Drop Your Weapons

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on September 28, 2019. You can find it here.)

Has God ever ambushed you? 

I recently attended a conference session about the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). The speaker did a wonderful job of applying this timeless story by discussing the rocks we all carry around in our pockets, just waiting for the opportune time to lob them at “that one person.” And we each knew who “that one person” was for us.

Except I didn’t.

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One-Trick-Pony People

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on August 21, 2019. You can find it here.)

Martin Luther was a 16th century German cowboy with a one-trick pony called “Gospel.” Utterly obsessed with the subject, this firebrand monk once wrote that “the truth of the gospel is the principal article of all Christian doctrine . . . Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” If you went to dinner with this guy, you could depend on coming away with a greater sense of why Jesus matters.

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Never Unguarded

These days, all it takes to make my internal temperature rise is spending about five minutes on Twitter. (That’s the closest I get to news.)

Good grief, people. We need Jesus.

Drifting into the riptide of anxiety is easy when my eyes are fixed on this world—its chaos, its concerns, its leaders, its followers, its system. What’s that old saying? If you can’t beat them, join them. I can get sucked so quickly into joining in on the finger-pointing, problem-solving, emotional intoxication of it all. Allowing the culture’s fear (which is frankly inevitable apart from a fleshed-out friendship with God) to determine my attitudes and actions is as natural as submitting to the ocean’s undertow. And quite as deadly.

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Lion Heart

Imagine a lioness convinced she’s a worm. Then imagine a lioness convinced she’s a king. One a spineless slave, the other a self-appointed tyrant. Which mindset could do her family more harm? Which is a greater assault on the created order of things?

The enemy has pulled quite a number on women. “Hush, you silly chits,” he whispers with shame lacing his words so that they land like daggers. “You don’t actually matter. Everyone knows you’re just pretending to be worthwhile. They can all see right through your pathetic attempts to do anything really meaningful. Pipe down before you reveal how ridiculous you truly are.”

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What Women Need

(This post was edited for and originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on June 24, 2019. You can find it here.)

While working with a program that prepared couples for long-term missions, I began to notice a deeply troubling disparity in the expectations and the definitions of spiritual excellence for males and females. Husbands were loaded up with classes, mentoring, books, and accountability groups – but a monthly meeting was too much to ask of their wives.

Both inside and outside the world of full-time ministry, studying the finer points of our faith is a mainly masculine enterprise. Aren’t women busy enough without diving deep into the Word? Let Pinterest catechize them. But when half the Church is spiritually deficient, the entire body walks with a limp.

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The Procrastinator’s Gospel

(This post was originally published on the Baptist Convention of New England’s blog on June 3, 2019. You can find it here.)

“God has promised forgiveness to your repentance; but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”

(St. Augustine)

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. When it comes to procrastination, I find myself on the struggle bus. It goes a little something like this:

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Plastic Jesus

Was anyone else fooled by the pretty bowl of pears on their great-grandmother’s dining room table? You wander in and see that delicious fruit just begging to be savored. Not one to disappoint, you pluck the ripest from the bunch and have got it almost to your antsy taste buds when your parents alert you to the fact that what you are about to consume is, in fact, fake. Anyone?

Stupid pears. This is why I have trust issues.

We’ve taken the gospel—that dazzling centerpiece of the Christian faith—and created lookalikes. Sure, the coloring seems perfect, the texture identical to what’s real. But all it takes is one bite to realize we’ve been duped.

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