The political conventions have begun.  The speakers complain that ‘those others’ won’t reach across the aisle and work together.  At the same time they begin to attack the other’s views.  Next week it will be the same song; second verse.   There will be no love lost in the coming election cycle.

I am struck with how much of a politicized culture we are immersed in.  In the faith community we speak of covenant relationships; forbearing one another.  Yet , some meanest fights I’ve ever witnessed have taken place in churches. {Granted they may not be the most brutal, but it seems like church fights go to a place of intentionally leaving deep emotional wounds.  As a pastor I recall trying to reach out to folks who were ‘un-churched’ but found that many of those we were reaching had been ‘de-churched.’  In my messages when I brought up the area of being hurt by a church it was as if a bolt of electricity shot through the room!  There was almost a physical change in about 60% of the people.   Continue reading


Introducing Jesus

Steve Harvey is a well-known comedian and television personality.  Some time ago someone shared with me Steve’s introduction to Jesus Christ.  Evidently Steve Harvey has been asked to introduce a number of famous people. He answers the question of how it would be if he had to introduce Jesus. Evidently it was a part of one of his comedic routines.  From some of his interviews, I understand that Steve is a person who claims faith in Jesus Christ. His introduction to Jesus is a lot of fun and I enjoy sharing it with others.   I even used the video in a Palm Sunday service.  I hope you’ll click the link and enjoy it too.

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The Problem With Jesus

Jesus does not create much of a problem at Christmas.  There are those who object to the Christianization of culture and therefore want the greeting of this season to be “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”  But the real rub with culture—and perhaps there are those who sense it as they try to push Christianity from the public square—is the exclusivity claims of orthodox Christianity.  This part of Christian teaching is anathema to a culture that suggests the only way to encounter God is through Jesus.  If we were to say that Jesus is one way that women and men can come to know god, or even a way that one can encounter the creator of all that is, there would not be the pushback from others in culture except for the dominant position Christianity has held in western culture and the distinctly Christian residue that helps make western culture what it is today.  If Christianity claimed that Jesus is one of the ways men and women can know God the reaction would be different.  To be sure, men and women can be spiritual without Jesus, the New Testament is very clear that there are other kinds of spirits and spirituality, often a spirituality that is inwardly focused.  But the rub is in the exclusive claim that Jesus is the only way to the Father is a problem in today’s world. Continue reading


“What does it really mean to live by faith?  The response of faith is nothing more than obedience.  Faith begins with God speaking and materializes when we respond…..  A church begins to live by faith when its people move the things God has clearly said into the nonoptional category.  A church doesn’t need to pray about whether it should pray.  It doesn’t need to pray about whether it should serve.  It doesn’t need to pray about whether it should evangelize.”  Erwin Ralph McManus, An Unstoppable Force, p.150 Continue reading