Replacing Judgment with Love

Nietzsche said the last Christian died on the cross.

That is such a bold, yet powerful and piercing statement. Is it true? In some ways I feel that it is. And that’s painful!

It’s not just how one man saw it, either. I think a lot of people see it that way. Jesus would not want it to be true, so we need to do something to change it.

It’s a joke how much we judge in the church. Continue reading

And He Will Return

“I love you.”

I see the homeless guy, and I love him. I’m going to help him if I can. That’s being Jesus. That’s the movement I’m asking you to join. It seems simple, and you might think, “Of course, that’s how I was raised,” but most of us still don’t do it very well. I don’t do it very well. There’s so much more I could do to love my neighbor as myself. I keep trying!

The movement to love our neighbor as ourselves is stirring. It is stirring in this world. It is awesome to see.

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes Americans forget that there’s any other country out there. Continue reading

Clay to be Molded, Part 2

The health, wealth, and prosperity Gospel might be a little bit mixed up.  It puts a lot of emphasis on the Bible’s promise that God will prosper you.  Unfortunately, people take that to mean that if they get saved, then Bam!  They become prosperous.

But that’s not going to work.  Just because you accept Jesus, that doesn’t mean you’re instantly transformed. So when the newly converted don’t become prosperous, they lose hope in God.  “Well, obviously there’s no God.  See, I’m not prosperous. They said I was going to be wealthy and prosperous, and my life’s still just as bad as it’s always been.”

There’s more to the lifestyle of Jesus than taking that first step.  Yes, you start by loving Jesus.  Yes, you embrace what He stands for.  You accept His sacrifice for you. But the time still comes when you have to figure out who you want to be, in Christ.  You have to decide who you want to be, in Christ. Continue reading

Beacons of Love

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20

Why do people who aren’t Christians hate us? They look at us and say “You’re just a bunch of Bible thumpers who are homophobic and you don’t love anybody.”

We’ve brought that on ourselves. We’ve got gay people out there pushing for gay rights and gay marriage, and we’ve got Christians saying “God hates you.” I get so angry because that’s not true. Continue reading

The Hole in Our Gospel

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Recently, a reader asked if I’ve read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. I have read the book, and in fact, it was the subject of my very first blog post!

Stearns’ basic point is that there would be a humongous hole in our Gospel if you pulled out all the verses where Jesus talked about justice, poverty, the poor, and helping the orphans and widows. Stearns also says that this is basically what Christians have done. Continue reading

The Appearance of Evil

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Doing anything to excess is bad for you. If you eat too much it’s bad for you, because you’re going to get fat. Obviously gluttony could be a sin.

But we don’t say eating is a sin. We don’t say, “Hey, you can’t eat.” So why do churches say you can’t drink?

There’s a rule among the churches that if you’re on the church staff, drinking alcohol is not allowed. I don’t personally agree with that. You’re saying that if I’m a pastor, or a youth pastor, or somehow on staff, then I’m not allowed to sit at the dinner table and have a glass of wine with my wife. Why not? Why do you think anyone should be reprimanded for that? Because of what it represents?

I’m not misrepresenting the church. Are you saying Jesus misrepresented God when He drank wine? No! Continue reading

What to Do When Young People Sin

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A lot of parents are so scared of how their kids will make them look. When things happen to their kids, they worry about themselves. “Oh my goodness!” a parent might say. “My son was drunk and he got caught drinking and driving and everybody in the church knows. What are people going to think of me?” Or, “Oh my gosh my daughter’s pregnant. This looks bad. What are people at church going to say?”

That’s unfortunate. I think churches truly have gotten to this point. They need to check themselves and say, “No, no. That should never be the issue.” Continue reading

Beacons of Love

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Why do people who aren’t Christians hate us? They look at us and say “You’re just a bunch of Bible thumpers who are homophobic and you don’t love anybody.”

We’ve brought that on ourselves. We’ve got gay people out there pushing for gay rights and gay marriage, and we’ve got Christians saying “God hates you.” I get so angry because that’s not true. God loves you. Jesus walks with the gay community. I think He would say, “I love you just as I love someone who is not gay. I love you as a human being. I just love you.”

Do I personally think that Jesus would have approved of that lifestyle? No, I don’t think He would, because the Bible says He doesn’t. But that does not mean that He doesn’t love them. It does not mean that I can’t hang out and just say, “Hey, I differ in my opinion, but I love you as a human being.” And maybe if more of us did that, Christians wouldn’t be so hated everywhere we go.

I don’t think we’re showing the love of Jesus. Continue reading

Discipling the Young Generation: Part 3

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I read a study that said only 4% of the young people who attend church during high school continue to do so after leaving high school. If that’s even close to accurate, that means that over 90% of young people just opt out of church. That is a massive statistic, and raises a lot of questions about what we need to be doing.

What if they leave because they have no reason to stay? I’m positive they would stay, if they really understood God.

So how can we get young people to understand who God is? How can we teach young people about who He really is, the lover of human souls who sent His son to die? How can we teach the joy of Jesus? If you really know what it’s like to hang with the King of Kings, the creator of everything, and receive the gift of joy from Him, you won’t walk away. You won’t say, “Okay, I did that church thing. I’m out.” That doesn’t make sense! Continue reading

Discipling the Young Generation: Part 1

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One of my favorite movies is The Usual Suspects. Remember the part where Kevin Spacey says the greatest trick Satan ever pulled was to convince people he doesn’t exist? When you consider how few people understand that slavery is still going on, I think that’s what’s happened.

It’s so weird to me. I talk to people about slavery, and they say, that’s still out there? And I wonder, how do they not know? There’s more slavery now than when it was legal! Slavery is a billion dollar a year industry, and there are more than 18,000 slaves traded in the U.S. every year. Continue reading