For many people the long-anticipated holiday season is magical. Family, decorations, gifts, festive music, time off from work, school vacation, food, and friends all add to the excitement of December. But these are not the greatest gifts. Continue reading
I’ve often heard the argument that a person should dress for church like they’re meeting with the president. Perhaps you’ve heard a similar argument — that a pastor ought to wear a coat and tie on Sunday because NFL commentators still wear classy suits on Sunday (they wear them on Monday and Thursday too). This argument is used by well-intentioned people, many of whom are rightfully sensitive to a drastically changing culture. However, as I consider this particular argument I come up short when trying to connect the logical and cultural leaps with theological bridges. Continue reading
There is a generation emerging that has decided to follow Jesus but without human additives or artificial substitutes. They read the Scriptures, understand biblical interpretation, make careful application, and desire true community. They have realized that when it comes to biblical applications within changing cultural contexts there is no one-size-fits-all template, no detailed blueprint that fits every generation, and no static lifestyle checklist that comfortably applies to every culture. Much to our surprise, and in contradiction to our grim tales, this generation has neither abandoned core doctrine nor have they refused to follow Jesus as Lord. Continue reading
We have failed the next generation by not creating a Christian culture where our children can ask the difficult questions. We have tolerated empty form and lifeless devotion so long as their music stayed the same and their fashion didn’t change. We’ve expected them to be comfortable walking through the museum of early 19th century Christian antiquity. We don’t take time to understand the disconnect they experience every Sunday. In part, we don’t understand, because in our pride we don’t really care. Continue reading
Our choices hold the capacity to define us. This truth is pressed home as two choices are contrasted in Mark 14. Each choice defined the individual who made it (we’re still reading, teaching, and writing about both people). One choice was ridiculed by religious leaders while another choice was accepted by them. It’s another liberating reminder that the strong opinions of external religionists don’t matter. Only God’s opinion and approval matter. Continue reading
The first couple days in Africa always provide an intoxicating sensory overload. It can give a warped view of reality and leave the short-term guest with a completely inaccurate perception. Continue reading
The time between the testaments is shattered by a rugged man preaching in the wilderness. John ‘the baptizer’ is a visual and verbal reminder of God’s warnings and promises from the Old Testament. His fashion is out of date, his message piercing and unpopular, and his mission clear. Continue reading
Jesus taught what greatness in the kingdom looks like, and in doing so discloses the ‘upside down’ values of the kingdom of God.
Mark 9:33-37 The disciples ask who is the greatest (assuming it’s ‘yours truly’ of course), but Jesus takes a child and teaches that acceptance in the kingdom does not depend on rank, status, or membership in the ‘inner circle’ of ministry. Continue reading
The rich young ruler in Mark 10 teaches that the kingdom of God is not what we expect. God does not need our money. God does not need our honorific titles. God does not need Disney ministries or country club facilities. Continue reading
East, Central, and South Africa are home to some of the most spectacular game parks in the world. People trek to this part of the globe for the sole purpose of catching a glimpse of the Big Five in their natural habitat. The Big Five is a term coined by African hunters to denote five animals that have earned the reputation and possess the hardware to reverse the hunter and hunted roles in the lethal game of ‘bush tag’ (sorry ladies, the giraffe is not a member of this group even though it appears on t-shirts). The killing squad includes elephant, leopard, rhino, cape buffalo, and lion. These make the honor role of Africa’s deadliest.