Jesus takes an interesting turn on the last Beatitude—in the previous eight blessings He said “Blessed are the poor, the meek, the pure in heart—for THEY shall see God, THEY shall be called the sons of God, for THEIRS is the kingdom of heaven. They. Theirs. The ninth Beatitude is different—This just got personal.Read More
The Beatitudes are the doorway to understanding Jesus’ teaching. If we get them wrong, we get everything wrong. It’s a question of how we see the world: Are we trying to do something so God will bless us? Or are we responding to God’s blessing in how we live our lives?Read More
The Gospel isn’t supposed to be an unused gift card.
We’re not supposed to put the gift in a drawer and forget about it.
We gotta go straight to awkward. Not to prove anything but to …Read More
Several years ago I was listening to the author Leonard Sweet talk about how the modern church has forgotten what it means to be the people of God. The first thing he said when he walked on stage was, “Good morning sinners.” He waited a moment and said…Read More
We can’t survive without something to believe in. We can’t live without hope,
and we can’t create our own meaning,
Thanks be to God He’s already given us what we need:
something to believe in, something to do with our life,
and a bunch of great people to do it with.
I think people are just looking for something real.
There's enough fake news and phony people trying to sell us something everywhere we go. It's enough to turn many of us into jaded cynics—we tend to be skeptical of anyone offering us something that sounds too good to be true. Most of us would call this approach to life "wisdom," right?
It makes finding a…
God has chosen some very ordinary elements and procedures for applying His work of salvation to us. They are so simple, you might even make the mistake of thinking they have no truly effective power—like they’re merely a symbolic cure, a placebo—but that would be a grave error. These are the most powerful mediums on earth. They are: God’s proclaimed Word, Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.Read More
If you are a Christian, you need to be in your local church every week—your brothers and sisters need you, you need them, because the world needs Jesus.
The church is a sprinkler system in the desert. The church is a full moon in a dark sky. The church is an embassy of the kingdom of heaven on earth. The church is you.Read More
Although we Christians have been adopted into a holy, royal family—we can’t even pretend to behave good enough to fit it. it’s only by the grace of God that any of us are welcome to be here. We’re orphans. Beggars. Goats at a sheep party.Read More
People have many reasons for why they doubt God exists, here are five that I think are silly:
1. Christians are hypocrites—Christians say one thing and do another. Although this is absolutely true...
Everyone says they want the Sunday church experience to be joyful, and a meaningful part of their life. No one wants church to be boring, awkward, or devoid of practical relevance. People have lots of opinions about how to make this happen—about everything from the music, the seating, the length of the sermon and whether or not the Bible is read from the king's English.
All of those things probably matter to some degree or other but I'm gonna propose something that I think is far more important to the life of the church than any of those things...Read More
Staring at the brightly wrapped gifts under the plastic tree, "which one of these boxes could be the Johnny West Covered Wagon I circled in the JC Penny Toy Catalogue?" Standing in our Christmas socks wondering what could be hidden in all these paper mysteries. "It's still three days until Christmas—it feels like...Read More
Thanksgiving. A day we set aside to be thankful, a day filled with the hopeful expectations of good times and great food. Sometimes we have really high expectations—that we put on ourselves and on others—and if those expectations aren't met...Read More
We want the world to make sense. If God allows a lunatic to walk into a church and murder people while they are worshiping Him—how can we continue to believe He is listening to our prayers, or that He exists at all? It shakes us to our core—we are horrified, saddened, and infuriated. We feel in the deepest ways possible how wrong this is.
We look around the crime scene and we wonder,Read More
Demons, Ghosts, Vampires, and monsters of every kind will be walking in small packs around our neighborhoods on Halloween night. How are we as Christians supposed to feel about this? If we think it's "just good fun" are we being unfaithful? Would it be better to forbid our children from ...Read More
In January 2015, eight separate people approached me about starting a new church. We prayed about it and in February we starting meeting on Saturday nights at the The Lab. There were about 25 of us, we sat in lawn chairs, I led the music by myself with an acoustic guitar and gave the first message. It was from Matthew 14 about Jesus walking on water—taking a leap of faith...Read More