The first few months in my new home with our new calling were not shining moments. Things hit rock bottom when, in the course of one of our more spirited discussions, I laid the blame for my personal struggles squarely at the feet of our church plant.
For years my family and I have been preparing to head overseas. We have a church-based team heading to France early 2016. Our first team retreat was scheduled for Saturday, November 14, 2015. And then on November 13, all hell broke loose in Paris
Some conservatives, while vocally adhering to male/female complementarity, are in fact practicing a form of chauvinism. This particular type of chauvinism rests on a hierarchical understanding of gender that extends to all male/female relationships.
. . . in a land of limitless options, we feel like we should be able to find the perfect, indisputably best choice. This is the promise of online dating: you’ll be able to find the perfect person for you – the flawless mate.
The night he died it stormed. My wife and I were restless, weeping, and holding each other closely. I remember pleading with God in my distress, “Why didn’t you send these rains just a few hours earlier? He wouldn’t have been outside! This nightmare never would have happened! Why did you allow it to happen this way, God?!”
My unchangeable circumstances made my cries feel hollow.
I love to be loved. Some people like money or trappings or success; I like being popular. I tend to act, think and live in ways that (I’m hoping) will engender people’s affection and admiration. As one might say, your love is my drug.
The peaceful home life and steady emotional culture of our family was gone. Our counselors and books said, as the boys felt safer and more attached, we would see calmer moods. But fear threatened my hope in those days, and it was easy to forget my anchor to God’s steadfast love. The passion that drove me to orphan advocacy seemed like a distant memory.
"But I thought . . . " we say. And we're stopped short. Our breath is caught. And another dream didn't end well, but unwell things in us ended as a result.
I’ve been in church my whole life. I’m grateful for that, but I’m also not.
Who wouldn’t want to convert in order to marry the person they are crazy about? Who wouldn’t want to say “yes" to Jesus in order for their significant other to say “yes” to them?
. . . as I listened to these women laugh about potty-training antics, complain about sleepless nights, and compare notes on breast feeding, I was preparing for my next specialist appointment. I was due for another round of injections and an hour-and-a-half drive for a new batch of testing.
Over the past three years I’ve noticed a rise in the amount of direct marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM) companies on my social media news feeds. Everywhere I look are photos and testimonies about the wonders of this dark spot correcting cream, essential oils, healthy shakes that aid in weight loss, and that body shaping wrap. What strikes me most about these posts is that they are coming from women in the church.
The “happy Christian” means well but often only shares or responds out of their current perspective of God. The truth is, how someone views the Lord is evident by how they respond to another person in suffering or pain, or really, someone just having a bad day. However, when the “happy Christian” wants to force the good and faithful Lord upon a hurting circumstance, they aren’t doing God justice by providing the comfort that he truly offers those in pain.
At the beginning I found myself with mixed emotions, stumbling to throw up and struggling to communicate my feelings. I couldn’t explain why I wasn’t full of happy anticipation about this new life, but yet had deep gratitude held loosely in light of an uncertain future.
When you consider the breadth of humanity you have experienced, do you believe that humans are inherently good? Or, are we inherently bad? If we are inherently good, then why do we do bad things? If we are inherently bad, then how do we do good things?
When we sin against God and the people around us, turning from that sin toward reconciliation actually begins with confession and then repentance . . . not just expressing emotional remorse. Of course we can still be sorry that we sinned, but to repent we also must ask ourselves, what are we really sorry for?
The overly talkative child, the bossy child, the child with endless energy, the child who collapses in tears at the smallest upset, the child whose imagination means homework never gets turned in - these are a few of the personalities that plant themselves in our orderly homes, posing a threat to our expectations and our patience. Our first temptation may be to bring those behaviors to an immediate end. But I want to suggest a better way.
As she often and shockingly does, Miley Cyrus recently grabbed the headlines with her claim to be “pansexual.” Apparently, this means she doesn’t relate to being male or female or gay or transgendered or gender-fluid. It also means any sexual partner of hers doesn’t need to relate to being male or female or gay or transgendered or gender-fluid. So, Miley Cyrus is pansexual: she’s inclusive of all genders. Can we say that God is like Miley Cyrus, being inclusive of all genders?
We were all single at some point. But sometimes it seems as though we fail to remember that period of our lives when we interact with our single friends. We say stupid things and give advice from our experiences as we try to help our single friends figure out how to live life well and of course, find a spouse.
The roller coaster of hoping and lamenting in times of waiting can really be exhausting. I deeply do not prefer waiting for God to open His hand to give me good things that I desire. In my current season, I am waiting on the Lord for a second child. I want to be hopeful and pray expectantly. But my hopes often seem to get too high, which I only realize when they crash down around me. If I’m being honest I am so tempted toward apathy during seasons of waiting. I want to avoid the whole emotional ordeal altogether.