September 8, 2010
It’s pretty mind-blowing for me when I think of how many phenomenal, right-on sermons I’ve heard in my life. Having grown up in the church I have the distinct advantage of having heard well over 2,000 sermons in my life so far. And while there were plenty of duds (don’t get me started!), there have also been plenty of messages that touched my heart and caused in me a desire to want to change. That’s what is supposed to happen when God’s Word is preached, right? It’s supposed to make us want to change the way we look at God and how much more we should love and appreciate him, change how we love others, or change how we behave in general.
You’ve been there, too, right? You know what it’s like to sit in a sermon and say in your mind, “Wow, this is really good. I needed this.” And we have this idea that just by hearing it we’re going to be changed forever and never go back to how it was before that morning or night, before we heard and our hearts were touched. And maybe in some ways that’s been the case. Maybe you can trace back to a time when some words that you heard in a church service radically changed your life and you still remember them, but that would be the unusual exception, wouldn’t it? (more…)
August 23, 2010
“If only I knew what to do then it would all be so much better.” Have you ever found yourself saying that? I think we’ve all uttered those desperate words in search of an answer to a question in our life.
“My parents don’t trust me because of mistakes I’ve made. I just wish I knew what to do.”
“I’m finding it harder and harder to control myself when I’m with my boyfriend/girlfriend. I just wish I knew what to do.”
“I don’t really feel close to God lately and haven’t for a while, I just wish I knew what to do.”
“I’m feeling like I’ve plateaued in my life and am really going nowhere. I just wish I knew what to do.”
It can be really frustrating in life when we find ourselves at a place where we don’t know what our next step should be and feel helpless. And the ugly truth is that… well… we’ve all been there. (more…)
August 20, 2010
I love to watch movies a little more than I probably should. I am certainly not as bad as many people out there but I’m definitely addicted more than most. And I like to think that I have a way with words sometimes when my creative juices are really flowing. Still I have not once – and I mean ever – been asked by a movie studio to review a movie so that they could use that review for their commercial. And yes, to answer your question, I am slightly offended by that!
But only slightly, because I know they’ve never asked you either. In fact, they never really care much about the review that anyone I know would give their movies. It’s all about Ebert and Roeper and The Los Angeles Times and a few hand-selected others. When you read their thoughts on some movies you know that there had to be a more illustrious and even more beautiful way they could use to describe it than the way they’ve picked. (more…)
July 20, 2010
This term is not an original that I made up. Some smart psychologist or something coined the phrase in referring to the culture we live in, particularly the youth culture. And I think that he or she got it pretty dead on.
You know what vultures do. They find something that’s sick or dying, something hurt, and they prey on it and feed on it and finish it off. It’s pretty gruesome and intense. But then so is the level of bullying and verbal bashing we see in youth culture today. Vulture culture — it unfortunately fits.
Maybe you know someone who has been made fun of on facebook. Maybe someone’s said something hurtful to you under the anonymousness of formspring. Maybe you’ve been made fun of by people at school. Maybe your brother or sister consistently berate you and make you feel worthless. This vulture culture is scary in how fierce and persistent it can be. It really seems like any time I go on facebook anymore I can find someone being picked on (even if “in joking”) in less than 10 minutes of meandering around.
And so what does this tell us? Is this just people joking around? Is this a matter of one or two people out there having real attitude problems and being the trouble makers? Or is it something that we all need to deal with because the end results can be shockingly tragic? (more…)
July 17, 2010
It’s only been a few hours now since I watched the movie “Inception” which leaves me with all kinds of wild thoughts of dreams, subconscious, and the power of our minds. There were so many enjoyable parts of the movie. From the wonderful acting, excellent camera work, compelling plot line, and deep levels of questions that don’t always get answered, it places itself on a different level than most films being put out. And it does it with finesse. But it also has me thinking about our life dreams.
Our intensely powerful minds have the capability of thinking of things that are not yet and imagining what it would be like if they were. You can dream of all kinds of things happening in your life or in your world that aren’t that way yet. It’s what spurs on the artist to paint on a blank canvas. It’s what motivates the social activist to fight for their cause. We see what is in front of us and then begin to bend and twist it and see what it would look like in a different way. (more…)
May 25, 2010
“Entitled American” seems a bit redundant. I know that might not make some people too happy to hear, but the fact remains that the vast majority of Americans have entitlement issues. Of course, we’re not the only nation or people that deal with this issue by any stretch of the imagination. But let’s take a real quick history lesson back to the beginning of our union and remember that we emancipated ourselves from England because we felt we deserved better representation and more rights than we were getting. This isn’t a bad thing, but it has set quite a precedent for the way we as a people interact even today. (more…)
April 22, 2010
I read an article the other day where a fairly well-known Christian artist (at least well-known and Christian about 8 years ago) was talking with the interviewer about her choice to live outside of the teaching of the Bible, to live how she desired to live in her heart. As I sat and read the words of imagined liberty and freedom she thought she had in choosing her own way when it just seemed too difficult or unrealistic to follow what God had said, it saddened me. How foolish and prideful do we have to be to openly declare our way to be better than God’s? I’ve heard it said before that the danger of the church of today is we ask just for belief and not obedience. And how true that can be!
See, in many Christian circles we like to make God so approachable and loving that we choose to remove the idea of conviction and correction. I mean, God is supposed to be our best friend and there is this wonderful freedom we find in grace, right?! And for too many Christians a loving, friendly, gracious God will let us find our own way even if that means going in direct opposition of what He’s made quite clear. Somehow a “good” God apparently wants our happiness over our fulfillment. (more…)
April 7, 2010
I don’t really come from a liturgical background, so to speak. So I wasn’t raised with traditions such as Lent and the Epiphany and the like. We just handled the big ones like Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving. You know, the good Christian holidays that still involve excessive eating! But I’ve always been intrigued by the ancient traditions of the church and the symbolism that exists in what they do. So I thought, why not participate in Lent?! So starting on Ash Wednesday I gave up going on Facebook for 40 days to Easter, and this is what I realized: (more…)
March 16, 2010
It was three years ago today that I got a call that will remain in my memory for the rest of my life. Memory is not a quality that I am really known for (to say the least). But I can remember exactly where I was on Valley Forge Christian College campus. I can remember exactly what the weather was like. And I can almost remember exactly how he worded it when Pastor Craig told me that his youngest daughter, Laura, a lovely, life-filled senior in our youth ministry, had passed away that morning in a car accident.
My world stopped. Everything came crashing in. How do you react? What do you say in that moment? I was drawing blanks right and left. Then the tears came. (more…)
March 9, 2010
I woke up this morning a bit earlier than I liked. I had a healthy breakfast. I went to the gym and worked out. I came into the office and before turning my laptop on or doing any work spent time in prayer and personal Bible study. This has become my morning routine for the last few months.
Routines get a pretty bad rap these days. Most of the time we’re used to hearing about how they can get us in a rut or how they can keep us from enjoying life. We get stuck in our routines, right? While I’m very willing to agree that there’s the possibility for things to get a bit off course if you’re not careful, you’ll find that pretty much any good thing in life can have inherent dangers in it if it’s not handled correctly. But I think there’s so much good that can come from some healthy routines. (more…)