How To Trust God

How To Trust God

God has a habit of not doing what I want, when I want, how I want.

That's probably a good thing seeing as how God is way smarter than I am and way more loving than I am.

Seriously. God loves me, my family, and the whole world; and he promises that he'll make everything come together for a good result.

If I really believe that last sentence, I'm never going to worry about a thing. Turns out sometimes I have a hard time believing that last sentence, because I wrestle with worry pretty often.

How Much Money Should Christians Have?

How Much Money Should Christians Have?

Well, I didn't win the $1.5 billion Powerball.

You can tell because I'm not writing this from my new gold plated space shuttle.

I know some people will have a problem with this, but I bought a ticket. I never for a minute thought I would actually win. The reason I bought it was so that my family could enjoy the entertainment of the 'what would we do with it' conversations.

I’m not too disappointed that I did not win, because the thing is - that much money would probably ruin my life.

Healthy Engagement with Politics

Healthy Engagement with Politics

Breaking News: we have a presidential election occurring here in the US later this year.

You may have missed it, or perhaps you noticed a web article about it.

Or newspaper article. Or magazine article. Or a TV commercial. Or news coverage. Or trending twitter topics. Or one of the debates. Or a billboard. Or a robo-call to your phone. Or unending posts about it on your Facebook feed.

It’s hard to miss, is what I’m getting at here. 

My question is this: in the midst of often 'spirited' debates, how can Christians debate and discuss who to vote for and retain our identity as the Body of Christ?

Love Is...

Love Is...

On Valentine's Day, kids give and receive cards to one another. Restaurants are filled with couples. Those of us who are in relationships (and wish to remain in them) purchase cards, candy, flowers, etc and give them to those who we love.

It is a celebration of love, as evidenced by all the hearts and cherubs adorning the seasonal aisle in our local stores.

I'm not here to complain about the holiday. Love is a wonderful concept for us to celebrate, and the opportunity to give nice notes and gifts to others (even at a huge markup) is a good thing.

But love is more than red hearts and naked baby angels. It's more than spending quality time with a special someone.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Apostle Paul tells us just how much more:

But What If Christianity Is Wrong?

But What If Christianity Is Wrong?

Deciding what religion (if any) to adhere to seems like a risky proposition.

I mean, what if you don’t pick the right one? If you pick the wrong one, does everyone else basically get to hear the losing horn from “Price is Right” in the afterlife — if there is one?

I happen to be a follower of Jesus, and I really do believe the things He says about God and the nature of reality. I have found a fullness of life which I simply didn’t have before making the choice to believe in Jesus. I’m never going back.

But if you are not currently a follower of Jesus, I can totally understand why you might hesitate to make a commitment. So allow me to consider what it means if people who take Jesus at His word are just flat out wrong.

How To Have A Conversation

On Christmas Eve, Sarah Silverman posted a tweet about Jesus being gender fluid.

Now, as a follower of Jesus, how am I supposed to react to this?

Should I get angry? Should I try to 'educate' people about the subject being posted? Do I ignore it?

Personally, I'm always interested in ways to get into a conversation about faith. This seems like a great conversation starter.

Why I Don't Hate Muslims

In the past week, there have been several notable comments about Muslims. Donald Trump made a statement that he believes all Muslims should be blocked from entering the United States.

Additionally, the president of Liberty University - Jerry Falwell Jr. - said that Christians should arm themselves so they can 'end those Muslims'.

I can understand why such comments and dispositions would be taken. Fear makes us want to put big, strong walls around the things we care about.

How To Respond to Terrorism

We've seen an increasing number of mass shootings in the United States recently (353 in 2015, so far), not to mention attacks in places like Paris, Nigeria and Mali. When we find out about the latest violence, it can be tempting to shake our heads and long for the day when believers in Jesus get to escape this world and live for all eternity in heaven where there is no pain or tears.

The problem is, that viewpoint is completely antithetical to what the Christian scriptures teach.

The Bible teaches that Christ followers are supposed to engage in the world, not escape from it.

Seeing Red: 3 Things To Remember In The Midst Of Cup-Gate

Good grief. We've gotten ourselves into quite the 'discussion' over the past few days. Let's take a moment to recall how we got to this point...

Starbucks released a cup for the holidays. It was a minimalist design which included traditional Christmas colors - primarily red - and did not include snowflakes, doves, wreaths or any other traditional Christmas symbols as have been used in some cases in the past.

In response, a man named Joshua Feuerstein uploaded a video to Facebook where he decried the style of the cup as an indication of the anti-Christmas agenda of Starbucks, along with their 'refusal' to say Merry Christmas.

This has led to quite the social media firestorm. Our nation has not been so concerned about the color of an object since a certain dress from earlier this year.

We're now at the point where backlash has resulted against not only Starbucks, but also against Feuerstein himself and those who agree with him. Many Christians reject his 'culture war' viewpoint. I've heard the word ignorant ascribed to him numerous times.

That catches us up and now, let's just take a time out.

Making Faith Practical eBook Now Available!

Beatitudes v3 I have released a new eBook about making faith practical!

You can purchase and download it on Amazon.

In it, I take what Jesus says in Matthew 5:3-10, commonly called The Beatitudes, and explore ways we can incorporate these truths into our daily lives.

I mean, who really prays to be poor or persecuted? So how do we incorporate these ideas into our lives to receive the blessing which Jesus promises will accompany them?

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful in your everyday journey of following Jesus!

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,

   for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses those who mourn,

   for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are humble,

   for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,

   for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful,

   for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure,

   for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace,

   for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,

for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Matthew 5:3-10)

Retelling Christmas: A Story of Joy

balloonsThis past Sunday, I got to speak about the joy we find in the Christmas narrative. Pretty much everybody who discovered what God's plan is - and that they get to be involved in it - are filled with joy. You know what? I don't like ending a sentence with the word 'joy' and a period.

Joy needs to have an exclamation point after it.



That's better. Okay, back to the blog post:

But it's not just at Christmas that people discover JOY! regarding God's plans:

Matthew records a story on Easter Sunday (I know, I know, now talking about Easter at Christmas. I shouldn’t do that...)

Anyways, Matthew tells us about some women heading to Jesus’ tomb on what would become known as Easter Sunday. When they arrive, they find an angel has rolled away the stone and the angel shares with them the news that Jesus has risen.

Here's what happens next:

Matt 28:8 “The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great JOY!, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message.” (emphasis mine)

These women discovered something God was doing, and it filled them with JOY! These women got to be the first people to share the Gospel.

(Just quick side note here. If you're a woman and you feel that God is calling you to ministry, what more authority do you need than the fact that God chose women to be the very first messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? God's gifts are not separated by gender. That's my riff on that.)

The bottom line is that if you want JOY! in your life, find out what God is up to and get involved.

This doesn't mean you won't have difficult time and circumstances arise. But if we remember that God is all about renewing and restoring all of creation and we get to be a part of that, there's a JOY! at the core of that which no circumstance or situation can ever fully smother.

So share the message of JOY! that the God who made us and knows all about us loves us and wants to have a relationship with us, because this is not something we're supposed to hold onto and hoard. God was pleased to share this JOY! with us, now we should go forth and share it with others.

Put other people first by volunteering.

Do something randomly nice like paying for the check of a family at a restaurant without them knowing

Give a Christmas present to somebody totally not expecting one from you (and tell them not to go get you one, but give something to charity if they feel a need to reciprocate).

Tell stories of JOY! in your life this Christmas in honor of the God who shouted it to us through his own son Jesus!


35@35 #6: Forgiveness

Mali-denounces-deadly-stoning-as-dark-age-practiceTC's Guidelines and Principals for Life #6: "Forgiveness is the core of Christianity." I've read several books in the last year plus that have talked about handling hurt and forgiveness.

No Freedom Without Forgiveness by Desmond Tutu talked about post apartheid South Africa.

Evil and the Justice of God by N.T. Wright dealt with theodicy - the discipline of explaining the existence of evil in light of an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God, which delves quickly into the reality being hurt and offended in this life.

Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf, a Croat who wrote with a context of the brutal warfare his country engaged to examine how we can create true community with one another.

Out of these texts, one of the most sticking take away point was this: that the defining characteristic of Christianity is the call to love one's enemy.

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.  ~Jesus (Matthew 5:43-45)

We live in a world of hurts, both great and small on a daily basis. You were out of milk for cereal this morning. You were cut off in traffic. Your boss/teacher criticized you in front of your peers. A rumor was started about you on social media.

Or maybe worse is going on. You're being abused. You were attacked. You've been robbed.

Our normal way of handling the feelings and frustration and injustice of these situations is to either pay it back upon our offender, or, when that isn't possible, to look for other ways we can vent our anger.

Often, this means we lash out at others who most likely had nothing to do with what wounded us. That's our nature. "Misery loves company" the saying goes.

When I have been hurt, if I cannot demand justice from the perpetrator because I don't know who they are, or they are too strong for me to hurt in the manner that I was hurt, then I will visit my pain on others. At least then others have to deal with my same issues and I can find shallow comfort in that.

When I was a child, I was taught that we should treat others the way we wish to be treated. My problem with this system was that a person who did not follow it would never be punished. I decided that the buck would stop with me. If somebody was being mean or selfish, I would give them a taste of their own medicine.

While my solution was foolish (I did mention I was a child, right?), I believe my logic still stands.

But Jesus answered this question in a different manner. He saw that at some point the tally sheet must balance. And instead of giving back to each person what they have stored up (though that will happen one day), at this time, he would stop the cycle of hurt and blame and offense and anger by failing to reciprocate it.

On the cross, his reaction was to forgive those who had hurt him (Luke 23:34).

By breaking the cycle of violence, and indeed offering forgiveness, he gave everyone an exit from the perverse merry go round of injustice.

That is why Jesus not only calls us to be willing to carry a cross, but he goes even further to say this:

"If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine." (Matthew 10:38)

If you can't make the choice to break the cycle of repaying hurt for hurt, you aren't able to build his kingdom. It would be impossible.

If you wish to follow Jesus, loving your enemy isn't optional. It's is absolutely central.

For that is what God did for each and every one of us.

Here's how Paul put it: "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." (Romans 5:8)

If we wish to belong to God's kingdom, loving our enemies is not optional. Jesus wasn't making a nice suggestion or stating a hyperbole.

The message of the cross is this: God forgave you, now go forgive others.

When Peter bluntly asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive in Matthew 18, Jesus' response was essentially 'Don't stop forgiving'. Because when we stop forgiving others, we ourselves stop receiving it. (That's a pretty scary thought, right?)

That point, when you're no longer willing to carry a cross, is the point at which you can no longer follow Jesus. That doesn't mean he doesn't love you. I'm not going to talk about whether that affects your eternal destiny, because that is secondary.

If you're not following Jesus, you're missing out on what God has for you right here and right now.

Let us be careful each day to forgive. Not to become foolish doormats. If you're being abused, seek safe refuge. If you are attacked for a reason other than your faith in Jesus, seek responsible defenses.

But let us never stop offering the forgiveness that none of us deserves to those who have harmed us. In doing so, we expand God's Kingdom in a way that no violence could ever stop it.


35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.

Why You Shouldn't Struggle With Self Worth

Self-DefinitionWhat defines you? Is it how you look?

Is it what you’re good at?

Could it be your job…or how much money you have?

Or perhaps it’s your religion.

Or maybe what defines you is how you view yourself.

What about how other people view you. Is that what defines you?

The other day I was reading in the book of Romans when I found something that Paul wrote:

“The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.”

Paul says that we are defined by the one who created us and what he does in us.

Jesus makes this same point in John 15. He says that God is the vine and we are the branches. I don’t care how productive or beautiful a branch is, if you cut it off from the vine, it shrivels and dies like any other.

Your identity, if it comes from the stuff I mentioned above: money, looks, religion, others opinions…can falter and fail.

The thing about God is that he gives us some guarantees in the scriptures. One is that he doesn’t change (Hebrews 13:8). Another is that he will always be at work in us (Romans 11:29).

If we accept that who we are - our self worth - is rooted in the one who made us and loves us, nothing can affect that.

God himself, through the prophet Isaiah says this: “From eternity to eternity I am God. No one can snatch anyone out of my hand. No one can undo what I have done.” (Isaiah 43:13)

Nobody - nothing - has the ability to change your worth. If you feel that way, I encourage you to look at what God says about you - he says that you were worth the sacrifice of his own son, so that you could live the life he wants you to have.

God doesn’t change, and therefore, neither does your worth.

Who Are You Becoming?

FINGERPRINTFacebook changed the layout on my profile the other day, and one of the things it does is make ‘notes’ you have written somewhat more prominent. Because of this, I found several notes I had written back in 2009 and earlier.

They were about topics like evolution, the environment, abortion, etc.

Here’s the fun part about these notes that I wrote: As I was reading them, I mostly disagreed with them.

That excites me so much.

Why? Because that means I am growing. I am changing. I’m not the same person I was 4, 5 , 6 years ago.

That’s a good thing, because I wasn’t perfect 4, 5 or 6 years ago. I had areas of my life that needed to change, and needed to grow.

I hope that 5 years from now, as I’m reading my tumblr/wordpress archive, I find some posts that I think are silly, just like I now think my facebook notes are silly.

Growth and change are so important to me because I know I’m not just like Jesus yet. In fact, I have a ways to go in order to get to that point. To be honest, I’ll probably never actually reach that goal. But I can grow closer than where I’m at now.

I find that my hard edge of theological rigor has been supplanted by humility and love.

I’m spending less time trying to be superior, and more time trying to be relatable.

I’ve learned that you can’t argue people into the kingdom of God, but you can love them into it.

Yesterday, I read this in Romans 2:4 (MSG) - “God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness, he takes us firmly by the hand and leads us into a radical life-change.”

I look back at my life and I see that I’m not the same that I was. I realize that I am becoming something other than I was. And that speaks to God in my life.

Because people rarely change, but when they do, it’s almost never on their own.

If I’m different, I believe it’s because I have invited God to be a part of my life. And he loves me enough to not leave me the same as he found me.

Please forgive me for all my imperfections, and in the areas where I am getting it wrong. Because the most important thing about me is is this:

I am becoming more like Jesus.

As you open your life to him, I know you are too.

How to Receive God's Guidance For Your Life

S12_Blueprints I was reading the Bible today, and I found this: “One day as they (several prophets and teachers in a prominent church) were worshiping God - they were also fasting as they waited for guidance - the Holy Spirit spoke…”(Acts 13:2) These first century believers - among them somebody who has to be considered if we ever build a Mt. Rushmore of church fathers, Paul - have no idea what to do next.

So they’re waiting, and seeking God’s guidance. How? By worshiping and praying.

It doesn’t say that were freaking out. Doesn’t say that they were starting dozens of new initiatives simultaneously to find the right one. It also doesn’t say that they sat around and waited for opportunity to knock.

These people clearly want to know what God’s plan is. Rather than going off in a random direction, they waited until they knew it so they could cooperate with God’s plan.

Imagine a builder who doesn’t get the blueprints from their architectural firm by the time they are ready to start construction. Does this builder just say, ‘oh well’, and start building whatever comes to mind? I hope not. I hope they would wait, and seek out those blueprints.

I hope they would realize that building without a plan is not only foolish, it’s dangerous. And when the blueprints arrive, the first thing they would have to do is tear down the mess they started.

Paul and the other believers realize that God has a blueprint. For their lives, for their church, for the world. And rather than just starting to build as fast as they can so that people see ‘results!’, they take the time to seek out what the blueprints say.

I don’t know why God sometimes withholds these plans from us. I do know it drives us nuts. At least it does that for me.

But this does teach me patience. It teaches me dependance. It teaches me faith.

It reminds me of the value of the Planner.

So the way to receive God’s guidance for your life is to seek them, and don’t start building until you have them. Again, this isn’t a license for laziness. Remember the story about the master who goes on a trip and expects his servants to be productive while he’s gone?

While we’re waiting for the plans, we should be productive. Meeting with other believers, having devoted prayer time, fasting - these are all efforts. I guarantee you they were also reading the scriptures and being a part of the local community of believers.

You can plant shrubs and mow the grass while waiting for the plans to build.

Don’t let your life become a vacant lot, or overgrown mess while you wait. Just don’t start major renovations without a plan.

How to Have Peace in Frustrating Circumstances

calmIn the past couple of years, I was in a situation where I felt that God was telling me about a coming transition, but I could never find signs of that transition being imminent. Most of my despair and frustration came from the fact that I didn't know if I had really heard from God, so I was almost always wrestling with despair.

In situations like these, I think about the story in Matthew 8 where Jesus and the disciples are in a boat when a huge squall comes up. The disciples start to freak out, but Jesus remains asleep.

Keep in mind, several of these guys are professional fishermen. They have seen storms before. If they think they're going to die from this storm, chances are good that they knew what they were talking about.

So in this panic, they wake Jesus up. He calms the storm, then he says something that was troubling to me: "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" (Matthew 8:26)

Seriously, Jesus?

We're seriously supposed to find ourselves in the midst of deadly storms, look over to see you asleep and say 'No worries!'?

But I found something interesting in what I was reading today.

In Acts 12, Peter has been arrested. He's kept in jail for several days, guarded by 16 guards. The church is praying for Peter, but the day of his execution has arrived.

To be extra sure that Peter isn't going anywhere, he has been chained directly to TWO guards!

And what is Peter doing, hours before his scheduled murder, in prison, chained to the guards?

"Peter slept like a baby." (Acts 12:6)


Well, maybe Peter knew God would free him, and that's where his faith came from. Except that after an angel appears and busts him out of prison, Peter says this:

"I can't believe it - this really happened!" (Acts 12:11) Peter wasn't expecting to be freed. He figured the worst would happen, but he was willing to accept God's plan.

I am reminded of a story that's not in the bible, so take it with a grain of salt. A man named Smith Wigglesworth - a great evangelist - once woke up in the middle of the night to find satan himself standing at the foot of his bed. Wigglesworth said 'Oh. It's just you.', then he rolled over and went back to sleep.

Faith isn't about believing the best will happen until it finally does. Faith is about fully accepting that what will happen is according to God's plan. We can certainly ask God to do things - the church was fervently praying for Peter's release. But when Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, he accepted that then answer was 'no'.

If God tells you something is going to happen, trust in it. Jesus wasn't worried in the boat because he knew God's plan. Nothing would derail it.

Peter isn't worried because even though he doesn't know God's exact plan, he knows that nothing will derail it.

God is in control. That's why we can sleep in the storm. That's why we can sleep like a baby when our execution is scheduled the next day. That's why we don't need to worry about the health of our children, or about where our next job will be.

I know it's easier said than done, but there is hope. Peter went from freaking out in the storm to being at peace in the darkest of circumstances.

Let us continue to grow in our faith until we can rest easy when everyone else is freaking out. I can't think of many more powerful ways to point to God in our lives than that.

A Christian View of Tragedy

BostonToday, America again experienced an attack of mass violence. The detonations near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed 3 people, maimed many more, and injured more than a hundred.

One of the two victims, it has been confirmed, was 8 years old. My oldest daughter is 8 years old, so this information was particularly impacting to me. I’m not sure how it would feel to lose any of my kids, and I certainly hope I never have to find out.

This comes after the terrible events late late year in Newtown, Connecticut where 26 children and adults lost their lives in another mass attack.

In the recent past, we have seen attacks in movie theaters, malls, schools and colleges.

I am of the opinion that these types of events, for the foreseeable future, will continue. (Until the depression, mental illness, anger, frustration, etc that cause these events has been dealt with, I don’t assume peoples’ actions will suddenly go in a different direction.)

Columbine, a decade ago shocked us to our core. If that event happened again today, we would shake our head and lament it as the latest event in a series of others. The 13 deaths in that event (Or 15, if you include the shooters who took their own lives) may be viewed as thankfully lower than Virginia Tech, Newtown or Norway.

How are the believers in an all-powerful and all-loving God supposed to view these events?

Are they part of God’s mysterious plan?

That would leave us in the place where we must bury our questions and our feelings of deep sadness - for to do otherwise would be to doubt God. I reject that stance completely.

I think God is just as saddened as we are by these events. I mentioned the pain I would feel if my daughter was killed.

Well, each person is a son or a daughter to God. Their loss is great to him. And also painful is the fact that one of his children committed the terrible act.

Jesus, after all, wept at the grave of his dear friend Lazarus - and he knew that he was about to resurrect Lazarus!

Jesus understands the pain of personal loss. The idea of a need to be stoic - that is, essentially emotionless - in the face of such event is foreign to the Jesus I see in the scriptures.

In fact, Jesus specifically addressed two events of mass violence and tragedy that were on the mind of people who were listening to his message.

In Luke 13, Jesus is informed that Pilate (the same one who would eventually sentence Jesus to death) had just executed some people as they were offering sacrifices at God’s temple.

You can be sure that this news hit the ears of those in Israel as hard as the news of Newtown hit mine and yours.

In response, Jesus reminds his followers of another recent tragedy, where a building fell on and killed 18 people.

And Jesus tells them this: That these people were no better or worse than anybody else.

They didn’t die because they were bad or evil. They died because Pilate was cruel. Or they died because a building was poorly constructed.

Jesus doesn’t go into a long explanation about mankind having free-will, and therefore at fault. He doesn’t  start talking about how God works in mysterious ways, or that it was ‘just these people’s time’.

He says “Unless you turn to God, you, too will die.” (Luke 13:1-5 The Message)

In other words, the only thing you can control is whether or not you are ready to stand before God.

Jesus says as plain as day that we will have to deal with tragedy and pain in this world. (John 16:33) There is no way around it. Following Jesus isn’t insurance against pain.

But here is what he guarantees: That he’ll never leave us. He’ll never forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He also guarantees that he’ll make something beautiful out of the mess (Romans 8:28)

C.S. Lewis said that God “whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”

You don’t need to believe that God causes pain, but I encourage you to believe him when he says that his kindgom is overtaking us, and that he brings with himself the healing and peace that we all long for.

I don’t know when or where the next act of mass violence will occur in our nation. And I can’t tell you that it’s part of God’s plan.

But I can tell you that it won’t derail God’s plan.

And I can tell you that he invites all of us to be a part of his plan to restore this world.

In the second to last chapter of the Bible, God says he is making all things new.

We’re not there yet, but I assure you that God fulfills his promises.


rejectionI was reading John chapter 12 today in the Message translation when I got to verses 47-48, where Jesus says this: “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection.”

Jesus says that he doesn’t reject anybody. But some people reject him.

I look at the infinite patience Jesus had for people who were leading corrupt or broken lives. I wondered how Jesus did that. How could he show such mercy and grace to people that were living in a manner completely opposite to what God had called them to?

I think it’s because they never rejected him. You never see a prostitute or thief or leper that Jesus forgives or heals telling him off; questioning whether he is sent by God.

The people who rejected him were the ones who didn’t think Jesus had the right to forgive and even heal. They didn’t take him seriously. Those were the ones who Jesus had to confront and combat regularly.

It’s very easy to see fault in other people’s lives. But when our response stops being compassion and acceptance, I think we become people who don’t take Jesus seriously.

Church and the Local Community

Imagine that you go to a church where nobody under 6 feet tall was allowed to attend.  It’s a normal church by all other standards, there is just nobody there who is less than 6 feet tall. How would that church be different than other churches? Might it start to focus on issues that taller people deal with more frequently, such as back and/or knee problems? Would that church ignore issues that shorter people have to face? Accessibility issues for little people, for instance?

Maybe the sermons at that church would start to become tailored for tall people, since short people aren’t a part of the community.

Over time, that church probably would not be as effective in reaching the community around it which is full of people who are under 6 feet tall, right? I mean, if you exclude people who live, work and play right in the community, the church stops looking like the community and then it loses its influence, right?

In order to be effective in the goal of spreading the gospel, I believe that a church must resemble the community where it is located.

Does your church look like the community it’s found in? Are the same gender ratios in your community found in your church? The same variety of color?  Do you have business people and homemakers? What about homeless people? How about people with special needs?

Who is being excluded from your church family, either on purpose, or because you’re not making it reasonably possible for them to attend?

It’s human nature to be drawn to people who are similar to you. But when we do that in our churches, we create county clubs. Cliques that exists just to make us comfortable. I’m pretty sure that is NOT what Jesus meant when he told us to go into the world and make disciples.

The church should resemble the community because the more we relate and connect with them the more we bring the Kingdom of God to them.

In order to influence the local community, we must resemble it. Because a church that excludes parts of the community will find itself detached from the community as a whole. It will be ignored because it does not relate to or understand the community.

Just as a church with a height restriction would be laughable, so is one that only accepts the “best, brightest, and wealthiest” among us.

When Wishes Come True

There's an old Chinese Curse that goes like this: "May you get what you wish for." You read that right. It's a curse. Not a blessing. Not a proverb. A curse.

The idea is that none of us really knows what we want in life. The things that we think would make us happy will just make us miserable.

I spent the last several years asking (begging) God for the opportunity to work at a job that would be in line with my passion in life: strengthening and expanding the kingdom of God. I am also passionate about developing critical thinking in others.

God gave me two positions at almost exactly the same time: adjunct professor and executive pastor.

I couldn't be more excited. I also couldn't be more busy! These are my dream jobs, and now I feel like I have been taken out of the desert and made to drink from a fire hose.

You know that Christian cliche about how 'if you're not asking God for something so big that without His help, you'll fail', then your prayer isn't big enough? Well, my prayer was big enough.

Here's the thing: I wasn't looking for a particular position that was easy. I wanted one that was worth it. I know I have that now. So I'm willing to fight and struggle to learn what I need to know in order to advance God's kindgom from the position he has placed me.

I also know that being so busy is a great way to forget about God altogether. So I am most fearful, not of failure, but of taking on this great challenge on my own.

I am honored that God has given me something so big, and now, I can't wait to see what God wants to do in me and through me after giving me everything I wished for!