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”

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”

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”

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”

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”