Hidden Criticism

If you do what Jesus wants you to do, you will have critics—especially if you are a leader. (See Luke 13:10-17). What motivates them? Who can know? They may fear loss of power or some other form of pride. They may not criticise directly, they are hidden, like snakes in the grass. Therefore, a leader ought to stay alert. Most […]

Thorns in Life

Jesus warns us about the thorns in life that keep us from following him and being blessed. The thorns are self-inflicted; we choose them. We are responsible for the thorns; they are not situations that happen to us. Jesus specifically mentions three kinds of thorns (although anything that keeps us from following him is a thorn): worries, riches, and pleasures. […]


[Jesus] was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith…” (Luke 7:9) I’m amazed that Jesus was amazed.  Luke uses this word 18 times, and only once does it describe Jesus.  (In nearly every other instance, people are surprised and impressed by the words and works […]

We need each other to grow spiritually

Did you know that God uses other people to build your faith? In fact, if you feel like you have stalled out spiritually. This could be due to the fact that you don’t have the right people in your life. Here’s the truth: we need each other to grow spiritually. This isn’t a comfortable faith principle! We’d rather keep people […]

fast and slow

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19–20) What is the connection between listening, speaking, and anger? Although it’s mentioned last, let’s start with a quick look at anger. Most people work hard to avoid expressing their anger–not me! I am […]

macro photography of water waves

Will you have too much faith next year?

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:6-8) Scripture makes it clear: we ought to deal […]

More than a glitch

In a list of basic spiritual teachings, Hebrews 6:1 mentions “the repentance from acts that lead to death.” The writer does not talk about a single act that leads to a single death. Instead, there are many kinds of actions that lead to many “deaths.” There is a death that is not final. Physical death is a one time event […]

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 […]