Quote: Choose

“God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks into the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else — something it never entered your head to conceive — comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”

— C.S. Lewis


Quote: Fulfillment

“To encounter Christ is to touch reality and experience transcendence. He gives us a sense of self-worth or personal significance, because he assures us of God’s love for us. He sets us free from guilt because he died for us, from the prison of our own self-centeredness by the power of his resurrection, and from the paralyzing fear because he reigns, all the principalities and powers of evil having been put under his feet. He gives meaning to marriage and home, work and leisure, personhood and citizenship. He introduces us into his new community, the new humanity he is creating. He challenges us to go out into some segment of the world which does not acknowledge him, there to give ourselves in witness and service for him. He promises us that history is neither meaningless nor endless, for one day he will return to terminate it, to destroy death and to usher in the new universe of righteousness and peace. … [In] both the emptiness of fallen man and the fullness of Jesus Christ … he can fill our emptiness, lighten our darkness, enrich our poverty, and bring our human aspirations to fulfillment. The riches of Christ are unfathomable.”

–John Stott

Quote: Cross

“All Christian preachers have to face this issue. Either we preach that human beings are rebels against God, under his just judgment and (if left to themselves) lost, and that Christ crucified who bore their sin and curse is the only available Saviour. Or we emphasize human potential and human ability, with Christ brought in only to boost them, and with no necessity for the cross except to exhibit God’s love and so inspire us to greater endeavour.
The former is the way to be faithful, the latter the way to be popular. It is not possible to be faithful and popular simultaneously. We need to hear again the warning of Jesus: ‘Woe to you when all men speak well of you’ (Lk. 6:26). By contrast, if we preach the cross, we may find that we are ourselves hounded to the cross.”

— John Stott

Quote: Paradox

“The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.”

— Bob Moorehead

Quote: Expose

“Some of you think you have your sin controlled. I’m not stupid. Some of you are addicted to pornography. Some of you are flirting with women in your church, men in your church. Some of you are not the godly men and women you’re pretending to be right now. Your hearts are dark. If God loves you, He’s going to expose you … and ruin your world for the sake of your heart, or maybe in God’s passive wrath, He’ll let you continue to be an idiot and you’ll join that terrified group of men and women in Matthew chapter seven who say ‘Didn’t we do this?’ and have Jesus respond with ‘What does that have to do with me?'”

— Matt Chandler

Quote: Covetousness

“Covetousness has still another sprout — carelessness. A man who thinks too much about himself has not sufficient time to give thought to others. Self is a big subject and, when one goes into it, there is no getting through with it.”

— Charles Jefferson

“Do You Doubt Yourself? Good.”

This is an article written by Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin like religion) from The Resurgence, a website hosted by Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll. Worth the time to read.


The subjective question, “How am I doing?” became a more dominant feature than the objective question, “What did Jesus do?” As a result, generations of Christians were taught Christianity was primarily a lifestyle; that the essence of our faith centered on “how to live;” that real Christianity was demonstrated in the moral change that took place inside those who had a “personal relationship with Jesus.” Our ongoing performance for Jesus, therefore, not Jesus’ finished performance for us, became the focus of sermons, books, and conferences. What I need to do and who I need to become became the end game.

When you’re on the brink of despair, looking into the abyss of darkness experiencing a dark-night of the soul, turning to the internal quality of your faith will bring you no hope, no rescue, no relief. Every internal answer will collapse underneath you. Turning to the external object of your faith, namely Christ and his finished work on your behalf, is the only place to find peace, re-orientation, and help.

Continue Reading
at The Resurgence

Quote: Reflector

“When the thing meant to reflect becomes the center, nothing is reflected … except darkness … Every time God sees us, He sees Himself because we are made in His image … The moon is most beautiful when it is perfectly lines up to reflect the sun … You will never be fulfilled or satisfied until you fall in line with what you were designed to do … We are designed to be a reflector, not a source.”

— Andy Stanley
(slightly paraphrased)

“When Christianity Becomes Idolatry”

This is an article written by Matt Johnson from The Resurgence, a website hosted by Mars Hill Church and Mark Driscoll. It’s well worth the few minutes to read through it.


Even good Christian theology can become an idol. When Christian belief is information detached from the substance of Jesus’ objective work on the cross for sinners, it becomes idolatry. Like it or not, you and I are guilty of it. How so?

– Do you live for the approval of others in the church?
– Do you stew over your spiritual performance and personal holiness more than you steep in what God has already accomplished for you in Jesus?
– Are you prideful about your biblical knowledge?
– Do you love to debate finer points of theology with others and get angry when you’re challenged by your views?
– Are you feeling burnt out and joyless in your service to those in the church?
– Are you uncomfortable with suffering people and find you’re quick to recite Bible verses as a way to avoid awkward, personal engagement?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, there is a good chance you have taken God’s good gifts and used them for your own selfish purpose. You have used God to make yourself look good through your service, your knowledge, and personal growth. This form of idolatry is hard to detect because the “fruit bearing” looks good to everyone else. Let’s face facts though; it’s idolatry.

Continue Reading at The Resurgence

Quote: Personality

“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.”

— C.S. Lewis

Quote: Vindicated

“The cross overcomes God’s righteous opposition to human pride. The cross overcomes our prideful opposition to God’s glory. Without the cross, the righteousness of God must be vindicated by your destruction. By the avenue of the cross, the glory of a righteous God can be magnified in the gladness of a sinful people.”

— John Piper
(paraphrased from The Supremacy of God In Preaching)

How to Lose the Gospel

If you’ve been to a Bible-preaching church long enough, you’ll know: the Gospel is offensive. It’s not the message everyone is looking for, but is the truth that everyone needs. And it stings. No one likes being told they’re depraved, no one likes hearing about a high authority, no one likes to see a bloody God on a dirty cross. Most people are comfortable with the religion of relaxation or the religion of no religion which masquerades as reason. No one likes the exposing power of a blood-drenched crucifixion.

So preachers, of course, feel the need to give the Gospel a beauty treatment. A make-over. Water it down, sugarcoat it, new wrapping, and people will listen. You know the drill: we’ll do wild gymnastics to make the Gospel look as pretty as possible. Even the best preachers dress up the cross without meaning to. You can intellectualize it to death – Jesus destroyed cosmic evil! – you can play the emotional angle – someone died for you! – and you can romanticize it – he gives you a new start! Or simply because we are simple, we leave out some of the elements. It can be difficult to paint the complete portrait of Jesus’ mission, even when we sit down to really consider all its implications.

So then we always need a healthy reminder of what Paul said here, that pastors would only preach Christ and him crucified. And preach him resurrected. The church must know the offensive — and freeing — truth.

Here are four ways we can lose the Gospel. By no means is this comprehensive, but really just an ongoing conversation. The following is the bare minimum.

Continue reading “How to Lose the Gospel”

Encouragement for you

For Sunday worship service, I handed out a small sheet of Bible verses for reflection and prayer. Here they are.

Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Matthew 6:33-34
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 139:23-24
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

2 Peter 1:5-7
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

Book Review: Am I Really A Christian?

Am I Really A Christian?
By Mike McKinley

Many profess to be Christians; many are not. Author Mike McKinley writes an urgent, strong, often humorous treatise on the marks of being a Christian. It is not nearly as simple as reciting a generic sinner’s prayer, nor as misguided as “busy-ness” in a church system. This concise work will either convict you with greater assurance or throw you into necessary reflection. McKinley covers five marks, which I’ll put in five words: Doctrine, Love, Freedom, Perseverance, and Repentance.

I’m usually concerned with works of this kind that are buried in legalistic measures and heaps of uncertainty. It’s good to check your faith but I’ve seen bouts of morbid introspection that kill the joy of professing Christians. At some point it can be dangerous to fix your eyes on the self, which removes focus from the Savior. The book does veer close to this sometimes but (almost) always balances it with the finished work of the Gospel. And of course, Christians should know without a doubt if they’re saved. McKinley leaves no room for doubt.

Continue reading “Book Review: Am I Really A Christian?”

The Craziness of Hope: Sermon Series On 1 Peter

The ten part sermon series on 1 Peter is completely posted on the podcast!

The Craziness of Hope: Letters from Peter the Rockstar.
Guidance, wisdom, and direction for the chosen generation.
An expository series that goes verse by verse through the book of 1 Peter.

Direct downloads are available at each link, or check out the podcast on iTunes!

1) 1 Peter 1:1-9 – Get Up At Nine Before The Ten Count’s Over
Everything you see with your eyes becomes garbage. 1 of 10. “The Conscionable Hitman, the Neutered Tiger Theory, the thread versus the Minotaur, and the champion heart of a real boxer.” May 13th, 2011.

1 Peter 1:10-25 – Life Is An Action Word
To be and to do. 2 of 10. “The lies we tell when we get pulled over, the Divine Pasta that ruins other pasta, things from God’s point of view, and last wishes from Pixar.” May 20th, 2011.

3) 1 Peter 2:1-12 – This Call’s For You
Who we’re meant to be. 3 of 10. “The Awkward Angry Moment that makes everyone quiet, what’s going on in Heaven right now, abusing the King’s Palace, and the worst role models ever.” May 27th, 2011.

4) 1 Peter 2:13-25 – When It’s Time To Give Up
Why we submit to authority. 4 of 10. “When you beat up a cop (legally), apologizing for other Christians, and finding credibility in ‘Finding Forrester.'” June 3rd, 2011.

5) 1 Peter 3:1-12 – Tone-Deaf Harmonies
Inner beauty Vs. Outer surface. 5 of 10. “The addictive drug of text messaging, the Quick Laugh Culture of YouTube, and three things about Ugly Beauty.” July 1st, 2011.

6) 1 Peter 3:13-22 – Actions Say What Words Cannot
What is God’s Will? 6 of 10. “The skinny guy who thinks he’s buff after one work-out, the strange shape of the Moffit Cancer Center, and the wrongness of an actor’s personal life.” July 11th, 2011

7) 1 Peter 4:1-11 – Holding The Light
Connect to God to rightly connect to the world. 7 of 10. “The backwards upside-down inside-out culture, the rightness of giving yourself away, and the Cave People in a Culture of Darkness.” July 15th, 2011

8 ) 1 Peter 4:12-19 – The Worst Best Brand Name
God must be known. 8 of 10. “The problem with First World Problems, what to do with gay marriage, and the nerve-racking awkwardness of sharing the gospel.” July 26th, 2011

9) 1 Peter 5:1-7 – I Am Number Three
To lead, to follow. 9 of 10. “When patients bill their doctors, the terrible leadership of Ross Geller in the Band of Brothers, and humility according to Stephen Colbert.” July 29th, 2011

10) 1 Peter 5:8-14 – You Against The World
Fighting the Devil. 10 of 10. “The Three Levels of Blind Spots, Satan’s strategies against the church, how grappling is like spiritual warfare, and the church under siege like the Alamo.” August 12th, 2011

The Story Continues

Today was the memorial service for a young brother, Joshua Tico Kim, who drowned last week off the coast of Ecuador. He was serving on a mission trip, sharing the Gospel with the children there. His body was found last Friday. He was a sophomore in college.

I didn’t know him but I cried pretty hard at the service. He had served in Taiwan and the Dominican Republic among other places. He played bass guitar, sang loudly, and talked to everyone he could about Jesus. He lived a beautiful life.

The message at the service was titled “The Story Continues,” given by my friend Pastor DL. He fought to hold back tears. I had to leave quickly since the drive was an hour and a half back. In the car I cried over a young life I never knew. Part of me was upset about the whole thing; the other part of me knows that no one ever passes early. Joshua Kim’s story is now being told all over the world: his passion for Jesus, for others, for the Kingdom. His story continues.

One day I’ll get to meet Joshua. I’m excited to meet him. For now, we remember your wonderful service for the One whose story you told.