Christian Deconstruction

My latest morning live session gave some insights into my own experience with Christian Deconstruction. If you aren’t familiar with this phraseology, think of it like tearing down a house in order to see what the foundation is made of. Many Christians go through this process once they are confronted with a crisis of adversity or prosperity. Jesus spoke about this directly in his parable of the different soils in Matthew 13. While only one of the plants in this parable bore fruit and proved to be genuine, two others looked like legit plants until they were confronted with trials, adversity, or the pleasures of this world. When those came around they were shown to be what they were, a fake plant.
Personally, I went through this deconstruction process at the end of 2017. I was very suddenly without a spouse, job, or church. My roles of husband, pastor, ministry leader, and churchman were removed and I was left to consider what my faith really rested on. Was it based on what I was doing …

No Condemnation- Wed. Study

No Condemnation. That was the theme from today's time in the word. It was strange to go live in front of... 2 people? I was just glad to teach again. I love the lesson planning and study. Teaching others always causes me to know my subject matter more deeply. I'm not sure what will come of these times together on Wed. morning, but I'll leave that in God's hands as I take it a week at a time.

In case you missed it, I was mostly in the book of Romans after a singing "Come Ye Sinners". That song is a great reminder of the grace of God and that He calls us just as we are: weak, weary, sick, and sore. Jesus is the one that saves us, not our works. If we try to save ourselves then we'll never come to Him at all. Praise God that He has done the work of salvation!

As we think about God's grace, there is always the temptation to rely too much on it. I don't mean at all that we shouldn't trust in grace alone for our salvation. I more mean that we may p…

Happy Anniversary?

One year ago, on May 15, 2018, I enjoyed a great day at the beach with my family. My wife and I watched the girls play in the water at the park near our house. The sun was out. Things were starting to look up for my family. Yes, my marriage still needed a lot of work and I needed a better job, but things seemed to be stabilizing a bit.
One year ago, on May 17, 2018, I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school in the morning. My wife hadn’t come home the previous night, saying she spent the night with one of her girl friends who wasn’t sober enough to drive herself. But I guessed at what happened. After some halting conversation and a few questions, the truth came out. She had done it again, and I knew our marriage was over.
That was a confusing morning for me. I don’t think I had honestly considered divorce a real option until that moment. I hoped the fear of it would keep us together if nothing else would. Divorce wasn’t just about ending our marriage. It would mean ripping…

A Song for Mother's Day

Nothing too long today. I'm working through a few things personally, and hope to get back to regular posts this coming week. However, with Mother's Day coming I wanted to share an old original I listened to recently.
In my daily reading I'm just getting into 1 Samuel. It took me back to many years ago, reflecting on the goodness of God and writing this song based on 1 Samuel 2:

And Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the Lord;     my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies,     because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is none holy like the Lord:     for there is none besides you;     there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly,     let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge,     and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken,     but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,     but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven,

Lord From Sorrows Deep I Call

These past few weeks I've been wrestling with loneliness. It's been a difficult transition; moving from having someone to talk to about everything to... well, to sharing that with a journal, and maybe a few highlights for my friends. The huge positive is that I talk a lot more with God. I know He's always known me, but I'm feeling like we're communicating better, and more often, than I ever have in the past. However, the loneliness still remains.

I know I'm not alone in this life situation. My mother-in-law (how does that work now?) who will always be my second Mom lost her husband several years ago, and I know she's wrestled with this. I have friends who have been single all their lives, seemingly content with their friends and their God, but go through seasons of doubt and discouragement all the same. I know others who have lost a spouse through death or divorce. Still others who simply feel alone even within their marriage and outwardly perfect life. Wh…

In the Valley

I come to this song in a very different place than when I first heard it. This was released way back in 2006, back when I had two kids and was just getting my feet wet in full-time youth ministry. It's another one of those tunes that's become an old friend. We don't talk every day, but she's there when I need her, ready to remind me of her simple, poetic, and paradoxical message.

I love how it begins. "When you lead me to the Valley of Vision..." This must be the foundation for the Christian as we walk through the valley. Valleys don't happen by chance. We don't stumble into them. We are led there, sometimes gently by the hand, other times with a bit more force, like dragging a dog by his collar to the vet.

As I look back at the valleys I've walked through I must say I've come to love them. That may sound strange, but it's true. Granted, it's a lot easier to say that on this side of a deep one. I know a few friends that are traveling …

Not In Me

In October of 2017 I was on the threshold of the valley. At the time I didn't know all that God would give and take away, all that He would lead me through. But one thing He was certainly doing was breaking down my pride. You see, humility has always been a struggle for me. Too often I am enthralled with my own gifts and abilities, forgetting the One who gave them to me. Why is that?

Today's song helps with this struggle. It finds the space where the Christian should walk, between utter brokenness over sin and the joy of being made righteous. It's a healthy place where I can honestly say "I am a sinner through and through" while simultaneously praising God that "My righteousness is Jesus life." This is summed up well in the phrase I have tattooed on my arm: Simul Justus et Peccator (Simultaneously Justified and a Sinner). A Saint and a Sinner. That's me. For some reason God really impressed this on my heart, and now I'm reminded of this truth d…