Young People and the Hundred Pushup Challenge of Life

A few years ago, the “hundred pushup challenge” began to trend online. At a time when gyms were opening on every corner and roping people into increasingly expensive and complicated workouts, there was a call to the simplicity of the pushup. Those who could rattle off 100 were proving they had a solid baseline of strength, endurance, and health. As I read about these challenges, it occurred that I had never really done any pushups. For some reason, they were …

We Are All Theologians

For years now, I have made it my goal to release something every day that will encourage people, or challenge them, or instruct them, or otherwise bring them some kind of spiritual benefit. Not surprisingly, I receive all sorts of feedback, and there are a couple of kinds that, more than any other, discourage and dismay me. It’s when people who have been Christians for a long time reveal that they have only the smallest amount of theological knowledge or, …

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How We Worshipped One Sunday in April

Every few weeks I like to share an example of one of our worship services from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this simply to provide an example of how one church structures our time of worship, hoping it will prove a helpful resource to others. This service’s cast of characters included Paul as the preacher, Brian as the lead worshipper, and Steve as the service leader.  The various elements of the service are in bold with the name of the …

What Gave Him Such Confidence?

When we sin against other people, our natural response is to distance ourselves from them. The naughty child who has defied her parents will look at the mess she has made, then slink away to her room. The church member who has spread gossip about another person will keep his distance the next Sunday. In this way, we imitate our first parents when they committed their first sin. In their shame and uncertainty, they ran and hid in a vain …

It’s Time To Break Free From the Algorithm-Driven Life

A recent story from Wired helpfully explains the latest batch of changes Facebook has made to its algorithm—the algorithm that sorts through the billions of available articles, photographs, and videos to determine the few we will actually see as we scroll our news feeds. This is just their latest attempt to head off the never-ending stream of content that is illegal, abusive, or otherwise inappropriate, and to deliver content that is safe, inoffensive, and within the bounds of their “community …

We Murder Babies

We were driving across Africa’s dusty plains—he, a man who has never left his nation and I, a traveler far from my own. We bounced along rutted, unpaved roads and passed by villages with access to little more than the most rudimentary infrastructure. As we chatted about his life and mine, he asked me what’s meant by that little euphemism he has seen in Western media: “a woman’s right to choose.” As I explained it, his face registered first shock, …

How to Encourage that Preacher

While it’s always a joy to be encouraged by others, not all encouragement is created equal. Thinking through the right and best words can make the encouragement greater to both the one offering it and the one receiving it. Having spoken to many preachers and having preached a fair bit myself, I began considering the kind of encouragement that preachers most love to hear. I thought I’d pass them along and provide a brief explanation for each. As you dig …

PreachersNSneakers and Pastors as Lifestyle Brands

Everyone is talking about PreachersNSneakers. Well, not everyone, I’m sure, but enough that it has ended up in my inbox plenty of times over the past few days. PreachersNSneakers is an Instagram account that simply shares photos of preachers in their sneakers. No big deal, right? It wouldn’t be, except that these are not just any preachers in any sneakers—these are mega-church pastors in mega-expensive sneakers (or, occasionally, other designer garb). It’s just the kind of thing that’s sure to …

What the Lord’s Day Is

The longer I live—the longer I live out this life as a Christian—the more I see my desperate need of the Lord’s Day. Though it once seemed like the kind of day I could take or leave, I’ve since come to rely on it and to see God’s goodness in giving it. It’s a day we ignore at our peril. As I stood to worship on Sunday, I found myself considering just some of what the Lord’s Day is… The …

Imagine All Those Eyes…

There are lots of odd beings in the Bible, aren’t there? There are the Nephilim of Genesis 6 who some believe were the offspring of fallen angels that bred with human women (though others believe they are nothing more than depraved human beings). There are angels and archangels, giants and demons, and even a talking donkey. But of all the mysterious creatures, none have more captured my imagination than the cherubim. The cherubim make their first appearance in the first …