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This is a stunning visual display of what Americans consume...seems appropriate in light of the 475 billion dollars we'll spend between Thanksgiving and Christmas...

Theology of Grief II

Thanks to those of you who have commented - I appreciate your responses.  I know it sounds obvious, but I want to start by simply noting that grief is an appropriate response to much of life in a fallen world. I feel compelled to start here because there seems to be an undercurrent in the Christian community that real grief - the kind that isn't to be expressed in polite company - is somehow a demonstration of a lack of faith in God's goodness or his purposes. I received an email recently that began, "There are worse things than having a downs syndrome baby...." And yep, they're right.  But dang, do you lead off by telling a woman who's been raped that there are worse things that could have happened? Or by telling a cancer patient that at least they don't have heart disease? Why lead with that? Especially when this person has two perfectly healthy children...

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A Theology of Grief

My wife and I have two children. Nathan is five and Hannah is three. We have a third child, Seth, who is due later this month. On September 18th we learned that Seth has Down Syndrome. We knew the odds for Downs increase a couple grows older, but we were not at all ready for this diagnosis. 

 We had already been dealing with some developmental issues with one of our other kids, and so we were especially hurt/grieved/angry/disappointed on hearing this news.  For the last couple of months (and the last couple of years, really), I have been thinking about what it means to grieve and how little we in the American church know how to comfort those who are grieving. 

As a pastor, part of my role is to (try to) bring comfort and hope to those who are troubled.  But having lived a bit as one who needs comforted, I have a little different perspective.

Thanksgiving as a way of life

Adam and Eve had it good! Living together (naked, no less!), in perfect union with each other and God in a garden whose name meant “delight.” No guilt, no shame, no grief, and no death.

There was only one restriction: don’t eat of the fruit of a specific tree. In a garden full of “yeses’ there was only one ‘no.’ Of course, we know how the story goes. The tempter comes and his first move is to direct their attention to the one thing they couldn’t  have.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

Human nature hasn’t changed much since then. We can have a life full of blessing, but our temptation will still be to focus on what we don’t have or can’t do.  Why is it that ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are two of the hardest words to teach our kids?
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How Do You Grow in Your Christian Life?

Ok, so a couple years ago I got a chance to sit down with these Bruce & Stan characters. The written over 65 books together, but for some reason they still wanted to hear what I had to say. This clip is from their Christianity 101 TV Series and we're discussing how to grow in your Christian faith. Enjoy!


Do You Think I'm Handsome?

Please don't answer (unless the answer is yes)...I'm just testing this sucker to see if it works. ...

Mike Erre - 'Why Guys Need God'

I'd Like to Go Fishing With Jesus

Though the vast majority of church leadership is male, the primary expressions of worship and spirituality are female. I don't love my dad or my friends by closing my eyes and raising my hands to the sky while singing, "I'm desperate for you," or "You are the air I breathe.' I can do this toward God sometimes, but at other times, I'd like to worship Him a little more actively. I don't naturally gravitate toward having quiet times with Jesus, where I simply bask in His love. My biological dad and I don't bask in each other's love. We go fishing. I'd like to go fishing with Jesus.

More than any recent Christian author, John Eldredge has tapped into this reality. He reminds us of the fierce and wild God of the Scriptures and the untamed revolutionary named Jesus, both of whom encourage men to worship as men.

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It's Good To Be a Man

Starting in Genesis 1, God teaches us something important: God loves what He has made. He delights, rejoices, and revels in it. To be a part of God's creation is a wonderful thing, and human beings stand at the top of it all. Every other living thing in Genesis 1 is made "according to its [own] kind." Only human beings are made as an expression of God's kind--that is, in His image.

The literary structure of Genesis 1 changes at the creation of humanity. Instead of a divine command, "Let there be man and woman," we read about God's creative process and the material He used to create man and woman. These stylistic changes are to show us that human beings have a special place in creation and that they are uniquely able to relate to God and to each other.

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Masculinity Is Part of God's Good Creation

Against those who place little value on human life and dignity, we assert the fundamental truth that all human beings are made in God's image and are worthy of respect and protection. But against those who assign humanity an almost godlike status, we remind ourselves that our freedom is limited and that or personhood is ultimately God's gift to us.

Men were made in God's image. The Hebrew words for image (tselem) and likeness (demuth) both refer to the practice of Ancient Near Eastern kings building or carving out images of themselves in order to represent their power and authority over their far-flung empires, even if they were not physically present. These images represented the absolute dominion of the ruler over the areas he controlled.

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husband to Justina; father to Nathan, Hannah and Seth; pastor and teacher living in Southern California; author of 4 books, the latest of which just was released and is called 'Why The Bible Matters.'

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