Here’s what I heard God speaking to me this morning: “If your wife came to you and said, ‘I don’t feel like you love me.’” You wouldn’t argue that she shouldn’t feel that way or defend yourself. That would be unloving. You would say, ‘I do love you. I’m sorry I made you feel that way. Let’s fix this so it doesn’t happen again.’ So if the black community says, ‘I don’t feel like you love me.’ You shouldn’t argue that they shouldn’t feel that way or defend yourself. That would be unloving. You say, ‘I do love you. I’m sorry I made you feel that way. Let’s fix this so it doesn’t happen again.’”
There is an ignorant trend in our culture that says it’s ok to be “angry at God.” People will say things like, “When my mom died, I was angry at God.” Let’s be clear: it’s fine to be angry about suffering, tragedy, or pain. It’s fine to tell God that you are angry about a situation, but it’s never ok to be angry AT God.
This would imply that God has done something wrong, or that He is anything other than good. He is only good, righteous, and just. We are finite, limited, and relatively ignorant.
We don’t know why God allows what He allows. We forget that humanity is responsible for sin and it’s effects. God mercifully chose to forgive us through His grace and redeem us from the effects of sin when we place our faith in Jesus Christ. Continue reading “Is It Ok To Be Mad At God?”
I love all types of worship music (including hymns), and we sing hymns regularly in my church. All songs, regardless of when they were written are like anything else in life. Some are great and some are not.
I keep reading in articles that hymns are supposedly unique in that they are more “theologically rich” than modern worship music. That is just not true! Hymns are not any more “theologically rich” than songs that are written today. Those who say things like this really don’t understand what theological richness is, I suspect.
I grew up in church singing hymns and old choruses and I can tell you that most of them are absolutely terrible, but some are great. Most people who sing hymns today in church don’t realize that there are only about 10-15 hymns that we sing anymore, because the rest are just plain bad. That’s right, flip through a hymnal filled with hundreds of hymns, and you might find 10-20 that you’ve heard if you were born after 1975.
When people say, “Those hymns are just so theologically rich,” what they really mean is “those hymns are lyrically complex.” A theological doctrine is no more rich because you sing it in poetic King James language. Continue reading “Are Hymns More “Theologically Rich?””
I am passionate about the subject of honor. It’s a core value at Generation Church. The biblical meaning of the word “honor” is to treat something as valuable, to show respect. It communicates the concept of weightiness and significance. America is mostly a low-honor society. Most people refer to the President by his last name without the honor of his title. Children refer to parents as “old man” and “old lady.” Guys refer to their wives as “the old ball and chain.” When we dishonor others, we communicate that they are worthless, cheap, or commonplace.
I believe we need to restore the virtue of honor and the church can lead the way. We can restore honor to God with our reverence, recognizing Him as the loving Creator He is…not “The Big Guy upstairs!” We can strengthen families by restoring honor, teaching children to honor their parents, wives to honor their husbands, and husbands to honor their families. We can restore honor in our churches by honoring the guest, one another, and giving a portion of double-honor to those who preach and teach- that we might receive a double portion of blessing from God. Too many people want their pastor to just be a friend; but more than you need a friend, you need a pastor.
This last week, our nation experienced a tragedy. You know what I repeatedly notice during any tragedy? That people always want to tell each other how to respond to said tragedy.
At the same time, you will hear voices giving their opinions about the real lesson to take away. Often, opinions follow statements of arrogant reproof like, “Why don’t we stop focusing on ___, and start talking about ___.”
In any tragedy, the same voices reappear over and over again:
The God-focused voice: This person feels it’s his or her duty to remind everyone that God is good, He is loving, and He is in control. This, while good-intentioned, can be an inappropriate reaction. Most Christians, aren’t questioning God’s nature when tragedy strikes, and most non-believers won’t benefit from a poker-faced “praise God” in those moments. The God-focused voice needs to be tempered with a strong dose of people-focus, otherwise it comes across cold and uncaring. The God-focused voice also needs to graduate from elementary regurgitation of spiritual tag-lines, and move towards analysis and application of what God has said in His word. This voice needs to ask, “What does God say about tragedy, and how should we react to it?” This allows the God-focused person to be helpful to lost people. Continue reading “When Tragedy Strikes”
Today is my wedding anniversary and a great day to reflect on relationships. I’ve observed couples with good relationships and couples with bad relationships. I’ve seen friends become enemies and I’ve seen a few instances when opponents become reconciled. I can confidently say that relationships are made or broken over time through a continuous series of decisions and events. Broken relationships are usually the victim of relationship drift.
What is it?
Relationship drift occurs as one person in a relationship makes a series of choices that weaken the relationship. Listen, you don’t wake up and decide to hate your husband one day. You didn’t just have a random mid-life crisis and decide that you suddenly despise the sight of your wife. Relationship drift happens subtly and slowly. Continue reading “How to Avoid Relationship Drift”
Some days I don’t have a lot of time to work out. But my favorite exercise philosophy is “something is better than nothing.” Even if I only run one mile, that one mile is a lot more than no miles. This type of philosophy leads to a lifestyle of health and prevents year-long slumps or out-of-control down spirals.
Some mornings I’m running behind and don’t have time to read very much of the Bible. The same philosophy applies. Something is better than nothing. God can speak to your heart through one verse. If you only have time for a single verse, then read that verse. If you have time for just one chapter, then read that chapter. Continue reading “Something is Better Than Nothing”
At a pastor’s conference this week, Ed Young encouraged us to get our ASK in gear. We should Always Seek Knowledge. Who knows something that you don’t know? Who has experienced something that you’ve yet to experience? Whatever your passion, calling, or line of work, you should never waste an opportunity to glean knowledge. It’s amazing how willing people are to share their wisdom with you!
Have you ever had a conversation where the other person just talked about herself the entire time? We all have. You walk away feeling dissatisfied, don’t you? When I find myself on the receiving end of a one way conversation, I usually assume the other person really needs someone to listen and I consider it an act of love to be that listener. But it’s weird how people will share their problems, without ever asking for wisdom.
We should always seek knowledge and wisdom. This is why I love talking to older people. Because of time’s steady passing, older people have learned valuable lessons about family, marriage, finances, and discipleship. I love to learn from other pastors, I love to get marriage advice from successful husbands. Learning is a responsibility we should all take seriously. When I exercise or drive, I listen to podcasts. That means for at least an hour a day, I’m learning from someone who has valuable wisdom that I need. (And it’s free!)
If you’re NOT married: absolutely NONE!
If you ARE married: an absolute TON!
Let’s start by acknowledging that this may get awkward for some. The Catholic Church gave sex a bad name when they exalted virginity above marriage. On the other hand, the Puritans celebrated sex. William Gouge, a Puritan minister who lived in the 16th century, said that married couples should engage in sex “with good will and delight, willingly, readily, and cheerfully.” In other words, do it often and have fun!
The world has tried to hijack sex from what God intended it for. God created man and then He created woman. Here’s the crazy thing, he made them with complimentary parts! He then conducted the first wedding in history and said, in the words of Nike,”just do it.”
Simple formula: (God is good) + (God created sex) = Sex is Good Continue reading “How Much Sex Should You Have?”
Humans are not inherently “good.” Because we have a sinful nature, we are naturally inclined towards evil. “No one is righteous, not even one…” (Romans 3:10) One of the evidences for this is road rage.
Not long ago, I had a little road rage incident. Long story short: some guy thought I cut him off, and he proceeded to flip me off and make a gun gesture with his hand. He used his mock-gun to mime shooting me, mouthing, “I’m going to #$@!ing kill you!” It was pretty crazy.
The incident left me asking, how can a human being become so hateful and irate, at the flip of a switch, towards another person? If I had bumped into this guy at the grocery store, I doubt he would have had the gumption to threaten murdering me in person. But for some reason, when we get in our cars behind a couple inches of glass and metal, our inhibitions fade away and our true nature comes out. Continue reading “Road Rage Proves People Aren’t Good”