Just One Day Later…
So just one day after writing about “…one of the best weeks of my life,” in terms of loving people the way Jesus commanded us to, I fell to the earth like a shot bird. Late Saturday morning Kathy and I Continue reading
Last week I was playing basketball. A group of us were there at the Cedar Hills Gym in Portland playing 3 on 2. That’s a little awkward, 3 on 2, but we were jabbering at each other and generally having a great time anyway. Then in walks this guy who’s tall. Not NBA tall, but tall, you know, like 6 feet 5 inches. He’s taller than the rest of us, and he hardly says a word. He just joins in to make it 3 on 3 and–in a silent Clint Eastwood-like manner–proceeds to completely dismantle us. It didn’t matter how we arranged the teams, the silent assassin always won. He was so amazingly effective.
And that guy reminds me of Jesus.
He reminds me of Jesus because of this curious quirk in the gospel accounts. Continue reading
…and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. (Ephesians 5:21)
A Spirited Exchange Of Ideas (An Argument) Between A Husband And Wife
Kathy and I are in the midst of transition right now, including relocating to a city nearly 300 miles away, the sale of our vacation rental business, and investing in a new area. And of course along with transition of this nature comes, shall we say, spirited exchanges of ideas between husband and wife. And that has me thinking about Continue reading
So this morning Kathy and I are walking out of Starbucks, and we’re crossing the drive through lane. And a guy driving an SUV is heading right for Kathy. So I grabbed her arm and guided her out of the way.
And she says, “What’s the big deal?”
And I said, “That dude just bought a coffee, maybe he’s a little distracted, and he’s headed right for you.”
And she said, “So what! The cops would have nailed him for hitting me anyway.”
(I know what you’re thinking, but there’s no need to fear for my safety–sharing this story was Kathy’s idea.)
[Image via Gexydaf – Creative Commons]
Last post I wrote about an encounter I had at Starbucks with a man of sorrows. One of his sources of pain and suffering was his addiction to pornography. So I thought it appropriate to share the following blog post written by Robert Cunningham. It’s a letter to his sons about pornography. If you’re someone who struggles with this temptation, Cunningham’s letter is for you.
A Father’s Letter To His Sons About Porn
I have three young sons (6, 3, and 1). Occasionally I will write letters to give to them down the road. This is one about pornography. I’m sharing it because I know there are a lot of guys who desperately need to hear it, but don’t have a father who will say it.
My Precious Sons,
You are men.
You are noble and valiant creatures. Made to rule and subdue the earth with tender and calloused hands. Made to protect the weak and oppose injustice. Made to laugh, to wrestle, to firmly hug another. Made for glory. Made for honor.
But your manhood is twisted. You know it. You can feel it. Nobility now insecurity, courage now fear, the faint echoes of glory now loud cries of shame.
And experience is reaffirming what you fear is true. Women reject you. Friends forsake you. Father and mother fail you. You are not admired, you are not esteemed, you are not affirmed. No, this ruthless fallen world only mocks your manhood and magnifies your failures.
You are men. But alas, you are broken, battered, belittled men.
I know where you want to run. I know where you want hide. I hid there too in my youth.
Oh how alluring it is to ruined men. A world where there are no demands, and there are no consequences. A world where you are adored and wanted, needed and respected. A world where perversion is standard and carnality is desired. A world that gives men what they were meant to have without asking men to be what they were meant to be. It restores what was lost in Eden but only by cheapening Eden, by creating a realm where perverted manhood is normalized and worshiped. Where for a moment, a brief, brief, moment, you can again be naked and unashamed.
Then you wake up. (Continue Reading)
I’m A Christian Addicted To Porn by Shaun Groves
Robert Cunningham on Twitter: @tcpcrobert
Image via Miguel Tejada-Flores – Creative Commons
There’s This Thirty-Something
There’s this thirty-something in my life who is always asking me these great questions about the Bible: provocative questions, hard questions, but very interesting questions. And it’s caused me to look at the Bible differently. I read and hear so much about how the Bible is restrictive. But this person with the questions has got me thinking about the freedom God has given us. Freedom to make our own choices. Have you ever considered what’s not illegal in the Old Testament? For instance, prostitution is not illegal in the Old Testament, and neither is polygamy. I’m not saying that either of those are good, I’m just saying neither of those is illegal in the civic code given to Israel in the Old Testament. People are free to engage in these activities without legal repercussions, though the spiritual ramifications and life consequences are still there (see Proverbs 23:27 and 29:3).
The point is, God is radical when it comes to our freedom. He wants us to have the freedom to do what we want, even when it’s wrong. And it’s really made me look at my own ideas about what God wants me to do concerning the behavior of others. Because sometimes I want other people to do what I want them to do, and I can get frustrated when they don’t.
Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are there. Maybe you want to spend money a certain way but your wife wants to do it her way. Or maybe you want more time to recreate with the guys, but she has other ideas. Or maybe it’s just deciding what to do for dinner (not that this question would ever result in a disagreement). Whatever it is, our perspective changes when we Continue reading
A thirty-something friend of mine, Harold Cunningham, recently asked me about a problem he had. He shared this in confidence but after he told me what he did, I found it to be so radical, I asked his permission to write about it. Continue reading
The Problem With Poinsettias
The problem with poinsettias is you have to water them. Kathy was away visiting family and one of my jobs while she was gone was to water the beautiful live potted poinsettias she bought as part of our Christmas decorations. Some may find this hard to believe but–I forgot. It wasn’t until a few days before Kathy’s return that I noticed the poinsettias were looking pretty bleak. Again you may find this hard to believe but this was not the first time I forgot to water plants in Kathy’s absence. Having experience with this problem I used my go to recovery plan: dump copious amounts of water on the plant and hope it recovers before Kathy returns.
Well the plan worked and the poinsettias did recover. However in the process of picking off the dead leaves to make the poinsettias look better, I accidentally severed a branch. It’s the one in the photo at the top of this post. It didn’t fare well after it was separated from the vine. It wasn’t long before it shriveled and died.
In John chapter 15 Jesus says plainly, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
1) Practice His Presence
“…without Me you can do nothing.” And that brings us to our number one means of drawing closer to Christ in 2014: Continue reading
It’s Time to Die
The last post was about how important it is not to die indiscriminately. In other words the last post was for people who can’t say no, as you might gather from the title: How Not to Become a Christian Doormat.
This post is probably more important and for a greater number because this post is for all of us who don’t want to die. And at some point everyone of us will have to. I’m not talking about the physical death of our bodies necessarily, but rather the time when the Holy Spirit will tell you, “Yes, it’s time. It’s your time to die now. It’s your time to submit to My will and not your own.”
You and I and every single one of us will encounter God in that way. Every single one of us will be called upon by God to die, and frequently.
Frequently because we’re commanded to love, and love so often demands that we die to our own will. And there are all kinds of ways to do that, there are all kinds of ways to die. You might be called to die by allowing that guy at work to take the choice assignment, or by agreeing to your wife buying a new pair of shoes, or even by simply turning off the TV and engaging with the kids.
Or, it could be something much harder.
A Tale of Two Fathers Continue reading
Content from this article is from the new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). For more articles included in the book go to Love Like Jesus Book. Love Like Jesus is due to be published in 2018.
A Dormitory Door Mat
There are these two roommates Walter and Craig who live on the fifth floor of the Barnhart dormitory at the University of Oregon. Craig is on the football team. He’s pretty sure he’s one of the best athletes on campus. He’s really into his sport and his friends, like a lot of guys are during their college years. Two of his favorite hangouts are the weight room and wherever the current party happens to be. He’s a Grand Theft Auto and Madden NFL kind of guy.
But his roommate Walter is different. He’s kind of bookish, if you know what I mean. He’s a good student. He belongs to the college writing club. He’s watched all the Lord of the Rings movies multiple times—on Blue Ray. He’s an English major but he’s taking a physics class, just for fun. He’s more of a Minecraft kind of a guy.
Well one day Craig has a chance to move into an apartment off campus. The day the apartment comes open is the day before a home game, and he wants to move in right away so he can have a victory party after the game. He already invited a bunch of his friends. Getting people to come to his party was no problem. But getting people to help him move wasn’t working out. Not a single friend was available. So, even though he very much preferred not to, he asked Walter.
“Hey, I need you to help me move my stuff over to the apartment.”
“I’d like to but I can’t,” Walter said. “I have a midterm and a group project presentation tomorrow.” He also said yes to a request to give a presentation at his writer’s club right after the midterm. And his parents were arriving for a visit after writer’s club. But Walter was too embarrassed to disclose that to Craig.
“I don’t really see a problem,” Craig said. “I only need you for like, one hour.”
Walter didn’t respond but Craig could see the reluctance on his face.
“Come on Walter, don’t be selfish.”
For some reason every time Walter experienced a pang of guilt he thought of the dentist’s needle injecting lidocaine into his gums. Except instead of his gums, he imagined the needle penetrating his heart. And instead of pain followed by numbness, there was just pain. Craig had a knack for triggering that response in Walter. So did his dad. So did his mother. So did a lot of people.
And there was that word: selfish. A Christian can’t be selfish, can he? Continue reading