How to deal with people who disappoint you…

random8

I remember there was a t-shirt that was popular when I was younger that said, “beam me up scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.” I think this is how leaders and world-changers in training can feel some times…  but Jesus won’t beam you up (go ahead and ask) because there’s work to do here, important work changing hearts and minds.  The biggest problem on this planet isn’t the environment, or Ebola, it’s people.  In science we have the resources to deal with almost anything, but no matter how many resources and how much technology we have it can’t seem to fix our core problem: our hearts and minds are bent.  But Jesus has a solution and YOU (reading this) are part of it.  So how do we deal with the people who make us think “Beam me up Scotty??” Continue reading

Top five ways to spot real Jesus followers…

random8

Jesus taught that after He left there would be wolves and false prophets who’d come into the church.  It sounds extreme, but this is really practical.  I think the point is: Just because people look like they’re Jesus-followers, just because they claim to be Jesus-followers, doesn’t mean they are actually following Jesus.  There will always be people to look for churches to elevate themselves and make themselves feel important (like wolves), rather than looking to follow Jesus as their Shepherd.  And there will always be people who LOVE to give advice, and love telling other people what to do, and what they think God wants (because they love the feeling of importance this brings them), and they can be really convincing!  This could be me!  This could be you!  Or it could be that person (many of whom are my friends) who go to church year in and year out and just complain about the pastor…  So how can you spot actual Jesus followers? Continue reading

5 Marks of a Wise Person…

clockbroke5There’s a saying that even a broken clock is right twice a day… And so even foolish people can give good advice sometimes: so we ought to keep an open mind and be kind to people.  But in my life I have no shortage of people who want to give me advice about my life and what I should do, and people who want me to be more like them…  How can I know if someone really has some wisdom, if their way of life is something you should look to?  Here are the top five signs from Proverbs…
Continue reading

Boring but good.

prayinganimal5

Sunday’s sermon was probably one of the most unsexy presentations ever… We talked about Prayer, and we talked about A-C-T-S, as a guideline we can use.  For people who’ve been around church both of these are so common-sounding that they might be phenomenally boring to you… But don’t let that trick you into missing the point!!!  If you had some hard-to-treat disease and someone came up with a magic pill that would gradually make you completely well – chances are, that when you first took the pill you would not feel any different.  It’s anticlimactic taking the pill.  You are exactly the same after taking the pill as you were right before.  And yet, if the pill does its job then gradually the disease will be done away with and you will become healthier.  The doctors and researchers did the hard work of coming up with a pill that could cure your disease, but it’s up to YOU to take the right amount and the right time, and to do so faithfully to give the pill the chance to do its work.  It’s the same with Jesus-prayer. Continue reading

Christmas is complicated…

crash5

Like most of the beautiful things in this world, Christmas is bitter sweet.  Jesus who never needed to feel alone, to feel weak, to experience hate, to be hurt or feel shame…came to experience all these things first hand.  We spend so much energy trying to avoid these things, but Jesus came to fill up on them.  He came to get his heart broken because God’s heart was already broken over us.  So how is this a happy occasion?  He did it for us, He did it for love, and one small part of this is that we know that He knows EXACTLY what it feels like to be us.  Wherever you are in life, Jesus knows exactly what it feels like to be where you are. He’s been there too.  And He’s come to bring you home.

Top ten reasons to pray even though God already knows everything…

random5

It must be a full moon or something because I actually have a few minutes to write a post, and there’s something I want to write about…  But there’s one problem, I don’t have a number “1.”  What kind of top ten post doesn’t have a number 1?  Well I couldn’t do a “top 9″ post now could I?  So I need your help.  Take a look at the 9 I have and tell me what the #1 reason should be.  So the question is: Why should I pray if God already knows everything that’s going to happen and everything I’m going to ask for?  Here we go…my top ten (9) reasons are:

10. God is your Father, not your Butler…

If you had a good dad that wanted to spend time with you, that’s a little bit of what God is like, He wants to spend time with you, to hear your voice, to hear your thoughts…even though He already knows them.  If you didn’t grow up with a dad like that, cheer up because you have one now…  God, your REAL Father wants a relationship with you. Yes, He wants to give you stuff also, but that’s secondary.  What this means is, God is NOT your genie in a bottle, He is not your fairy godmother, and it’s part of His kindness that He puts up with us when we think of Him like that.  One of the main ways you have a relationship with someone is by talking with them.  When we talk to God it’s called prayer. Continue reading

Smart vs. Dumb, Wise Vs. Foolish

gandalfthegrey7

Just a quick post to point out that “smart” and “wise” are two different things.  You can be really smart and yet foolish.  I know some younger people who have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to intelligence, and in NY it’s not hard to find yourself in a room where everyone is smarter (more intelligent) than you: they can learn things quicker, they know more things, they read more, they can grasp complex issues more quickly, they can get into better schools, get into better jobs, and so they make more money (often MUCH more).  But that’s different from being wise.  Intelligence is a physical property like height or strength: At 170 cm and under 140 lbs, I’ll never be a line backer or professional basketball player… that’s okay, I think that God had other plans for me.  And if you have an IQ that makes it unlikely for you to do well in certain fields, that’s okay: God probably had other plans for you.  But these things are different from being WISE.  God DOES want you to gain wisdom…  You don’t need a 150+ IQ to be wise.  And even if you have a 150+ IQ you still need to learn some very important things if you are ever going to become wise… Continue reading

Why there are Jesus dropouts…

skyline7

You know, those seasons when Jesus followers decide, “screw it, I’m going to do my own thing for a while.”  Often Jesus dropouts don’t admit they’re dropping out, they rationalize it by saying: you can be a Christian and do — so that’s what I’m doing…  ”You don’t have to go to church to follow Jesus,” “you don’t have to tithe“, “you don’t have to read the Bible every day,” all true – you don’t have to do a lot of things…  But sometimes the core motivation people say those things is because they really want to get away from God.  So there are LOTS of people who are really living for themselves (their appetites, their tastes, their culture, their dreams) who SAY they are following Jesus but really they’ve dropped out.  And the question I want to address is: Why do people drop out of following Jesus like that? If God is so good then why are there dropouts at all?  And why the heck are there so many? Continue reading

Jesus can change the world starting with you…

whichway8

When believers try (but fail) to follow Jesus, I say “it’s no big deal.”  I think it’s an opportunity to repent, be thankful that our self-worth doesn’t come from our performance, and try again (not to mention to LEARN stuff from our failure – we learn nothing from our successes, we can only learn when we fail at something)…  There are “Christians” out there who like to play moral-cop and condemn everyone they see failing – that’s a really fun game until you take a good look at yourself!  I know this from experience: the most judgmental people (of those who try to follow Jesus) are also the most joyless in their private lives.  So I know we fail sometimes…often unfortunately, but that’s nothing to condemn ourselves about, it’s something to rejoice in Jesus about.  The reason I’m making this disclaimer is there’s one key thing Jesus asks us to DO, and it’s something we fail in often, but if we were to do it and not-give-up, we’d see ourselves change, the world change, and the people around us would get a clearer idea of what Jesus actually did and taught…  What is it? Continue reading