Philosopher James K. A. Smith has a lot to say about the power of liturgies in shaping or forming our hearts. They do this by focusing our hearts on a telos (end), or a vision of the good life, through repetition or habit. I agree with him that whatever we have as that vision—that end... Continue Reading →
As I have continued to think about it this morning, especially alongside some prep I am doing for a sermon for this Sunday, I realized what is so very powerful about it to me:
When anything other than Jesus becomes our hope (or our wealth, security, sufficiency, completeness, joy, safety, etc...), whatever we have replaced him with has become an idol. And when we place anything on that throne, we will defend it. We will justify it. We will protect it. We will cease to allow the gospel to confront it. We will hang a Do Not Disturb sign on it. As Gerald said on Sunday, "Our idols will always make demands of us."
Several years ago I offered some advice to parents on how Christian families should think through involvement in extra-curricular activities. My own kids have now been involved in different activities, and our oldest has entered the world of middle school. This has caused me to consider how Erin and I should help them understand their objectives for each activity. What should be their primary goals? What is the WHY that governs their HOW and WHAT, so to speak? As I have thought about this I decided it would be good to put these thoughts into writing as I prepare to formally set this before them.
A phrase that we often repeat in our student ministry goes "Know + Be + Do = Authentic." This is a picture of inward transformation that leads to the outward expression of our lives. We believe this is the essence of spiritual growth! As we grow in knowledge, that knowledge grows roots down into our... Continue Reading →
It has been interesting to see the effects of social media on our culture over the past several years. One aspect that I find particularly interesting is the way that many people perceive what they believe to be a new or different identity online. So many seem to struggle with the ethical guidelines of this new... Continue Reading →
Our culture has slowly sacrificed Thanksgiving on the altar of consumerism over the years. This has been difficult for me to watch. What used to be an early rise on the day after for mega-deals at big chain stores all of a sudden backed up to long lines forming that evening for midnight door-busters. Over... Continue Reading →
As Paul speaks of the bold advance of the gospel in this passage, he says something that has brought great conviction in accordance with the sermon and this video from Sunday. In verse 27 he writes, "Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel," (ESV, emphasis mine).
To create a physical representation of the invisible God is to seek to render understandable that which is too great for our understanding. And when we do this, we inevitably diminish God. Always. And we do this in our own image, in our own likeness, in an attempt to portray God in the way we wish for others to see him. This is a serious violation of the person of God. Indeed, as many have written about the book The Shack, much can be said about the way that God is misrepresented.