Tag Archive | Jesus

Good News for the Bad News

Do you watch the news? If so, question: How do you usually feel afterwards?

Exhilarated? Peaceful? Chock-full of unbridled hope and restored faith in humanity?

Probably not, right?

If you’re like me, you probably just turn off your TV, lock the doors, google “cancer-preventing foods”, and vow to never watch the news again.

If you don’t watch the news, why is that? Probably because, like my wife, you “hate the news. It’s so depressing.” And it is. Sure, there are bright spots, but they are quickly eclipsed by one crisis or another.

Last night, in our student service, Transit, we did a mock newscast before the message, complete with sad stories and sensationalized journalism.

Tommy Tommerson (Tommy Pride) presented the following news:

Three young men were gunned down on the city’s east side. The killer is still at large. Hide your kids.

This season, Michigan is on the list of states with the highest influenza outbreaks. Avoid human beings.

The forecast shows at least two feet of snow over the next 48 hours. Power outages expected.

I then handed out tissues and told the students how hard it was going to be for them to ever find a job in our economy. Not really. I used the stories to contrast the bad news we are so accustomed to with the hope presented in The Gospel. Read More…

When Death Dies

“That cemetery is really small, isn’t it?” my wife asked, gesturing toward the right of the busy intersection.

She was right; the space was very cramped, almost as if the cemetery were an afterthought. Looking over the lot, I noticed something else. Just past the fence that surrounds the property, glowing through the gaps between the headstones of the deceased, was a big red sign that said, Donut Delight.

A donut shop stands less than twenty feet from the perimeter of a grave yard. I have driven past this for years and have never considered the juxtaposition. It’s bizarre.

I picture a group of old men getting together every week for breakfast. They sit by the window sipping coffee. They split a box of chocolate-frosted eclairs and stare out into the field of death, trying not to number their days.

That is what you call an existential breakfast. It sounds like a Samuel Beckett play.

So, why would anyone surround an old cemetery with restaurants and small businesses?

Because life goes on. One day we will all be in fertilizer, but while we’re here, we all have to eat and buy and work. So, pour the concrete and put up a donut shop. Read More…

Santa Claus Morality

Somewhere, right now, there is a mother encouraging her son to release his brother from a sleeper hold, or to stop lighting his sister’s Barbies on fire.

“You know, Santa is watching you.”

That’s right. He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good. He’s like the CIA.

And around this time every year, parents get to use him as a tool for behavior modification—If you want toys, you have to play by the rules.

We also have Elf on the Shelf. Have you seen this? It’s a creepy little elf doll you place throughout the house—preferably in high disobedience areas—to keep an eye on the children. He’s like Santa’s whistleblower. Parents tell their kids, “You better be good. Elf on the Shelf is watching, and he tells Santa everything. EVERYTHING.”

It’s adorable manipulation. And it works. At least until the kids forget about Old Saint Nick. I’m pretty sure my parents used the same tactic with us, but Santa must have been a pushover when we were young because somehow we kept getting toys.

The strategy always wore off in the warmer months. Fortunately, someone always stepped in to give Santa the summer off. Growing up in church, I learned that Jesus was watching me too. Read More…

Marriage and Flat Tires

Today marks one year of marriage for Tanya and I, one amazing year. We have a beautiful home, food in the fridge, and a bun in the oven. By that I mean Tanya is with child. We are five months away from being parents. I am equal parts excited and terrified.

I take comfort in knowing that Tanya is going to be an incredible mother. She is loving and generous, and stubborn enough to keep a mini version of myself in line—God love her. She truly is my blessing from God.

In light of that, I thought I would repost a blog I wrote the summer before we got married. Having a little time to experience the challenges of sharing a life, I am convinced of the importance of respect and honor in a marriage.

Without further ado, I present Marriage and Flat Tires: The Movie.

Yesterday my fiancée got a flat tire as she headed out for work. Luckily, her mom was able to pick her up, and I, being the gentlemen that I am, rushed to the scene to replace the tire.

The following is an excerpt from what would be the screenplay of the story. We are already in talks with major studios for a full length feature. Think The Notebook meets The Fast and the Furious.

Read More…

We Are Cause and Effect

I have spent the last 6 years working retail out of a 300,000-square-foot blue box that shall remain nameless. (I’m sure you can figure it out.)

My job is to make the store looks good, to display items in an inspiring way that keeps people coming back for more. One of my daily responsibilities is to spend the morning cleaning up after the horde that visited the previous day. This can easily take up to 3 hours in each department.

I’ve learned something over the years. People are messy, savages really. They grope their way through the store like animals hunting prey. Sometimes I think people walk in with one goal:

Must touch everything. Must move it as far away from where it belongs as possible.

It’s funny really, and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of the same behavior. It’s easy to zone out and assume something exists for you alone, to forget that someone is going to have to clean up after you.

If every customer left the store the way they found it, my team could spend a lot more time inspiring and less time rearranging.

And isn’t that true for all of life? Our decisions, our actions impact other people, and vice versa. We are both cause and effect. 

Every decision I make affects someone else, whether directly or indirectly. The Bible illustrates this early on. The decisions of one couple forever altered the course of history, polluting humanity with an innate selfishness known as sin.

We see it everywhere. If you don’t believe me turn on the news. An individual’s choice to drive after a night at the bar results in the deaths of other drivers. Greed in our school systems has led to a breakdown in education, which only fuels poverty and violence.

Just watch the next presidential debate, or listen to coworkers discussing the state of our country. Read More…

If Hitler played tennis

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post called Don’t do this to Jesus, about how many of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, tend to distort the image of Christ by trying to make him more relevant or appealing. You can read that post here.

I’d like to go back to one of my thoughts and expand it a bit.

Many agnostics and atheists, as well as followers of other religions, accept Jesus as a great teacher with a helpful message.

This seems like a cozy blanket of we’re-all-in-this-togetherness, and I respect the inclusive approach, but there is a massive oversight just below the surface. Bear with me for a moment.

Let’s say when Hitler wasn’t spreading hate-laced propaganda and seeking the destruction of those outside the Arian race, he played tennis with his friends. But not just a pick up game here and there. Let’s say he was phenomenal, Pete Sampras with a tiny mustache. He made time for autographs and always tipped the ball boys.

Do you think you would ever see an ESPN Classic special on the incredible serving skills of the infamous Adolf? How about a training DVD called Mein Swing: The Hitler Technique?

Not a chance. Read More…

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