Would Jesus Boycott Target?

We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity. (Target corporate website)Obviously this policy has created a firestorm of debate and outrage, especially among the evangelical community that holds to a traditional/biblical view of sexuality and gender identity. The American Family Association has picked up the culture warrior torch and started a petition to boycott Target stores (over 850,000 signatures … [Read more...]

5 Simple Steps to Creating Pharisees In Your Church

No one ever sets out to create Pharisees in their church. Pharisees are the Bible's favorite bad guys, the "Klingons" (for all you Star Trek fans out there) of the New Testament. Everyone loves to hate them, and for good reason. They show up on the opposing end of Jesus more than anyone else in the Gospels.And yet if we look closely, we should be alarmed at just how simple it is to reproduce Pharisees in our own churches today. Don't believe me? Here are five simple steps to creating … [Read more...]

Would Jesus Have Used Hashtags and Emojis If He Preached Today?

Yesterday at my church we started a new sermon series titled #struggles: following Jesus in a selfie-centered world (this series comes from the good people at life.church). Some might argue that using something as modern as a hashtag is pandering or even selling out to contemporary culture. Jesus would have never done that if he were preaching today, would he?At the end of the day, we'll never know. There can be convincing arguments on either side by folks with long titles after their names, … [Read more...]

Why Is it So Important That the Resurrection of Jesus Is a Historical Event and Not a Religious Fairytale?

Fresh off of Easter Sunday, billions of people on this planet celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus, the central tenet and claim of Christianity. On the surface, the claim seems preposterous: almost two thousand years ago, there was a homeless Jewish rabbi who lived in a backwater Roman province and died a common criminal's death by crucifixion. He was God and proved it by rising from the dead. It sounds much more plausible as a religious fairytale, a backstory to help explain why so … [Read more...]

5 Reasons To See the Movie RISEN

I don't like cheesy Christian movies. Although I always appreciate the underlying message, I usually can't get past the bad acting and the 14 Casting Crowns songs they used as filler throughout the movie. All that being said, I fully endorse and recommend the movie RISEN that comes out today nationwide. I had the chance to watch an advanced screening of it several months back and I've been anticipating its release ever since. Here are 5 reasons you should go see the movie R … [Read more...]

"I Was Raped by my Dad When I Was 9"

How do you respond to that? Recently I was at the Recovery House, a residential treatment facility for those overcoming drug and alcohol addictions. Every time I meet someone new I try and learn their story, because they are not a statistic. They are a human being, broken and battered as they might be. They have dignity and worth even in the midst of their current struggles.As always, their stories, and especially the path that led them to addiction fills me with a mix of mild shock and … [Read more...]

How Donald Trump Helps Us Understand the Appeal of Jesus

I can't believe I'm actually comparing Donald Trump to Jesus. Believe me, I'm already uncomfortable with this. Somehow I don't think Donald Trump would have much of a problem comparing himself to Jesus, which is why I'm so uncomfortable with it. But I've asked myself the question over and over these past few weeks: what makes Donald Trump so popular?It's not the hair, as much as he might display it. It's not his wealth; we've had wealthy candidates before. It's not merely his views. He … [Read more...]

If Christ Came to Set Us Free, Why Don't We Feel Free?

We know on the most basic level as Christians that Jesus came to set us free. When Jesus launched his public ministry in Luke 4, that’s literally what he declared:“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19Jesus came to set us free. He conquered death and sin on the c … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Embrace the Messes

In the most famous story Jesus ever told (the Prodigal Son), the climax comes when the wayward son returns home and his father runs out and embraces him, mess and all (Luke 15:20). As followers of Jesus, how can we exhibit the heart of the father and embrace the mess around us? Here are five ways:1). Embrace your own mess. The first and biggest issue for many Christians is that we never can embrace our own mess. We think we have worked ourselves to the place where we are better than other … [Read more...]

Why 90% of My Sermons Are Preached Out of the Gospels

There are 66 books in the Bible, but I overwhelmingly stick to four. I don't think anyone would disapprove about skirting around the layout of the tabernacle in Leviticus or Obadiah laying into the Edomites. But what about Romans? There's some deep stuff in there. What about Genesis and its incredible stories? What about Revelation? No one really understands it but it's always fun to read.I believe the entire Bible is inspired by God and given to teach us about Him and about life. But t … [Read more...]