Hello wonderful friends! Here’s a seminar that I gave in San Jose, CA about the truths and myths of dating & relationships within both the church-culture & pop-culture. Stream below or download directly here.
Some things I talk about are: “The time I overheard a couple have their final knock-down drag-out fight, my absolutely favorite type of scene in the movies, what everyone really wants in the hospital, dating theology from Taylor Swift, when God looks at you through the ceiling, and Christianity according to a cologne sample.”
I also did a follow-up Q&A which you can stream below or download here.
Hello dear beloved friends! This is a message called, Rest and Resolve: What Gets Us Through Deadlines, Demands, and Disorder.
It’s about what gets us through when we want to give up. You can stream above or download directly here. I’m also on iTunes here.
I talk about Jesus versus Peter at the Transfiguration. Some other things I talk about are: That moment of exhaustion when you sigh for a long time before you walk through the door, the burn-out check-out from school and marriage and career, the strange beauty of enjoying something you can’t pay for with nothing to offer, the greatest miracle Jesus ever pulled, faith as a long-distance relationship, a word for both perfectionists and slackers, and the one crucial question they ask you at a car accident.
All messages can be streamed here. Be blessed and love y’all!
Hello dear friends! This is a message I preached called, Writing Them In Instead of Writing Them Off: A Grand Vision of Saul to Paul,on the story of killer Saul becoming Apostle Paul, from the perspective of his first roommate, Ananias.
I talk about how the disciple Ananias helped to turn a Christian-killing terrorist Saul into the Bible-writing healer Paul — and how God does that kind of work in us. Stream below or download directly here. I’m also on iTunes here.
Some things I talk about are: Adopting my abused dog Rosco and rehabilitating him, how an African-American musician befriended and changed a KKK leader, why I agree with the Elder Brother against the Prodigal Son, the impossibility of outgrowing your nickname and time-stamped hometown past, the one frustrating difficult person that never changes, how the back-row of punk kids at church completely humbled me, and the freedom of finally becoming the kind of person that loves no matter what.
All messages are here. Be immensely blessed and love y’all!
Hello dear friends! This is a message I preached called, From Mountain High to Valley Low: Finding an Oasis in the Darkest Desert,on the story of Elijah from 1 Kings 18-19.
It’s about finding our way through discouragement, distress, and depression, and how God speaks to us in those seasons and how we speak to one another. As a lifelong sufferer of depression, this is hugely personal for me. Stream below or download directly here. I’m also on iTunes here.
Some things I talk about are: The sudden mental replay in the shower and the late-night regret twitch, the one common denial from every patient in the hospital, when you just need a hamburger and a really long nap, the hidden fear of men getting honest, the panic moment when someone sees your text messages and photos, how Yoda finally got through to Luke Skywalker, and Elijah versus depression versus the world.
All messages are here. Be immensely blessed and love y’all!
Hello wonderful friends! This is a message I preached called Holiness, Humility, and How to Give Your Life Away.
It’s about how the holiness of God irrevocably changes us in two ground-shaking ways. Stream below or download here.
Some of the things I talk about are: The two things I hear at every deathbed in the hospital, my body’s crazy involuntary response when I flew over the Grand Canyon, every instance of the Bible characters seeing God and falling over crying, the unseen thankless art of raising children, how to live generously with zero guarantees, and a letter from Belize.
My podcasts are on iTunes here (leave a review if you wish!).
Hello wonderful friends! This is a message I gave called, The Two Words We Want Least But Need the Most.
It’s about two words that we quickly avoid but desperately need for growth, healing, and wholeness, for our relationships, churches, politics, and faith. Stream below or download directly here.
Some things I talk about are: When you see someone else’s kid misbehaving in public, the most unappealing things about Christianity for Christians, thinking the sermon is for the guy in the next row, tracing the theme of water and chaos through ancient history and Scripture, and how Jesus’s war cry obliterated our worldly warfare.
I’m also on iTunes here. Be immensely blessed!
Hello wonderful friends! This is a series of three messages that I gave to students of Yale University, about the relevance and reason of Christianity.
The first is called: How Christianity Breaks Us Open and Painfully Puts Us Back Together.
It’s about how the Gospel uniquely differs from every other kind of motivation and completely restructures us.
Some things I talk about are: A meta-deconstruction of the Sunday church service, how to bomb a TEDTalk, the last two things I hear from dying patients in the hospital, the haunting of l’esprit de l’escalier, de-romanticizing adoption, the list of my flaws I gave to my wife before we started dating, and how a nine-year-old showed me the heart of Christianity.
You can also download it here.
The second is called: The Eternal Itchy Longing Within Us: Jesus Is Complete Fulfillment.
It’s about how the Gospel solves for two universal human problems and the greatest human need.
Some things I talk about are: How to tell an alien about the human race, conclusions about humanity after a survey with 700 replies, the instant anxiety when you walk into a crowded room, the itchy self-conscious moment when someone is slightly more talented at “my thing,” that loopy moment at night with your best friend when you start confessing everything, two universal human problems and our greatest human need, and the absolutely most important linchpin verse in the Bible.
You can also download it here.
The third is called: Where We Come From and Where We’re Going: Red Sea to Redeemed & Free.
It’s about how the Gospel compels us into action, neither by guilt nor religion, but deliverance.
Some things I talk about are: How long it actually should’ve taken the Israelites to get to Canaan from Egypt (not forty years), the moment right after the wedding, how the grace of my first pastor completely tenderized and galvanized me, the Christian life beyond “overcoming-sin,” and seeing God in the Philippines and a homeless shelter.
You can also download it here.
More messages on iTunes here or my podcast page here.
This is a seminar I gave on dating and relationships to a wonderful ministry of college students and young adults in Gainesville FL, aka Gator Town.
It’s called The Adventure of Dating and The Reality of Relationships. It’s about the exciting prospect of dating and the gritty, difficult, raw reality of relationships. Stream here or download directly here!
“God is holy, He is glorious, He’s powerful, He’s awesome, He holds the universe in the palm of His hand. But even though God is way above us and sits on a throne in control of everything — He punched a hole in the pages of the sky and He wrote Himself into the story of humanity. The feet of the Son of God touched the dirt of the earth and He became one of us. And he didn’t just get crucified, he didn’t just go to a cross: his whole life was a crucifixion. He was tempted, persecuted, hungry, tired, he was weak, just like one of us. Then when he went to the cross, he made this exchange called grace, where he said, ‘Your sin for my life. One of us has to pay the cost.’ And Jesus, our friend, said, ‘I will.’”
At church on Sunday, I preached on why we should forgive. After service, we wrote the names of those we wanted to forgive, wrote down the debt we thought they owed us, and put those notes in a wooden cigar box. We poured lighter fluid on it and burned it out back.
As a wise man once said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping it kills the other guy.”
“A lot of times when we think about sin, we think sin is when we do those things that God prohibits. … There’s also another way to sin. It’s the sin of omission. And that’s when God says, ‘I want you to do this’ and we don’t do it … When God goes, ‘Not only are these things prohibited, but here’s where I’ve called you to walk.’ “
“What many of us need to repent of is a cold, pragmatic heart that loves ministry and barely loves the King of Glory. … When I read the Bible, all I see in there is men who are tormented … There’s this angst and pain in men of God where their glory, their excitement, their fervor is not in the acts that God has allowed them to do, but in God Himself. … There’s this angst, this awe, this weird holy pain where it appears they want to scream, cry, and laugh all at the same time.
But that seems foreign to me. And what I mean is, I just don’t hear much about God being taught this way anymore. It seems like everything’s built on pragmatism. A plus B equals C. If you want C, do A, do B, you’ll get C. Here’s what “we do.” It’s going well there, let me do what they do. … I’m not saying planning is wrong. But where is that man whose heart is aflame for God, that God is enough?”
“Even if you’ve been coming for years or grew up in the church or whatever else, I have this fear that some of you, or possibly many, many of you — are going to hell. It keeps me up at night. … Do you understand the reality of what I said? I’m talking about hell. Have you heard that word so many times that you’ve just grown numb to it? Eternal punishment. So what in the world am I doing up here then? And again, I sure hope you don’t see this as, ‘Oh Francis is up there judging the congregation saying he’s saved’ — I’m not saying that. I’m saying I’m willing to bet some of you would leave this room and say it about yourself, that you are lukewarm — meaning you’ll be spit out of the mouth of God and cast into the fires of hell. That’s all I’m saying, is what you would say about yourself. And it blows me away that some of you won’t do anything.”
Most Recent Edit: May, 2017 – My book on quitting porn addiction is in paperback for only $7.99 and e-book for 3.49 on Amazon! It’s been officially endorsed by Craig Gross of X3Church. It has been updated and expanded in 2017. It contains this entire series of posts plus brand new info, fully updated with research, with specific steps to quit.
So you’re ready to quit porn. You’re tired of the bleary-eyed, bloodshot, guilt-choked, late-night excursions, tired of the excuses and rationalizations and filthy mental loops, tired of feeling disgusted with yourself at church and with your mom and after a retreat and anywhere near children. You’re done.
Let’s ask: How serious are you about this?
Do you really understand that running back to porn to solve your angst or fill your boredom or release your tension is no longer a viable option? That you must absolutely, unequivocally, once-and-for-all never look back to porn? That’s scary for some people. Like cutting off a limb or moving halfway around the world. But if you’re ready to quit, there can be no room for thinking it’s optional. As of quitting, you are dead to porn and alive to Christ.
This is where addicts get stuck. In the back of every self-deceived mind, buried deep under religious behavior and emotional promises, is still the root of the problem: self-worship. We desperately wrestle for control over our options. We maintain a tenuous connection to what destroys us because we cannot — will not — imagine life without it. We hate enduring the pain of withdrawal. We love too much the ten second pleasure of a visual buffet even if it costs our sanity.
Short-term thinking, however, always short-circuits the human life. When you cannot let go of what controls you, you have become less human, not more.
If you’re not serious about this, don’t waste time finding out how to quit porn. I’ve wasted a lot of other peoples’ time in the same way. I knew all the right methods, techniques, reasons, and theology to quit porn in my own strength. They didn’t work. I had to make a final, final, final decision. Long-lasting change did not happen until I grew serious about my true identity in Jesus Christ. If you don’t care about that, there’s no point in quitting anyway.
So first get serious about quitting before you find out how to quit. And know that you can’t merely quit from porn, but move to and by the grace of God.
You must also know, as I’ve said many times, that effort is not legalism. The journey of grace in Christ will require some sandpaper sculpting, crazy chiseling, painful spiritual surgery, and yanking out every fiber of deeply rooted filth through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s not easy, and you can’t just pray it away or “think harder” about the Gospel. You wouldn’t do less than that, but it’s concurrent with your striving. The Gospel says it is finished, but do everything to stand. Know God’s promise, but make every effort for holiness. Know the Kingdom of God has already come for you, but make every effort to enter through the narrow door. Apostle Paul already had the prize of Christ, but says, “I beat my body to make it my slave.” Of course we rest in what Jesus has done, but a truth faith is a faith that works.
If you’re serious, let’s get started. This will be quite long so please read it in spurts or when you’re in that right mood.
“So if God is ultimately about God, if God is after the praise of His glorious grace, then God is ferociously about your joy in Him.
So then, the Law of God is good. The commands of God are good. When He says, “This is marriage,” He’s not trying to take from you, but rather give to you. We’ve got to get out of our mind as Christians that we’re in this kind of moral cage, but at least we’ve got heaven. Because that’s not reality.
The teachings of God on sex, money, family and all of those things are not God robbing from you, but rather Him leading you into ever-increasing joy. Why? For the praise of His glorious grace. And the apex of God’s plan to bring glory to His name is in the coming of Jesus Christ. The pinnacle of God’s glory is seen as God puts on flesh and blood and saves sinners.”
From one of my favorite preachers, Dr. James MacDonald.
Note to pastors: Ministry is downright, flat-out, straight up hard. It’s not at all glamorous and glitzy like the megachurch rockstars have you believe. You might aspire to be the next best author or have the next hit website, and while that’s fine, those are not the biblical models of sacrifice amidst persecution. Aspire to be the pastor who stays with his people for forty years, persevering week in and week out under the crucible of ministering to one home. God might call you to leave when it’s time, but He doesn’t call you to quit when it’s tough. Press on.
We need more love-building-up here on these blogs. Speaking boldly is wonderful, but boldness by itself is just mean. With internet it’s easy to flex, I know: which is more reason to watch the tongue, not less. So much of our rebuke and conviction is done with a motive of macho-doctrine credibility and flesh-fed ego. God’s church must be in the business of restoring. Many of my friends don’t go to church because of our “boldness.” We’re obviously not here to impress them, but dang, Jesus was bold and loving too.
A four minute sermon illustration about how a saturation with the Word of God creates a second nature reflex of godliness.
This is about my pastor and mentor Reverend Paul Kim, who I became so close with that I eventually began to think like him and act like him. In the same way, intimacy with Jesus and the Word creates a Christ-likeness as a natural reflex in cooperation with the Spirit.
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.