I am excited to announce the launch of my third book, Navigating Disappointment: Finding Healing in a Broken World. Available on Amazon and endorsed by one of my favorite authors, John Eldredge.
I am wrapping up an inspiring trip in the Middle East on behalf of ServeNow. There are so many stories to share and thoughts to articulate. But allow me to summarize a few fundamental realities in the top five words that come to mind.
I believe we are more complex than we realize and less self-aware than we know. We must recognize that we live in complex times, face complex global realities, and are complex people. Further, whether experiencing trauma first-hand or simply second-hand via the news or other people, there are many traumatic things happening on a global scale 24/7.
As we approach the Easter season, my thoughts are directed towards the problem of evil in a new way. The issue of evil is humanity’s age-old problem, and even the greatest saints in Scripture and throughout history have wrestled over it. The dilemma is this: If God is God, then he is all-loving, all-wise, and all-powerful. How then do those three realities reconcile with the reality of evil? What do we do with the horrors we see unfolding in Ukraine, for example, this year?
We need the perspective of the global church and our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide. When we get outside our own culture, our eyes are opened in new ways. And Jesus often works in our hearts and lives in unusual or even unconventional ways. Miracles even begin to unfold as we open ourselves to what God might have for us.
This is what I mean by compassionate anger. Jesus channeled his anger in such a way that he created space for the humble to find the grace they needed to transform their lives. Jesus was not just dealing with injustice. He was restoring justice.
This weekend, American’s will be celebrating the 4th of July, which proclaims our independence and freedom. But often, I believe we miss what true freedom is and means according to Scripture. Regardless of how independent we may be externally, everyone is still a slave to something or someone. We are born slaves to sin according to Scripture with a propensity towards selfishness. Our sinfulness and selfishness are why we need a Savior; to set us free from our sin and deliver us from our selfishness. True freedom is not divorced from responsibility or found in indulging ourselves; it’s found instead in living for Christ and serving others.
As a pastor and someone who travels the world, I am aware of the profound struggles and suffering many people face. And let us face it, this is a traumatic time.
Jesus is not some outside observer of our suffering. God is not a distant God removed from the pain of human injustice, suffering, abuse and trauma. On the cross, he absorbed all our personal and collective pain. Through the resurrection, Jesus overcame and rose to new life by which we can find healing for our broken and shattered lives as well.
Recently, I found a book titled “The Lost of Reading Nature’s Signs.” While not intended to correlate specifically with “biblical truth” there was nonetheless some fascinating spiritual insight and life lessons I wanted to write about in this blog article (and perhaps subsequent one’s), that I hope you enjoy and will find edifying!
This is what I am seeing I often miss about the cross. I like knowing I am forgiven, but am I too willing to forgive? I like knowing that despite being unworthy, Christ shows me undeserved grace; but am I willing to extend that grace to those in my life not “worthy” of it? I like knowing there is mercy for my sin; but am I willing to show mercy when others sin against me? I find it moving to know the length to which Christ went that I might have peace with him, but what length am I willing to go to to work towards peace with others?
This week I prayed an honest prayer in front of my staff. It was a little unnerving for me and I think uncomfortable for them. In that prayer, I was wrestling with God over an issue (without coming to a definite resolution) and wrestling with my emotions in a rather raw way that might not have sounded very “Christian.” Normally, I would save those “darker” prayers for private, but to be honest, I’m kind of tired of what seems like an only “positive” (and hence somewhat superficial or one-sided) Christianity in public.
“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heardContinue reading “The Heavenly City”
I’ve been meaning to write this article for quite some time now, even before I woke up to the news today of another mass shooting in the United States, this time in Orlando, Florida. It was yet again another reminder that evil, pain and suffering exist and happen not only in “other” parts of theContinue reading “Why Does God Allow Pain & Suffering?”