Enjoying Joy

Enjoying Joy

There’s a Saturday Night Live skit called, “The Girl You Wished You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.” Cecily Strong plays the role of the girl who’s characteristically drunk and ditzy, with know-it-all opinions in a pseudo-activist kind of way. She’s looking for a fight. The “straight man” is played by Seth Meyers.

“So are you excited about the holidays?” He asks.

“Excited? I’m repulsed! All this ‘mercialism around Christmas is an outrage! It’s a trajesty! It’s like, what are we even doing?” She scoffs.

“You really seem like you’re in the Christmas spirit,” he teases.

“You mean the Christ-mas spirit? Oh right, you don’t care about Jesus because you worship Hallmark.”

“Oh boy!” He looks away.

Then she asks him what he wants for Christmas…Continue reading

Arranged Faith

Arranged Faith

As a new mother, my friend frets about bullies on the playground. “What did you worry about when you were raising kids?” she asked.

I thought for a minute. Sexual predators…an unstable future…my fragile marriage. I had had many concerns. But then it came to me. “How to raise our kids spiritually without making them feel cornered.”

402b05ce-2496-4d4e-aa70-5a7276aa5b53Did you grow up in a Christian family, attend church, say grace, and go to Christmas Eve services? Maybe it was more intense—daily devotions, memorizing Scripture, bedtime prayers, and high standards. Maybe you went to a Christian school or were given a purity ring. If you’ve felt a deep obligation to embrace your parents’ faith, I am writing to you.

Does it feel like an arranged marriage?

MarriageA & E produced a shocking new reality show called, “Marriage At First Sight.” If you haven’t stumbled on any episodes, it’s about 3 men and 3 women who agree to legally marry a complete stranger. Experts in the field of psychology match the husband and wife pairs through in-depth assessments, but each couple meets for the first time on their wedding day.

Sounds disastrous, right? A show you can’t help but watch. And that’s what producers are banking on…a reality series with train-wreck potential.Continue reading

All In

All In

Jesus wasn’t afraid to be graphic. When driving home a major point, He used strong metaphors—like amputating hands or plucking out eyes if they lead you astray.

Jesus offended people in his first lesson on communion, saying they’d have to drink His blood and eat His flesh. (John 6)

Jesus on the crossAnd He’s willing to go way beyond metaphors when everything is at stake. His crucifixion—a most violent death—was necessary to resolve our separation from God.




No mild mannered version of Jesus will do.

What’s the underlying message? What is He saying with such bold language and sacrificial actions?

“I want you all in.

And so the question is on the table—“Are you?”

It starts by having a real relationship with God. You can’t settle for religious activity. Your internal life has to match your external life. In the words of James Ryle, you have to grow to the point where you have nothing to fear, nothing to hide, nothing to prove, and nothing to lose. And you have to let God be God—refusing to shape Him into the modern day image of what seems socially acceptable.

God is God, and we are not. Scripture is pretty graphic when we don’t get that right.

“Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?

Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?

That would be like a club wielding those who lift it,

Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood.

Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts,

Will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors;

burning reeds. fireAnd under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.

And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame,

And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day.

And He will destroy the glory of his forest

And of his fruitful garden, both soul and body,

And it will be as when a sick man wastes away.

And the rest of the trees of his forest will be so small in number

That a child could write them down.”

–Isaiah 10:15-19 (NASB)

In other words, Jesus is the head, and we are not. We are the body. All this is to prepare you for a startling and disturbing dream I had one night.Continue reading