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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

The Surprising, Steering Hand of God in Our Lives

For more months than I can count Stephanie and I have been wondering what God has in store for our future. We have experienced the hand of God working for our good the entire time, but there are still a couple decisions that we have been continually praying for guidance over.

I read this quote on Justin Buzzard’s blog this morning and it is strikingly similar to my own experience of God’s guiding in my life.

“As I review God’s steering of my life, one thing that stands out is the element of surprise at all the crucial points. I was never expecting what came; I was always projecting something else.”
-J.I. Packer

I know some of you who read this blog are also seeking the guidance of the Lord in some crucial things right now. I hope this quote inspiring you to seek the surprise, and allow less anxiety over your own finite projections.

Parents Have No Constitutional Right to Homeschool

I am rarely the type of person to get worked up over government’s repeated attempt to marginalize Christians. However, as a parent of three kids getting to school age, this is a big deal. California courts have ruled that parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their kids. In other words, the government knows what is best for kids, not parents.

Like a bolt from the blue, a California appeals court has ruled that the state’s parents have no constitutional right to homeschool their own children. In a flash, a child welfare case that no one had noticed has become a flash point of controversy in the nation. Will homeschooling be ruled illegal in California?

Here is how The San Francisco Chronicle introduced the story:

Why am I not surprised this comes out of California? You can read more here…

Categories: Faith, Parenting

Enjoying God as an End, Never a Means

February 27, 2008 2 comments

Just heard something that I hope I never forget because I believe it could be one of those statements that people describe as “when I heard that it changed the rest of my life.”

John Piper gave a talk on distinguishing the Gospel from false gospels and in the end he stressed that the goal of the Gospel is GOD! and nothing else. He went on to say that as preachers we MUST tell people this or….

they will become forgiven TV watchers who will never be able to break free of their idols.

This is a powerful statement. It is easy to be Christian but to not fully enjoy God as an end, rather than a means to something else. May that be increasingly less true of me!

Categories: Faith, Piper

The Relationship Between Listening and Acting

January 26, 2008 1 comment

For the past couple years Stephanie and I have been in a place of waiting, anticipating and questioning what God has for us in the future. Recently that feeling has been hitting Stephanie the hardest as she wonders about where God is calling her vocationally. It seems like we are in this weird place where every little thing gets shoved through a filter labeled “Is God trying to tell me something?”

Don’t get me wrong, I want to live listening to the Spirit and with an openness to follow, but I’m kind of getting to a point where I just want to take action and trust that God is in control and that he will work out all my decisions for my good. Otherwise I’m spending too much mental and emotional energy chasing down every dust ball that gets pushed along the front of my mind.

It is a delicate balance between wanting to please God and go where he leads and sitting around doing nothing and being perplexed under the guise of faithfulness.

Trusting God and Trudging Forward

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment

The older I get the more I realize how much fear paralyzes us and prevents us from moving forward. This week I had to face some personal challenges at work head-on and in each instance I’ve walked away kicking myself for spending emotional energy worrying about it before hand. The conversations I needed to have went smoothly and respectfully. It turns out all the drama I anticipated was in my imagination.*

In his Letter to the Philippians Paul writes that we should be ‘anxious about nothing.’ In Matthew Jesus teaches us to not ‘be anxious about tomorrow.’

So…what are you anxious about? Be strong in the face of your future. Don’t let imaginative fear paralyze you. Move forward with the confidence that Jesus loves you and desires what is best for you. Trust him and trudge on in the face of whatever it is you are facing.

* Sometimes facing conflict is physically unavoidable. Here’s some good advice from Gary Lamb on How to Handle Conflict.

Categories: Faith, Leadership

Identifying Your Values and Voting with Your Conscience

November 9, 2007 1 comment

Some men on the radio were discussing faith and politics, paying specific attention to the issue of how evangelicals are viewing Mitt Romney as a Presidential candidate due to his Mormon beliefs, when one of them said something I thought was profound. To heavily paraphrase,

The absence of a strong Christian candidate whose beliefs line up as perfectly as possibly with the ‘conservative evangelical right’ has forced many evangelicals into the difficult position of actually having to identify their own core beliefs and voting for a candidate who they believe will most closely act in a way that satisfies their religious moral conscience.

I hope you catch the significance and weight of that quote. What the pundit is saying is that evangelicals can no longer simply vote for the person James Dobson or some other national Christian spokesperson endorses. There is no strong Christian republican candidate who represents ALL of the major evangelical issues and this makes many people uncomfortable. It forces people to pick and choice what issues matter most to them and then to vote for the person who might possibly be able to make the greatest impact. And that is a tough thing to do.

Categories: Faith, Politics

Examining the New Atheism

October 14, 2007 Leave a comment

A friend of mine sent me a link to this article a long time ago; I just got around to reading it tonight. It is a wonderfully rational and articulate critic of Christopher Hitchens’s book “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.”

In the article Peter Berkowitz examines the arguments of Hitchens and points out the inconsistencies between the standard Hitchens has for religion compared to his own faith: atheism. Berkowitz also draws attention to Hitchens failure to apply solid hermeneutical principles when criticing Biblical sources and so-called Biblical inconsistencies.

Categories: Books, Faith