The iconic television series Downton Abbey, set in early twentieth century England, has much to teach us about the culture wars in America today. And here’s the lesson: remnants of Christian culture collapse with the loss of Christian convictions.
Places, sounds, smells, and people can thrust you into a torrent of emotions that just a split second earlier weren’t there. Grief from loss is often a sniper.
Just when we thought the other side couldn't be more inconsistent with their positions, the Lord goes and tosses us in the seat of inquisition. And like the American General when the German tank commanders urged him to surrender at Bastogne, we say, "Nuts!" Consistency is a pesky little devil.
The place Christians go after they die is not a non-material world, cloaked in white, filled with the sounds of a plucked harp.
I hope that didn’t burst your bubble. But it’s true.
Where did Jesus go when he ascended in the sky after his resurrection?
Acts 1:9 says, And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
Jesus was in a physical body.
If you’re a Christian and you die before Jesus returns, you will experience two different Heavens.
Why is that? Because there is a difference between the Heaven we go to when we die and the Heaven we experience when Jesus returns to Earth to make all things new.
Every person will stand before the Living God in judgment -- twice.
The reason we will stand in judgment twice is not because of the inadequacy of the first one, but because of the difference in purpose between them
Everyone reading this sentence will stop breathing one day. Hi! Welcome to my blog. The only caveat to that first statement is: unless Jesus returns first. But if Jesus doesn't return in our lifetimes, there will come a moment in time when we will die.
We often go to extremes to comfort ourselves while walking past the very things that will comfort us.
One of the most shocking and unsettling things we experience in this life is losing a loved one. It hurts. To go from having someone in your life that you see and spend time with to them suddenly not being there is disorienting.
Christians who lack a hunger for God are spiritually unhealthy.
I'm not suggesting that every season of our lives will go "up and to the right" on the bar graph. Seasons of drought are inevitable.
tanding on the grassy spot where others will one day dig a hole and bury me was sobering.
Katrina and I met the funeral director and a family member at the graveyard where we planned to bury our son in a few days. Kaleb died a few days prior, and we were finalizing his arrangements.
I finally found the crack in Matt's defenses when I raised the subject of love. He was a hardened atheist. We were friends and conversations about faith and philosophy were not uncommon. Calling him smart is an understatement. Science and math were fun to him.
The first time I met my wife, we were both on dates with other people. I use "dates" loosely. We were in junior high and I invited a bunch of my friends to go eat downtown and attend the Nashville Knights hockey game -- there's a rich irony in Katrina and mine's first time together being a hockey game.
"We'll find each other," I told Katrina. We were picking out burial plots for our family. Nobody leaps with excitement about that conversation.
We were deliberating whether to secure burial plots for three of us (Kaleb, Katrina, and me) or five (our daughters Kaleigh and Kyra included) of us. We never pondered that question a week before.
The first day of my sabbatical was the last day of my son's life.
Writing that sentence is still strange. I struggle to believe it's true. But it is. I created my sabbatical plans months in advance. But my plan did not match God's plan.
I read John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion (this edition) in 2019. My Worship Pastor, an elder, and I read it together and shared our insights via a text message thread. Our reading plan made this task manageable over the course of the entire year, breaking the two-volumes down into five weekly readings.
I don't want to think about the flood of emotions that will bombard me on his birthday. I don't want to envision Kaleigh (10) and Kyra's (6) weddings and try to imagine the glaring absence of Kaleb's presence. Those things - Lord willing - will happen one day. But we don't need grace for sadness fifteen years from now. We need grace for today's.
Good intentions and sincere hearts do not make wrong actions and false teaching any less destructive.
This is a lesson everyone must learn. The grief and sorrow the parents and Bethel church community have over the death of sweet Olive is tragic, but the tragedy has only just begun.
My son did not live one more day than God planned; and he did not live one day less either.
This truth is one I keep returning to each day as my family and I grieve the death of my son, Kaleb. He was 15 years old. Trials and afflictions marked his life.
My family has spent a lot of time in the hospital. I mean a lot. My son, Kaleb, has spent more time in the hospital than anybody I know. From the time he was born, until the present day, hospitalizations have been a common part of his life. Hospital stays have ranged from a day,... Continue Reading →
To develop people who can preach takes time and effort. Like a bad diet is easier than eating healthy, it is easier not to raise up new preachers and just keep a heavy load of preaching. It is the path of less friction. To form a preaching team requires commitment.
Your wake up time shapes your day and success. When do you get out of bed? Do you attack the day or sleep until the last minute? This leaves you playing catch up the rest of the day.
There are moments of pain that make praying difficult. The difficulty is not from a lack of faith, but from an abundance of sorrow. Crying out to God in the midst of pain often lacks cogency and clarity. It is hard to keep a train of thought when your thoughts are scattered in so many directions.