Rebirth, New Life, & New Beginnings

Though I know Easter is behind us, & Christmas on the distant horizon, these thoughts have been swirling around in me since April, so I though I’d put them down for others to engage with.

I was raised in a non-believing home, so I had only the vaguest notion that Easter had anything to do with Jesus – if anyone in my family had ever mentioned it, I didn’t remember – but the excitement of Spring, new life, and EXCESS AMOUNTS OF REESE’S EASTER BUNNY CANDIES just moved my SOUL, so it didn’t surprise me whatsoever when I began exploring the Bible late in my teenage years that Bunnies, Eggs, and Spring all represented new life and were a living arrow all pointing towards the resurrection of Jesus.

My younger brother and I would get up early on Easter Sunday, sneaking out into the kitchen to find our huge Easter baskets – packed full of candy, and toys – and Mom & Dad would be awoken by the ruckus, joining us shortly to cook a full-out breakfast of  pancakes, bacon, eggs, and hash-browns.  Then we’d empty our Easter baskets in our room, and take to our immense 8 acre back-yard to hunt for eggs for the next hour or so.  And when THAT was through, we’d  hop in the car and drive across town to Granda & Papa Wilkinson’s with the rest of the extended family, hunt eggs again at their house –  except they had mostly plastic eggs with MONEY INSIDE – then eat a huge Easter lunch that would make Thanksgiving recoil in fear of it’s huge-osity.

I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone here has some sort of annual traditions that you uphold – whether the big one takes place at Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas… or SUPERBOWL.  There are things in each of our lives that we count on year after year to happen a certain way, and often just ride through the experience – simply going through the motions.  Well, Jesus was a Jew, and the Jews had a LOT of traditions they upheld, but few as important as the passover… [Read more…]

Philippians 4: what is Reel? Christians & the media

It seems to me that, given the restrictions caused by Covid19, this topic has never been more relevant than it is now. Feeling trapped in our homes, we’re devouring any & all available entertainment at our fingertips: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, cable TV, & all sorts of ‘entertainment’ available on the web. I pray this message is a healthy reminder for us, because I’m likely going to step on everyone’s toes, my own included… [Read more…]

Engaged Worship

As a disciple of Jesus my life should be a response to His work (what He has done and is doing) of creation, sustenance, rebirth, enlightenment, salvation, and sanctification. How I respond to God IS WORSHIP – that is what tells the world how valuable He is. This is how we worship – how we declare declares His worth. Of course, that’s far more than just singing a song – in fact, it is possible to worship God and NEVER SING, but as a people who – in order to fully experience a truth need to LIVE it – singing/making music to the Lord is also for our benefit. It doesn’t ‘usher’ in God – he’s omnipresent, and – for believers- already present by his Spirit on the inside…but it does change us, letting us experience – & making us more aware of the experience of – His Spirit in our midst.

Here are a few Biblical guidelines for what singing to God can look like:
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We, the Least: on Honor

NO PARKINGIn light of recent national (& for my family, somewhat local events) I thought it important to re-publish this post. Honor comes a result of recognizing God’s image in everyone…

Have you ever spent time with someone & afterward just felt very happy to be you? You knew you were loved, no matter what, & your name was “safe” in their mouth? It’s true of all of us: when I like being me around you, I like you. This is the natural impact of a person of honor. Considering the sorts of people who were drawn to Jesus, & how many were, I think it’s fair to say that Jesus was a person of honor[Read more…]

Asking Jesus how to Pray

With the National Day of Prayer just this past week I wonder how often & how freely we pray?

I’ve found that when one struggles to pray it’s often because they struggle with their view of God, or have a faulty understanding of prayer itself. Both of these issues are addressed when Jesus gave us His simple blueprint for prayer.

Prayer isn’t hard – no need for complex words, or heady concepts. There is no “performance” in prayer. Jesus gave this example of the sorts of things one might say to God:

 Therefore, you should pray like this…

Note: Jesus didn’t say “You should PRAY THIS…” – it’s not something that is only useful if quoted word for word. This is simply a roadmap of how we might converse with God. Pray like this…

Our Father in heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.

Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

[Read more…]

KINGDOM: You are Blessed!

PuzzlePieceKingdomJesus, God with skin on had one sermon in particular we call the “Sermon on the Mount.” It’s not a very profound name because basically He taught a bunch of stuff while standing on a Hill… pretty anticlimactic name, huh?  Anyway, in the Kingdom of God is served like Jesus’ acceptance speech for being nominated “King”… Jesus lays out ALL of the “important” stuff. This is what the Kingdom was like.  [Read more…]

KINGDOM: Welcome to the New World!

PuzzlePieceKingdomOne area of study that has been so inspiring for me these past few years & an inspiration behind many of the songs I’ve been writing these past few years is the Kingdom of God. For many it is a piece of their faith that they find it easy to overlook, yet it’s central to Jesus’ Good News. [Read more…]

Why Easter is my favorite Holiday…the Resurrection

As a former Atheist, I did quite a lot of study before I was convinced that Jesus had not only existed, but that the resurrection was the most logical explanation of what could be historically known about Jesus’ death and the origins of the early church. From this research I compiled what I – at one time – thought of expanding into a book: an account of what I know about Jesus and why it points to Jesus being raised from the dead. Since writing this over 20 years ago, I repost it annually in my blog. I hope this challenges or strengthens your faith… Happy Easter/Resurrection day!
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The Man born Blind

The book of Job says, “For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as (sure as) the sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:6-7) Evil, pain, and suffering are nothing new to any of us. 

Sometimes we’re tempted to look at it as a philosophical issue but a few years back I was struck by the truth of the matter: the problem of pain is an issue of the heart. Take C.S. Lewis as an example. Lewis wrote one of the greatest philosophical treatise on pain ever penned; The Problem of Pain. However, the content of his book brought little comfort in the midst of losing his wife, Joy, as any one having read A Grief Observed will attest. It is so harsh that it was originally published under a pseudonym so as to not ruin Lewis’ public persona. Those troubling pages document Lewis’s deep doubt, anger, fear, and bitterness – emotions most anyone in the same position would feel. Why? Didn’t he understand the issue? Was what he wrote in The Problem of Pain all wrong?  [Read more…]

Hope in Troubling Times

AdventChapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel shares a compelling story. Beginning in verse 13 we learn of two men walking to the village of Emmaus, a seven mile journey, & they were discussing the current buzz on the street, during which the resurrected Jesus joined them, & entered into the conversation. Read Luke 24:13-27 yourself for the full story, but the tale is a peculiar one. [Read more…]