Showing posts from November, 2014

God Can't Do What He Won't

When waiting for God's deliverance, hindsight is twenty-twenty. But it's also revisionist. I thank God daily for my wife. Say what you will about soul mates, but I can't think of a better way to describe her. She makes me laugh, she makes me think, she pushes me toward adventure, and she's helped heal many, many wounds. She was also instrumental in delivering me from pornography's unyielding grasp. This among other things has greatly informed my theology of church and how God never intended sanctification to be a solo sport. However, despite the immense gratitude I have for my wife, I’m still very angry at God. Gratitude that ignores the past is na├»ve, childish, and stupid. Of course I'm happy to have been granted deliverance, and yes, I recognize that God never owed it to me. But I haven't forgotten those nine years in the fox holes. I haven't forgotten the jeans with worn-out knees, the dehydration of tear-stained supplications, and the ragged vo

You Don't Have a Personal Relationship with Jesus

What if the mystery of relating to an invisible God is revealed through relating to the visible church? My wife and I were that dating couple you hated. We were the can't-get-off-the-phone, gross-out-PDA kinda people. We found so much joy and stability in each other that, for a lot of reasons, we didn't take time to invest much in others. That us-against-the-world complex worked for a while until we found ourselves pregnant in Chicago with all of our family in New Jersey and all of our college friends moved away. My wife's words still haunt me: "We should've made more friends." So when our daughter was born in January, we had virtually no support (apart from one of my wife's very gracious friends) for this challenging new phase of life. And our daughter has been very challenging. Each new stage in development finds us rewriting not only our parenting paradigm, but how we interact as a couple. It can truly be said: you don't know the mettle

You Can't Have a Victorious Life

If Christians are more than their morality, then Christianity isn't just about temporal victories. I battled pornography for nine years. And when I say battled, I don't mean I just felt a little guilty every now and then. I tried everything: I told friends, I blocked websites, I busied my schedule, and, believe me, I wept regularly before God on my knees for victory. One time, I even told my parents. Imagine how awkward that was: "Mom, Dad? You know all of those websites you told me to avoid? I've been to all of them." My mother was in tears, and my computer-analyst father immediately went to put some filters on my computer. While he was snooping around, he commented, "You cleaned up pretty good after yourself, huh?" Yes, I did. And those filters didn't last long. It wasn't until I met my wife that I suddenly found the resolve to never look at that stuff again (at least, intentionally). But another nine years later, I still wouldn'

You Can't Know Them by Their Fruit

When we confuse false believers with false teachers, we create a false salvation dependent on the immorality of non-believers. Christians are terrified of false teaching. That's why we're quick to call each other heretics and ostracize those who believe differently because we don't want to get "infected." The Bible confirms that false teachers are dangerous and even provides criteria for spotting them, such as Jesus' famous words: "You will know them by their fruit" ( Matthew 7:16 ). However, I fear that in our zeal for truth, we've overlooked our own insecurities. Outside of sermons, I've never once heard this verse used by fellow believers in context with false teachers. Instead, I've heard it used to speak about false believers. This is not only hermeneutically unsound, it actually leads to its own false teaching. Close behind the poor interpretation of this verse is Galatians 5 : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,