What to Do When You Don’t Feel Thankful on Thanksgiving

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Thankful on Thanksgiving

Today in the United States we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Family and friends gather to enjoy each other and remember our blessings. (Well, maybe it’s to eat food and watch football, but do we want to talk about that?) Perhaps negative circumstances have left you feeling decidedly ungrateful this time around. What do you do when you don’t feel thankful on Thanksgiving?

Continue reading...
The End of the Story

The End of the Story

The Bible as a true story, an epic play, a blockbuster movie, should come with a warning; Spoiler Alert! We’re living in the middle of the drama, and sometimes it feels like a cruel joke. Has God dropped us in the middle of something without adequate stage directions? It is really supposed to be like this? But the truth is, we know the end of the story. And the end of the story is, Jesus wins!

Continue reading...
Getting God from your Head to your Heart

Getting God from your Head to your Heart

Some of us (me included) tend to approach life first from the head. (If you naturally approach life first from the heart, reading this may help you understand your spouse or friends better.) We studied hard in school, and when a problem comes up now we try to figure things out. All of that is fine except when your relationship with God stays only in the head. It’s important to move beyond a spirituality that is only intellectual, to move God from your head to your heart.

Some branches of Christianity tend to emphasize the intellectual aspects of faith almost exclusively. Biblical truth is preached. Your journey of faith is characterized by learning propositional truth and how much you know the Bible. Children are taught Bible memorization. When you have a problem, the “Christian” thing to do is look for a Biblical truth to counteract a wrong belief. Your heart is not very much involved because as Jeremiah said, it’s wicked.

Other branches of Christianity tend to place much greater emphasis on the emotional aspects of faith. Services focus time on music, emotional worship, and ministry. Preaching, while Biblically based, is more about dealing with the issues of life. Children are taught to experience God through prayer and music. When you have a problem, the “Christian” thing to do is ask someone to pray for you. Your head is not very much involved because you can’t trust reason anyway, so “they” say.

This is not a critique on various branches of Christianity. There are dangers on both “sides.” But if your relationship with God has been limited to propositional truth, beliefs, and cognitive intellectual “work,” you’re still missing out on so much. God needs and wants you to move beyond a spirituality that is limited to your intellect.

Continue reading...
When Good People Do Bad Things

When Good People Do Bad Things

PaparazziMany in the popular media seem to relish exposing “skeletons in the closet” whenever an individual or a group that claims to be Christian does something bad. “Hypocrite!” they shout. “Why do you think you can judge others when you are doing worse things yourselves?” A recent media circus has made political fodder of a Christian family’s pain, and that’s wrong.

But even though the circus is wrong, it’s normal and understandable. This is only one of the more recent scandals involving those who claim the name of Christ. Those who would rather continue living without any restraint on their lifestyle love to demonize those who fail to live up to the standards they themselves portray as right. “Bad” people feel justified in their badness when good people do bad things too. And talk of “forgiveness” and “bad choices” doesn’t address the real issues.

The media will not be silenced when Christians engage in bad behavior involving sex, lies, or money. While such publicity may be personally excruciating and publically damaging to the name of Christ, I want to look deeper. While there are real benefits to adopting an openly Christian lifestyle, why are the lives of many who claim Christianity no better than others?

The data is not all negative, but there’s plenty of evidence to say that on many fronts Christians are behaving badly all too often:

Continue reading...
5 Benefits of Reading the Bible

5 Benefits of Reading the Bible

As a Christian you’ve probably heard over and over, “Read your Bible!” But why? You get busy and it just doesn’t happen. Or you begin, but get bogged down in the “begats.” Or you really try, but it just doesn’t seem worth the effort; it’s not doing anything for you. Reading the Bible becomes one of those “should’s” hanging over your Christian life and making you feel guilty.

If that’s our experience, we must be missing something. Consider what the Bible has meant to believers throughout history. Would monks and other religious workers spend their entire lives painstakingly copying the Bible by hand if it were just a duty? Why would Guttenberg choose the Bible as the first work to be produced on his new invention – the printing press? Why would governments aligned against the Christian faith not uncommonly kill people simply for possessing a book? Would underground evangelists risk their very lives to bring Bibles to people if it were just something they “should” read? Why would believers in some countries rejoice with tears when they received their first Bible if they were only “supposed to” read it?

There must be something more to the Bible than we usually pay attention to. Many people in our culture possess multiple Bibles that are never read. Perhaps we value it too lightly because it hasn’t cost us anything, or we haven’t experienced any benefits from putting it into our souls.

If you haven’t experienced the Bible as vitally nourishing to your soul, here are 5 benefits that you’re missing out on:

Continue reading...