Charlie Brown and Second Birth

santa-crucified-35140You’ve probably seen the short show A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s one of my favorite things to watch each Christmas season. Charlie Brown, having been so immersed in a culture that has turned Christmas into a commercial enterprise, struggles with trying to recapture the point of Christmas. Everyone around him is enamored with the temporal things of life: commercial real estate, gifts, money, trees, etc., etc. And Charlie Brown knows something’s wrong, but he just can’t figure out why Christmas bothers him so much, why Christmas makes him depressed and not joyful. Finally, while rehearsing the very story of Christmas itself (irony!), Charlie breaks down in frustration and yells, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Continue reading

God’s Hope for Anxious People Desiring to Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

glory

Photo by ForestWander Nature Photography

HEAR.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? . . . 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

MATTHEW 6:25, 32–34

SEE.

I have been at the gym with a good friend on more than one occasion where one of us has said something like, “I’ll just go pick up some of this or that protein” or “these weight lifting gloves.” And I have been struck by something about American life that the American church thinks little about, I suspect. Though I dare not judge each and every situation or purchase, yet there is an overall milieu of arrogance where we do not “acknowledge God as God” with our smaller purchases (which add up immensely), an atmosphere where idolatry is not only applauded but expected if we are to avoid “judging” one another. Continue reading

The Joy We’ve Lost

missingJoy

Missing: My Joy

HEAR.

“That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you so that you too may have fellowship with us, and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things to you so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:3–4)

SEE.

What if the joy you experienced  as a new believer was lost because a God-ordained means of joy has been forgotten? What if one of the reasons your local church is dying (if indeed it is dying) is because it has given up a major God-ordained means of joy? Is it possible that we have become so busy and enamored with our work, with Facebook, with our daily lives, and with working to have bigger TVs and nicer cars and daily Starbucks that we have actually given up a joy that the Apostles reveled in? I believe it is possible, and I believe one answer is given in verses 3 and 4 of 1 John. Continue reading

On Light, Confession, and Making God a Liar

light_darkness

HEAR.

“If we should say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John 1:10).

SEE.

These are frightening words. John uses a type of conditional statement here which creates a hypothetical situation. “Suppose we were to say, ‘We haven’t sinned,’ well, this would be to call God a liar….” To deny that we sin is a means of making God out to be a liar, even if one doesn’t think one has purposely done this. How does John come to this conclusion? I think he comes to this for two reasons.

Continue reading