KINGDOM: the King’s Welcome, misunderstood

TrulyHumanHave you ever thought it odd that Jesus – being so centered on the idea of GRACE – when standing before his biggest crowd, gave everyone a bunch of new rules to follow? Yeah – me to.

I’ve devoted a lot of time on this blog to exploring what the Bible means when it speaks on “the Kingdom of God”, & so today I thought it’d be a good idea to look at the King – Jesus – and his most popular sermon, the oft-misunderstood “Sermon on the Mount”.

So, one day Jesus made a campaign speech of sorts (it was like he was accepting his party’s nomination, really) while standing on a hill, & a lot of people came to hear him – around 5,000! Jesus took this opportunity to lay out the important stuff. [Read more…]

“Rumors of my Demise have been Greatly Exaggerated” – the Church (1)

TheChurchwillPrevailIt is a commonly accepted notion that the Christian church is in a tailspin. Almost every week a new article or blog surfaces (See HERE, HERE, and HERE, for example) which read, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!“, but at the end of the day, I’m ignoring those fearful chickens. Sure, I know of some churches that are in a decline, but I also know of many others that are flourishing. [Read more…]

KINGDOM: the Gospel of the Kingdom – it’s not about Heaven

JustWrite copyI talk about the Kingdom of God a lot. I’m there so often because I’m still unpacking it for myself, but also because it is often a missing – and central – component to Jesus’ message of Good News. When we forget that the Gospel is also the Gospel of the Kingdom, what we’re left with is what we’ve all heard a thousand times: you’re a sinner; Jesus died on the cross for your sins, & rose again from the dead, & if you only pray to receive Him into your heart – voila – you’ll go to Heaven when you die! Sounds almost trite, once you hear it often enough – “pie in the sky, by & by”. Is that the whole Good News? Simply that someday, when you die, you won’t go to Hell? What about till then? What about NOW? [Read more…]

You are NOT Ordinary

ExcuseLike many young boys I knew, I grew up wishing I were a superhero. Unlike those other boys, my imagination was far more detailed and all-consuming.

My penchant for daydreaming earned me the nickname of “Martian” in elementary school – even the teachers called me that – because I was “always in outer space.”  My fantasy of choice was that a huge storm was bearing down on our school. I would imagine the teacher in front of me, but in my mind – as she was attempting to teach – waters rose up around her ankles, her waist, her shoulder – somehow unaware of the danger that was overtaking her.  I – in my minds eye – would then begin swimming each of the students in my class to safety, one-by-one, until the teacher – in real life – would call on me, and I would be at an absolute loss as to what she had been talking about.  “In outer-space again, Martian?”, and the whole class would giggle.  Even to this day, my favorite movies are Captain America, the Avengers, & Lord of the Rings – give me a hero with special abilities and an incredible call on his or her life and I am IN!

However, life feels so normal – so average – so day-to-day, pushing against the crowd, trying to make something happen.  Is there anything special about that? [Read more…]

God with Skin On (Christmas is REAL)

ChristmasBlogHow do you cope with the end of your world, & the beginning of another? As strange – & devastating – as that may sounds, that’s what Christmas is, and some of us even feel it.

God with skin on – the creator of the universe, putting on frailty. It’s like packaging an earthquake in a test-tube, or pouring all the world’s oceans into a coke can. It’s something profound – almost absurd – and if true, it changes – quite literally – EVERYTHING.  [Read more…]