I have really fond memories of solitude. Being quiet on purpose to hear from God has become a spiritual disciple I cannot live without. But, I also understand that sitting still may be the last thing you want to do. There are many things that prevent us from quieting ourselves before the Lord. It is for that reason that I wrote this solitude guide.Read More
Truth is always good. No matter how harsh it feels. Truth always liberates. No matter how restrictive it seems. And therefore, truth is always worth embracing, celebrating, and proclaiming. It is for this reason that I am delighted to sign the Nashville Statement and proclaim it with joy! Because it is always a good time for truth.Read More
Taking up our cross to follow Jesus is often a painful experience—but we desperately need it. The invitation to die—to take up our cross and lose our lives for Jesus—is truly an invitation to newness of life, to union with Christ, and to ultimate freedom from sin.Read More
For the Christian, the college years are often marked by grand desires to change the world in the name of Jesus. It is a time filled with ministry opportunities and therefore marked by busyness for many young people who don't want to waste any ministry opportunity in their path. But doing things for Jesus cannot and should not be your primary goal. If it is, you have sidelined the only work that truly matters: knowing God through Jesus, His Son.Read More
The things we covet and crave are often good things. But even so, to covet is to become enamored with something other than God. And craving God's gifts when you already have God Himself is preferring the gifts above the Giver.Read More
A new temptation often arises in the subtle shift from learner to teacher, one we often don't foresee. It creeps in as we begin to delight in our own expertise about God, rather than God Himself.Read More
No Christian hopes to one day find themselves drifting from God. We don’t set goals to love other things most, to serve false gods, or to give in to temptation. But many of us, surprisingly, have found ourselves years into following Christ with an alarming companion: apathy.Read More
No one likes to be used. But unfortunately, it is easy for all of us to fall into the habit of seeking God only to get the benefits He offers. Here are four ways that we often think we are seeking God, but in reality we’re only using Him.Read More
I’m skeptical of New Year's resolutions. Why? Because some days I don’t like being dependent on God, and a system of reform is an easy way back to self-sufficiency.Read More
For as long as I’ve been in church, I’ve known that sexual sin is a guy's struggle. Lust, sexual fantasies, pornography, masturbation. These were all things common to man, not common to woman. So what was I to do when my mom's Victoria’s Secret catalog arrived, and I secretly ogled over the pictures wishing I looked like those women? Or when I replayed intimate and sexual scenes from Titanic in my head? Or when I discovered certain parts of my body felt great when touched in a certain way? A Christian girl ought not to deal with such things. But the truth is lust is a temptation common to humanity, not just men. Lust is a desire for something that isn't yours to have. And plenty of women, myself included, have lusted for the pursuit and intimacy of a husband way before it was ours to have.Read More
As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:1-2 Suffering produces an insatiable desire to blame. Surely there must be some reason why this poor man must suffer all his life without sight. We hunger and thirst for some impetus for it all.
Why are we so bent on finding fault? Partly because we hope to prevent future suffering by finding the cause. Just like you may avoid spicy food if it once gave you heartburn. Partly because if the sufferer is to blame, we can accept the hardship as a legitimate recompense to sin: "She deserved that," or "I had it coming." If someone else is to blame, we at least have someone to take our anger out on.
So how does Jesus answer the disciples inquiry about the cause of the blind man's life of suffering?
Jesus doesn't tell us of a world of needless suffering. There is a reason, but it is one that we have had no category for at all: suffering for the sake of the glory of God.Read More
Is God important enough to us that we'll do whatever it takes to hear Him? In 1 Kings 19, God revealed Himself to Elijah not in an earthquake or fire but in a "low whisper" (v. 12). How can we hear this gentle whisper of God unless we quiet the noise of our lives? To have a listening prayer life, we need to learn to wait in silence on God.Read More
I can still feel the shame of being caught sneaking Oreos to my room as a kid. Though not the first time, it embarrassed me to know someone else had seen the grip food had on me. Over the years, I looked for ways to be alone in the kitchen to sneak more handfuls of goldfish or one more spoonful of Nutella. Gluttony became a familiar and unwelcome companion. I assumed I just had bad habits that needed to be reformed, but God made it clear that I was an idolater who needed forgiveness, a slave to sin who needed a Liberator.Read More
"Will you disciple me?" Whether you've asked the question or received it, rightly defining this concept is important. Is a mentor someone who sins less than the mentee? Is discipleship showing someone how to be a better Christian? A better person? Is it formal, like a tutor sitting across the table from a student? Is it casual, like an apprentice working alongside someone more experienced?
While there is value in discussing the nuts and bolts of formalized meetings versus life-on-life rhythms, what topics to study, and what goals to set, that is not the approach I will take here. Instead, I want to present you with three metaphors to describe the role of a mentor in discipleship.Read More
Can you be thankful for your failures? Does it have any beneficial place in the life of the Christian? My self-love was like a film over the eyes of my heart. I could see God, but the glimpses of Him were somewhat cloudy. Failure is the solution disolving the residue of pride. With each removal of pride comes a crisper view of the glory of God.Read More
"Will you marry me?" It's the moment many are waiting for. But however romantic the day of engagement, the time between "I will" and "I do" is often difficult. It's difficult because you know who you are going to marry, but you aren't married yet. It's a season of already and not yet. Very few people look back on engagement longing for it again. Being married is so much better than waiting to be married.
Similarly, Christians live in the already and not yet. We are the Bride of Christ. Our future is secure; our hope is certain. But it isn't yet. We do not see Christ face to face; we do not experience a life free from the sin Christ defeated. But yet it is certain that one day we will. We are the betrothed Bride of Christ, waiting for our wedding day. We live by faith, not by sight. And in faith, we wait.Read More
Though I never had an outwardly needy friendship, the weeds of codependency were still popping up in my life, just in a different form. I needed her to be ok with me. I needed her approval and her acceptance. I needed her more than I loved her. This is the essence of codependency: driven by our own needs we become unable to truly love other people. My neediness was near impossible to see because it manifested by keeping her at arms-length. I perceived myself not to be needy, but to be perfectly content without her in my life.Read More
As my life ebbs and flows, so does my definition of success.No longer trying to ace my college exam, I'm fighting to stay on top of laundry. No longer trying to be a good Christian (aware that I can't be good on my own), success equals dependency. But still, I live and die for success. But in the landscape of success and failure, Psalm 27 gives me a new frame of reference.Read More
How can you know if you are using the Bible to avoid Jesus? When it becomes a self-help manual instead of a platform to showcase your Redeemer. When the Bible produces to-do lists and not worship. When your Bible reading is devoid of prayer. Proper Bible reading first exposes sin, then offers a Savior. The Bible is a witness to the need for a Savior and the presentation of Jesus as that Savior.Read More
Faith is not a warm and fuzzy feeling. Rather it is a willful choice to believe in the reliability of God even when that belief is lacking in physical evidence. It's easy to believe the promise that God works things for my good when good things have come to fruition; it's easy to believe that God is near when He feels near. But when my feelings and experiences tell a different story than the Word of God, faith isn't so fun anymore.
The test of faith comes when my feelings veer off to the left and God's Word goes to the right. Here I must make a willful choice to place my faith in what I deem most reliable—my feelings or God's Word.Read More