Accidental Pharisee

That’s me. Well, a pharisee is what I’ve been acting like for quite some time now. No sooner than me throwing in the towel, quitting my performance of Christianity, did this reality hit me.

One day, visibly frustrated, my friend expressed her displeasure with our constant debates. Of course I defended myself, but I realized in doing so I was only digging a deeper hole. So, for a moment, I stopped thinking of how unfair her sentiments seemed to be, and considered the worst. What if I am prideful? What if I do always think I’m right, so my opinions are really facts I believe other people just haven’t been exposed to yet? What if I’ve come up with my own rules of what holiness looks like? What if I really do look at people who don’t have my “convictions” as less righteous than me? What if what I’ve thought was a pure desire to be holy and honor God has really been a drive to gain righteousness, because I didn’t believe righteousness could truly be given to me without my works earning it for me? What if my view of God has been pretty low, especially in the unconditional love department? What if…I’m a pharisee? Read more →

Show’s Over

As John spoke Sunday and encouraged us to stop pretending we have a real, life-giving relationship with God, I smiled. And not because I had invited someone to church that I knew needed to hear that–how often I’ve missed an opportunity to be challenged myself because of the familiarity of a message. But it was because last week, Iactually stopped pretending. I finally admitted that I often spend more time looking right and saying the right things than actually being transformed. While I may not be living a completely different, secret life, the life I do live is not always truly lived in faith.  I live it because it’s what I know to be right. But there is quite a distance between my brain and my heart. Read more →

Careless Disregard

A week ago I read an article called My Virginity Mistake by Jessica Ciencin Henriquez. I was saddened by her description of the night she decided to wear a purity ring at an emotionally-charged youth rally, where the leaders worked several hundred kids up into a wholesome frenzy and where she drew a moral line in the sand of her young life. And lived to regret it.

Conversations about right and wrong make me break out in hives. Even so, I’ve been wanting to write my own rebuttal to this article for days, imagining how I could delicately explain the wonders of waiting as they have unfolded in our own marriage and in our marriage bed. How waiting is right. How the trust and the freedom and the downright pleasure we’ve experienced for thirty-five years made the waiting worth it. And I’ve held back only because I can’t figure out how to say all this without embarrassing our children. Read more →

Making Sense of Sovereignty

This past Sunday, as we continued walking though the book of Acts, I preached on a subject that I’ve battled with—the sovereignty of God. I used to spend so much time speculating and trying to make sense of God’s sovereignty, then I realized that God’s sovereignty makes sense of me. (That’ll make more sense later—pun intended.) The “why” and “if” questions I would (still) ask showed me that the bulk of my tension with the sovereignty of God deals with two questions. Is God good? Is God trustworthy? (Stick a pin right there.) Read more →

Expansion & Excavation

My name is John, and I’m a pendulum swinger.  I don’t mean to be, it kind of just happens.  I live in a constant state of FOMO or fear of missing out. Maybe you’re like me.  Maybe you are perfectly content doing something and then you see someone else talk about an activity (that couldn’t be more unlike what you’re currently doing) and you feel like you’re missing out on something.  So you, like me, drop everything that you’re doing because you don’t want to miss out.  There’s so many arenas that this takes place in life, from workout plans to diets to hobbies—you name it.  Somebody always has advice on what we “should” be doing that makes us feel like we’ve been wasting our time.  So, we scrap what we’re currently doing and start from scratch. Lately, as we’ve been going through the book of Acts as a church, uncovering the history of the church, I’ve felt this pressure in evangelism. Read more →

Doctrine without faith

Picture this: Somewhere on the other side of town, God is working on someone’s heart that you have yet to meet. He leads that person to our church to speak to a pastor or leader (or even you) to hear what either has to say. That’s kind of what happened in Acts 10.

Can you imagine?

Or maybe one day your non-believing co-worker walks up to you and asks you to tell them about your faith…

Or God  removes a harmful boyfriend out of relative’s life and draws her to Himself for her now to be encouraging you in the Lord…

Or you asked God to heal you or prayed for someone else’s healing and received it…

Do you really think it could happen? Read more →