It’s official, and very sad news.
The way some people talk about prayer owes more to New Age spirituality and witchcraft than biblical Christianity. I don’t want to name any names, but I recall when I was a teenager being taught about “spiritual warfare” in ways I cannot seem to find supported in the Bible. Sometimes God and Satan were cast as warring opposites, a kind of yin and yang balancing each other out, even while squaring off. Which side will win in the battle over your soul and the fate of the universe? Well, whichever side you support, of course.
It is very much in the Devil’s interests that we despair. If he can get us to believe any of these three demoralizing lies that he loves to whisper into our thoughts, our powers for Jesus are greatly diminished. And each one seems to us quite plausible.
The jaw-dropping implication of this passage is that while Christ is the son and head over the church, the house, he humbled himself to take on the form of a servant to serve the church. Friends, consider Jesus. Consider him leaving the glory of heaven to walk among the sinful pollution of earth. He did this not to be received as a king but to be rejected as a criminal. He took upon all of our worst so that he could give us all of his best. This loving commitment of Jesus to his church is seen in how low he stoops to serve her. Don’t lose sight of the picture in John 13 of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. He is the General who washes the wounds, the CEO who sits at the desk of an entry-level worker, and the king who washes the dusty feet of his followers. The fact that Jesus is powerful means that he protects and defends his church but the fact that he is humble means that he serves his church.
I love this new initiative launched by my colleagues at LifeWay. We want more Christians reading God’s Word, and there are tons of resources on this new microsite to help.
Recently, two men that I appreciate have resigned their churches and left abruptly. Both men love Jesus deeply and both left a large wake and a lot of hurt in the process. Their ministries were going well. There was not a major scandal. That wasn’t the issue. The issue was the way they left, so here are 7 tips to help someone transition and leave a church well.
Two of my friends released brand new books this week: This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel by Trevin Wax, and The Curious Christian by Barnabas Piper. I’m reading both right now and really enjoying them.
A favorite from the archives:
Normally, I don’t pay too much attention to the quotes my friends share online. But one day a while back a friend shared one that made my heart hurt. It was quote from Ann Lamott, perhaps you know it—”The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.”
This, to me, is heartbreaking because it speaks to a deep confusion I suspect many of us struggle with, which stems from our struggle with absolutes. We are constantly told that absolutes don’t really exist. It is arrogant, even presumptuous, to say you are certain of something—to say that you know something. As the philosopher once said, “The only true wisdom consists in knowing that you know nothing.”