Holiness Without Legalism: is it possible?

question_mark-iconI grew up in the Pentecostal holiness tradition. I had to follow a lot of rules as a kid to be considered holy. We had several do’s and don’ts that we had to abide by. I was never allowed to wear shorts to a church function. I couldn’t swim with the opposite sex. I was rarely able to wear jeans to church. And under no means could I have ever grown my hair out (and the world breathed a collective sigh of relief).

And I was a part of the “liberal” group. Imagine that. Others had it way worse than me.

The church of my upbringing moved away from all these laws many years ago, which I’m very thankful for. We had become that dreaded word that strikes fear into children and causes grown men and women to tremble: Continue Reading →

Are You a Mom-ster?

Today I’m THRILLED to be sharing a guest post from my wife that was recently published in Good News Christian Magazine. It’s great for all you moms who sometimes get overwhelmed with your kids.

momster

“Your kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”

-Jim Henson

 

In preparation for my new teaching position at a local elementary school, I was recently reading a professional education book. In it, I stumbled across a behavior management strategy that discussed the importance of smiling and using “please” & “thank you” so students don’t feel threatened by correction. The book argued that the use of such kindness would help me obtain the desired response in students’ behavior. To be honest,  I was QUITE skeptical. I am a mom.  Why would I approach a misbehaving child with a smile?  Nonetheless, I thought I would test this theory on my own children at bedtime. Continue Reading →

My Book Is Dead.

Book OustedMy book is dead.

Well, it’s kind of half-dead.

At least, the title and the release date are both dead. They are changing.

The thing I’ve referred to as “Stuff I Hate About God” or something similar for about 6 years now is changing. Excuse me while I bawl like a baby. It would have more effect if this were real paper. Then you could see all the stains from my tears that are dropping onto my keyboard causing my fingertips to be shocked every time I hit a key. Kick me while I’m down why don’t you.

The book was scheduled to be released in just a few short weeks, but I learned this week that many buyers had an adverse reaction to the title. So my publisher decided to rename it, pushing the release date back to the first week of March 2014. A lot of people really didn’t like us using God and Hate in the same breath. And I totally get that.

So, my book as I’ve known it is dead. Although, not completely dead. It’s just partially dead. “It’s not quite dead yet.” I’ve always wanted to write a zombie book, and I guess I’ve now achieved that goal with my new half dead book. But it will soon find full resurrection.

It’s as if it joined the witness protection program. It’s being assigned a completely new identity to protect it from the title mob, but on the inside it’s still the same awesome book it’s always been. We’ll just have to wait longer to read it.

Continue Reading →

Flo Rida, Preachers, Huge Noggins, and Jesus Bling

Pictures are worth a thousand words, right? So today I’m showing images that speak ever-so loudly.

The first is from singer/rapper Flo Rida. I recently saw him perform on the Today Show and he was wearing a RIDICULOUS Jesus necklace made of gold and diamonds. It supposedly cost around $500,000. When asked about it, he threw out some token response about thanking God for all his success. Check it out: Continue Reading →

Guest Post: I am a Millennial, and I’m Still Here

In the last two posts I’ve been responding (with about 15 bazillion other people) to Rachel Held Evans’ article on Millennials leaving the church. If you haven’t seen them yet, you might want to check them out by clicking these links:  Part OnePart Two.  This week, I asked a Millennial friend (and my assistant editor!) to give her perspective on this whole thing. Enjoy this guest blog.

leaving-church

I am one of those Millennials who has seriously considered leaving my Pentecostal upbringing and trading it for a higher liturgical mainline denomination. But the Spirit hasn’t allowed me to leave. It isn’t that I am here in my church kicking and screaming, but every time I’ve considered a switch, something beckons me back. Mostly, it is because this is what I know and what I am familiar with. But also because I believe in the Holy Spirit’s ability to bring change and breathe new life into (my) church, even if it takes a long time. So here are some of my thoughts on why many of my closest friends who grew up with me in church have left—and why I am still holding on.  (And just a sidenote: a lot of my parents’ friends have left, too. So perhaps this isn’t just a “Millennial” problem.) Continue Reading →

5 Millennial Challenges – A Response to Rachel Held Evans, p. 2

Earlier this week I began a response to Rachel Held Evans’ CNN Article, “Why Millennials Are Leaving The Church.” If you haven’t read it yet, click here. In response to my response, some fellow Millennials (well, I consider myself part Millennial, part Generation X. Maybe a Millenniaxe…or X-Millennial?) have asked me how to go about handling the challenges they face when they stay in church. Let’s discuss five of these potential challenges.

Apple-iPhone-5

1) The Already, Not Yet Tension

The main dilemma I see in our generation is a lack of patience. We want everything NOW. If we see something we don’t like in the church, we want it changed immediately. If it drags on and on with no end in sight, we leave. I’m encouraging those who stay with the church to have patience. It’s a virtue. Continue Reading →

Why Aren’t We Past The Race Issue?

I’m concerned today. I thought we were moving past all the race stuff. I thought my generation (I’m 34) had broken the majority of these walls. I thought  the amount of melanin (or in my case, the extreme lack thereof) in your skin was no longer an issue. Apparently I was wrong.

racism

Confession: my wife and I are HUGE Big Brother fans. We’ve watched every episode since season one. It was a much different show early on. The first season was won by a guy named Eddie who had only one leg. This week on Big Brother season 15, a young white female was fired from her real-life job because she made several racist remarks on the show. Continue Reading →

Top 5 Discipleship Posts

My passion is discipleship, thus, my site title (see big black header above). You may notice that my post title says I’m sharing my top 5 discipleship posts, but I actually have 6. That’s because, as I’m sure we’ll all agree, “top 6″ would just sound ridiculous.

So here’s my top 5 (i.e., 6) favorite posts pertaining to discipleship. Enjoy.

What Is Discipleship?

Is There Any Value in “Classic” Sunday School?

What Does Your Church Have To Offer?

5 Reasons I Haven’t Left The Church

What’s My Line? the loss of personal convictions

5 Reasons Your Discipleship Strategy May Be Stuck

Why I’m NOT Looking for the Rapture

Since the beginning of time humans have speculated about the end of time. I won’t be debating whether or not the rapture will take place or when it might happen or what the Tribulation might entail. What I’m about to describe is why I’m not really looking for it while so many others are screaming from the top of their lungs that such an occurrence is undoubtedly at hand.

rapture-ready Continue Reading →

When God Is Silent

When do I go and when do I stay? When do I step out and when do I stand still? When do I sit and when do I heel? Sometimes I wish God treated me like His nice little house dog. Every time He spoke, I would act. “Roll over. Get off the couch. Sit. Jump. Don’t make on the carpet!” If God would simply treat me like His pet poodle and order my every move, life would be easy and stress free. But unfortunately, God doesn’t always speak. Sometimes He’s all too silent.

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When I think God should be shouting orders at me, I often hear nothing. And other times when I’m not even listening for His voice, He speaks and stops me dead in my tracks. But I can never quite tell exactly when He’s going to speak and when He’s going to remain silent. Continue Reading →