For fishers of men, the American church is at great risk of missing the boat.
We know our calling is to make disciples. We’re bursting with the truth of Christ. It’s too good, too powerful, too transformative to keep locked inside. We’re as compelled from within as commanded from without to want others to experience freedom in Jesus.
But we’re myopic about who we target with our message. We’re fixated on reaching young souls. Young people are a vital part of our ministry, but not the entire scope and sequence.
It’s the heart of Jesus to love children and young people, but in the eyes of an eternal God, we’re all about a minute old. I don’t believe He makes as much distinction between reaching twenty-somethings and reaching octogenarians as we do. Continue Reading →
It’s not usually the big things that knock you on your keister, is it?
You brace for the big stuff. You hunker down or grab hold when a major turbulence appears on your radar. It’s not always pretty, but you lock down and you survive.
Or, at least, you think you have.
Working with families facing hardship over twenty plus years, I’ve encountered some terrible stories of abuse and neglect. In this field, you prepare for those. You steel yourself. Continue Reading →
As a teen, avoiding sin seemed a simple enough proposition. You figured you could protect yourself from most risky business by avoiding bars, bad company, and back seats.
No problem. Not your scene anyway.
When you grew up, you discovered something distressing about sin. (Cue voiceover for a horror film trailer “you think you can escape it by locking the door but turn around – it’s already gotten in!”) In other words, some sins are external and can be avoided by avoiding their location, but there are other sins that are insidiously home grown. Continue Reading →
My son has glaring white scars that stretch across his back like an epidermal interstate.
When he was fourteen, he contracted a debilitating case of flu. After several hours, (before I knew this could happen), he experienced “vasovagal syncope” (from the strain of the illness) and fainted. He came around faster than I could get to him from the other room where I heard the thud, so, I thought all was well.
“Mom, I think I hurt myself,” he said, turning around to reveal second and third degree burns inflicted on his back when he’d fallen against our old-fashioned iron radiator. He was in shock, and I fought not to be. After one day in the emergency room, and a month of burn treatments, he was left with the lasting marks. Continue Reading →
To Those Seeking to Destroy the Church of Jesus Christ on Holy Week,
You think if you spray the walls of our churches with our blood, this will silence the truth. In truth, blood is nothing new to the church. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for us all. The blood of those slain by humans cries out to our Father God and He hears the testimony of the dead.
The blood of the saints is a river that flows through human history since the death of Jesus Christ. You haven’t caused it – you’ve been caught up in its riptide. Better to join the river of blood than to be crushed upon the Rock when He comes. Let Him who has ears to hear, hear the truth.
You think you will control us or our message with your guns, your bombs, your terrorist claims. In truth, you control nothing.
Our lives are in the hands of Jesus Christ. This week, of all weeks, we remember that He laid down His life; no one took it from Him. We are His people. The timing of your acts this week perfectly coincides with His reminder to us that those who think they are in control, have no lasting power. Continue Reading →
When I began my labor to give birth to Hannah, my second child, I confess that I panicked.
At the first pang, my mind went wild. Oh no! Wait a minute! I remember this! This is pain like no other. This is agony. This is hours ahead of loss of control and body-ripping pain! What was I thinking? I can’t do this! I change my mind.
Of course, the only way through that was through it and when I held her in my arms, she was worth every moment. Continue Reading →
My parents tell me a lot of things I already know. Does this happen to you?
I was at my folk’s house when my married daughter called. When she hung up, I explained she was home with a fever.
My dad rose immediately and went to the counter where he keeps his medications. “Call her back and tell her she should take some ibuprofen. I have some right here you can bring her. Sylvia, where’s our thermometer? Does she have one?”
Mom responded in the same vein. “She should drink plenty of liquids and if it isn’t better, she should call the doctor for an antibiotic tomorrow.” Continue Reading →
Sometimes you think you’re getting somewhere, you know, with this whole growing up in Jesus business.
You’re hitting your Bible regularly and going deep, not just the quick pass over a verse and a thought but digging in and rocking it. Your prayer life is consistent and gets more involved than “Help!” and “Please!” (Not that those words don’t feature frequently.)
They know your face at church and well, you get the point. You’re no soul slouch.
Then, whammo! You hit what is apparently a giant spiritual pothole of what was that? Continue Reading →
Dear Women of the Next Generation,
You would think that in times when women across the globe march in expansive displays of gender solidarity, that you could trust the words of older women. I’m sorry to say, you cannot trust them all.
To be fair, some older women were fed lies by the women in their lives. We know truth is the first casualty of war and both spiritual and cultural battles rage.
But sometimes, it’s more insidious than that. Sometimes, it’s about hidden agendas that have nothing to do with what’s right or good for you. Continue Reading →
The woman was tired. I get that. I’ve been that tired.
I arrived at the church office incognito. Not really, but I introduced myself in my role as a facilitator of my day job with a community agency, not as a fellow Christian. The church has programs to help the poor in their area, and I had one of them with me (one of the poor, I mean), waiting on the sidewalk, too nervous to come into the office herself “lest lightning strike.”
Smiling, I stated the reason for our visit was to introduce the woman to the needs ministry at the church and to inquire about the hours they met with new people. The woman behind the counter frowned and sighed. “Frankly, we’re tired of you agency people thinking the church is the answer for every poor person within a twenty-mile radius. Don’t you have any other answers for her?” Continue Reading →