“Instead of denying the relevance of Jesus’ teachings to the present, we must simply acknowledge that he has been wrongly interpreted. The Beatitudes, in particular, are not teachings on how to be blessed. They are not instructions to do anything. They do not indicate conditions that are especially pleasing to God or good for human beings.

No one is actually being told that they are better off for being poor, for mourning, for being persecuted, and so on, or that the conditions listed are recommended ways to well-being before God or man. Nor are the Beatitudes indications of who will be on top ‘after the revolution.’ They are explanations and illustrations, drawn from the immediate setting, of the present availability of the kingdom through personal relationship to Jesus. They single out cases that provide proof that, in him, the rule of God from the heavens truly is available in life circumstances that are beyond all human hope.”

-Dallas Willard, “The Divine Conspiracy” pg. 106

Unreal. Have we wrongly interpreted Jesus’ core teachings all these years?


Why Worry

What if we weren’t worried?

I don’t know about you, but whether or not I want to admit it, more of my life is influenced by worry than I would like. I’m worried the car will break down. I’m worried the news from the doctor won’t be good. I’m worried the money will run out, or that the girls are going to get hurt.

Fear and worry are inseparably linked in my life. Worry leads to fear, which leads to worry, and so on and so forth, leaving me consumed and obsessed over every little detail of life.

Where does this come from? What is it that drives this worry? I have money to pay the bills. I’m healthy. My marriage is healthy, and my children are safe. What do I have to worry about?

I think it stems from my lack of true faith that Jesus is enough. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Jesus, I believe that he sustains and provides. I believe all this in my head. I get it. If I’m honest, it’s a constant struggle for me to legitimately embrace this idea in my heart. I worry. Constantly. About everything. I constantly live days or weeks in the future. What if?

Here is the thing. Worry is sin. No way around it. Jesus commands us not to worry. What I’m saying when I choose to worry (worry is a choice) is that I know my future better than Jesus. I know what is best for me, what I need, and what will make me happy, better than Jesus does.

At the end of the day, I have to choose to let go of worry. It is a daily struggle for me to surrender that to him, but it is one that I’m learning is so valuable and freeing.

What if

Where on earth do we even begin? How can we start a conversation about what happened last Friday? I don’t know how to even begin to have that conversation, or honestly, what even needs to be said. I have been reflecting and thinking about last week, and felt like the only way to process it is to just put it down in words.

The following may not be cohesive, or make any sense. It’s more of a “brain dump,” but one that is needed on my part.

I’m not a politician. I have very little interest in politics. I think it eats up a lot of time that could be better spent making a real difference in the world. That being said, can we finally agree that it is time to have a SERIOUS conversation about gun violence in America?

I’m neither pro-gun, or anti-gun. I believe in the 2nd amendment. I do think guns ought to be more difficult to obtain, and certain types of guns out to be outlawed. I think to not at least have a discussion about this is foolish, dangerous, and irresponsible.

Evil is real. We can all agree on that. We can all come behind the notion that walking into an Elementary school, and gunning down children is evil. No way around it. You can’t justify it, explain it, rationalize it, or say anything about it, other than that it is pure evil.

I have wrestled for a long time with the idea of evil. If God is in control, why is there evil? If God is this loving, merciful, gracious God, then how on earth do things like Newton, CT happen? And to be honest with you, for a long time (more recently than I’d like to admit) I began to question God’s mercy, grace, and love. They can’t be real. They can’t be legitimate.

Over the last several years, I’ve begun to understand some things about God. Things that would have scared me to death to publicly admit before. Things that I had never said out loud, because to my heart, they were complete blasphemy.

What if there is God, and then a bunch of gods? What if God, was at war with these other gods constantly? What if, when Jesus prayed “your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven” he was implying that there are things that happen in this world, that are NOT the will of God? Could it be possible that the notion of “sovereignty” as we understand it is incorrect? Maybe God isn’t moving us around like pieces on a chess board. Maybe things are a lot more fluid and open than that. Could it be possible that God is just as broken up and torn apart about all of this as we are? That he’s not “punishing us,” as some politicians and conservative leaders would have you believe, but that he is grieving along with those families? I think so.

God weeps when children die.

I know I’ve said this before, and at risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll say it again: Adam Lanza was an image bearer of God, just like you and I. Granted, this is much harder to fathom, since the atrocities that he committed were so heinous. It is easier to view him as a monster, a scum, pure evil, and someone who doesn’t deserve to live.

Please don’t make that mistake.

What if God grieved over the death of Adam Lanza as well? What if it broke his heart to see a human being that he created, and loved, take his own life? Is it possible that when Paul wrote the following words, that they were true?

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

I don’t really care about your politics, views on mortality, guns, mental health, or anything else. Whether you think we should outlaw guns, or give them to everyone. Can we at least agree on some things? Evil is real. The dark kingdom is alive and well. God is at war with the gods of this world. He weeps over the sin of his creation.

But most importantly, in the end, when all is said and done, God wins.

Fight the dark kingdom

Close to Home

Yesterday afternoon, a man wielding a rifle, ran into a shopping mall courtyard, and started firing off shots, eventually taking the life of 2 mall patrons, as well as himself. 

Sadly, in the world we live in, we hear things like this all the time. It would be easy to think about this happening somewhere distant, but this happened mere miles from my home. This happened in a mall I have been to dozens of times. I’ve purchased Christmas, birthday, and anniversary gifts from this mall. 

I posted something back in July after the shooting at the movie theater in Colorado. I went on and on about how I’m capable of this, let’s pray for the shooter, we all need Jesus, etc. And if I’m 100% honest, that was easy for me to say, because it happened hundred of miles away.

Yesterday was different. I found myself driving home from work, so angry that I almost pulled my car over. The victims could have been my friends, my family, people I know. This guy could have left my friends widows, their kids orphans. 

I found myself feeling glad he was dead. I was glad he was gone.

Then I became convicted in a way I haven’t been in a LONG time. I felt like such a hypocrite. As mad as I was that he potentially orphaned kids, and widowed husbands and wives, he left his own parents with a dead child. Somewhere, there is a mother, or father, or sibling, who will go to sleep tonight without a loved one.

Is what he did horrible? Absolutely. Will he stand before Jesus and give account for that? You bet. Is he just as worthy of a person to Jesus as I am? Is he an image bearer of God, just like myself? You better believe it.