Often times when reading Scripture we can find ourselves wishing that things would happen for us as quickly as they happened to those that we read about. At least this is something that I can often find myself thinking about.
At the moment I have been reading through Acts for my New Testament reading and it's halfway through chapter 23 that God tells Paul that He is going to send him to testify in Rome. And within 2 minuets of reading he has already made his appeal to stand before Cesar. His right as a citizen of Rome.
I'm not sure about you, but I often wish that a promise and a clear path to that promise coming to pass only too the two to three minuets it takes to read from Acts 23:11 to Acts 25:11. It almost seems as if the people that we read about might have had an easier go of it. (That is if we forget all the times that Paul was beat half to death and even a possible gladiatorial bout.*) But we read and we so often wonder why it is that these people were able to get a promise an...
It was this week twenty-one years back that I was standing at an airport gate and my life changed. This was back in 1997 when you could still walk all the way up to the gate. You didn’t have to wait to see someone at baggage claim.
Coming though that gate were the two people that 7-year-old me loved the most. At least most of the time. And with them, a little girl that I had seen a few months before, a thousand miles away.
Twenty-one years back my family got bigger. Because twenty-one years back my little sister became my little sister.
I think I may be a bad big brother because, honestly, it had slipped my mind until I saw my litter sister post about it being her A-Day. If you’re not familiar, that is short for adoption day. The same way that B-Day has become short for birthday.
My little sister was born into a poor slum called Lipstick. And it wasn’t named that because they sold cosmetics. The day that she was born the dice were cast, and she was born owing the house. Because of nothing...
I have been struggling. At least that's what I told myself.
A few years back I heard one of those sermons that stick with you. I was at a pastor's conference with my dad put on by World Challenge and Gary Wilkerson. It was up in NYC and the event was in Times Square Church. Gary was speaking last, but honestly I don't remember what he said. Tullian spoke the night before. And even though I still see him as a hero, I don't remember anything he said either.
Francis Chan preached the sermon that has long stuck in my mind. As he began I'm sure I bellowed out a few 'amens'. But what should have been a third of the way through he just stopped. He stopped and had a look on his face that led one to believe that he grew up in the south and his dog just died. It's the type of face that I have had a few times and hope to never have again. He stood in a pulpit that has housed giants and began to cry. As he did so he took his notes, balled them up, and threw them away.
Growing up I spent my summers in Mexico. Well, on the Texas/Mexico boarder to be more specific. My dad would take mission trips down each summer that would last a week. But since I was with him, I would be down there for most of the summer. Each Saturday we would spend the morning saying church camp good-bye's and spend each afternoon getting people settled into their rooms. Maybe that's why I expect relationships to be temporal and why I have become good and saying goodbye? But that's a question I should take to the Owen Center and leave out of my blog. This was back before the boarder wars really got national attention, and so we would have around 100 people each week. Every summer we would see around 1,000 pass through. Damn, I miss those summers.
Each Friday we would go to the beach to allow the teams to have some fun after working their asses off the days that came before. And each Friday night we would gather around as a team for worship, then my father would lead us in a sh...
The longest I have lived anywhere since I was 18 was about three years. This means that I have been a part of a lot of churches. But for the past twenty-four months I have been living in Opelika, Alabama and I have been going to 1st Pres here in town. And it has truly been a grace that God has given me.
I can remember the first time I walked through the door for service. I hadn’t slept the night before and I honestly wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go. There were a number of things I would have rather been doing that day. As the service progressed the congregation began to sing the old hymn ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus’ and I sat down and wept*.
And today, a little over two years later I sat in service which started with the hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’. I almost had to chuckle at the providence of God in this. To hear this familiar tune play and think back over the past two years. A hard to years. A season where I have often asked God what He was doing, or if He was even there d...
In our age os social media we have so often come to judge people, for the better or for the worse, based on a few snapshots of their lives. We are able to a a few glimpses (and only the ones that they want us to) and we believe that we know the person. And though the things we know may all be true, such an incomplete picture could never allow us to know the person. For to truly know someone we must know all of them. To only know half of their story is to not really know them at all.
In the first few verses of Mark 6 there is a story of Jesus going back home. I am currently living in the town I grew up in and it's a bitter-sweet thing. I wonder if the same was true for Jesus. His journey back home was one that happened right after calming a storm, casting out demons, and healing a people. We are able to know from other places in Scripture that these things took their toll on Jesus. We often see Him tired and seeking a desolate place to be with His Father after such events. I have to wo...
Last night I sat in a living room with 8 other people.
Honestly, no one took notice of us. No one noticed a few extra cars outside Chris's driveway. We gathered together, as people of not authority and no acclaim. The 9 of us formed what three weeks ago became Union Church. We are small. We are young. We are poor. We are nothing. But yet we gathered because God is Big. God is eternal. God is rich. God is everything.
We have been a church for three weeks. And for three weeks we have gathered each Tuesday night to pray. Last night was no different. And yet last night was something different all together. We gathered on Juneteenth in the shadow of a freedom proclamation. Yet we gathered in the shadow of a deeper slavery. We gathered knowing that thought we celebrate a nation saying that all men are free, it takes more than a country to free us.
Driving to our little prayer meeting I could not escape the image of a three year old girl weeping at the feet of her mother. It was a picture th...
A year or two ago I read an article that pointed out the main difference between the old guard and the new of a certain denomination in the U.S. He went on to say that the older group in this denomination, which I find myself belonging to, seeing the U.S. as the 'new Israel'. And as such they call for nationalism and a reform of the nation to come back to a 'godly' place. The younger group, of which I belong, see the U.S. not as the reincarnation of Israel. But of Babylon. And see's Christians as those who live lives in exile awaiting the hope of one day going home. For this is not, cannot be, home.
On this issue there is much more that could be said. And if you would wish to go there feel free to contact me. There is a link on this site to do so. But for the remainder of this article I will speak from the place that I see as true. America is not the chosen of God. It has become Babylon. We, as the people of God, are those in exile. We long for home, because we know that this is not it...
One of my favorite verses in Scripture has long been Isaiah 64:1.
"Oh that You would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence-"
I have long loved this verse because it holds, as it's central focus the might and power of an almighty God. The type of power that only God is able to posses, the type of power that God does not have, it's the power that He is. I have often prayed that verse, wanting nothing more than to see my prayers answered in that type of mountain quaking power.
I have often cried out knowing that the only thing that could bring my soul comfort would be if God spoke. And if He spoke loudly. So much in our culture and lives is so constant and loud that it seems that the only way that we would be able to hear God speak louder than everything else. Which He is more than able to do.
But so often, that is not what God has done. At least not for me. And at least not for many I know. Most often the voice of God comes in a much different way...
"And though many storms and floods arise and beat against the saints, yet these things shall never be able to sweep them off the foundation and rock which they are fastened upon by faith. Even though, through unbelief and the temptations of Satan, the sight and feeling of the light and love of God may for a time be clouded and obscured from them, yet God is still the same, and they are sure to be kept by His power until their salvation is complete, they are engraved upon the palm os His hands, and their names have been written in His Book of Life from all eternity."
-1689 Confession of Faith, Article 17, Paragraph 1
I have grown up in the shadow of the church. My dad is a Southern Baptist minister and like most preacher's kids I had my days of running from God. And with my story I have seen the inside and outside of the church. From the inside I have seen that the church loves a story of redemption.
We love redemption stories. But if we are honest, we love the stories that have alrea...