Let’s start by telling the truth: we love a tiny fragment of the world’s population.
There comes a time, every week, when the world rests upon our tongues.The throne of the Almighty and the wheat fields of Texas are there. The manger of Bethlehem and the warming rays of the sun are, too. So is the flesh of the Passover lamb, raindrops from heaven, a John Deere tractor, and the God who says I Am Who I Am.
If God is perfect at everything, he’s also the perfect comedian. He delivers killer punch lines that bring the house down. His jokes are unrivaled. And he knows the truth that all comedians know: one of the key ingredients to a good joke is surprise.
The experiment seemed like a cakewalk. “Watch this video,” the researcher said. “You’ll see two teams, one wearing white and one black. They’ll throw a ball back and forth. Count how many times the ball is passed by the team in white.”
January 1 marks the day I first caught a glimpse of the most profound truth in the universe. I was 18 years old. I was fighting tooth and nail with God. And He showed me, finally, through one the weirdest acts ever performed on the human body, that He and He alone makes me His son. Here's how it all went down.
Each religion has its high and holy days. Islam has Eid al-Adha, Judaism has Yom Kippur, and Christianity has Easter. These aren’t just days where the religious sit around and think. They aren’t holy brain days. They are full of action, where the whole body is involved. There are rituals, prayers, sermons. Kneeling, standing, processing. Religious stuff embodied. And this sacred stuff communicates the meaning and importance of the day.
If there’s one thing that we in the church do extremely well, it’s ignoring the greatest threats that face us. We roll massive Trojan horses inside our sanctuary walls while feverishly battling the mosquitoes that buzz around us. And once we wake up and grasp the true danger—if we ever do—the damage done is often incalculable.
The world of Facebook has its own language and culture. And lies. To someone new to social media, it’s like touring around a foreign country. You’re not sure what to consume, where to go, or who to talk to. And to make matters worse, you’re not sure what’s real and what’s not.
Poor Samson, he always seems to make the list of bad role models in the Bible. He's put out there as the ripped hippie who whacked Philistines, chased skirts, got his head shaved, and eventually got himself killed.
There’s a woodworker inside us who won’t let the cross of Jesus remain the cross of Jesus. It’s raw material for a new, “improved” creation. And here are two of his favorites.
Every congregation is a dying congregation. This is not up for debate. The sun is hot. Water is wet. Congregations are dying. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
We envision life as a series of steps toward independence. As newborns about all we can do on our own is cry and poop. As we mature, we learn how to use a spoon, put our pants on, and wobble about. But we’re still completely dependent upon others to cook our food, wash our clothing, and pay the mortgage on that house in which we wobble about.
Let’s start with the obvious: Christianity is an outwardly fractured religion. You’d think Jesus said, “Go ye into all the world and bloody each other’s noses over, like, Every. Single. Thing.” Just for perspective, note that there are far more denominations than there are languages spoken around the globe. We’ve out-Babelled Babel.
Two weeks ago, in a small Texas town, a mother closed her car door and walked away, forgetting about her child in the car seat. Five hours passed. Finally she remembered. Her little boy would have turned two this month. And we say, “I would never do that.”
We talk about having personal things. We employ a personal trainer to help us shed pounds and get that coveted beachbody. We open a personal bank account to manage our finances. And, please, keep your hands off our personal property and your eyes out of our personal diary.
I remember two things about Ms. Sally: she wore a hat to church every Sunday and the grownups were always whispering serious things about her.
On Good Friday, Jesus cries out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps 22:1). When you hear those words, what do you think of?
Whether your native tongue is English, Icelandic, or Arabic, during Holy Week you'll share a handful of words in common with believers around the world. They are Hebrew words. By them the Spirit tells us what the Son of the Father has done—and still does—for us. Together they encapsulate what Holy Week is all about.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is perhaps one of the most unlikely—and unorthodox—places to learn about the Bible. But God often chooses out-of-the-box people and places as his favorite classrooms.