The Good News of Jesus Isn’t Good News

I have hesitated to write this. My hesitation has manifested in two forms. First, I do not want to add my words to an overheated political debate of which I have no overt stake. Second, I don’t want this to come back years later and get me in trouble. I guess neither of these reservations has stopped me.

In the simplest terms possible, humankind has a problem. That problem is that we are messed up. We are racist, sexist, hateful, prideful, and many other things. The Christian message is that Jesus came to the world, saw all of the things humans struggle with, and he dies on the cross as tribute. That way, when God looks down at us he sees redeemed people. Additionally, we now have a model of who we can be because of Jesus. Jesus kills sexism. Jesus obliterates racism. Jesus breaks down class warfare. Only Jesus. No other name, system, or concept. Only Jesus. That’s the good news.

thegoodnewsofjesus

Now, here’s the bad news: the ‘good news’ has suffered a lot of damage. A message implies that it must be carried. People carry messages. No one is perfect, many men and women have professed that Jesus is their hope, but their actions are exact opposite. For example, many white men say Jesus is Lord, but are absolute racist monsters. Therefore, the message is pure, but suffers due to those who deliver it.

With that said, let’s talk Ferguson. Ferguson is an absolute cluster-cuss right now, heavily aided by media frenzy. A young black man shot by a white cop under unclear circumstances has led to race riots, threats of murder, looting, and a national uproar. Is new policy the answer for Ferguson? What about racial awareness courses? Okay, what if everyone says sorry, will the tension evaporate? I doubt it.

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For Godzilla So Loved The World

In the beginning, all was good. People lived in harmony and peace. Before they knew it, evil entered into the world. It terrorized the people and destroyed what had been intended for them. Yet, a savior arose! Not realizing he intended to save mankind, the people worked together to kill him. Eventually, after defeating evil once and for all, this savior died. The good news? He didn’t stay dead. He rose again and he is now ruling and reigning over all of creation.

That sounds a lot like your pastor’s description of Jesus, right? Wrong!For Godzilla So Loved...

I saw the new movie, Godzilla, the other evening. I walked out and was talking to myself in the parking lot, which was creepy enough, but I kept saying, “Godzilla is the gospel!”

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Dealing With Rejection

RejectionRejection is a funny thing. Despite how strong we all try to be, we have an intense desire to be accepted by others. We hate hearing that someone else has spoken poorly of us, and it never feels great when we hear about plans that we were not invited to.

This past year has had a lot of changes and a lot of people who have said hurtful things about me. It’s been something new that I’ve never had to deal with before. To be fully honest, it has cut deeply. It hurts profoundly and my pride screams at my mind to correct everyone. Have you ever experienced this? Old friends don’t like you. Family members ignore you. Past co-workers think you’re an idiot.

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Permission to be Unhappy

There is an epidemic. We could point to a million things, but there won’t be one clear-cut answer. American culture has done a weird thing to people. Culture has taught us that to be unhappy is to be wrong. Our goal is always to be “happy”. We hope almost all we do will result in increased levels of happiness for ourselves. The truth is, it just isn’t reality.

Permission to Be Unhappy

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When Life Feels Empty

I’ve gone through a dry and difficult time recently. If you’re like me, you try and hide it. From the outside looking in, all should appear well. I have a job. I’m in school. I lead people and talk to groups of people. I have a great family. I have lots of friends. If you look at my Instagram, my life looks exciting. Why, then, do I feel so dry?

When Life Feels Smpty

There’s the obvious question asked in Christian circles. How are you and Jesus? My friend Micah said to me recently, “The longer you believe in God, the better you get at faking intimacy with Jesus. In fact, your fake is better than some people’s real.” That hit me. I’m a master at being fake. I cover up all my emotions, hurt, and struggle to paint some picture of my ideal self.

What a tragedy to spend our days as actors in our own lives.

Jesus was so about other people. I’ve realized I’m not. Most of my relationships are business exchanges. We talk about work and every now and then life comes up. I don’t invest in people like Jesus did. I don’t ask hard questions or have deep conversations very often. I accidentally programmed myself like an ATM. I deposit in people out of obligation. My parents so they will feel happy. My friends so they think I will care. I withdraw selfishly without realizing I’m already bankrupt.

Intimacy with Jesus, life feeling full, means looking at who Jesus was. Jesus was someone who loved people. Do you reach out to people? Do you ask tough questions? Are your friendships meaningful? Is your life full? Or, are you an actor with “fake-deep-friendships”? If you’re like me, upon a closer look, it seems I’m missing it.

Fake, figured out lives are so opposite from the message of the gospel. We are empty, but Jesus satisfies our emptiness. People truly do matter. Faking it only works for so long. Jesus is enough.

When our lives begin to look like obligatory obligations with people, it’s no wonder we feel so empty. If our lives are overrun with people who love us, who sharpen us, and who point us to Jesus, I think we will see that while life is not easy, it is good, and it is worth it.

What do your relationships look like?

No More Church Division

Isn’t it odd that Bible believing Christians are often the most outspoken and divisive people in the Church? There’s a plague in the local Church of people who don’t like each other, speak badly about other Churches, and are simply divisive. Disclaimer: I wrestle with this all the time.

As believers in Jesus, let’s stop being the enemy of the Bride of Christ. We are called to build up the Church and to encourage other believers. Somehow, though, when a Church is too loud for our taste, too edgy, too boring, or too pushy, we take it as our mission to tear it down. When a Pastor hurts our feelings, speaks too long, or doesn’t remember all of our names, and our favorite foods, we tear him and his ministry down. We leave a Church and bring all of our negativity to our next Church. It’s time to stop it. It’s divisive and that mindset is hurting the body of Christ.

No More Church Division

We must be champions of the local Church because the local Church is the hope of the world. I’ve said some really terrible things about other believers and Churches, and I’ve needed to repent for tearing down what Christ established. Maybe you need to do that, too. No person, team, or ministry is perfect, and neither are you. The Church is a gathering of broken people in need of the Gospel of Jesus.

I made a promise with a friend recently. We are going to speak better about other ministries and believers than even their own congregants and staff do. I’ll tell you what, that challenge is changing my whole outlook. I want to be a champion of all Bible believing Churches.

So, here’s a challenge for you. Do you speak badly about your old (or current) Church? Do you speak badly about certain believers and pastors? When you hear a new believer is going to a Church you don’t agree with, do you tear it down? Do you use phrases like, “I wasn’t fed at that Church”, or “That Church is for new believers?” Ask God for forgiveness and become a champion for His Church.

Pastors: As a Pastor in training, nothing breaks my heart more than hearing you tear down another Church. Imagine a unified Church where different organizations are working together for the Kingdom of God. Pastor, it starts with you.

Here’s what I had to do and what you need to do as well: repent and change your ways. The Church has enough enemies, it doesn’t need more within it’s own walls. 

5 Tips Young Adults Need on Money

American debt has reached record highs and continues to climb like a monkey who sees a golden banana. Due to this, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve picked up along the way with personal finance as a young adult.

Why should I be able to talk about this? I moved out of my parents house when I was eighteen and became a full-time staff member at a Church at nineteen. At age twenty-one (6 months prior to this post), I stepped down from my role, and have been financially independent since then because of decisions I was able to make along the way. I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me.

Money!

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3 Truths About Young Relationships

I recently had the chance to speak to a group of high-schoolers about relationships. We talked about singleness, picking the right person, and not being dumb about it.

I knew that I was uniquely qualified to talk about this subject because of all the awful relational choices I’ve made! I have made many stupid decisions and caused a lot of emotional damage. I have learned through experience. I don’t write with pride, but with learned lessons.

Our culture tells us a a lot about relationships. We need to be with someone now. The other person is our everything. Plus, when it doesn’t work out, Taylor Swift will write a breakup song for you.

I think our young generation is relationally brainwashed.

Relationships

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