What Sodom and Gomorrah has to say to the United States

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is one of the most notorious stories of the Old Testament. Two neighboring towns highlight the epitome of what it means to rebel against God and to live in sinfulness. God’s anger boils against them, and God decides to destroy the cities.
God tells Abraham of the plan, and Abraham tries to intercede for the cities in order to save them. Continue reading

Categories: Cultural Reflections, Theological Reflections | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Springtime Resurrection

Whoever first realized that the seasons can sway our moods is a very bright person. Our feelings and emotions are things that we can’t control. They fall victim to external forces at play around us. A rainy, gloomy day can leave me feeling melancholy and blue. A bright, warm, spring morning can make me feel upbeat and happy, ready to life to the fullest. Continue reading

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Is Friday Really Good?

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Good Friday.

What an unusual name to give this day. I know I’m not the first to make that observation, nor will I be the last, but if we read the accounts of this day that we find in the Gospels, it can be said to be anything but good. The stories are of heartache, violence, power struggles, and execution. A mother loses her first-born son, and many followers lose the very thing they had hoped in for several years. For us to call this day good seems strange. Continue reading

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What’s in a name?

As many of you know, our family grew a little larger on October 17 with the birth of Benjamin Young. As you also know, our family, while bigger, is still incomplete as we continue to mourn the loss of our dear Silas, who would have turned one today. Some will say that having Benjamin (Benji) makes it all better. They think that Benji can in some way erase all the pain of losing Silas; that our grief will be erased by the birth of our second son.

That’s simply not the case.  Continue reading

Categories: Theological Reflections | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Growing Up

This is adapted from a sermon I gave yesterday at Mars Hill University’s homecoming chapel service. The sermon text was 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. Continue reading

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Light in the Darkness

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
-John 1:1-5 (NRSV) Continue reading

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The “Meanings” of Christianity: Prayer

We Christians are a praying people. Many of us pray as we go to sleep at night. Some bow their heads to say “grace” at meals. Many whisper one liners throughout the day at the onset of some less than pleasant experience. Maybe the holiest of us are the ones able to muster a prayer through sleep-crusted eyes as we moan and groan our way out of bed in the morning. Ask many, however, what prayer is and you’re bound to get a few different responses. Some of these responses will be complimentary, others mutually exclusive.  Continue reading

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Something Bigger

“I’m tired. Is any of this really making a difference? Are we simply kicking against the goads? Are we just rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic? Are our efforts in vain? Are we simply biding our time until the world ends, fire consumes it all, and it’s over?”  Continue reading

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The “Meanings” of Christianity: Righteousness

Righteousness. What a confusing and misunderstood word. We use it and use it over and over again without much critical thought as to what it means. Thanks to our traditional focus on personal piety, this word has taken on overtones of a personal experience. One is righteous if they are upright, pure, above reproach in their personal morality. Clearly that is part of what makes someone righteous, but it ignores a whole side of the word that is of utmost importance, perhaps of even more importance than this personal side of the word.  Continue reading

Categories: Theological Reflections | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

We Need Worlds to Collide

Recently, here in Arica, we were blessed to host a couple Cuban pastors. They shared of their churches, their experiences, and their reality. It was a wonderful time. Hearing this one pastor speak in our church, sharing about their outreach to the community, offering food to those who had none, showing their community the full love of Jesus challenged us all, especially given their context. To be honest, however, something else impacted me even more than his words. It happened during the time of praise and worship.  Continue reading

Categories: Cultural Reflections, Theological Reflections | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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