How North Dakota Provided a Better Testimony

This may seem weird to admit, but I have always had a twinge of regret that I have lived a pretty straight-arrow life and don’t have any of those dark secrets that would give me a more interesting testimony. Would I be more effective for Jesus if I had “a past,” a collection of sins that I could parade as being overcome when I finally saw the Light?

Well, Google has come to my rescue.

Yesterday I googled myself. Hmmm. When you put it like that it sounds both narcissistic and perhaps a little improper. But I did.

C’mon admit it. You have done it too, right? How can you not check yourself out on the web’s premier search engine. It’s like having the opportunity to overhear what other people are saying about you…hard not to listen.

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Naked and Not Ashamed #1

My book, Naked and Not Ashamed, has been printed and will be released on February 1, 2008. The reviews have been surprisingly good so far. I really had braced myself for a backlash! I figured the book might be too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals. As it turns out, the book seems to meet a need for a frank discussion of sexuality that while thoroughly orthodox, still recognizes that our hunger for sexual experience is God’s way of calling us out of our narcissistic prison. The problem is of course, that the path that takes us away from self is filled with potholes and ditches!

 

Sexual life though is not actually more deviant or dysfunctional that other parts of life. It’s just that when we are sexual we are naked – in more ways than one! Sexuality is the core of our human experience and every issue we have in other parts of life will likely show up there.

 
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The American Southwest

I wrote this prayer while serving as senior pastor of a church near downtown Phoenix. I no longer live there but I think often about the needs of the area. When I do, I think of this prayer:

 

A Prayer for the American Southwest

You have made us a people, O God of Covenant;

You have appointed us to this desert place.

You have given us the glory of canyons and the majesty of mountain peaks

And have colored our landscape with every hue and shade.

Within this manifestation of divine artistry live sheep of Your own pasture.

Breathe upon us, God of Creation, until the dry bones rise up to give You praise.

Protect us, merciful God, from the rage of darkness.

Deliver us, in Your grace, from bitterness of spirit.

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Tags | Belief

What's the Big Deal With Small Stuff?

When we first wrote God Is in the Small Stuff more than ten years ago, we had no idea that such an unassuming book would gain such worldwide attention. That original book and several other derivative titles have collectively sold more than 1 million copies. The original book has been translated into six languages. To this day we get emails and letters from readers around the world who have found comfort and encouragement in the simple yet profound idea that God delights in the details of our lives.

While we can't exactly take credit for the book's appeal (okay, so we did write it, but honestly, we aren't smart enough to write a book that's touched so many hearts), we think we know why people seem to relate to it. The concept of God being in the small stuff of our lives resonates with just about all of us, especially when we look back and see the amazing ways God has worked, sometimes in spite of our best efforts to thwart his plans.

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Confession and Cynicism

A couple of weeks ago I sat down to review a manuscript from a talented young Christian writer. It was bold, blunt, and painfully honest—definitely not the typical Christian bookstore fare. On the first page he dropped the f-bomb and page three included a desperate and angry prayer that began, “Screw you, God…” The honesty he put on display in these pages seemed pretty brave to me and I have to admit to enjoying the little autobiographical journey he took me on. Many times I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement—“yeah, I know just how you feel…” I have always resonated with Frederick Buechner’s self-analysis of being “part Christian, part pig.”

I love the confessional style of Christian reflection that has become increasingly popular. I have smiled and wept through the pages of the brutally honest work of writers like Don Miller, Anne Lamott, Patton Dodd, and Craig Borlase. Like many, I find their honesty about their personal failings to be strangely comforting. It gives me the courage to set aside my attempts at plasticine piety and just be the flawed person that I really am…the ragamuffin who can never really seem to get this whole Christ-like thing nailed.

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Finding God in Unexpected Places

Let’s never make the mistake of thinking that God is primarily interested in religion.

Many of us were probably raised with the belief that if we wanted to find God that we had to use one of the religious means at our disposal. We could go to church, we could read the Bible, we could pray. If we followed one of these paths we’d be sure to find Him, elusive as He sometimes seemed to be. But I have learned that these are not the only ways to connect with God.  God does not limit Himself to “sacred” means when it comes to reaching us. His Divine fingerprints can be found in the most unlikely of places, if only we are paying attention.

One of my dear friends felt the first stirrings of spiritual longing in listening to a Cat Stevens record, a longing that once awakened led him down a different path than Stevens himself. Another person I know first began to believe after a visit to the Grand Canyon. There she got a glimpse of something even bigger than the awe-inspiring canyon itself. Whoever had created that canyon seemed worth getting to know.

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Biographies and the Authority of Truth

Biographies are funny things.  Most modern biographies go something like this:

“Hi.  My name is Matt Anderson, and I am a freelance writer, editor and soon-to-be financial advisor for Ameriprise Financial.  I graduated cumma sum laude from Biola University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in Humanities/Philosophy (insert joke here).  I have worked as a high school educator and event planner, including working on the very first convention for Christian bloggers.  I have been married to my beautiful wife for over two years.” 

Why is that funny?  It saves the most important aspect for the end—who I am in relationship with—and leaves out the most interesting aspects of my life.  (Okay, so ‘funny’ isn’t the right word.

Christianity 101 is in Iraq!

The Christianity 101 books have found their way around the world to such places as England, Australia, the Phillippines...and Iraq! We got an email from a soldier stationed there. His wife had sent him a few of the books, including "Bible Answers to Life's Big Questions. " We will post more pictures from this great guy and his family in the days ahead, and we will tell you a little of their story.

Lee Strobel talks about Creation




Bruce & Stan sit down with Lee Stobel to discuss Creation and Intelligent Design.

What’s So Great about Christianity?




Dr. Craig Hazen, Director of Apologetics at Biola University, answers this increasingly common question.

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