I have a theory. Now mind you, it is just a theory, so perhaps I could be proven wrong. Nevertheless, here it goes:
Genuine thankfulness should result in contentment.
According to the commentators for the Macy’s parade yesterday, an estimated 45 million turkeys were consumed as families across the United States gathered to take part in our celebration of thankfulness. Families gathered around tables to feast, sat with family they had not seen since the holidays last year, and went around the table sharing about their thankfulness. But that begs the question, “Is this really thankfulness?” Continue reading
The questions we ask say a lot about who we are. Think about it for just a minute. Questions reveal concerns. We rarely ask questions about things that do not concern us. They expose our understanding of things. We have all sat in a classroom where someone raised there hand and asked a question only to reveal how incredibly little they understood about the subject at hand. Fact is, most all of us have been that person.
Furthermore, I am not so sure the old adage, “There are no stupid questions,” is all that true. Honestly, there are some really bad questions out there. Continue reading
“You must purge the evil from you” (Deut 24:7).
This is the constant refrain given in Deuteronomy. As Moses revisits the statutes set before Israel going into the promised land, he provides the above statement as grounding. However, it begs the question, “Why?” Why is it necessary for Israel to purge the evil in their camp?
Honestly, many of the practices Moses lays out when using this phrase appear overly harsh, even sadistic at times. For instance, “purging the evil” is given as the reason to stone a rebellious child or a woman who is discovered to not be a virgin when she gets married. In my mind, while these are both wrong, they are certainly not offenses worthy of death! Continue reading
The message of the kingdom is the mission of the church.
Over the last three posts, I have discussed the significance of the kingdom of God, pointed out some common misconceptions, and provided a rough description of this kingdom. The kingdom has already come in one sense, yet in another, it is waiting on its fulfillment. It is “already, but not yet.” However, it is clear in this time between the times that the church has a crucial role to play in the establishment of the kingdom. Continue reading
We were supposed to be stewards.
That is why we were created. In the very beginning, back when God made everything out of nothing, the pinnacle of that creation was man. Man was made in his image and was to rule in his stead. In essence we were stewards, entrusted with overseeing all that God had created. Our creation was intrinsically tied to responsibility. We were made with a task.
But we blew it.
In the fall, that responsibility was shattered, and the man created to steward God’s creation was put at odds with it. Our relationship with God and our relationship with all he had created was turned on its head.
The coming of the kingdom of God is the reordering of everything. All that was messed up will one day be made right, and it will happen through the person and work of Christ. When we speak of kingdom come, that is what we mean.
If you do not know what you are fighting for, you are bound to make mistakes.
In the last post, I talked about the kingdom of God (or the kingdom of heaven, as the terms are interchangeable in the Bible). The term gets thrown around a lot. We Christian folk are always talking about “kingdom work,” “advancing the kingdom,” being “kingdom focused,” and the list goes on and on. Perhaps we see that it is important, or perhaps we think the word sounds cool. Whatever the case, we describe a lot of things as kingdom work without ever really defining our term. And in doing this, we have created some interesting definitions of the kingdom that are nowhere to be found in the Bible.
At the risk of offending sensibilities, I think it is perhaps best to consider first what the kingdom is not. Continue reading
Jesus is concerned about his kingdom.
It is pretty easy to agree with that statement if you read the gospel account of Matthew. The kingdom of heaven is possibly the most prevalent theme in the book, and is most often recorded off the lips of Jesus himself.
Yet, for most of us, the kingdom of God is a vague, confusing title we may not understand. When it is discussed, it either sounds so theologically stuffy that it is boring and unhelpful, or it is done so simply that it is vague and serves no real purpose. Instead, we must find a road between. Understanding the kingdom was a big deal to Jesus, so it must be pretty important. My hope in writing my next few posts is bringing the kingdom of heaven out of the clouds so that people who have never been to seminary can get excited about it too. Honestly, the idea is only as complex and boring as we make it. Jesus got excited about it, and so should we. Continue reading
The parable of the day laborers has always been difficult for me to comprehend. Perhaps I make it too hard. More precisely, perhaps I do not like what it teaches.
In chapter 20 of his gospel account, Matthew retells a parable that Jesus told. In this parable a landowner goes out to find day laborers for his vineyard. At the beginning of the day, he hires men for an amount of money they all agree upon. Several hours later, he goes out and finds more men. He does this again, and again, and again. At the very last hour of the day, he goes and finds a few more men and hires them.
Now, as the day is finishing, it is time for the payout. The men line up to receive their money, and the foreman walks up to those who had only worked an hour and hands them the full amount of money. Continue reading
I am currently staring out the third floor window of my new home, overlooking the busy, downtown streets of Washington, DC. Well, it is my new home for half the week, at least.
This is why:
Since the dawn of modern international missions, this task has largely seen people leaving the United States in search of foreign lands absent of a gospel proclamation. While the above manifestation of the Great Commission is still paramount, a new day dawns in sharing the gospel with the nations. Once, an ocean separated us from the peoples of the world. Today, the nations increasingly come to us.
This is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote as part of an ongoing research project at my seminary. I would suggest you go read that post, called Nations in our Midst, if you plan on finishing this one
But since most of you did not click on the link to read that post, I will try to sum it up for you in a few sentences.
For the past year, I have been running point on the development of an international church planting strategy at Southeastern. However, this international church planting strategy is different from any I have ever seen in one way. It is not taking place internationally. This church planting effort is happening right here in the good ol’ US of A. Continue reading
This post is the conclusion to a two-part series. It will probably not make much sense unless you go read the first post: Will I be dumping Starbucks?
I concluded the last post by asking if there was a better way to approach cultural issues than this ban on Starbucks.
This is how I answered:
In order to win the right war, sometimes we have to stop focusing on the wrong one. Sometimes, it is best to lose a battle in order to win a war. And I fear that our insistence on fighting so hard in the cultural war is causing us to lose the eternal war.
What good comes from gaining the top of the cultural mountain; if in gaining it, you have lost the ear of the very people you are trying to reach? Our task is not cultural superiority. It is gospel proclamation.
Our job as the church is not to “beat” gay rights activists, or liberals in general for that matter, in some imaginary game. Our job is to proclaim the gospel to them and continue to proclaim it to ourselves.
And that is where I want to pick up. If by reading my first post on this, you got the impression I felt we needed to be silent, then let me clarify. I do not think we should do less about cultural issues like same-sex marriage. I think we should do more. Continue reading