The Eighteen-Inch Dilemma

This week we discuss the first of two challenges often preventing Christians from choosing holy desperation. Today we introduce The Eighteen-Inch Dilemma. This challenge refers to the seemingly infinite span between the head and the heart and the difficulty we have trying to bring them together. For us, this has to do with the difference between merely knowing about God and knowing God. Continue reading “The Eighteen-Inch Dilemma”

Wounded Healers

We have talked a lot about rightly choosing our desperation and how critical this is for cultivating hope. Yet, we must also understand that the impact of this choice extends beyond our own immediate circumstances. When we respond rightly in our dark night, in that very moment God is already beginning to redeem our loss. He not only brings us hope but he intends to do the same through us for others. Continue reading “Wounded Healers”

Faith as Knowing Beyond Knowing

There was a time when I used to think God made perfect sense. This was before I understood that sometimes his ways seem totally reasonable while at others they utterly defy the rules of logic. If there is one thing about God we can always count on, it is his faithfulness. If there is one thing about God we can never count on, it is predictability in how he acts. In light of such uncertainty, how can we ever hope to have an authentic and reliable faith? Continue reading “Faith as Knowing Beyond Knowing”

Suffering and the Gift of Presence

My earliest memories of Christian faith are when I was eight years old. I remember experiencing the presence of God in times of prayer and worship. Those were special years… my faith was pure and simple. By the time I was eighteen I had a strong Christian foundation, though with one exception—my faith had no context for suffering. I honestly can’t remember any teachings that seriously addressed the topic of theodicy. Continue reading “Suffering and the Gift of Presence”

In Search of Joy

Human beings are emotional creatures and this is both a blessing and a bane. We have all experienced their ability to carry us to the highest heights and plummet us to the lowest depths. And so, we have developed our own ways of dealing with emotions… of managing our passions. Yet regardless of how we feel about emotions, we all hold one emotional behavior in common—we are most excited about those beliefs to which we are most committed. In fact, we even tend to question whether somebody truly believes something if they are not moved by it. Continue reading “In Search of Joy”

Faith, A Radical Mindset

So, are you addicted to answers? To not be, is the exception because we live in a culture that depends on this addiction. In the fields of science, business, finance, education, and the like, answers are essential for success. Answers to problems and challenges serve as road maps to accomplishment and wealth. Therefore, answers are cherished resources and to be without them jeopardizes ones success. Continue reading “Faith, A Radical Mindset”

The Gift of Disillusionment

I was a 23 year-old youth pastor feeling the winds of transition blowing across my life. Not knowing the “what” or “where” of my new season, I began praying for direction. Soon afterwards, I met a missionary who invited me to join him in some exciting work he was doing in Mexico. Believing this was an answer to prayer, I accepted the invitation, said goodbye to my family—not knowing when I would return—and boarded a plane for Monterrey, Mexico. Continue reading “The Gift of Disillusionment”

Emoticon Spirituality

400551-610x610-1369060605-primary.EmojisEmoticons… at the click of a keystroke emotional transparency has never been easier! 🙂 If only this were true. ): Unfortunately, humans struggle with emotional honesty. Not unlike the use of emoticons, we can be too quick or slow to admit our true emotional state, especially in our relationship with God. Today we’ll look at what it means to be honest with God about our emotions and how this directly relates to hope. Continue reading “Emoticon Spirituality”

Choosing Your Desperation

How can theodicy questions lead us closer to God? They foster desperation because the answers to such questions will never be fully grasped this side of the grave. Our suffering and others’ suffering will always be shrouded by the mystery of “Why”? It is at this dead-end where our response will take us either to a place of earthly desperation – resulting in hopelessness, depression, and exasperation – or to a place of holy desperation – resulting in faith, hope, and confidence in God. Desperation (earthly or holy) always involves the feeling of hopelessness. Continue reading “Choosing Your Desperation”