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Beware the Tongue

"The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things ought not be so." - James 3:6-10

I am not one to comment openly on politics or my political opinions, and I am not going to start here. These past few weeks have only served to reinforce my conviction that engaging in political discussions, especially on social media, is mainly a detriment to the Christian goal of declaring the Good News of Jesus Christ. Openly touting a political agenda instantly alienates at least half yo…
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"Even If" by MercyMe

Those that know me well know that I'm not the biggest fan of most contemporary Christian music. I find the style to be largely repetitive, but that isn't my issue. The lyrics are often just so mediocre. They are often more about feeling good about yourself than worshiping God, and the ones that do try to praise God often are so theologically bland that they amount to nothing more than a sweet nothing.

Of course not all contemporary Christian music suffers from this problem. If I'm being honest, a lot of the old hymns suffer from the same problem. Occasionally, however, I stumble across a song that has a profound theological message that actually connects with me.

Now I know that I am not the most emotionally connective person in the world. I don't really encounter God through emotional experiences. I never really felt the "mountaintop" feeling a lot of my peers would experience after summer camp or a mission trip. So maybe this is one reason why I don't c…

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father Who is in heaven Hallowed by your name Your kingdom come Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our debts As we also forgive our debtors Lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil.
The Lord's Prayer - ESV
The Lord's Prayer is one of the central passages of Scripture. Jesus, teaching his followers how to pray, says this prayer during the Sermon on the Mount in the book of Matthew. It is, in a way, a summary of the entire Sermon on the Mount. It can be summed up in several points.
1. Glorify God 2. Obey God 3. Trust God
Point one is easy. Only God, who is in heaven, deserves to be glorified. We should treat his name with the utmost respect and reverence.
Point two is interesting. "Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." We should pray that God's will be done here on earth just as it is in heaven. This means that earth should be a place where God's will is do…

The Importance of Prayer

If I were to ask what is the single most important of the spiritual disciplines that a Christian could practice, the majority of people I know would probably say reading the Bible.
This is not a bad answer. After all Scripture is the primary avenue through which we come to know who God is and what Christ has done for us. It is our first source of information about the history of God in this world and the best place to go to understand how God wants us to live our lives. 
As good of an answer that Scripture reading is, I think it is the second most important of the spiritual disciplines. While it is obviously something indispensable, and I am in no way suggesting that we should all read our Bibles less or something, I do think there is one discipline that must come first.
Now praying has taken something of a hit in recent years. In the wake of tragedies the world over, the people of the internet generally sends their "thoughts and prayers" to the victims of whatever ha…

The Church as Family

One of the most frequent comparisons I hear is that church is like a family. That is often the goal of many churches, to create a family environment where people feel welcome and included. This is a sentiment I agree with, but I also think that we often don't realize what we are asking for.

Families, by their very nature, bear responsibility.

When we say family, what we mean is a place of warmth and caring. What we usually don't mean is vulnerability. We want the picturesque TV family, where all the problems are solved by supper and there is no lasting stakes. This isn't the kind of family church is meant to be.

Church is a real family. Real families don't always get along. Real families see the ugly side of each member. Real families have to work through their problems over the course of years. Real families are vulnerable.

Warmth and care are easy when everyone pretends to have it all together. How much more impactful would it be if in our churches we showed that sam…

A Letter to My Mother

Dear Mom,

I know this letter won't reach you, as you are blissfully resting in the everlasting arms of Christ. This knowledge and hope make me smile, as I know that the pains and trials you experienced at the end are now but a distant memory as you cling to the glory of our God and Father whose face you sought with fervor and devotion your whole life.

Still, with it being Mother's Day and all, I feel the need to say something; and it was always easier to say what I needed to when I was talking to you.

Mom, I miss you so much. The pain of losing you still festers in my heart. While the wound has begun to heal and the joys, burdens, and minutia of life have started to close over it, it is never far from my mind. I have never hurt so much in my life.

Reminders of you crop up all over the place. I'm reminded of you whenever I begin to worship, as you taught me its importance. Every time I open the Bible I am reminded of the long conversations we would have over this and that v…

Our Judge and Advocate

We will all stand before the Judge at the end. He will weigh our life and sentence us accordingly. He holds the standard of righteousness in his hands, and we must live up to it.

The thought of being judged is not a pleasant one for most people. Most don't want to have to stand before a judge in a court of law. We don't like handing control over our lives to someone else. It's unsettling and most of us would rather imagine that we are in control.

People really don't like the idea of being judged by Christ at the end of all things, testing the contents of their life. This is probably the most hated aspect of Christianity. People don't like that there is a moral standard and that they will be held accountable to it by God.

What we must never forget is that Christ is not only our Judge, but he is also our Advocate. He stands as our intercessor, bringing our prayers to the Father as our great High Priest. He works on our behalf, offering grace and mercy at every turn. …