29 Sep

What shape is your water

 

water glass

That’s a strange question isn’t it? But think about it, what shape is water? Is it really any shape at all? Well if you have it in a cylindrical glass it is the shape of a cylinder, or maybe its the shape of your pool, or a lake, or any number of things. Because water takes the shape of the item that contains it. Water itself is fluid and adapts, but once it is in something it appears to be the shape of that thing.
Now for another question: what shape is your Gospel? This might be harder to answer, but try. And what defines the shape of that gospel? Read More

22 Sep

The movement of the Gospel

creationThe topic of the gospel is one that I am very passionate about. And I think many other followers of Jesus are equally passionate about it. We are passionate about it because it is what our faith is about. The Gospel is why we follow Jesus. But unfortunately I think there are so many competing ideas out there about what the Gospel is that it makes it hard for us to embrace it and live it out.
While  the Gospel has a great deal to do with the person of Jesus who walked the earth 2000 years ago, the Gospel, the good news God has for the world, has been around for a lot longer than that event. Read More

15 Sep

The meal Jesus shares with us

communionI think sometimes it is easy to forget the context of the first communion Jesus shared with His followers. We get so used to communion being that thing we do, maybe, once a month where we get these small pieces of bread and a little bit of juice.

But the context of that first communion makes it so much more. And it makes it necessary for us to see it as more.

In communion we see the past meets the present with a hope for the future.

We see the meal that Jesus shared with his followers celebrating God’s rescue of those who need rescuing and we see the future hope that God gives us. Wherever we might find ourselves at this moment, in communion we can look to the past and see the hope of our future.

I hope that you know that wherever your past has brought you, whatever choices good or bad you’ve made, wherever you find yourself right now, there is a future greater than you could have imagine. A future that God calls us to, where slaves are set free and there is greater joy then we thought possible.

08 Sep

Reflections on the Prodigal Son

 

prodigalsonIn the early 1990′s there was a song by Blue Rodeo that often was on the radio that had a 

very simple chorus, “And if we are lost then we are lost together” that was repeated throughout the song. One of my favorite stories that Jesus tells in Luke 15 is the story of two brothers who are lost together.

One lost in his mistakes.

The other lost in his righteousness.

The great difference is how each brother responded to their lost-ness. Read More

01 Sep

Familiarity can make us blind

bathroomI used to live in a home that had a very ugly bathroom. It was painted a strange mint like green. It had dark cabinets and a light colored bathtub. None of our towels went well with the room. I grew up with this bathroom and never really noticed it was ugly until I was much older. I came back at Christmas after being away and was amazed at how ugly it really was, and that I had never noticed. Why? Because I was so used to it I was blind to it.

We can get so familiar with things that we aren’t aware of them. Read More

25 Aug

Obsessing over the right things

lego batmanMy son loves Lego. Whenever he sees a new set he insistently asks me to buy it for him. He has a few different sets, but he has favorites. Right now its Lego Batman, and when he couldn’t find said Batman one day, there was a furious quest in his room to find it for fear that our dog may have eaten it. He became obsessed with finding it, and in turn I had to join in on the obsession. Thankfully the dog didn’t eat it.
When we loose something we love, something important to us, we obsess over it. We must find it. Read More

18 Aug

Working through Infallibility and Inerrancy

BibleIf you are like me and have friends who do not go to church, or believe in Jesus, chances are you’ve been faced with some really interesting questions at times. One that I get often from people I know is about the bible. A lot of us are really confused (both inside and outside the church) on what the bible is and what we should do with it. Often I get asked about how it got put together, why there are so many contradictions and how can you trust something that people have changed over and over again in history.

I believe in letting the bible be the authority in your life, and that sometimes even if we don’t agree with it, it doesn’t mean the text isn’t true and it should affect how we live.

Giving the text authority in our life is very important. But one of the struggles we will have with giving the bible authority in our life is in wrestling with the idea that scripture is infallible and innerant.  Read More

14 Aug

Dear Christian sitting in a coffee shop…

Coffee_Love.jpg.crop_displayDear Christian in a coffee shop,

I love spending time in coffee shops. You do too don’t you?

I can’t think of any place I would rather be in to meet people and work ,than coffee shops. In fact as I write this, I am in one right now.

More than once a week I find myself meeting with someone over coffee or spending time working at a local shop. I’ve had some great meetings here. Meeting with people who are just incredible when you get to know them.

And it is great to see you here. It is great to see you there with a bible open. I’m just guessing that you are taking some time out of your day to get closer to God. There are few things I like more than seeing people grow with God. And I love that sometimes you meet with friends and you talk about church and challenge each other to grow.

I believe firmly that we need community. Whether you follow Jesus or not I believe everyone needs community and I love that you have found it with likeminded people who can challenge you to grow closer with God. Although we don’t know each other more than an occasional hello and short conversation, I am glad you are here with them.

It’s great to see you here.

The thing I think I love the most is meeting new people here. Meeting the staff and getting to know them a little. It’s pretty great when they see you and remember what you order most days and get it ready for you. Or when they ask what I do for work and they give me that unsure look when I say I am a pastor. Or the conversation that follows when they say “you don’t really look like a pastor,” like we are supposed to have a certain look. I love these people. And the people that come here to get coffee, I love them too, even though I don’t know them.

Getting coffee is why I come, but for me the community is why I stay.

I love it here.

But there are some things I don’t love.

I don’t love it when you get mad at the person serving you when they ask you to repeat your order because you were too busy talking on your cell phone when you got to the cash and there is a big line up behind you.

I don’t love it when you yell “What?” at the person who is handing you your drink.

I don’t love it when you speak about the people sitting in the shop in a loud and condescending voice. There is no reason for that, if you are upset that they have an extra chair at their table, you should just go over and talk to them and ask if you could use it.

I also don’t love it when you discuss with your friends in a voice the whole shop can hear your arguments about who is and isn’t going to hell.

Please stop.

The people here are people just like you. People who need love and hope, just like you or me.

Please stop behaving like a jerk.

And just because someone asks you to talk a little lower does not mean you are being persecuted and it is the end of days. It just means you are loud and obnoxious, and they cannot hear the person they are trying to talk to sitting in front of them.

Please stop. You are making us look bad. Actually you are making Jesus look bad.

Sincerely,

Another Christian in a coffee shop

 

Disclaimer: If you feel this is written about you I am sorry. I am sorry, not because I may have hurt your feelings, but because you haven’t been told before that how you treat others is horrible. This isn’t really directed to anyone, but a composite sketch of many people I have encountered at local coffee shops in different cities. If you think it is you, maybe its God trying to tell you to take a look at how you behave and change.

12 Aug

What does it mean when we say Jesus is Lord?

cross necklace

It was a saying that could have got you killed in the first three centuries after Christ. Today that most likely won’t happen. So what does it mean if we confess that Jesus is Lord?

Historically the confession was in direct contrast to the empire of the day. The statement draws the conclusion that if Jesus is Lord, than Caesar can not be. Not living under an oppressive regime that that requires me to worship its leader, the statement has different but similar implications. Read More

05 Aug

What might the Apostle Paul say about Mark Driscoll?

 

Mark Driscoll seems to be in the news a lot right now, or at least in the news for a small segment of western Christian culture. And his news making is not for the best of reasons. The mega church pastor has been accused of plagiarism, misusing church funds, silencing former church members and staff and having a company make his book a best seller in the last year.

And that’s not to mention the misogynistic, homophobic, bullying actions that he has been known for over his years of coming to prominence.

I’ve never been much of a “fan” of Driscoll’s style or teaching.

Read More