Archives For Christian Life

Nearly every day someone tweets something idiotic. Recently, apparently in the middle of the night, the President tweeted an indecipherable message that included the combination of letters “convefe.” He’s been mocked for it mercilessly.

A day or two later, comedian Kathy Griffin, well known for her comedic insults of celebrities, posed for photographs holding what appeared to be a bloody mask resembling Donald Trump. When the photos leaked, she was soundly denounced by the Trumps themselves, their supporters, and even by her own fans and friends. Denunciation of the action was justified, no doubt, but that quickly turned to insult, mockery, and a festival of public shaming.

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This election season has been incredibly stressful, and we are eager to get back to normal life. But before we put 2016 in the rearview, each of us must answer a simple question about the future. What comes next?

Superhero child wearing a cape riding a bicycle as a cast shadow on a road pretending to be a powerful hero as a metaphor and symbol of youth and childhood imagination and empowering kids self esteem.

I mean literally, what are we going to do now about the issues that drove us to the voting booth?

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I work in Christian publishing, and I served in pastoral ministry for some 20 years. So on behalf of myself and the industry I represent, allow me to correct a wrong impression that we—many of us who communicate the gospel for a living—have perpetuated for a long time.

Close-up portrait of a man laughing with a disbelief expression

There actually is no easy path to spiritual growth.

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There are two types of people in the world: prodigals, and those who love them. Or so I always thought.

prodigal son

“The younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living,” said Jesus in his story of the lost son (Luke 15:13).

There is the essence of prodigality and the great downward movement in this superb parable. Impatient, impetuous, dreaming of the more that lay just over the horizon, the Prodigal set of for a far country and there staged the mother of all orgies.

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Over my nearly 20 years in pastoral ministry, I fielded many questions about other religions. Generally, I preferred to point people to Jesus rather than discuss what others believe.

Yet the growth of Islam in North America combined with rise of radical Islam in many parts of the world has all of us asking questions about Islam.

The silver dome of Our Lady of the Spasm Armenian Catholic Church and the golden Dome of the Rock rise over the Old City of Jerusalem.

As a consultant for Rose Publishing, I have the opportunity to speak about Christianity and Islam in radio interviews all over the country. I encounter some questions so frequently that it seems nearly all Christians wrestle with them.

Here’s how I respond.

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Authenticity has been watchword among Christians for a couple of decades, so much so that it’s virtually been added to the catalog of Christian virtues alongside love, joy, peace, and patience.

Man hand writing I Love Me on visual screen. Love, family, internet concept.

But it is not a virtue. I do not seek to be authentic, not in the sense that we usually think of it. I’m interested in a deeper, more powerful experience. I hunger for holiness.

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Lifestyle evangelism, aka friendship evangelism, is a strategy for making converts by living an attractive life among non-Christians so they will be drawn to the gospel and want to know more about Jesus.

Photo Courtesy of Hugo Chisholm

This strategy has been popular since the 1990s, and most Evangelicals would probably say that they share their faith primarily by building relationships with nonbelievers.

Of course, lifestyle evangelism works only if your lifestyle is distinctively Christian. Otherwise, it’s just networking.

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