(Originally posted at Liberate.org) Like many in my generation, I love movies. I love everything about them. I love the spectacle of it all. I love the special effects and the over-the-top action. But when it comes down to it, what makes a good movie is a good story. And when it comes to stories, there are some types of which we never tire. For instance, one storyline that runs through many romantic comedies is the love-struck hero or heroine whose love interest is unavailable. The one who makes their heart flutter is committed to another. And not only is their … Continue reading The Gospel According to Chick Flicks
The fear of grace or reservations toward it, that are sometimes voiced in the church today, are unfounded. They are not based on a biblical understanding of grace. Grace is not and never will be a license to sin, nor does basking in it make the Christian want to sin. It is quite the contrary. As we realize that grace is not part of our relationship with God, but it is the entire basis of that relationship, our hearts are won over. As grace does it’s work in us, repentance flows. Repentance is the response of a grateful child, not a groveling one (Titus 2:11-12, Heb. 4:16). … Continue reading Don’t Fear Grace (A Gospel Meditation)
Everyone hates car trouble. There’s that moment of dread when a red light comes on or a needle moves from the green side to the red side of the dial on the dashboard. Those indicators are there to let us know something has gone wrong. The car is not operating like it should, and it needs to be fixed. However, the first step in the repair is not to tear into the dashboard and start replacing the indicators; the dials and lights – at least it shouldn’t be. While indicators do need to be replaced from time to time, they are there to point … Continue reading Engine or Indicators
Big Country was a typical one-hit-wonder of the 1980s. Their self-named song, “In a Big Country” hit 17 on the Billboard charts and was a regular on MTV; when they actually played music videos. As much as I would like to dwell on the sweet mullets, rolled-up baggy pants, and fluorescent tank tops that were pop culture in the 1980s, the reason I bring this up is for something bigger than a top 40 song or Sun-In bleached hair. It’s the subject of theology; specifically what to call my theological position these days. What I have settled on is not … Continue reading Big God Theology
We who owed Him everything, came with nothing. He who owed us nothing, has given us everything. So now, we who came with nothing but received everything, hold back nothing from the One who gave us everything. Continue reading The Power of Grace
As Christians, we know that God is at work in us; making us more like Jesus. The title of this post is an excerpt from Romans 8:29 that says just that. But what exactly does that mean? I believe that we get this really wrong sometimes. This idea of being made into the image of Jesus is the often what fuels the fire of works righteousness. For whatever reason, in the 21st century west, we have latched onto the moral excellence of Jesus as the goal of our sanctification (being set apart for God) … Continue reading “… To be conformed to the image of His Son…”
Anyone who has driven many nails in their life, has likely hit their thumb with a hammer. It hurts. It throbs, gets black and blue and sometimes it even costs you a thumb nail. At the moment the hammer strikes, after you have bit your lip so you don’t curse and have fought the urge to chuck that hammer as far as you can throw it, you are left with a decision. You are in pain but the project is not done. The dog house still needs to be built. The roof or the fence still needs repair. There are … Continue reading Confessions of a Church Planter, On Doing it Again.
We live in a society that values wholeness and the pursuit of it. Wholeness is a multi-billion dollar business and a national obsession. There are plenty of self-help books and television empires built on the back of this quest. Wholeness in the 21st century west means having all I need to be happy and fulfilled in myself and by myself. Being whole may include religion, but not necessarily. The irreducible minimum is that I am wholly self-sufficient and self-satisfied, independent of anyone or anything. All that I need I have in and of myself. I simply need to discover it. … Continue reading Wholeness through Brokenness
The great musical Les Miserables has made it to the cinema twice in the last few years – the Liam Neeson version and most recently with Hugh Jackman. It’s rare that a musical translates well onto the big screen, but this Victor Hugo novel turned musical turned major motion picture is the exception – and it is likely not the great acting or music that are the reason. It is most likely the story that captivates us. It is a story of redemption. The main character Jean Valjean is a prisoner on the run from the policeman Javert. Javert will … Continue reading The Prodigal Son – A Different Approach
Do you remember what character Michael Jackson played in the 1978 movie, the Wiz? He played the scarecrow. Maybe I am a product of pop culture of the late 70’s early 80’s, but when I hear someone refer to a straw man, I think of Michael Jackson dancing around in that tattered outfit. But I don’t want to talk about movies today. What I do want to talk about is another kind of straw man. The term straw man is used to describe a fallacy of logic which mischaracterizes your opponent’s argument, making it easier to oppose. Specifically what I … Continue reading Too Much Grace is a Straw Man.