Thursday, May 22, 2008


I apologize for not posting last week. My current seminar class’ workload is higher than usual, but something I read yesterday struck me and I thought I’d share it with you.

There’s a church joke that says, “Don’t make me go Old Testament on you!” The implication is that the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath. In contrast to this we read in the New Testament that God is a God of love.

In fact, I believe we can replace the word “of” in my above description with the word “is” – God is wrath; God is love. Does that statement cause tension for you?

Here’s how William Yount describes this truth – “God is love and God is wrath. How can He be both? The answer is found in synthesis. The fire that warms is also the fire that burns. The difference is in our relationship to it. Those who are rightly related to God are warmed by His love. Those who refuse His love, who reject His offer of grace, are left to be burned by His wrath. He is not love or wrath. He is love-wrath, which exists like a two-sided coin.”

If this messes with your head a little, it should – synthesis is level 5 thinking (there are 6 levels, but those details aren’t really my point). My point is that there are many things about God that I struggle to understand, but that does not make them untrue.

This morning, I just learned about the death of Steven Curtis Chapman’s five year old daughter. Anytime something like this happens it creates a tension in my soul. I know God is Sovereign, but I cannot help but struggle with the “why questions.” God why would you allow this to happen?

Here’s where I land with this right now (and I’d love to hear your thoughts), God wants to have a relationship with us, He does truly love us, AND there are things (and circumstances) I simply cannot fully understand. Am I talking about blind faith? No, blind faith would require no basis whatsoever. I’m talking about faith that is able to understand enough to accept it all.

What about you – what do you struggle to understand and how do you choose to deal with your confusion?


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Hello all!

Just a quick note - I have a massive amount to do for seminary this week, so I may not get a new post up.

Thanks for your patience!


Thursday, May 08, 2008

If Only...

I was watching an incredible talk by Louie Giglio. Click here if you want to watch it, too.

Louie is one of my favorite speakers and the message he gives is powerful and moving. I can be a bit emotional and I found my eyes watering as I listened to him. (Okay, I’ll admit it, I was outright crying by the end). But, as I listened, another thought struck me…

…if only I could communicate like he does…

As I captured this thought I was reminded that God has gifted him in this way. More importantly, God has gifted you and I in incredible ways, as well. In fact, I believe that if we are able to discover just how incredibly gifted we are, the things we could do using those gifts would be just as powerful and as moving as a message by Louie. If we have surrendered our hearts and lives to Christ to follow Him, we have the same power within us. The key is finding this incredible gift (or gifts) God has given you and using it how He desires for you to use it.

The obvious next question is – How, how do I do this?

If you have a relationship with God through Christ the power to discover your gift is already within you. You simply need to ask God to reveal it to you. Here’s what I think. I think many of us already know what God has given us and even how He wants us to use it, but we’re too scared to trust Him and go for it! So, we keep walking around like we’re clueless. Maybe I’m wrong, you can write a comment and tell me what you think, but I know for me there are things I believe God has gifted me to do and I know what He wants me to do – but it’s scary. It requires me to lean into my faith in Him full tilt.

How about you?

By the way, if you haven’t listened to Louie’s clip yet, go back to the top and click the link – you’ll be glad you did.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Questions Jesus Asked – Fear (6)

Our next question is found in verse 26 of Mathew chapter eight. Jesus asks, “Why are you afraid?” I believe this question gets to the heart of a true relationship with God. If we truly trust God, we really shouldn’t fear anything.

The disciples were afraid they were going to die, and if I’m honest, there are lots of things about death that still scare me

- The death of another one of my children or my wife
- The wellbeing of my family if I were to die
- I’m somewhat prepared for losing my parents some day (that’s the order of life), but I still don’t want that to ever happen

I’m afraid of all of these things happening - and many more. What about you?

So, is it fair for Jesus to ask us why were afraid? Do I hear a resounding “Duh”?

I think there are many things we could be scared about, but Jesus’ point is not that there are scary things that can happen to us, but that there is an antidote to this poison called fear. We learn in Jesus' next words that the antidote is faith.

Faith is a funny thing – it’s intangible, yet very real. It’s hard to describe, but incredible to experience. The writer of Hebrews tells us faith “is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” How cool is that!?

Where does this confident assurance come from? It comes from a relationship that is based on trusting God. And we learned from the last set of questions that God will provide everything we truly need [read Questions Jesus Asked – Prayer (5)].

So, what are you afraid of? Will you learn to trust God with that fear? It probably won’t happen over night – no real relationships are formed that way. But let me encourage you to take another step closer to trusting God each time you feel scared – that’s what I’m doing and it gets a little easier with every step I take. [Great, now I hear a Police song playing in my head].


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Speaking My Opinion in Semi-Love

I often quote the verse in Ephesians four that says we are to “speak the truth in love.” I quote it because I have a tendency to avoid doing this in one of two ways.

One way is I avoid a potential conflict altogether. This usually is not healthy because I don’t grow through avoidance and the issues rarely resolve themselves (they just become more difficult to deal with).

My second (and equally bad) way of dealing with issues is to attempt to sneak in through the side door – better known as passive-aggressive.

The reality is conflict is a necessary part of life. If we always agreed about everything there wouldn’t be challenges, learning and growth. We just need to handle conflict in healthy ways – which is why the Bible tells us to speak the truth in love.

But, here’s what I realized last week – I often speak my opinion in semi-love, under the guise of speaking the truth in love. What’s the difference? Well, there are many, but here are two:

1. My opinion really doesn’t matter unless it lines up with the truth;

2. I used the term “semi-love” because there’s usually something in it for me (selfishness).

If I am to speak the truth, I first must know the truth. As a Christ-follower, I believe the Bible is the basis for truth. So, unless what I am saying is in line with what the Bible teaches, it’s not truth.

The “in love” means my primary reason for speaking is to build the other person up. If I’m attempting to get my way or build myself up, then I’m not truly speaking in love.

So, how about you? Do you speak the truth in love? How do you think we can all get better at truly building others up?