When God Speaks Through Asses

God speaks

There’s an awesome story in the book of Numbers when God decides to use a donkey to get his message across.  For effect, let’s use the KJV:

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.

And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

KJV is just fun, I should use it to teach far more often.

[Read more…]

God’s Terrible Mission Strategy

Mission strategy

When it coms to the salvation of man, God is always the one doing the work. God does the rescuing. God does the redeeming. God is the one who forgives. But then in the midst of God’s grace that he gives, he decides to give this message to a people.

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

God rescues.

[Read more…]

What Family Devotions Really Look Like

Devotions

When I envisioned family devotions in my head, it was always a picture of my kids hanging onto every word I say as I opened up the scriptures for them. I pictured my son interacting with me about the Bible story. I pictured my daughter quietly sitting in bed next to us and occasionally pointing and babbling. And I pictured my wife happily watching on as her super husband leads family devotions.

Reality isn’t anything like that.

[Read more…]

How To Deal with Addiction

Addiction

God heals addiction. But the way he does that is not always by automatically removing your temptations and desire for that addiction without any work.

It’s not that easy.

You’re going to need some help. Find some friends, a spouse, a pastor, or a counselor – or all ofthe above – and start working through whatever enslaves you.

You are forgiven without this work. And don’t miss this – your forgiveness is not dependent on your ability to deal with your addictions. It’s not dependent on your ability to accomplish the following steps.

[Read more…]

Beaten, Bloodied, and Bruised

Bloodied

Jesus tells the story of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho who falls into the hands of robbers. The text reads, “They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.”  Beaten and bruised at the hands of robbers, this bloody mess of a man lies there waiting for someone that might be able to help.

A priest then enters the story. But he walks by.

A Levite enters the story too. But he passes right by the bloodied man on the road.

This is the story that has come to be known as the story of the Good Samaritan. The priest and Levite leave this man on the side of the road for dead.  The preachers of this parable will then tell us, “Don’t be like the priest and the Levite, be like the Samaritan.”

But there’s a problem if we follow what Jesus does in the story.

Read the rest of this post at ChristHoldFast.com.

Turn Down For What

grace is intoxicating

Crunk rap artist Lil Jon and DJ Snake have a top 10 single dedicated to the hook, “Turn down for what.” Since I was a bit out of touch with the language, I embarrassingly asked some teenagers what it meant. Urban Dictionary confirmed what they also told me: “Rhetorical question used by teenagers. “Turn up” is the act of getting drunk and high and being reckless so “turn down” would mean sobering up.”

So Lil Jon proudly shouts, “Turn down for what… Another round of shots.”

The Intoxicating Message of Grace

Grace is intoxicating—It changes the way we see the world. It changes our behavior. It changes our speech. And it certainly affects our mind. This is the grace that Paul Zahl describes when he writes, “Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…”This kind of grace is intoxicating.

Read the rest of this post at Liberate.org.

More Than Meets the Eye

More than meets

God is a God of the ordinary. He does the miraculous through ordinary means. He uses ordinary people and simple methods to accomplish his divine goals. In some mysterious way, God decides to work in and through things that would otherwise seem very average.

Paul writes in Corinthians, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”

God is the in the business of choosing the simple, ordinary, everyday things to do his miraculous work.  While we are often interested in looking for the super-natural miracles, we often miss the everyday kind of miracles. We look for the sudden cured disease and miss God working through doctors and surgeons. We look for God’s audible voice or a dream and we miss God’s speaking through simple words on a page.

[Read more…]

Theology of Bull

Bulls

There are far too many who have a theology that is full of it. Perhaps that’s a bit crude, but the facade that people often create under the guise of theology is astounding. The legalist’s eyes turn brown as he disguises himself as a pious Christian, yet rambles on about the good he does. And far too many of us have one foot in the legalistic grave as we think we are far better off than we are. We think, “At least we aren’t like those sinners.” Or, equally as dangerous a legalism, “At least we aren’t like those legalistic Christians.”

Brandon Bennett, in a post on Mockinbird, introduced me to a brilliant book by a philosopher Harry Frankfurt that helps us define and describe bulls*t.   Check out this definition he uses (he uses humbug as a synonym for bull) and see if it applies to the legalism that we often find ourselves trapped in.

[Read more…]

Man Turned in On Himself

turned in

This post is a guest post by my friend Heather Choate Davis.  Heather is a writer, speaker, theologian, creator of The Renaissance Service(TM) and co-founder of icktank. Reclaiming the Wisdom of Homo Incurvatus in Se was her MA Theology thesis at Concordia University, Irvine and is now available as Man Turned in on Himself: Understanding Sin 21st-century America. You can find out more about her work at heatherchoatedavis.com or follow her on twitter @faithinwords.

Nothing clears a room faster than the word sin.

Sin. Sin. Sin. Sin. Sin. That’s all you Christians talk about and we’re sick of it. We don’t need it. We don’t want it. And we don’t believe in it anyway. So says the culture in 21st-century America.

But denying sin’s existence doesn’t make it go away. And without the recognition of sin, the gift of grace means nothing.

So where do we start?

How can we even talk about sin when it’s linked like a keyword to leeches and bloodletting and Da Vinci Code drama, to hateful zealots, hypocritical priests, or wagging fingers all worked up about sex?

[Read more…]

4 Values that Influence My Ministry

Four values

If you’ve been on this blog for any period of time, you’ve likely come to realize that I want to talk theology in the language of ordinary, everyday people. I’m not afraid of complex doctrine or difficult church-language, but when I communicate the ancient truths of the Scriptures, I want the 30-year old dad to understand how this theology affects the way he does his work, loves his wife, and cares for his children.

This shapes the way I think about my writing, my preaching, and the every day ins and outs of ministry.

[Read more…]