This time last year I was experiencing my very first every Father’s Day as a father. It was an important moment. I had been a father for an entire three months! It was not a reflection on what I had been through but rather on what I was about to get into.
As cliche as it sounds, its amazing how much difference a year makes. Being so early in the journey, I have only to say what fatherhood has done to me, not what I bring to it.
Last year’s meditation was full of confidence, anticipation and drive.
But becoming a father has changed me in ways that I never anticipated. It has made me into a person who asks more questions and makes less statements. It has made me more alive to my deficiencies and the immaturity of my answers. More than ever, I worry and I fear. Continue reading
We live in a world that seems to be more divided than ever before. The issues that separate culture today are sharp and complex. We have seen the news. Race. Gender identity. Inequality. Corruption. Poverty. Terrorism. In this harsh setting, many christians feel utterly puzzled when it comes to expressing their faith in an effective and compelling way. Often times we don’t even know where to start.
Scripture calls the people of God to be a powerful missionary force of love, wisdom and healing in a world that is continually falling apart. Something is deeply missing in the lives of many christians today. They seem to be totally blind to the power of the answers that they hold.
The problem is that many of us have been raised in the religious setting but have never really asked ourselves how our christian convictions fit into the broader landscape of ideas that fill this world. We may have accepted our christianity as our faith system but we have never asked how it extents to all of life, or how it interacts with the big questions that every person around us is asking.
How does the gospel pass from simply being our private Sunday morning routine to empowering our thinking, speaking and action in every aspect of culture and society? How do we learn to think as christians in an anti-christian society? How do we deal with the complex line of questions that are fired at the church today?
These are just some of the questions that we will ask at this year’s youth retreat. Join us for a stimulating, challenging and empowering time of rooting ourselves deeper into the true power of the gospel for all of life.
Real christian love changes us. It makes us a completely different type of people. In a world of people seeking satisfaction and security, those who are in Christ are full to the brim. He gives himself to us so that we may be able to give ourselves to others.
There are two distinct changes that love makes in us. First of all, it fills us and creates within us a heart that is burdened to serve others. A heart full of Christ and his truth is a heart that cannot just sit still and stay selfish. Secondly, the burden of love that Christ puts on us drives us to discipline, diligence and perseverance in serving others. Although it impacts our heart powerfully, Christ’s love spreads to the whole person. It causes us to stop and think. It pushes us to evaluate our lives and find ways that we can and must serve most fruitfully in the church and in his kingdom.
If your heart is full of Christ, it will drive you to think deeply about the life of the church, it will cause you to evaluate the purpose of the church and all the different ways that you are present there. It will push you to look into how God is working in those areas and how you can give yourself. Having a deeper perspective on the work of God around you will help show the deeper significance of the “little” ways that you choose to serve. It teaches us to see that in God’s kingdom and in his work, there are no “little” people or “little” moments. Every act of Christ-driven love is an opportunity to make eternal impact on those around us. There is nothing more central to the practical christian walk than growing in love.
Have you read stunning story about the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo? Or did you read the OTHER story, the one about explosive outcry all over the country in defense of the gorilla? To me, the second one is the bigger story. A petition on change.org has gathered over 300,000 supporters, protesting the killing of the gorilla, as well as charging the parents with negligence.
Throughout the massive public outcry that has resulted, an article in the Huffington Post asks an important question – “Whatever happened to empathy?” Many have been shocked that such a judgmental and harsh reaction has blown up to judge the mother and the decision making of the zookeepers.
The conversations today are full of the fight for liberty. We are told that we must throw off the chains of oppression and marginalization and fight for true freedom. What is seldom answered however, is freedom to what??
This pushes us up against the next big question, what is true freedom? Anytime you try to answer this question you are going to inevitably bring in some sort of moral judgement. We must be freed from such and such evil in order that we may experience such and such good. Anytime we are talking about fighting for freedom we are talking about liberating humanity from some sort of wrong state and into some sort of, more right, state. In essence we are talking about a right way to live, a order for life the way it should be.