No one talks about the son who stayed at home

I sat and talked with a friend the other day. We were talking about life, faith, and stories. As I shared about another friend of mine who has majorly turned his life around, he said “Joel, I’ve grown up my whole life in church, I’ve never partied, I never even touched alcohol until I was 21, I never did drugs, I’m not married, so I’ve never had sex, I’ve never majorly screwed up. I’ve always done exactly what the church has taught me to do. And I feel like that’s not good enough. Like I don’t have a story to tell.”

He paused for a moment and drew a breath as his eyes moistened. Then, with his voice quivering, continued,

“I hear people talk about all these people who are turning their life around, who used to be really bad, and everyone celebrates them. But here I am, and no one even mentions how well I’ve done at keeping all the things that Jesus commands and the church tells us. I feel like I’m not good enough, that I don’t have a story to tell, that I have nothing to say that is worth listening to.” Continue reading

Advertisements

The Disciple Jesus Loved?

When you read through the book of John, you’ll see a specific individual referenced, but never by name…

“The disciple whom Jesus loved”.

Now, we know that this references the Apostle John, one of Jesus’ closest/best friends, but John never actually names himself… I wonder why that is? And we’ll get to that at the end, but think about it for a minute…

What a pretentious title to give yourself.

Imagine if I walked around calling myself “The citizen whom the president loved”. And not because he ever specifically said, “I love you most”, but because I believed that I was really loved by him.

You would think I was crazy, arrogant, and stuck up!

But that is not what John intended at all. Continue reading

25 Years of Wisdom…

Well, today is my birthday. The big 25. A quarter of a century…

Now that I’ve been alive for 25 years, I guess I’ve learned a bit of wisdom I’d like to pass on…

If I could go back in time and tell myself something, I’d probably tell myself like to learn to like exercising and being active while young… But other than that, probably nothing else.

Why? Continue reading

Innocence

I read a great article by Andrew Byers, and I wish I had saved the link so I could direct you to it, but he was talking about purity as a Christian in today’s culture of so much violence, sex, and nudity, and what does that look like.

He starts off by talking about how as a Christian culture, we try so hard to be relevant, that we don’t want to be known as “prude”, because then we are afraid of becoming “out of touch”. But then he makes this point:

“Did Jesus say in Matthew 5:8, “Out-of-touch are the pure in heart,” or did He call them “Blessed”?

“Be wise as serpents, and as culture-savvy as the average viewer”? Or is it, “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”? (Matthew 10:16).”
~ Andrew Byers

“My point, rather, is that innocence is precious and preserving it is not a vice. It is OK for us to be offended by the offensive. We are not to be moralistic [one who teaches or promotes morality], but we are called to be moral. Scripture beckons us to purity (Matthew 5:8), to wholesome speech (Ephesians 4:29), to honoring the sanctity of the marriage bed (Hebrews 13:4), to discerning good and evil (Romans 12:2). Somehow, we need to learn how to be culture-savvy and yet also innocent as doves.” ~Andrew Byers

It’s ok for something we see on television to offend us, for us to want to turn away from watching something. We shouldn’t be ashamed of saying “I’m not going to watch this”. It’s scriptural. That isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it should be encouraged and we need to be ok with that.

But he acknowledges that everyone is different, and some people don’t have the same convictions as us… Continue reading

Differences Make Us Strong

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b] faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:4-8, NIV

Tonight at our guys bible study, we read through Romans 12. I had a note saved in my phone saying “We are all created different, and that is ok, even good”.

It got me thinking, as I look at my group of friends, I realized while we all have 2 really big things in common, a heart after God, and a love for adventure, after that, the similarities end, until you get to the really minor stuff.

For example, I’m a nerd, I love computers, filming, photography, websites, graphic design, etc. I have no interest in sports, boxing, or almost anything athletic (except ultimate frisbee, I am a beast at ultimate frisbee), I’m a creative, but I’m not good a coming up with new ideas, only refining ones already in existence, am a HUGE introvert, and I don’t like beer.

Then you have Cameron, my best friend. Continue reading

United We Stand?

So many times, we christians are our own worst enemy. We judge, argue, call names, ostracize, alienate, and belittle others, over little things in the name of Jesus. But that is so wrong. Continue reading

Lost and Alone

It’s been a bit of an interesting night. I started watching “The Gods Aren’t Angry” by Rob Bell (affiliate link). I was supposed to be writing this blog post, but I was enthralled by the video. When I write, I generally close out all social media, turn off the TV, and put on some music. But tonight, I don’t know why, but I didn’t.

And I thank God I didn’t. Continue reading

Life to the Full

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ John 10:10, NIV

How often do we hear this scripture quoted in church? And we focus so much on that first part. “The thief (read Satan, or Devil) comes only to steal kill and destroy”. We stop there. We talk about how we have to fight the devil, resist him so he will flee from us. But life is so much more than just resisting the devil. Continue reading

The God of this City?

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
~ “God of This City” by Chris Tomlin

We sing these words, we raise our hands, and we close our eyes. And it’s a great song.

But do we believe it?

Do we really believe that He is the God of this city? Do we really think that greater things have yet to come & will still be done? Continue reading

Music, The Language of Heaven

“How is it that music can, without words, evoke our laughter, our fears, our highest aspirations?” ~ Jane Swan

Simple, music is the language of heaven. That’s why, whenever there is an announcement from Heaven, it is always accompanied by “a chorus of angels”. It’s why both Isaiah & John, when having a vision of heaven, see the angels singing as they surround the throne of heaven.

It’s why, thought I don’t know the scripture reference for this, they say that before he fell, Lucifer was the highest position in heaven and his job was music.

If you make music, you have the ability to speak the language of heaven. Use it well.