Before I open this can of worms, let me say two things:
- Please, please read this all the way through. It might not say what you think it says, and it might say something you need to hear.
- If you’ve had an abortion or are considering an abortion, neither I nor any Christian has the right to condemn you. If Jesus prayed “Father forgive them” for the people who were busy murdering him, then we must stand with open arms, loving and accepting you and everyone Christ purchased with his blood.
I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a while, but things just kept coming up in the news, and I didn’t want this post to be about Planned Parenthood or selling baby parts or stem cell research or anything else. I think, to have a conversation that actually matters, we cannot let it get off topic. We must stick to the facts and push aside arguments that are off topic or meant to distract.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Apparently this verse doesn’t apply to American Christians. Not on Facebook. Not this week. Right now it wouldn’t be unfair to say we’re better known by our ability to call each other names, get defensive, and judge one another for not taking our side. This week, I guess a lot of Christians on both sides of the issue think it’s okay to ignore these scriptures: Continue reading
Last time, I wrote about the difference between legalism and obedience. Placing Galatians 3:2-14 and James 2:14-26 next to each other, it was pretty obvious that the key difference between the two is faith. I know that I’ve written about faith before, but it’s such an important topic that it is worth hitting again in this series.
Based on that passage in James 2, I previously wrote that faith is “to act out of genuine trust in God. To believe in God is not merely to acknowledge that he exists, it is to actually believe God—to do things that make no sense unless what God says is true.”
I’m also a huge fan of these definitions:
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
—St. Augustine, Sermones 4.1.1
Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.
—Corrie Ten Boom
A few days ago, this came across my Twitter feed via a retweet. I retweeted it as well, along with about a gazillion other people:
As you can see, it got a lot of attention, and rightfully so. This tiny but powerful sentence spoke right to my heart.
Previously, when I wrote about ministry, I mentioned that we tend to confuse it with our
“calling.” So, continuing down that road, here’s what I’ve learned about being called to something by God:
God does the calling.
Have you heard of Jen and Brandon Hatmaker? If you don’t already know who they are, you should. Jen is the author of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess (which I recently read and highly recommend) along with several other books. Brandon is the author of Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture (which I’m currently reading and also highly recommend) and the pastor of Austin New Church, a missional community in Austin, TX that sets a high bar for any church claiming to be missional. Both spoke at this year’s Exponential conference for church planters where they both brought hard and incredibly helpful words.
And both have this annoying habit of repeatedly kicking my butt.
This week they did it again in regard to a specific word: Ministry.
Last month I posted a letter that my friend sent me in response to a blog post I had written called Gay Marriage And The Resurrection. In it, he brought up a handful of questions directly and implied several others that I believe need answering. However, since those questions are bigger than the issue of same-sex marriage, and since they’re far from the only God-related questions out there that deserve answers, I’m starting this new series. And I’m starting off with a question that I believe is at the heart of everything else:
Why Should We Trust The Bible?
This week has been a roller coaster. There’s been an abnormal amount of baby / kiddo stuff going on with some amazing Christian families in my world. One set of friends gave birth to their first baby, a beautiful daughter, after being in labor for a scary (for me, anyway) crazy-long time. Another set of friends is still fighting in prayer for their not-yet-born son who has his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice. On top of all that, a coworker had to take his son this weekend to have brain surgery. It went really well and they’re on the way to recovery, but seriously: Brain surgery.
I can’t emotionally put myself in any of their places. I can pray, I can celebrate the victories, and I can sympathize to an extent, but it hurts too much to try to imagine fighting for my child’s life like that. I just can’t go there.
Do you ever feel like following the Spirit means choosing between plans that make sense and whatever crazy direction he’s giving you?
Ever since we started working on Disciple Tree Church (you can learn more about that here), I’ve been doing a ton of reading and listening to podcasts on the subject of church planting. And I’ve learned some really great stuff!
However, there’s also been something bothersome that keeps popping into my thoughts; something subtle that always sounds right but feels uncomfortable. It’s this idea that there is some easily repeatable formula for success that we should adopt. And it usually takes one of two forms:
You know what absolutely drives me crazy? Christian bloggers who use their blogs as platforms to refute, call out, and/or defame other Christians publicly. Everybody thinks they’re Jesus calling out the Pharisees in the temple or Paul correcting Peter in front of the Jerusalem Council.
Well, you’re not. And neither am I. So let’s all just stop it already. Mmmkay?
This doesn’t mean that I think we have to be passive and tolerate bad theology or heresy. It doesn’t mean that I think we shouldn’t use our blogs / platforms to boldly proclaim truth. But I absolutely believe we should give each other the benefit of the doubt, for the love of Pete, and take time to make sure we’re using our words intelligently and from a heart of love!
So here’s my attempt to set the record straight on some words that are close to my heart in a way that is both honest and gracious.