Blessed When Life Isn’t #blessed

When Susan’s younger sister was a little girl, she wanted her parents to change her name to “Pookie”. Needless to say, as an adult she is very thankful her dad didn’t grant the request of her younger self. For most of my life, I’ve seen prayer as a tool or a means of getting things from God. Like Susan’s sister, I’ve prayed lots of Pookie prayers that, from my point of view, went unanswered. We can come to God in prayer with great confidence – but not for the reasons I once thought. I’m not confident… Read More

Everybody Hurts

I am embarrassed to say this, but for many years in pastoral ministry, I sat across from people in real suffering, but because of my own discomfort with suffering, I sought to fix those who weeped instead of weeping with those who weeped. A number of years back, Susan and I were out with some close friends and they had some people in their lives going through some really hard times. They asked, ‘what’s your theology on suffering?’ I fumbled around. The truth is, my understanding of the bible  at that time in my life was formed by… Read More

The Anatomy of the Prosperity ‘gospel’

We need the grace of God to deal with the life & death stuff. The heartbreak of broken relationships, the devastation of disease, the anxiety of economic hardship, the pain of abuse, the sorrow of death … thank God, the hope of the gospel in Christ is big enough for the life and death stuff. Though this world is broken because we are sinful, God will restore it because He is gracious. We live life in between the “already” of what Christ accomplished at the cross and the “not yet” of what He will accomplish with His return. We… Read More

Everything is not awesome

Getting ready for church is an exhausting exercise for a lot of people. By getting ready, I don’t mean making wardrobe decisions. I mean the exhausting exercise of putting on the everything-is-awesome face. You know your life, your pain. your suffering, your fears and your sin better than anyone. You know everything isn’t awesome. The idea of going to church makes you nauseous because instead of crumpling into a ball, confessing weakness and finding grace, you feel pressured to confess awesomeness where you only find further exhaustion. God’s word encourages the church to “weep with those who… Read More