To Those Seeking to Destroy the Church of Jesus Christ on Holy Week

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 →

The Silence of God’s Lambs – Our Responsibility to the Persecuted Church

Last week, I was stricken with a painful infection, one that had me in agony for several long hours. All I could comprehend was pain. My entire focus was on accessing relief. Driven to secure a solution, in four short hours I called my doctor’s office three times and the pharmacy twice.

When I finally experienced relief (only a few hours after receiving a prescription), I happened to read a report by Open Doors about the plight of Christians in countries hostile to our faith, countries where believers suffer pain and hardship for which there is no immediate prescription.

I thought about how we sometimes romanticize persecution and martyrdom as though the brothers and sisters who experience it are some other breed of humans, a people somehow impervious to pain and suffering, a people somehow resigned to yielding their personal hopes and the dreams they have for their children over to a greater cause. All the while we, Christians in countries friendlier to faith, are free to make sacrifice a choice, an a la carte option on some larger Christian menu. Continue Reading →

Go Ahead! Get Mad at This Post! I Want You To . . .

bird-20475_640No one should have to walk on eggshells around people who can walk on water. That’s what I think.

There are Christians who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and then there are touchy religious people who take offense at every turn. Which we are, is largely up to us.

I once met with a group of writers who love writing but don’t follow Jesus. I learned from them and we enjoyed one another’s work. One night, we discussed a scene from one of my novels. An older writer asked why I didn’t have the veteran detective swear. I summarized the standards of Christian publishers for fiction. When I concluded, she looked at me with honest concern and asked, “Wow, exactly how fragile are you people?” Continue Reading →

What Responsibility Do Christians Bear for ISIS?

child-1154951_640I faced a hard question this week. It came to me on my knees.

So much conversation is in the air about who is responsible for ISIS. What president is most to blame for their existence? Which candidate is most likely to eradicate them? What nation should be addressing them? How does our culture contribute to their recruitment of some Americans and other Westerners?

How does the world protect Christians living in their shadow? Furthermore, how does the world protect Christians living under North Korean persecution or Chinese oppression? We should be addressing all these questions but for Christians, there is a more important question to ask: Continue Reading →

Why Some Christians Enjoy Safety, Health, and Peace

glasses-1004311_640God is never afraid.

He doesn’t fear Somalian warlords, the Zika virus, suicide bombers, desert assassins, inner-city riots, California wildfires, Louisiana floods, lone gunmen, or cancer. The presence of these varying forms of violence, whether manmade, natural, or biological, doesn’t prevent the God of the Universe from being present. It doesn’t chase Him out. He doesn’t exit the building. Even in places where every believer has been shot dead or raped into silence, God can enter in and He often does this on the incense of His people’s prayers. Continue Reading →

The Secret You’ll Hate Me for Telling You

secret-1142327_640I’ve been thinking about the sacrifices of persecuted Christians in other countries you know, in between television shows and restaurant outings.

In wondering about them and what makes them capable of laying down their lives, I’ve also wondered (during breaks from social media and watching the latest Youtube video) what gets in our way that we don’t appear to have the capacity to lay down our daily “to do” list, never mind our lives.

And I was reminded of the seventh degree black belt who owned the karate school where I earned my first degree. One day, he instructed us to do one hundred pushups and several people moaned. (one of them may have been me) Another complained, “Oh sure, one hundred pushups is easy for you. They’ll never be easy for me.” Continue Reading →

The Empire’s New Clothes

skyline-600001_640I’m no prophet but it doesn’t take one to know we’re witnessing a cataclysmic shift in culture.

Terrorists and hostile governments target Christians for regulation, oppression, harassment, arrest, persecution, torture, imprisonment, and death in countries around the world. Anti-Christian rhetoric fuels hateful sentiment here on our own shores. The American church, divinely appointed to love, to serve, to represent Christ stateside wrestles to determine the response that is both loving to our enemies, engaging with the uninformed, and still protective of the most vulnerable of our sheep.

This calls for truth telling both pure and guileless. This is a job for children.

In the famous fairy tale, an emperor rules who loves new clothes. His image is more important to him than his armies, his people, or his lands. What he cares about is what others think of him and how he appears to all.

We, too, are a people obsessed with image. A country of selfie-takers, spin-doctors, makeover channels, image advisors, branding firms, and logo creators all keenly aware of first impressions, photo ops, and curb appeal. Like the emperor, we dwell in an empire whose people have made themselves vulnerable to deceivers through obsessive mirror gazing, self-reflection, and poll taking. Continue Reading →

Go Ahead. Get Mad at This Post. I Want You To

bird-20475_640No one should have to walk on eggshells around people who can walk on water. That’s what I think.

There are Christians who are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and then there are touchy religious people who take offense at every turn. Which we are is largely up to us.

For several months, I met with a group of writers who love writing but don’t follow Jesus. I learned from them and we enjoyed one another’s work.

One night, we discussed a scene from one of my novels. An older writer asked why I didn’t have the veteran detective swear. I summarized, again, the standards of Christian publishers for fiction. When I concluded, she looked at me with honest concern and asked, “Wow, exactly how fragile are you people?” Continue Reading →

Five Ways to Silence a Christian

Lori 2016#1. Calling a Christian a sinner will silence him or her.

This strategy won’t work for long but it does give most believers pause. It’s weird for Christians when someone tries to shout us down or shut us up by calling us sinners. Weird because it’s not only true that we’re sinners but it’s actually the first step of becoming a Christian to face that truth. Mostly, it silences us because we’re wondering how calling us what we’ve openly admitted we are somehow helps your case. Most of the time, the only come back to “Hey, you’re a sinner, too, you know,” is “Well, yes, I thought I said that when I told you I’m a Christian.”

In case you haven’t received the memo, Christians believe we are all sinners. ALL. The Bible says that often. We don’t believe we deserve to go to Heaven. We’re amazed God’s plan is to let us in. We believe that without the salvation provided by Jesus, we would deserve Hell. When we tell someone a particular act is sinful, we aren’t saying we’re less guilty. Many of us will freely tell you our sins, too. However, it’s true that you can briefly silence us by calling us sinners. We usually need a second to regroup after we realize you’ve encountered a pseudo-Christian along the way who has provided you with false information about our faith. Continue Reading →

Trusted with Suffering

You’ll think I’m insensitive and hard-hearted when you’ve finished reading this post.

Or you’ll think I’m much tougher than I actually am.

Today’s blog rant is in response to the whining and hand wringing I see scrolling through my social media pages or bannering conservative headlines. Christian after Christian boo-hooing with shock and indignation about unfair treatment because of their faith.

What? Unbelievers are just waiting for us to slip up so they can mock, call us hypocrites, or condemn the gospel as worthless? Continue Reading →