In my last post, we looked at the Hebrews as they stood outside of the Promised Land and saw (real or imaginary) giants who threatened their entry.  In this post, I want to take a look at two times when Israel faced giants, and make a few observations about howContinue Reading

This isn't photoshopped - it's a photography trick called "forced perspective," using foreground and background objects to trick the eye.

I recently photographed my youngest daughter taking some of her first steps.  My first pictures were from my perspective – her dad, standing four feet taller than her and looking down at her.  I also took a few pictures from her eye-level, capturing the pride on her face as sheContinue Reading

16 A man approached Jesus and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” 17 Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 The man said, “Which ones?” Then JesusContinue Reading

I cringe when I hear those words: “We’re only human, after all.” I understand the sentiment that motivates these words most of the time.  It is a way to extend forgiveness to others by sharing in their fallenness.  Of course, the phrase takes a different turn when applied to ourselves:Continue Reading

Life is better in community. Life is wonderful and messy and joyous and painful and dangerous and delicate, and all of it is beautiful.  And it is intended to be shared. It was created to be shared.  We were created to live in community. Community is more than simply a collection of people. Continue Reading

We read in Matthew 10 that as Jesus was preparing his disciples, there came a time when he commissioned them to proclaim and enact the good news of his kingdom.  So he sent them into Jewish villages with this instruction:  “make this announcement: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ HealContinue Reading

This is a short story that I wrote a few years ago.  It’s a bit rough in a few places, but I think it still accomplishes what I was trying to accomplish. Death Sentence It might seem strange if I told you that I vividly remember the night I died.  IContinue Reading

It occurred to me recently that I cannot think of a time when I have heard the concept of sanctification linked to a kingdom eschatology.  The concepts fit together so neatly that it is baffling that we don’t talk about the two ideas together. I have spent the last fewContinue Reading

Every year I purchase Bibles for high school and college graduates, and each year I am excited to explore the new study Bibles that are available.  In the past, I have purchased and recommended CEB and NRSV Wesley Study Bible (CEB is a great, accessible translation, and NRSV is myContinue Reading

Psalm 62:1-8 (NIV) 1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. 3 How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaningContinue Reading

N.T. Wright’s upcoming book, The Day the Revolution Began, is an exploration of atonement.   It comes out on October 11 of this year, and I was privileged with the opportunity to obtain a pre-release copy to review. Wright has a unique talent for making complex theological perspectives easily accessible forContinue Reading

Psalm 139:1-16 (NIV) 1 O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 YouContinue Reading

  There is an amazing and overwhelming sensation of love that overcomes a parent when they hold their child for the first time.  I felt it a few weeks ago, for the third time in my life, when I held my new baby girl, Thea Joan.  The love I feltContinue Reading

Jesus’ ministry led to crucifixion.  His gospel message led others to martyrdom.  His instructions to those who wanted to be his followers was “Take up your cross and follow me.” The Gospel is a divisive, peace-bringing word – not the paradox it seems, but not as straightforward, perhaps, as we mightContinue Reading

A few brief thoughts from my reading today of Genesis 10-18: The people of the earth acquired a new technology:  the brick.  The technology of the brick empowered them to do things they previously could not do.  They could build predictable and uniform structures, and they could do it quickly.Continue Reading

A few years ago, while working as a bi-vocational church planter, I formed a friendship in my secular employment with a Muslim.  He knew I was a Christian pastor, and I understood that he was a committed Muslim, and we enjoyed many conversations comparing various aspects of our faith.  HeContinue Reading

If the lies we told left a taste in our mouth, and if the rumors we spread left stench on our breath, it would be the horrible taste and putrid smell of the death we are speaking. It would reek of decay. We would be unable to speak without fightingContinue Reading

It is normal (and good) to wonder what good a church can do in the world.  Sometimes, though, when you are a part of a small church, it can be common to doubt that the church can do any good.  “We don’t have the resources,” we say.  “We lack theContinue Reading

I remember the first time I read a Brian McLaren book.  “A Generous Orthodoxy” was something like an exotic trip in a forbidden land.  It was like McLaren was giving voice to all the dark corners of my mind, expressing the thoughts that I (thought I) was forbidden from expressing myself. Continue Reading

Who is Jesus without God and the Holy Spirit? Who is the Holy Spirit without Jesus or God? Who is God without Jesus or the Holy Spirit? Without all three, the picture is incomplete.  We do not understand God without Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Unless we understand God inContinue Reading

Recent Barna research shows that only 20% Christians are involved in some sort of discipleship activity.  That means that four out of five people who profess faith in Christ are not a part of any regular gathering that is intended to foster spiritual growth in their lives. Of those 20%,Continue Reading