self-directed freedom or God's law; I or Thou. As a Christian, I engage, … [Read more...]

Can You Believe This Guy?

"Did he just say what I think he said?,"  exclaimed the chief temple officer. "I think so," replied several of the other guards in disbelief. The chief continued, "Did he say he was sent from God, and that's where he gets his authority? Is this the Messiah - the one the prophets from long ago spoke about?" "No, it can't be, the others chimed in. He's from Galilee for crying out loud. I know some teachers say we won't know where the Messiah comes from, … [Read more...]

Everyone In The World

One of the things I love about Jesus is he doesn't take sides - he is the side. All groups, tribes, nations belong to him. It's either his side, or the need to get on his side. In our pluralistic and relativistic culture, this can be off putting. It sounds so exclusive, so holier-than-thou. However, if we can overcome our cultural influence and see Jesus for who he is, we quickly discover his profound love, grace, compassion, and yearning for us. In … [Read more...]

When Evidence Doesn’t Matter

How much evidence would one need to believe Jesus is who he says (e.g., the great I Am)? Would you need to see a miracle or experience one yourself? Does the written record (the Bible) not suffice - despite it's incredible reliability, historical accuracy, and eyewitness testimony? Getting someone to believe anything is not just a logical endeavor. It's a spiritual one. People will believe what they believe - despite the evidence. In the Gospel of Luke, … [Read more...]