Where do you belong?

“I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16) Everything belongs to God, but some people “especially” belong to him. The distinction is found in a person’s response to Jesus. He died for everyone (even the people we don’t like!), but not everyone accepts his free gift of salvation. For those who believe in Jesus, […]

Declaration of dependence

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin. (Micah 3:8) As I grow older, I want to become more dependent on God and filled with his power, not my own. I desire to be righteous, not self-righteous. […]

Why the heart matters

The pride of your heart has deceived you … you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ (Obadiah 3) The prideful heart believes a lie, saying, “I will never fall because my accomplishments are so amazing!”The humble heart accepts the truth, saying, “I may fall, no matter how much success I’ve experienced.” Therefore, let us […]

Why do you do what you do?

Photo by Tom Wilson on Unsplash “This is why…” (1 Timothy 4:10) Motivation is everything because nothing happens without it. All actions—even the impulsive ones—are prompted by something in our head/heart/soul (call it whatever you want!). Paul knew the importance of being properly motivated for doing the work of God. There are at least two pitfalls regarding our motivation: (1) […]

Build your life on the only firm foundation

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15) Jesus was the promised Messiah, the incarnated Son of God, and the Savior of the world. We are the sinners, those who need saving. This teaching is not just the starting line for faith. It would be better to […]

How to avoid pointless controversy

“Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.” (1 Timothy 1:4) Ideas are important. They determine how we feel, think, speak, and act. When we promote the wrong ideas, not only is unity threatened, but we also don’t accomplish anything worthwhile. (Truth is, there’s enough controversy when we focus on the right ideas!) Speculation is […]

You are more like the Apostle Paul than you think.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God” (1 Timothy 1:1) Paul’s calling as an apostle was based on the command of God. While the position of “apostle” was extremely unique, his mission wasn’t any more important than the rest of us non-apostles. Everyone who follows Jesus has a mission; it’s a calling that is nothing less […]

Reflections from The Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress

I really liked The Postmodern Pilgrim’s Progress. It was thoughtful and funny–a great combination! It was an allegory, and I usually rather hear the ideas because that’s much faster than a story. That being said, I recommend this book! The book was filled with a ton of great ideas–challenges, reminders, and encouragements. The book has a ton of quotable material, […]

How to avoid self-harm

Reflections from Proverbs 28:26: Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. THOSE WHO…BUT According to the sandbox created by this proverb, there are two kinds of people. Naturally, life is more complicated! Oversimplification has value as a tool for instruction. We need to start with the basics. First, we crawl, then […]

The casualties of the consumption war

“They will eat but not have enough; they will engage in prostitution but not flourish.” (Hosea 4:10) Ultimately, living apart from God will not lead to satisfaction or growth. We can have all the food in the world and still not have enough if we aren’t honoring God. We can pursue every sexual desire (prostitution) and still not grow if […]

Did Jesus really get overwhelmed?

“My soul is overwhelmed to the point of death” (Mark 14:34) I don’t understand the mystery of Jesus being overwhelmed. Jesus was both man and God! How could he get overwhelmed? It doesn’t make sense to me. I get overwhelmed because my power and knowledge are (severely) limited. God is can’t be overwhelmed because his power and knowledge are limitless. […]

More valuable offerings: questions from the Widow’s Offering in Mark 12:41-44

Questions are good, they can lead to greater understanding. This is an essential skill for reading Scripture to hear God speak. Unfortunately, asking questions isn’t a habit for many people. Why not? First, they lead to hard work. The path of least resistance often bypasses questions. Additionally, asking a question requires a measure of humility—most of us don’t want to […]

Sandpaper Spirituality

When I was a Sophomore in high school, I went to Haiti on a mission trip with my youth group. It was an amazing life-changing experience! One of our projects was to help build a wooden gazebo. We needed to sand a ton of wood by hand, and we were working alongside other Haitian high school students. Here’s what you […]

What do you do if your prayers don’t move mountains?

During a curious encounter with an unfruitful fig tree, Jesus admonishes the disciples to have more faith: ““Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” […]

I wish I didn’t have his in common with Lombardi

I’m the head coach for a youth football team—my youngest sons are on the team. Everything is going great, except we don’t have as many wins as we would like. When I say we don’t have as many wins as we’d like, I mean that we don’t have ANY wins. We are 0-6. Other than winning, everything really is going […]

Rain drops on a window

How not to be sad

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4) There are two different approaches to suffering and sadness. One is healthy, and the other isn’t. The unhealthy attitude is the COMPENSATION approach. It views life as a struggle (which it is), but we’ll be compensated in heaven. Truth is, eternity will be great! However, we distort the […]

Do you know what it means to be poor in spirit?

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3) For the original audience, this would have been a shocking statement. It should also be shocking to us! First, this teaching was (and is) counterintuitive. How can a spiritually poor person possess a spiritual kingdom? Common sense – in this case, the definition of words […]

How to Read the Beatitudes

The most popular beatitudes in Scripture are found in Matthew chapter 5. Jesus begins the sermon on the mount with 8 amazing statements that are both beautiful and shocking. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help increase your understanding. The beatitudes are simple, reducing life to a cause-and-effect formula. “Blessed is the person who X, because […]

Does Jesus Want You to Be Happy?

YES! Jesus wants you to be happy! What is happiness and how do we get there? This seems like an easy question! Everyone wants to be happy. Here’s where things get interesting: that are conflicting ideas on how to get there. Some people love to be liked, and their happiness grows with their popularity. Others love to achieve and accumulate, […]

A Father’s Blessing

As a kid, I was a terrible baseball player. That didn’t keep my dad from always being there for me. He even coached some of my teams. What I lacked in talent I made up for with unbridled energy and enthusiasm. I remember one game in particular. My dad was a little late to the game and my team had […]