Archives For growth

Why is it we feel we must portray a model of perfection as Christians?

For as long as I can remember, the stereotypical Christian was one who cleaned up well and always answered the “How are you Doing?” question with positive enthusiasm.

Do we present a church which has arrived and is all together, or one filled with people on the journey of figuring it out?

Donald Miller, in his refreshingly candid book Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy says,

“Grace only sticks to our imperfections. Those who can’t accept their imperfections can’t accept grace either.”

A photo by Keith Wickramasekara. unsplash.com/photos/C-6TaN2fxK8

Sometimes it is these imperfections which bring beauty.

Miller would imply Christianity, at is core,  is an admission of weakness. We seem to grasp this as a way to enter the door of faith.

Jesus is the Center.

We say this phrase often, but when have we last had someone we respect, tell us how this works in their lives?

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, all of your Soul, all of your Mind, and all of your Strength.” (Mark 12:30)

So what does that mean?

When I was younger I was told several things reflected having Jesus at the center.

  • Raising your hands signified to my classmates I finally was saved and not one of the Christian school “rebels”.
  • As I got older, I was told being demonstrative and loud in worship was needed to be a leader.
  • In some circles, speaking in tongues publicly is the key.

I remember reading Brother Lawrence’s story of redirecting his thoughts to God once a minute. As I tried to “practice the presence of God”, I never achieved once an hour for the entire day let alone once a minute! An epic fail in keeping Jesus at the center!

What’s Your Goal?

January 11, 2016

Our human self-sufficiency is never more evident than at the beginning of the calendar year with our New Year’s Resolutions. Goals are great, but so often we set about those goals in a self-reliant, try harder kind of way.

As Christians, many of these goals are linked to spiritual growth, such as wanting to read the Bible more.

If spiritual growth were as simple as trying harder, we would all be light years ahead of where we find ourselves.

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I recently came across some Judah Smith quotes from his book, Jesus Is For You: Stories of God’s Relentless Love, which speak to this topic

The constant battle is to trust Jesus for growth and change even more than our own effort.

“Jesus isn’t standing aloof yelling at us to climb out of our pits and clean ourselves up so we can be worthy of Him. He was wading waist-deep into the muck of life, weeping with the broken. rescuing the lost, and healing the sick.”

Top Books in 2015

November 22, 2015

I review a lot of books on this blog and many others influence the posts I write.

In fact, my best books of the year are always some of the most read posts.

Just in time for the holidays and those needing gift ideas, I will give you my…

Top Books in 2015 which I have read.

I will link to the appropriate articles and reviews in the summary, but my aim is to tell you how these books are still impacting me months later.

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Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us

Hands down one of the best books on grace I have ever read. The part which sticks with me is the emphasis on seeing grace from cover to cover in Scripture. My teaching has taken on more of a “from Genesis to Revelation” flavor since reading this book.

I had read and enjoyed Jefferson Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough.

When I was given a chance to review his new book, It’s Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die, I jumped at the chance.

I was not disappointed.

Bethke takes on many aspects of Christianity in which we have some misunderstandings. Included in this are:

  • Christianity is more than going to heaven
  • The Temple is not a building
  • The Sabbath is not an outdated set of rules
  • The kingdom is not in the sky
    and much, much more.

Bethke hit on so many things I’ve been pondering in my own life. This book became a conversation for me with a fellow traveler.