April 24, 2012

All New

Have you ever considered the fact that you are in need of redemption? You are. So am I.
Some of you are well aware of the fact that you need redemption, but you think you aren’t deserving of it. You aren’t. Neither am I.

But we want redemption… no, we need redemption don’t we? Look around you… everything is messed up… broken. All you need to do is watch the first two minutes of the news to know that our world is falling apart. People kill each other, people kill themselves, people are on drugs, and lonely, depressed, hungry, and angry. Our world needs redemption.

We talk about people behind their backs, we lie, we cheat, we steal. We hate, we judge, we devalue. Yes, we need redemption. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24).

The good news is this: there is redemption. There’s redemption and it’s free. There’s redemption and it’s for everyone. There’s redemption and it’s found in Jesus Christ.

April 12, 2012

Missing the Mark

If I were to come to you one-on-one and ask you how you define sin, what would you say? My guess is that many of us would say something to the effect of, “doing bad things.” But sin is more than that, it’s deeper than that. Sin is missing your purpose.
The Bible never comes out and defines sin, but there’s a 3-fold definition that comes out of the various passages that touch on sin. First, sin is rebellion against God. This is the idea that God wants us to do something or be a certain way and we do things our own way instead. The second part of the definition is the idea of surrendering to evil instead of God. But the third piece and most prevalent today is: missing God’s purpose for our lives.
The word sin literally translated means “missing the mark.” Think of it like we’re all Katniss Everdeen and we step up to shoot at the target with our bow and arrow. The goal, as always, is to hit the bullseye right? That’s living according to the way God has purposed us. But we all miss. None of us hit the bullseye. None of us live according to the way God has purposed us.
“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Everyone misses.

April 10, 2012


Pride is such a bummer. It's a bummer because it's everywhere and it seems like no matter how hard we try, no matter how deep we dig, we cannot eradicate it from ourselves. Even in humility we find pride. How often have I found myself proud of how humble I am? It's twisted. Why is it that everything that enters my mind is automatically filtered through the "how does this affect me" filter? I can't just listen. I can't just watch. I have to figure out the tie to myself and whether this thing will make me more happy, sad, indifferent, special, noticed, uneasy, or whatever.

But this is the nature of sin isn't it? Sin is me telling God I know better. It's me telling God I'm in charge. It's all about me. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden it wasn't about being tricked, it was about the filter of pride. Was it already there? Was pride just waiting to be triggered by a well-placed question?

God help me to learn what humility really is, instead of this prideful self-promotion.

March 21, 2012


Provocative is a word that usually has a negative connotation. It's something or someone that causes a person to be annoyed or angered. Provocative is used in sexual contexts as well. Generally, if something is provocative, it garners a strong reaction of some kind. However, when you think about the root word here, it is all about provoking isn't it? And is that a bad thing? Is it bad to provoke a reaction?

In a world that doesn't seem to care about much anymore, is it wrong to push toward thinking or wrestling with concepts? It seems that anytime we get a bit uncomfortable with an idea we call it provocative. I think this is exactly what we need sometimes. We need to be uncomfortable. We need to wrestle. We need to be provoked from our mental/emotional/spiritual couch.

Isn't this what Jesus was all about? Didn't he provoke? Certainly his hearers were angered by his teaching and heart for the marginalized. They wanted him dead after all! "Once again the people picked up stones to kill him" (John 10:31). On the other hand, many were changed forever because they were provoked. Think about Nicodemus, or Zacchaeus, or Matthew, or the woman at the well. These people had strong opinions. They were smart people. Yet, they were provoked into a reaction. More than this, they were provoked into a choice.

Jesus is provocative. He demands our attention. He warrants our wrestling. He certainly deserves more than casualness. He refuses to be compartmentalized. And he does all of this with a gentle and peaceful tone. Christ's fine balance of strong and gentle, man and God, king and servant put him way outside our understanding, and that's why the world finds Jesus to be so provocative.