Quiet Time and Sacred Space

A lifestyle of distraction is not learned in a day… neither is reversing its trend. We concluded last week by introducing “baby steps” as a way to begin standing against the power of distraction. Such efforts may initially seem insignificant—30 second prayers, 60 seconds of stillness, or short walks unplugged from technology. Nevertheless, with persistence we can find the freedom we seek. But, how can we stay motivated for a freedom we haven’t yet fully experienced? We need a foretaste. Continue reading “Quiet Time and Sacred Space”

Lifestyles of Distraction

I am prone to distraction. Such is frequently observed by my family every time I attempt to walk past the television. How about you? Distraction is embedded into the very fabric of our culture. Google, video games, cable television, bill boards, commercials, and myriad other sights and sounds daily call for our time and attention. Our economy even depends on it. Every day, businesses and institutions vie for our interest in buying their goods and services… each one trying to convince us we need what they have. Sadly, we’ve become so used to the noise, we rarely even recognize what we’ve lost. Continue reading “Lifestyles of Distraction”

Surrender

Last week we emphasized the importance of knowing the purpose and limits of cultural Christianity. When Christians fail to gain such knowledge, they set themselves up for great confusion and disappointment… expecting something of their faith it isn’t able to deliver. This week we consider the vast difference between cultural and biblical Christianity. Continue reading “Surrender”

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”

The Desperation Shift

Around 2000 years ago, a religious leader asked Jesus which was the greatest Commandment in the Jewish Law. He replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Ever since, the church has emphasized loving God as fundamentally central to Christian faith. Even today, faith is born, nurtured, and fueled by the knowledge that God loves us. Continue reading “The Desperation Shift”

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”

Rethinking Salvation

Heaven—a place of eternal life and unspeakable joy in the presence of God. Salvation—assurance of entrance to heaven upon death. Unfortunately, these popular, though oversimplified, definitions have given rise to a theology of heaven that is little more than eternal-life insurance. Truly the doctrine of heaven can be a source of hope and assurance, especially when motivation for Christian perseverance is lacking. Yet, for me, such hope has always been as elusive as helpful when I have struggled to find a hope for today… right now in my present earthly reality. Continue reading “Rethinking Salvation”

The Crucible of Hope

Suffering and grief take a brutal toll on the human person. Such times have a way of shaking us to our core. All that is unnecessary and peripheral is leveled as the truly important is left standing firm. Discrepancies between mere professions of belief versus its actual living out are soon apparent when ones sense of security is unalterably shaken. Thus, there is no better crucible for hope than suffering. Continue reading “The Crucible of Hope”

When Faith and Grief Collide

The following story shows how an expectation for answers can kill faith, if we let it. Four years after Emily and I married, we were blessed with two sons. Four years later, God blessed us with a baby girl. On December 18, 2008 Isabella Grace graced this world… unfortunately she was only 21 weeks old. In the hospital room we held her lifeless body and bitterly wept.  Continue reading “When Faith and Grief Collide”