On Service

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Matt Chandler, a pastor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, once imitated Mark Driscoll, another pastor, to illustrate Paul’s charge to Timothy to “fulfill your ministry” in 2 Timothy 4:5. In the video, Chandler shows that simply copying a popular pastor’s style of teaching will not make one’s preaching powerful. Instead, each one must do as the verse says and fulfill his own ministry, carrying out the work God assigned him to do. Though short, the video stuck with me, reminding me to fulfill the ministry to which God has called me and to avoid unwise comparison and copying in the work. Continue reading

Promises and Pledges

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In high school and college, I saw a number of people set boundaries on their lives for the sake of holiness and purity. Friends of mine would declare a “Facebook fast” and would deactivate their accounts for months at a time, citing their need to strengthen a relationship with God as the motivation to abstain. Other friends would declare a year of singleness, determining not to date for twelve months in order to refocus on the Lord. Others set boundaries on existing relationships (“we will not be alone in a bedroom together”; “we will not hang out past 11:00 pm unless others are present”; “we will not kiss until marriage”). At the outset, hopes were high for the excited individuals, each one intent on drawing nearer to God. But not every promise produced the desired result, and not every pledge proved effective.

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The Signpost of the Imperfect

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C. S. Lewis penned something that has long confused me. In Mere Christianity, one of his most influential works, he wrote,

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

While I don’t disagree with him, I’ve never truly understood what he was getting at. I always wrestled with his point here, trying to accept it without truly comprehending it. But recently, I think it’s begun to dawn on me. Continue reading

Be Still and Know

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

I’m not very good at being still. Even as I’m typing this, I’m noticing that I’m always moving: fingers typing as I write, foot tapping as I think, eyes scanning the room as I try to form sentences. I have to make a conscious effort to just be still, or I won’t stop. And this constant movement isn’t confined to fidgeting. My days are filled with tasks stacked upon one another like volumes in a second hand book shop. Between school and work and church, days can feel like mini-marathons.
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Undeserved Grace

Have you ever been humbled by the grace of God?

Last night, as I was on my way to grab some food before watching The Walking Dead finale with my roommates, I found myself getting frustrated at traffic. I kept looking at the clock in the car, wondering whether I’d be able to make it through the Taco Bell line in time to see the opening scene of the episode. I don’t like being late, and I really don’t like missing any part of a story, so I let myself inwardly grumble about every little thing that could possibly delay my arrival back at the apartment. Simply put, I was being a selfish punk. And yet, I didn’t have any reason to be frustrated. Most of the traffic lights were green on my way back, including those that seem to always stop me, and the traffic wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I managed to walk into the apartment just as the show was beginning. As I drove, God seemed to make it clear that he was working things out for me, even though I was being selfish about the whole situation. He was showing me grace in the very moment that I knew I didn’t deserve it. Continue reading

The Swords (This is War)

Shortly after I started leading Bible studies, I grew a strange desire to buy a sword. I knew of a little shop in a mall about an hour away from the university that sold all manner of blades, so, one day, when I had sufficient funds, I made the trek and purchased an epic battle sword. Sadly, it wasn’t sharpened (which is probably for the best), but it still fit the bill: full scale, heavy metal, and awesome. Between this and another sword I was given in college, I felt much more prepared for war, though I wasn’t swinging either blade against the enemy.
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Purpose in Pain

“Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
Hosea 6:1-3

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