When Boys Wear Their Mama’s Shoes

 

mama shoes

I think every little boy at some point decides to walk around the house in his mama’s shoes.  I’ve seen my son does this.  He also likes to play with his toy vacuum.  This past weekend he played with a dollhouse.  And recently, he chose the princess band-aids for his pretend injury (although he later regretted not choosing the batman ones).

And get this, I don’t think he’s having a crisis with his masculinity or what it means to be a boy.

This is just what kids do.

With the exception of my Jordans, my wife’s shoes are always more interesting for a two-year-old than mine would be.  And he likes to vacuum because he sees me vacuum.  And he likes the princesses because my wife loves the princesses, his friends do too, and his little sister is bound to be a huge fan.

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Where is God?

rabbi kushner

A family member dies. A diagnosis gets made. Lay-offs happen. A close friend goes through a divorce. A natural disaster strikes.

The inevitable response to suffering is often, “Why?”

Why did God let them die?  Why did God let me go through this?  Why me?  Why now?

The problem is that no matter how much we might speculate, we don’t get an answer to that question. God hasn’t told us. So trying to search for the mysterious “plan” that God must have is hardly helpful.  Because we won’t find it out.

And would we even want an explanation anyways?

In times of suffering, while we often want to ask, “Why?” we are better served by asking the question, “Where?”

For that we have an answer.

This doesn’t make it any easier.  It doesn’t answer a lot of the questions you face. But it is something that you can look to with confidence.  Where is God in the midst of your pain and suffering?

He is with you.

And he is for you.

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The Worst 3 Point Sermon

3 point semron

There are a lot of bad sermons.  And since I’m a professional sermon-giver, I tend to think of myself as a connoisseur of good preaching.  And in my listening to sermons, there are plenty of preachers who just come up with garbage.  There are dull and boring preachers that at least still preach the truth.  And even worse, there are engaging and creative preachers that boldly preach things that are not biblical and hardly helpful.

Harmful preaching can be hard to detect behind a veil of clever phrases and enthusiastic shouting.  And it’s not because the listeners are unintelligent, but simply because harmful preaching often disguising itself in spiritual language.

The preacher Robert Capon suggested that the worst kind of 3 point sermon was, “Here’s what you should do.  You are not doing it.  Try harder.”

And I couldn’t agree more.

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The Marks of a Church

Marks of church

What makes a church a church?  There are all kinds of things that we can use to describe the ways that we prefer our churches to look, sound, smell, or feel, but what are the things that define the Christian Church?

Martin Luther described the church simply when he said, “A seven year-old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.”

From preaching to the band, from membership to sacraments, from worship to the parking lot, the practices that shape the life of a congregation are endless.  So what matters most?

What are the marks of a Christian Church?

Martin Luther listed seven marks that we can recognize the church by.  His list is incredibly helpful and I thought it would be helpful to re-state many of the themes that Luther suggested but to say it in different words and add some nuances that are helpful for our own conversations.  At the heart of my list is what you could find in Luther’s work “On the Councils and the Church, 1539.”

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Ordinary Radicals

Ordinary radicals

We need more ordinary Christians.  I know that sounds boring and will hardly start a movement, but I’m serious.  We need more Christians who live their everyday lives, doing their work, loving their families, and being a good neighbor.

The problem with this is it’s not very sexy.

People don’t like the stories of the people who are engineers working hard to provide for their family and come home to care for their wife and children both physically and spiritually.  People like the stories of a radical giving up of something to follow God’s call.

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4 Ways to Help Your Kids Grow

4 ways

One of the primary desires of any Christian parent is to see their kids grow in their faith.  Parents are the primary disciple-makers in the lives of their kids; when Jesus says “Go and make disciples,” this begins in the living room.  So as parents, one of our primary vocations is to disciple our children.  I’m by no means an expert of this, but there are some things that I’m doing that I enjoy and that I think are helpful in our home.

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God’s Calling When You Hate Your Job

Hate your job

It’s fun to talk about God’s calling when we are talking about a career we love or even our future dreams.  But what about when you don’t like your job?  What is there to talk about when you are stuck in a job you hate, that seems menial, or that you makes you want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork.

Does the doctrine of vocation still apply?

Can you be called to a place that makes you miserable?

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2 Biggest Lies About Homosexuality that Threaten the Gospel

Homosexuality

In our culture, the biggest problem and threat to the Gospel being preached to the homosexual community are the false beliefs that are perpetuated by both those within the community and those outside it.  People within the homosexual community and outside of it often falsely belief that “they are not like us” and that “our sexuality is our identity.”

This is dangerous for us as we understand the message of forgiveness.  This is dangerous for all the people throughout our country who come out to friends and family and falsely believe things about themselves and their identity that are simply contrary to what the Gospel proclaims.  And I write this not to point out what those who struggle believe, but to primarily point out what many of us who don’t struggle with this issue falsely believe.  [Read more...]

Simply Preaching

Simply preaching

In a recent interview with Tullian Tchividjian, he recommended that young pastors learn to “Comprehend high and communicate low.”  For pastors and theologians that give their live to studying a library of complicated theological works, this can be difficult.

We’ve all experienced at some point or another being in a conversation with somebody that knows so much about something that it seems like they are talking in a foreign language.

It happens when pre-teens start talking about Minecraft.  A bunch of pre-teens gather around talking about their servers, texture packs, briefing, or something else that I really don’t understand.

Meanwhile you are standing there like, “So you build stuff?”

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Drifting East of Eden

East of eden

Our family often goes on a vacation with a number of our friends to a cottage up north.  One of the activities our families enjoy is taking the ridiculous number of kids we have and piling them onto a pontoon boat.

And then we hang out on the water.

A couple of times this ended up with our families beaching the boat at a sand bar so we could let the kids out and play.  And inevitably, because the boat was beached and not anchored, one of us would look over at the boat and see the boat was beginning to drift away.

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