The culture can be a real drag on spiritual growth. I’m not naïve enough to believe that the earliest Christians didn’t have their struggles drawing close to God; otherwise, Paul would not have advised, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it even without thinking” (Rom. 12:2, MSG). But modern-day Christians must constantly recalibrate relative to technology and invention, things without conscience but powerful enough to dictate it, which raises serious concerns.
In chemistry, a catalyst is a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being consumed or affected. A catalyst can also be a person whose energy causes others to become enthusiastic or lively. We like those people. We usually use the word to mean a person or thing that hastens an event or a change.
These definitions kinda describe God, wouldn’t you say? He is the cause of everything: the universe, life, beauty, goodness. Yet he is not depleted. Creation is suffused with his glory, but that wonder remains constant. Continue reading
I was ambushed in college by a group of peers who sought to repay me for teasing one of their own. In fact, they kidnapped me. I was rushed upon in my own room and, as I tell it in The Day I Got Checkmated, “I fought as I had never done before, amazing myself as I beat back two at a time, wildly slinging some away and knocking others to the ground.” It was the most momentous fight I’ve ever had, even if only a friendly one.
“God called me. God equipped me. God empowered me. God opened doors for me. So my qualifications, or lack thereof, were relatively irrelevant.”
Unqualified is the fourth book by Steven Furtick, the hip, 30’s year-old lead pastor of the thriving Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. The book is subtitled “How God uses broken people to do big things”.
According to Furtick, the subject has always been one that troubled him. But he finally wrote the book after discovering a YouTube video of a favorite Christian pastor and theologian commenting on him, which he discusses at the outset. Continue reading
“We are a church culture that ranks sins.”
from Leave None Behind
A series of tests were required to be passed for my railroad training. If they were not passed, trainees had to leave the facility immediately, go the hotel and pack their belongings, and go home. It was a betrayal to us all.
After our initial interview sessions, testing included, and notification to start training, we were assured by trainmasters that the job belonged to us. There was never a mention of additional, consequential testing, not until we arrived out-of-state for the 3-week training and realized there were 3-4 paper tests, a riding test, and strength tests to be completed. The failure of any of them meant going home posthaste. Continue reading
Context makes all the difference in properly understanding the scriptures. The German phrase sitz im leben, meaning “setting in life”, stresses that biblical interpretation must consider the social context for which a text was purposed and in which it was designed to function. Proper contextual understanding will keep one from error and from developing an eccentric theology. Continue reading
I wish to address the matters that have our nation on edge at the moment. Rarely do I depart from my usual custom to discuss current social issues. But I must use this small platform now to lend insight and positivity.
We all love America. We all are part of its fabric. We all belong. Unfortunately, it seems that a riptide is slowly pulling us back into a sea we’ve largely crossed, shore sighted. Our nation appears to be slowly Balkanizing, becoming less about “we the people” and more about “us vs. them”, the status quo, minorities, immigrants, and any other bloc. Continue reading
What are you favorite parts of the Bible? What draws you back again and again? The Bible is a marvelous anthology written by men and touched by God. It never bores. We should be thankful that we get to read the completed canon in our own language, something many people never got to do, if only because they were illiterate.
Selecting my best parts of the Bible was not easy. Yet this is what I present to you now and encourage you to consider what most intrigues you in biblical history. Continue reading