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A Continuum of Loving

My day began with a wonderful reflection on love by my good friend Geoff, wherein he talks about the dangerous tendency for Christians in our day to be very busy about loving their enemies, all the while their relationships within the church and at home are malnourished (or wither and die). You really must read his post: “Loving Your Enemies Does Not Preclude Loving Your Friends”

If Matthew 5:43-48 is your only rubric for Christian love, then you might be tempted (as Geoff points out) to only love your enemies, to the neglect of those closest to you.… Continue Reading

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Is “Missional” The Answer?

This post is based upon a fair amount of reading I have been doing recently on (and related to) ecclesiology, theology of the Christian Church. Where there’s a church, there’s a problem…

There’s Always A Problem

People are sin-filled, pride-consumed narcissists by nature, and only the gospel can fix this. Those who peddle crisis in our day have many cures for all these never-before-seen problems of our day. The problem is, especially if “crisis” is your brand, there isn’t anything unique about present day problems, especially among the saints (and those who hang out with the saints but really aren’t).… Continue Reading

ca. 2004, New Zealand, Pacific --- Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific --- Image by © Mula Eshet/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis

This Is What Pastoral Ministry Looks Like

The Bible is chalk full of threefold exhortations. From Matthew’s obsession with three’s to Samson’s triple-whammy buffoonery, a wise reader of the Bible will pick up on and pay careful attention to this literary device. Repetition in writing or speaking is necessary both because humans are dense and because it is a time-tested rhetorical technique that works.

But this post isn’t about Delilah or the Sermon on the Mount. I have my eye on the resurrected Jesus and his most stubborn disciple.… Continue Reading

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Date Night & The Sin of Communication

I firmly believe that one of the greatest problems in the church, in our families, and in all of humankind is the lack of communication. I don’t simply mean a lack of speaking. Rather, what I mean by a lack of “communication” is (1) a lack of clear speaking, (2) the lack of persuasive rhetoric, and (3) the pervasiveness of deceptive glory-of-self (denigration-of-another) motivated speech.

Ask my wife; in many ways we reverse the “typical” gender stereotypes, that of the closed off silent man and the always jabbering woman.… Continue Reading

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Reading the Gospels Wisely

For many of us, reading and applying the stories of the Bible are a very difficult task. Sure, we can pick up Philippians and understand it well enough. But if you drop into the New Testament in Matthew 1, most of us scramble for the red letters.

My friend and mentor, Jonathan Pennington, has written a very helpful book on how to read gospel stories well. The book covers a wide range of topics (a short synopsis of each chapter).… Continue Reading

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We Will Feast In The House Of Zion

I have been moved by so many conversations, readings, prayers, gatherings lately that I had to stop, pick up a guitar, and sing.

Not rehearsal, not discovery, not even devotional personal-quiet-time-ish-ness. Just stop. And sing.

Enter Sandra McCracken’s latest album, track 2.

My beautiful wife joined in, my 1 year old did as well, and my 4 year old danced.

The gospel in verse 3 hit me like a ton of bricks… I couldn’t even form the words, and my love sang the song for me.… Continue Reading

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Lions and Babies, Oh My!

Category mistakes and lack of nuance are fallen humanity’s two highest virtues vices. This human tendency to “tell like it is” is rampant in theological high towers, partisan Facebook posses, the fourth row of your local church congregation, and in the White House press room. Nobody is safe. Everyone is an extremist.

Enter Cecil (the lion) and Cecile (the human being).

“I looove chocolate!”

One area where lack of nuance is pervasive (and very often destructive as a result) is when we speak about love.… Continue Reading

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It HAS Gotten Better

Let’s get a few things out of the way first. I am an evangelical Christian. I am male. I am white. I am heterosexual. I am a registered Republican. I am conservative theologically and politically.

It HAS Gotten Better: From 1st to 21st

The advent of God in the flesh 2,000 years ago has forever changed the course of human history for the better. Rodney Stark’s many writings make this compelling case. Don’t just take my word for it, read them.… Continue Reading

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My Re-Entry to the West: Mombasa 2015

I have been overwhelmed in these last 6 days of re-entry back home. Overwhelmed not only with jet lag and the daily demands of life and ministry, but also with where to start (and what should I say) about my short time in Mombasa, Kenya. Here is my first attempt.

Everything is the Same. Everything is Different.

Everything is the same. Most of my trip was spent with 10 or 12 young men whom are learning what it means to follow Jesus, on the journey from kids of the street to saints in a family.… Continue Reading