Why Has God Called Us Not to Sin?

Why Has God Called Us Not to Sin?

In our adolescence, we usually question the validity of why sin is, well… sin. We may ask if God is just a cosmic killjoy, trying to suck all the fun out of life and keep us from doing all of the really cool things.

But, once we mature a little and get past that, the question still remains as to why has God has called us not to sin in the first place.

Or the deeper question, why are sins wrong? In other words, is God more than just a parent responding to his kids with “because I told you so”?

A lot of times, the answer we are given merely scratches the surface, with something like, “God wants the best life for you. He said that we could have abundant life. A life without sin is the ideal life—the one created us to have.”

And while I believe there is truth in that, it may go a little deeper.

Continue reading “Why Has God Called Us Not to Sin?”

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Crucifixion of Power

Crucifixion of Power

In the real world, it’s all about who know. If you know powerful people, then you have a certain kind of power yourself. The more people you know at the front of the race, the closer to the lead you can get.

Not much has changed since the world of the early Christians either. Look at this passage from 1 Corinthians 1:11-12:

For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”

Paul, Apollos, Peter, Jesus… these were big players for first century Christians. It’s likely that Christians from all across the Roman Empire knew these names. If you had connections with one of these guys, you probably felt like you were connected to a little bit of power.

Paul was the man who spread the faith all across Roman territory, Apollos was a big teacher and apparently helped grow the church at Corinth, Peter was the man God said he’d build his church on, and Jesus was, well, Jesus. I imagine the people in the Jesus camp decided to bypass all “human” streams of power and go straight to the “source.” A little bit like a friend quoting Thomas Aquinas, and you responding with the Beatitudes.

But that isn’t the way power works in the kingdom of God. Continue reading “Crucifixion of Power”

3 Ways Learning a Language Changed Me

3 Ways Learning a Language Changed Me

What usually is every high school kid’s worst nightmare turned out to be something revolutionary for me.

Yeah, I know. It sounds nerdy. I can just imagine judging a headline like “3 Ways Applied Statistics Changed Me.”

But, hear me out.

When I started to learn Spanish, it really rocked my world.

This article isn’t just about the ways that knowing a little bit of Spanish changed my life, e.g. giving me business opportunities, allowing me to travel and communicate, etc.

I’m going to write about how learning a second language actually changed me

And hopefully how it might change (or have changed) you too. Continue reading “3 Ways Learning a Language Changed Me”

Would We Vote For Jesus?

Would We Vote For Jesus?

In times of presidential elections, the question that is usually asked is “Who would Jesus vote for?”

However, if that’s the main question we ask, then we’ll most likely just end up making Jesus look like a Republican or a Democrat. He will just fit neatly into our American two-party system.

Seeing as Jesus is King, I don’t imagine he’s terribly interested in voting or joining any existing political party.

Perhaps the better question to ask is this: if Jesus was running for President, would we vote for him? Continue reading “Would We Vote For Jesus?”

We Might Not Love Jesus Like We Thought

We Might Not Love Jesus Like We Thought

Do you love Jesus? I’m not trying to get you to go from saying no to saying yes. Because there’s a very high likelihood that, if you’re reading this, you already answer yes to that question. But, sometimes the right answer can be wrong. And Jesus has a way of making us realize how the things we always thought were right aren’t as right as we thought they were.

When we look at John 21, we see this famous question asked:

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Before we can answer the question, “Do you love Jesus?” I think we have to ask the question, “What does it mean to love Jesus?” When asked, “Do you love Jesus?” we all know that we’re supposed to yes, right? But when we look at this story of Peter, I think we discover that loving Jesus may not mean what we think it means. Continue reading “We Might Not Love Jesus Like We Thought”

The Unblessedness of Giving

The Unblessedness of Giving

A while back, I was visiting back home in South Carolina and I was at a restaurant that had one of those really fancy soda machines. It was the one with the screen that you had to press buttons in order to choose your drink.

As I was going to get my drink, there was an older lady in front of me having a really hard time figuring out what to do. I saw her in crisis and decided to step up and help her out with her drink selection.

After I helped her, she had a gracious look on her face, but then she said this to me:

“You see… women do need men!”

Woah.

It just really took me off guard. And I let out one of the most awkward laughs you’ve probably ever heard.

I just started to think, how could someone possibly interpret a situation like that in such a way that it made them come to the conclusion that one entire gender is absolutely dependent upon another entire gender? If anything, this was a sign that older people need young people… I kid!

However, that event helped show me that we are trained to see the world in a certain way and all of our experience are filtered through that certain way of seeing the world. Hers, unfortunately, was a one colored by male superiority, despite being a woman herself!

Still, it made me consider the ways that I may unfaithfully see the world too. Continue reading “The Unblessedness of Giving”

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 5—Jesus Isn’t All I Need

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 5—Jesus Isn’t All I Need
For all posts thus far in the Pilgrimage Tour series, click here.

Jesus isn’t all you need.

This may go against everything you’ve ever heard about God. But hear me out.

What do we mean when we say, “All I need is Jesus”? If it is something like, “I don’t need anyone else in my life to be who I need to be… All I need is God,” then I’m afraid that this simply isn’t true.

I found this out in a very real way as I began to hike. Continue reading “Pilgrimage Tour: Day 5—Jesus Isn’t All I Need”

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 4—(Re)Imagining “the Valley”

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 4—(Re)Imagining “the Valley”
For all posts thus far in the Pilgrimage Tour series, click here.

What do you think about when you think of a valley?

Most likely, you think about a dark place. A place of sorrow. A place of mourning, depression, and despair. I know I do.

The goal is the mountaintop, right? To get past the misery and desolation, finally receiving the joy and victory that comes on the top of the mountain.

All of those clichés seemed really nice—until I began to climb a mountain. Continue reading “Pilgrimage Tour: Day 4—(Re)Imagining “the Valley””

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 3—Hear Now the Confession of Your People

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 3—Hear Now the Confession of Your People
For all posts thus far in the Pilgrimage Tour series, click here.

I have a confession to make: I’m bad at confessing.

Growing up, I was the kid who found pride in being as good as possible. Doing all the right things, knowing all the right answers, and making all the right choices. My identity was built around being as airtight of a human being as possible.

Until I realized that, no matter how much I fooled myself, this simply wasn’t the case.

Around 5 years ago, I started to become more aware of my own fallenness, my own inescapable brokenness. I, like Isaiah in chapter 6 of his book, came face to face with a holy God and couldn’t help but to reply, “Woe is me! I am a man of unclean lips.”

But, even though my awareness has heightened, part of me still wants to hold on to this idea that I’ve got it all together.

That’s why confession is hard for me. Continue reading “Pilgrimage Tour: Day 3—Hear Now the Confession of Your People”

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 2—Fasting, Fires, and Feasting

Pilgrimage Tour: Day 2—Fasting, Fires, and Feasting
For all posts thus far in the Pilgrimage Tour series, click here.

Every time, I’ve ever fasted, it’s felt pretty useless. You’re apparently supposed to pray more or read your Bible when you usually eat, but all I end up doing is thinking about how hungry I am. So, I usually get frustrated at that and tell myself, “Just go ahead and eat while you pray and read your Bible.”

That’ll balance it out.

Alas, it was day two of the pilgrimage tour and the discipline for the day was fasting. The bag of Cheez-its I brought to snack on would just have to sit idly by in my pack all day. We weren’t going to eat until late that night, after an 11 hour journey from Kansas City to Colorado Springs. There, we would be welcomed with a beautiful feast, catered by Olive Garden and provided by the church we were crashing at that night.

And the Church said, “Amen.” Continue reading “Pilgrimage Tour: Day 2—Fasting, Fires, and Feasting”