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Sanctified Diversity: Learning how to Keep in Step with the Gospel

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Last Sunday (March 26, 2017), I preached a message at Trailhead Church in Edwardsville, IL, called Sanctified Diversity, looking at Paul's rebuke of Peter for not "keeping in step with the truth of the gospel." The clear implication of this passage is that it's not enough to only know the truth as a follower of Jesus. You must also lean in and learn to live out its implications in the difficult spaces of life. 

There are few areas that our culture needs us to lean in with gospel grace, humility, and empathy more than in the area of racial and cultural diversity. It's just not optional. We can be orthodox in our words and heretics with our lives, undermining the integrity of the message of the gospel because we are not walking in its power. To be true to the gospel, we need to do more than just believe its truths. We need to walk out their applications in our lives. 

My sermon was called Sanctified Diversity. You can follow that link to listen to it on Trailhead Chu…

A Case for Confession

Confession. We need it. And we hate it. 

We hate to do it because it forces us to admit things about ourselves we don't want to admit. But we all have hidden things in our lives that sit in the dark and gnaw on our souls - things that scratch at locked doors of our conscience, aching to get out... things like weaknesses, shameful appetites, betrayals, besetting sins - they almost demand that we put them into words and share them. But to do so feels often like a form of death in itself.
And this isn't a religious impulse. It's a human one. We all feel the need.

All you have to do is look at the crazy popularity of a site like postsecret. I have to admit that I like postsecret. I find it intriguing and, at times, disturbing. I have sympathy for some confessions and repulsion at others. And there have been some wonderful stories that have emerged of people actually making real, personal, human connections with others through the site when someone recognizes their card or someone…

5 Questions to Ask Before Hitting Share

Almost everyone I know has experienced post-regret, the feeling you get after you post something on social media and then wish you hadn't. I know a few people who haven't. Actually, I don't.

Who hasn't jumped into the black hole of a Facebook argument or posted something personal in a moment of frustration only have the wrong people see it (and comment on it) or impulsively hit share on a witty-but-cutting meme or tweet?

Social media is a great way to connect with others, but it is full of potential hazards and hassles. And, as a Christ-follower, this can be particularly dangerous, since what I say, post, repost, or share, reflects not just on me, but on my savior. So, how can I make wise social media decisions?

In the hope of helping us all use our social media more responsibly and effectively, I thought through five questions that we should ask before we hit that "share" button:

Is it true?

As people of the Bible, this should be a no-brainer, but it sadly is…

Psalm 18

Oops. Thought I had already written about this Psalm. Guess I started and got distracted.

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
Psalm 18:1-2
The header this Psalm says that David wrote this on the day that God delivered him from Saul's hand. That had to be a good day for David. Saul was hunting David mercilessly and he had kept David on the run, hiding in caves, and continually exposed to danger.

Worse, David was helpless to save himself. Once Saul climbed up into a cave to take a dump, and it just happened to be where David was hiding that day. Saul had no idea David was there in the darkness. Saul was completely exposed and David couldn't do anything because Saul was Israel's rightful king. As wicked as Saul was - as unjustly as he had treated David - it…

Psalm 19

Hit a busy stretch with a leadership retreat. Stayed in the Psalms, but stopped blogging. I am going to try to post a blog each day this week, but will take another break when I go on vacation at the end of the month. I know all three of you who read these really need to know this information...

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the ends of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul...
Psalm 19:1-7
I have loved Psalm 19 for as long as I can remember loving anything in the Bible. It …

Psalm 17

Wondrously show your steadfast love, O savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, from the wicked who do me violence, my deadly enemies who surround me.
As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; When I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.
Psalm 17:7-9, 15
So, my heart is a little gloomy today. It's not a bad day by any means... just when I slow down and stop moving, my heart feels a little heavy. I have days like that - where I am restless and prone to feeling down. My fuse gets a little shorter. My mood a little drearier. My joy feels a little farther away. I have learned to watch my heart and to be aware that on days like this I am prone to see the dark side of things and to be more critical or more vulnerable to temptation. On days like this, God often feels farther away and I find it harder to get into the word.

So, it has been harder to sit in my Psalm today. I…

Psalm 16

I say to the Lord, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you."
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:2, 5-6, 11
This only makes sense if you understand that God, the creator of all that is good, is himself the ultimate good. He is the original stuff.

Whatever we call good in this life is only a portion of the real thing. Success. Romance. The perfect cup of coffee. Your baby's eyes locking on yours in recognition for the first time. All good, and all passing and incomplete.

God, the giver of good gifts, is himself the greatest gift. His gifts were given to be enjoyed, but not as ends in of themselves. They were given to point us back to the giver, to see in him the original glory of goodness.

Amazingly, because of the work of Chris…