Letting Go of Pride

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Every Sunday night at our church youth group, all of the kids and leaders eat a meal together, on real plates, around tables, the works. It’s a really cool thing that we do. Every week, Jonathan and Vanessa, our youth and children’s ministry directors (respectively), buy the supplies, and a parent cooks and serves. A few weeks ago, it was our family’s turn, and I got to make spaghetti with meat sauce. Easy peasy.

I got there a couple hours early, because I wanted to let the sauce cook as long as possible. So I browned up all the meat, and I added in all the sauce and got it to a nice simmer, and then I look over at the pasta Vanessa had bought.

It was angel hair…

Angel hair is fine pasta. But it’s not what you serve with meat sauce. So I went to Publix and bought real spaghetti. The good thick kind.

When I got back, I saw Vanessa, and told her not to worry, I had saved dinner. Turns out, she likes angel hair. She bought it on purpose. So I made both kinds of pasta, and put everything out for the kids to make their plates.

Big bowl of spaghetti. Big bowl of angel hair. Big bowl of sauce. Big bowl of salad. All laid out in that order.

So the kids came in, and saw the pastas laid out, and guess which kind they overwhelmingly went for?

The angel hair. Even my own kids! The traitors.

It was an exercise in letting go of pride.

There’s nothing quite like reality to show you when you’re wrong. And there’s nothing like a roomful of witnesses to help you admit it. Especially when those witnesses are eating heaping bowls full of angel hair pasta.

But under different circumstances, it’s harder to admit.

Continue reading “Letting Go of Pride”

What is God Going to Do About Evil?

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My first experience of evil in the world was the school shooting at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. I was in college at UCF, and the evil of it affected me in a real way…a way that no previous act of evil had… I feel that again this week.

Columbine, for me, was the first time that I saw how powerful evil could be in our world. It was the first time that I was forced to ask, “How could God allow something like this to happen? Why does he allow us the power to kill innocent people? Where is God now?”

Now, another act of evil has exploded across our world, taking seventeen lives, and forever altering hundreds more, shocking us at the callousness of those among us, and we ask the question again, “Where is God? Where is God in evil?”

Now, the correct answer is to say that God has no part in evil.

1 John 1:5 says that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.” And I believe that, and our church teaches that, because it’s true.

So if the cause of evil is what really matters, then we can ask the question “Why did God create a world where evil is allowed to happen?” And if that’s a question you’d like to discuss, I would be happy to buy you a cup of coffee so we can talk about it.

But I won’t do it today. Not this week.

Because that question is a dry, intellectual question that doesn’t really respect the pain and suffering and loss of life that evil has caused this week.

The better question is “What is God going to do about it?”

So what is God going to do about evil?

 He’s going to punish it.

Continue reading “What is God Going to Do About Evil?”

Podcast Episode 6

Here is Megan and Dave’s sixth episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 25 minute long podcast episode, they talk about Healing.  But they also chat about:

  • The prosperity gospel
  • What NOT to say when someone is sick
  • Their first time making the ashes for Ash Wednesday

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!

Healing

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We have all wanted healing, for ourselves, or for someone we love. Reading the stories about Jesus’ healing miracles (and there are 27 of them, told multiple times)  makes us think, “I sure wish Jesus would do that today.” Or where was Jesus when any number of the people we loved and lost died?

If Jesus can heal, why doesn’t he heal the person I love more than anyone in the world?

If miracles are real, why did that person get them, but not my spouse or my parent or my child?

If 1. Miracles are real and 2. Healing is a miracle Jesus did and 3. Jesus loves us then where is our miracle?  We long for them. We yearn for healing. We go searching for them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who will take advantage of us when we do.

There are a lots of “Christian” teachings out there that want you to believe that no one needs to be sick if they’ll just believe. The most popular teaching about miracles today is that they’re for sale. That healing can be bought by a certain number of prayers or faithful acts or even by sending in money to a preacher on television. One of the Copeland’s even got a tweet on the front page this week for saying that the flu can’t affect true Christians.

It's NOT flu season! Yes, you heard it right. The flu is NOT a season we have around here because Jesus bore ALL our sickness on the cross. This includes the flu! -Kenneth Copeland Ministries
Not true. But a great way to pay for a plane!

But that’s not the way that miracles work.

That’s not what healing really means.

So before we read any further in Everything Jesus Taught, we need to know how to interpret all the healings that Jesus did, and how to interpret life with all its fragility, today.

In this post, I want to share one important Bible study principal with you. This is the key to understanding the healings in Jesus’ life and teaching.

Here it is.

When you read about a healing, keep reading.

Continue reading “Healing”

Podcast Episode 5

Here is Megan and Dave’s fifth episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 17 minute long podcast episode, they talk about Good In/Good Out and Healing Miracles. But they also chat about:

  • An unfortunate incident involving a toilet and a bathtub
  • How Megan became a Christian
  • How it’s cool to be a Presbyterian?

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!

Podcast Episode 4

Here is Megan and Dave’s fourth episode of the Everything Jesus Taught Podcast!

In this 23 and a half minute long podcast episode, they talk about Loving Our Enemies and Putting Good In to Get Good Out. But they also chat about:

  • Power outages
  • Fried Turkey
  • Dog poop trash can politics
  • Redemption
  • How certain tv shows temporarily change their personalities
  • Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert
  • Proof Texting
  • What the Bible really is

Listen, comment, subscribe, share, and ask questions for them to answer on the next episode!

Integrity

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” — C.S. Lewis

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We hear the word integrity and our minds jump to big examples of people who had it,  and people who don’t. But no one starts off with the huge ethical quandaries.

There are a thousand little dilemmas that we all have to face that determine how we’ll do when it comes to the big ones.

Like those little water cups you get at Panera Bread.

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Following Jesus

A few months ago, I went to see my doctor for a physical.

He did the nerviest thing.

He told me that I needed to get my blood checked for cholesterol.

So I made the follow-up appointment for the bloodwork for the following week. The night before the blood test was a real hardship for me.

I fasted all night. From 10pm on… with no food. In the morning, I got up extra early, got there right on time, and looked at one of the doctor’s many photos from his travels as the nurse took my blood. (I always steal a quick look at the procedure just to confirm that I still can’t watch the blood be drawn.)

I left feeling good about myself. I had followed the doctor’s orders and gotten my blood tested, just like he told me. If my arm wasn’t sore, I would have patted myself on the back.

But the next day, I got an email not only with the results, but with the doctor’s prescription, too. Very brief and to the point. It said, “Triglicerides too high. Lose 10 pounds and test again.”

And I thought, “Or?……”

I thought I had already done what the doctor told me to do.

He told me to get a blood test, I got the blood test! I did what he said.

But now he wanted me to make some changes, to follow his will in my life, so that I could be healthy.

I’ll bet you can see where this is going.

Continue reading “Following Jesus”