Hello! Thanks for visiting. This is the weekly edition of “Links I Like,” an assortment of stories I found enlightening or encouraging throughout the week. I hope you’re likewise encouraged by what you find.
The Good News that God Doesn’t Believe in You
When tumultuous times hit, it’s easy to let the cliches and pat answers rule our freeze our otherwise warm comfort. Often, the “counsel” that’s given comes across cold and uncaring. But even news that sounds bad at first can remind us of the heat of God’s love, and then it’s good news. Like the news that God doesn’t believe in you. He doesn’t, you know. He knows you, the worst about you, the vile heart that you paint white in hopes no one notices. He notices. The exhausted soul that you mask with okayness and put-togetherness. He knows. And He invites you to rest in the faith of His Son. What excellent words from Chad Bird, here. I can’t wait to get my hands on his new book this fall! continue reading→
God Loves Messy Floors
If there’s one thing I hate, it’s dishes. They’re seemingly never done. As soon as I spend time unloading and loading and doing the remnants by hand, there’s more to be done. It’s like a never-ending circle of death (okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic). Somewhere along the line, the standard for success meant having a spotless house with no dirty dishes. Easy logic would conclude, then, that if you have a messy house with food-covered plates in the sink, then you’re obviously not a success. You’ve failed in your ability to keep the law of clean houses. But, as RJ intimates, what if there was a better way? What if your value wasn’t tied to how clean you keep your house? What if your worth wasn’t found in clean dishes and neatly-folded laundry? The good news of the gospel is that it frees us even in these areas. As RJ says, “Jesus doesn’t need your clean floors.” For tired dads and exhausted moms with no energy to clean, this is for you. continue reading→
Lessons of Lordship from the Scottish Church
It’s easy to get jaded by all the influx of news and stories and rumors that swirl all over the Internet nowadays. The bog of information can get us down, get us doubting. We are easily wooed into disbelief by all that we see. The remedy for this fear, though, lies with the Scottish Reformation. In the 16th century, the Reformation swept across all of Europe, with a re-emphasis on confessional theology. This movement seemingly left no ground untouched, and Scotland was no different. The rise of Presbyterianism during this time led to a congruent rise in the accentuation of the Lordship of Christ. Even as resistance to the Reformation was felt, a focus on the Lordship of Christ gave the reformers and all Christians a respite to cling to. The head of the state was not the Head of the Church. The heavenly government was ruled by a much more powerful Sovereign, and in His power, they could find rest. So might we. continue reading→
Are You Suffocating Your Creativity?
It’s so easy to fill your day with information. They say we’re living in the Information Age and with the accessibility and ease at which we can learn something or research something, that may be true. However, with the ease of information comes the lack of meditation. We’ve forgotten the lost of musing, of just sitting and thinking. Believe me, I’m preaching to myself here. I get so busy at times, but not the real busy. The type of busy that’s created by constantly looking and updating my phone to see the latest thing and read the latest post. We often create our busyness out of an addiction to distraction. This post resonated with me because I know I need to practice simply contemplating and dreaming a lot more. As Erik notes, this is where some of the best stuff comes from. continue reading→
God Still Seeks Wandering Fools
The Christmas “wise men” are always interesting characters to me. They’re always put next to the manger in our nativity scenes when we know that they didn’t show up till much later. They’re always grouped as 3 wise men because of the gifts they bring to Christ but we’re never told there was only 3 of them. We make all these assumptions about these men and forget what beautiful humility they show. For all their knowledge, they presumed, naturally so, that the promised Messiah would be born in palace from which he would begin his rule and reign. Yet, when they found Jesus in a poor man’s home, born to lowly parents, they still bowed down and worshiped Him. You see, it wasn’t about their “wisdom” in finding Jesus. As Andy says so well here, “Christmas is not about wise men seeking Jesus. It’s about wandering fools being found by Jesus. The incarnation glorifies the extent to which God would go to seek out those who were running from him.” Great stuff from For The Church. continue reading→
Let Jesus Out of the Cage
Too often, preachers are afraid of the “real” Jesus. The Jesus that meets sinners where they are. The Jesus that hangs out with drunks and prostitutes. The Jesus that says to the adulteress, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” The Jesus that gives grace and love without any expectation of reciprocity. The Jesus who heals the weak and broken without a hint of getting anything in return. We’re afraid to preach this Jesus because we’re afraid of what He might do and what He might say. This Jesus rips control from us and gives us grace — grace upon grace. It’s time we let Jesus out of the cage and preach the whole Jesus, the real Jesus, the down-to-earth-delivering-wretched-sinners Jesus. After all, as Joel says, “A caged Jesus might not hurt anyone, but He also won’t heal anyone. Let Him out. Let Him speak.” Great words here from The Jagged Word. continue reading→
Things Can Change, Pt. 1
Believing in the gospel of God’s inexhaustible grace means you believe that God redeem in the vilest heart for the glory of His name. Sometimes, though, I don’t know if we fully believe that truth in reality. It sounds good theoretically, sounds good on paper. But put that type of grace in real life and that means child molesters, rapists, murderers, and terrorists are invited to have a slice of this freedom. And that bothers us. For as much as we love grace, we are naturally inclined to be justice-addicted. Fairness rules out over favor. But in God’s economy, the economy of the gospel, grace is an unfair reality — at least in our terms. It’s given to these vagabonds, these scoundrels in order that Christ’s matchless saving work might be magnified all the more by redeeming the unredeemable and changing the unchangeable. Loved this piece from Matthew Burr and The Gospel Economist (even if it is slightly stealing my thunder for an upcoming blog!). continue reading→
The world’s law is that guilt and shame are to be shunned. Our blemishes need covering. Our faults need fixing. Our shame needs hiding. We live by these laws and exhaust ourselves with keeping them perfectly. We do our darnedest not to let anyone see us — the real us. For all of our society’s avenues of communication and connectivity, the laws of perfection keep us isolated and alone. But God would have see a different way, a radically different way. The gospel of Christ eradicates our guilt and shame. By Jesus’s own death on the cross, He took our blemishes as His own. He bore all our sins and paid for every single one of them. In the gospel, the Son of God takes the shame of men to make men the sons of God. The Savior comes running to us, to prodigals, kissing us in redeeming grace. The exoneration of the law of guilt and shame means Christians can be as bold as lions. We stand in the shadow and under the power of the cross. “We can admit our faults, pray for one another and be healed . . . There is no shame in Christ.” Great words here from my friend, Mitch Miller. continue reading→
What Remembering the Poor Really Means
One of the most laughable sentiments often made around election time is when the incumbent politician tries to make himself appear more a “man of the people.” In his attempts to seem more down-to-earth and relatable, this usually involves a meeting with some out-of-the-way town and an engagement with some people who’d otherwise never be televised, ever. What’s even worse is when that politician attempts to soothe whatever hardship those people may facing with the sentiment that he “feels their pain” too. Sometimes, though, Christians act just like politicians, saying something that sounds nice and grace-filled, when in reality it doesn’t have much meaning. What’s the point of trying empathize with a sufferer if you’re not going to try and actively help remove the suffering? This is precisely what James speaks to in his epistle when he says, “What good is it, my brothers . . . If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:14-16). We must ask ourselves the same question, What good is it? As Barry says here, “To remember the poor is not just to know about them, but to know them and find wise, practical ways to assist and encourage them.” Let’s make our Christianity more about active charity and less about theoretical purity. continue reading→
2CELLOS – Mombasa Live!
My favorite movie of all time is Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Along with that came an amazing score from the mind of Hans Zimmer. One of the standout tracks from that score was easily the frenetic “Mombasa.” Here’s a cover of that cue by the group 2CELLOS. Also, let’s all strive to be as all-in at everything we do as this drum guy.
Song of the Week
“Crags and Clay” by Gungor.