Showing posts from April, 2011

I Can't Get Past the Smell of Condemnation

Last Sunday I was mad. I was not in a good frame of mind to be entering the pulpit. Over the course of the last three or four weeks, several people had let me down--not showing up to teach youth SS, not attending the New Member class I was offering, not showing up at small group, missing church when they said they would be there. I was letting it get to me and it showed. My preaching crossed the line from passionate to irate. And people sensed it, of course. Comments and questions like "Are you mad at us?" were made. I had to apologize and ask forgiveness.

When I read this passage from Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well, I knew I had missed the mark of displaying God's love as I preached about it:
A few years ago, The Washington Post conducted a social experiment in what they called “context, perception, and priorities.” They arranged for Joshua Bell, one of the finest violinists of all…

Dance, Drink, Smoke and Chew

I was raised in what most people would consider a very strict family. I was banned from many "worldly" activities that my friends enjoyed. My motto became, "I don't dance, drink, smoke or chew or ever go out with girls that do." Whenever I pressed my parents about going to school dances, I was reminded what Mamie (my grandmother) would often say when asked to dance, "When I dance so, I sweat so, and when I sweat so, I stink so--so no thank you, I don't think so!"

A lot of my friends growing up, however, (and many of my friends now) fit very comfortably in the dance, drink, smoke and chew category, including my wife (JK--I just angered Heather, my wife, and gave my mom a heart attack!). Often people ask me about these "worldly" activities--if I think they are sinful or if people who do them are going to hell.

Randy Newman, in Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends, and Others Who Know You Well, gives a great a…

Just Wait! You'll See!

Last night as usual, our family sat around the dinner table and talked about the events of the day. Then we talked about gifts and how we should use them. Taking turns, we told the person on our left a talent God had given him/her and how they could best use it to bring glory to God and good to people. Elijah's talent? A bright and creative mind he can use to help people think and enjoy learning. Emily has a way of great influence with people. Ellie is a ray of sunshine and helps all the other kids feel included. Heather has the gift of hospitality and is always reaching out to people. Eli said that he sees me as a general leading people strategically in battle against evil. Heather said I have great faith and can see things before they have come into existence. That sounds very grand, but I'm not sure I always see it. The soldiers in God's army don't seem to know there is a war going on at all, much less that I have the responsibility to help lead the 'soldiers of…

The Gospel of the Kingdom

For over 25 years I've been studying, talking and writing about the gospel of the kingdom. It all began when I picked up a little book callThe Gospel of the Kingdom by George Eldon Ladd. As I read it, I had an inkling that it was a game changer. Now looking back I can see that it was a fork in the road (one of many!). It changed the course of my life.

A quarter of a century later, I am still sorting out the gospel of the kingdom in my head, heart and life. Without any hesitation or fear of overstatement, I can say the gospel of the kingdom is not only my only hope, but the only hope for the human race, the planet and the cosmos. It is that monumental, huge, epic (or whatever the current slang for massive is).

To get a picture of what I'm talking about, consider this very compelling (and concise) article by Matt Guerino. He asks, "What is the gospel?"
It’s a deceptively simple question, yet one that merits more thoughtful reflection than might seem necessary at first. Th…