Justice and the New Covenant

Needless to say, a lot is happening in our country right now. This past week, I shared some thoughts on current events as they relate to the New Covenant in the blood of Christ and the justice that comes with it. Communion invites us into a new reality, a new covenant, a new way of life fashioned after the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Nine Tips to Discover Your Enneagram Type

So you want to discover your Enneagram number? Awesome. Welcome to the movement.

Unfortunately, it's not as simple as taking a test. Discovering your Enneagram type isn't like taking a Buzzfeed quiz to find out what Disney Princess you are. In fact, you will notice that taking an online questionnaire is the last thing I mention. Online quizzes should NOT be your first go-to for discovering your type.

The Enneagram, in my understanding and opinion, is different than other personality typing systems. Yes, the Myers-Briggs, or the DISC, or the Strength-Finders tests can all give you a good overview of who you are. But those tests and systems tend to be more descriptive than proscriptive. Here's what I mean. The Enneagram is not just a personality typing system. Think of it more as the art of self-discovery and transformation. It doesn't just tell you who you are, it tells you who you don't want others to know you are. It reveals the masks and defense mechanisms you&#…

Four Things Our Churches Need to Bring Into the Future

As churches across the country and around the world wrestle with the question of opening up their in-person worship gatherings, I think we all need to take some time and ask ourselves three questions.
What are some things that we need to leave in the past?What are some things from the past that are worth bringing into the future?What are some new things we need to focus on or implement? There is value in remembering and honoring the past. There is a legacy of faithful men and women on whose shoulders we are now standing. We each can look back and think - if it weren't for this person / these people, then I wouldn't be where I am today in my journey of faith. Last time we looked at beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that we need to leave behind in the past. Today I want to think for a bit about what from the past is worth bringing into the future.

TL;DR - 1) family, 2) serious Bible study, 3) confession/forgiveness, and 4) big-T Tradition


Five Things Our Churches Need to Leave Behind

As I begin this post, I want to make one thing clear. Our churches are not re-opening. I've been guilty of using that phrase, too, but I don't think we should talk like that anymore. It belies a sense of location-based organization, like a business or school or restaurant. But as the classic AVB song reminds us, U Can't Go 2 Church - 'cause the church is you. I pray that our churches haven't closed. We've just been scattered for a bit.

So when we come back together as a body for that all-so-important one to one and a half hour worship gathering on Sunday mornings, what is that going to look like? It's going to be different for sure in the immediate future, what with social distancing, sanitation guidelines, etc. But I'm not talking about that. When the dust settles and the real threat is over, what will it look like?

I think there are things that we need to bring with us into the future. I think there are some new things that we need to implement or im…

The New Testament in Four Parts

Have you ever read the Bible straight through? Congratulations! I hear your room in heaven will have a little more square footage.

For some people, that is your thing. I'm happy for you! I really am.

Full disclosure, I've read through the entire Bible once. And yes, I still consider myself a Christian. You see, I think there is a problem for modern readers. The Bible isn't laid out or organized in a way that makes sense to us. I understand that the Hebrew Bible is actually arranged differently from the Christian "Old Testament." It's still not in chronological order or anything.

I'm not writing today about the Hebrew Scriptures, though. I want to focus on the New Testament canon. Sometimes it can be difficult to even read through the Gospels, much less the sustained sequence of Paul's letters. Each Gospel was written for a different purpose, occasion, and audience. Each of the four was written by a different author with a slightly different agenda an…

Are You Sure You Want to Restore the Church to Its Factory Default Settings?

Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?”
For it is not wise to ask such questions.
Ecclesiastes 7:10

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

As churches across the nation prepare to open back up (or have already opened as is the case for some), one thing I think church leaders need to be intentional about is leading the church into the future. There are going to be far too many members who just want to "get back to normal," as if "normal" was a good state to be in. We can't go back, and we must not foster an unhealthy nostalgia for the past. Not everything was bad, but I'm sure it was far from perfect.

There is no going back. There is only the present and the future. So the questions I'm wrestling with, (and am inviting you to tag-team with me) are:
What are some things that need to st…

Fatal Spelling Errors: Some Thoughts on Gun Violence

Any time there is a shooting of an innocent person or people in this county, we always hear the same talking points. There are those who claim guns are the problem and want to use the emotional momentum to spur on the debate over gun control policies. Then there are those who want to shut down all the discussion and accuse the other side of "politicizing" the tragedy.

After all, "guns don't kill people." It's not a gun problem, it's a heart problem. (Says the only country in the industrialized world with this level of gun violence.)

One common "argument" I hear, read, and mostly see in memes goes something like this: If guns kill people, then this pencil misspelled the word and this spoon made me fat.

I get it. We want the human responsibility to take front and center. A gun, after all, is just a tool. Well, a weapon actually. Its only function is to harm, maim, or kill. If it's a tool, then it is a tool made for violence and destruction.