If you were a bird, I’d tell you to soar. But you’re a human, so use your two legs and leap. Hop. Somersault. Whip and nae nae if you have to. Just move forward in faith.
I confess I have been idolizing a certain kind of normalcy—the steady job that looks successful to everyone else, the insurance, the safety of knowing where you were going to be for more than three months. Growing up with a dad who worked 8-to-5 and a stay-at-home mom, my idea of “normalcy” is a piece of fine china I nurtured. I took this definition of adult life with me while navigating the Christian journey.
God gave us sexual desires with a purpose in mind. And hiding from them goes directly against that purpose. Sexual desires reveal our most basic need for connection to him and others.
Ultimately, yoga allows us to chip away at external distractions to become people who are sensitive and aware, alert to the presence of God in Creation.
Losing your life isn’t a one-time deal. Instead, it’s more of a recurring opportunity to value the eternal over the present. This is as simple (and as difficult) as being convinced that your deepest self has been invited to be fully alive.
When we are insecure we try to manage and arrange our environment and surroundings to try to secure for ourselves the love and acceptance and stability we so deeply need and yearn for.
God does not expect us to change ourselves before we go to Him. God is waiting for us to go to Him so He can change us. He is looking for vessels; chipped, marred and broken.
For months the closest thing I could muster to a prayer was “God, I still believe in you.” It is important for me to keep remembering that, just because I’m in a dark place, it does not mean I don’t have faith.
In truth, tolerance is another form of indifference. We practice closing ourselves off from any potential religious clash in the same way we ignore all the facts we know about sex-trafficking and homelessness in our own country.
God wired us for sex, but our decision to remain celibate until marriage—and God’s apparent lack of movement in the spouse department—gets in the way.
The Stanley Parable is a deceptively simple game with seemingly endless pathways and endings that all reflect in one way or another on the possibility of choice and the question of free will.
Jesus is clear—our focus on morality should never get in the way of mercy. If it does, we’ve lost sight of what matters most to God.
Olympic athletes offer us a glimpse of God’s glory if we’re paying attention…a slice of his splendor that you’ll never see in me.
So, we fill up all seven days with house work, yard work, and job work. We drive our kids from baseball to youth group to chess club. We stuff our lives full and then pour social media into the cracks.
When I thought about the church’s fascination with tithing, it struck me that Jesus never taught about it.
When I travel, the Holy Spirit transforms dining tables, Boeing 747’s, and jet bridges into sacred spaces. These grace-filled encounters have shown me that community can happen anywhere, even among strangers.
There are questions worth asking in life. Did I put deodorant on? Did I forget to pay my credit card bill? Should I eat the re-fried beans considering I’m on a date? These are helpful questions.
Whether we pump gas in Toronto, teach at the University of Illinois, or run an orphanage in Sudan, our work can worship God. But, how?
In our modern age of iPhones and data plans, when WiFi seems more vital than oxygen, a constant stream of media washes over us. Connecting to Jesus on Sunday becomes just one point of contact, lost among a million tweets, text messages, and YouTube videos.
The brokenness never ends. It can leave us asking whether God is worth following and why, for heaven’s sake, he isn’t fixing things.
Whether we like it or not, life is monotonous. We do the same thing day after day, and it often feels like we have nothing to show for it. The laundry keeps piling up. The traffic on the road is always backed up. The coffee pot always burns the brew. The spacebar on the keyboard at work always sticks.
It’s easy to fall into the routine of looking at others for approval in an effort to determine our own levels of success. Here are a few tips for avoiding the comparison trap and maintaining a healthy perspective.
The problem with confessing is that it requires us to face the decay inside. A pearly exterior doesn’t matter – how often we go to church or the amount of our charitable donations. Confession, like X-rays, looks for the evil rotting beneath the surface.
There are 13 million more Christian women in the United States than there are Christian men! I was prepared to wait for 1 in a million, but this is taking it a little far!
God loves the church with a love too deep for human imagination: he loves her with all his infinite heart. Therefore let her people be of good courage; she cannot be far from prosperity to whom God speaks “good words and comforting words.”
There is one area of my life that, despite my best intentions and efforts, usually ends in failure. It is the area of gardening. I rarely keep plants alive. Leafy greens, blooming bulbs and even the un-needy cacti die slow, painful deaths all around my house.
We’ve inherited this body-brokenness. When we compare ourselves to a Victoria Secret model, worship our muscles at the gym, or loathe our sexuality after being abused, we forge a link between our bodies and our self-worth in a way that God never intended.
Ingrained within us is a desire to take the raw materials of God’s gracious gifts — colours, textures, language, emotions, to name a few — and try to make something that speaks truth, brings healing or facilitates worship.
St. Patrick’s day is really a memorial to the great Irish bishop and missionary St. Patrick—a man who was captured by Irish pirates and made a slave, escaped after six years, and returned a few years later to lead people to Christ.
There is a purpose to our pain. Even when we can’t feel that or we don’t know it to be true, we can trust it.
The gravel poked under my bare feet as I sprinted toward the mailbox at the end of our curved driveway. Reaching it, I opened the creaky brown metal lid as my eyes instantly grasped what I hoped to find.
Not long ago, my family was harmed by damaging theology. We bought into the lie of a fearful, angry God who could not possibly love us the way we were. Of a God who saw us primarily as sinners, not his children.
If we are disciples of Jesus, we see diversity as a very good thing. We honour variety. We don’t place it in a value system where some are more important than others for whatever trendy, political, cultural, or inherited reason.
But here’s the thing: in the absence of belief in God, Western culture believes that the only solution to loneliness is romance. Nearly all movies, pop songs, magazines, advertisements, and dating apps beat us over the head with the constant refrain: without romance, your life is not worth living.
I am 27 years old and I don’t want to be a mommy. That kind of sounds like a statement one would make at some type of “anonymous” meeting doesn’t it? Like it’s some sort of confession.
There are a lot of truths that just came to us more easily as kiddos. The world was simpler, and our place in it seemed easier to pinpoint. Sometimes, I find myself wishing I could just see the world more like I did as a kid.
Sometimes Christians are too quick to assume the quotes we see on twitter and pinterest are in the Bible. If it has a few “thee’s” and “thou’s” or sounds at all like a proverb, we assume that its somewhere in that dense, leather-bound book sitting on our nightstand.
The picture of God’s deliverance in each scenario encourages us to trust that He is willing and able—that there is a God who cares, who is not far off, who concerns Himself with our concerns, and who is the only One capable of rescuing us.
I’m learning that faith is not the absence of questions, but choosing to believe when I don’t have all the answers.
Here are 18 J.I. Packer Quotes that will challenge and inspire you.
Depression has been a familiar and unwelcome companion through my 20s. I have had six unannounced visits over the past ten years, each visit lasting between one and six months.These excerpts from my journal will give you an idea of how I felt during these times: Nov 2003: “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Something […]
Once the joke elevates one gender at the expense of the other gender it has crossed over into sexism.
We know God is loving and good, but we also know the Bible addresses homosexuality as a sin. So, what’s the answer?
For all the stories we tell about Mary, we usually miss one of her most important contributions to the Christmas story: her song in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel. Mary’s song (or her “Magnificat”) was the first theological reflection on Christ in the New Testament. But we barely hear about it. I have only […]
Where these churches err is in failing to hear the Spirit. And that’s not just a church-thing. That’s where most of us get it wrong in our own lives, too.
Has America put God on trial? Are Christian views and expressions no longer welcome in the public square?
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19 This morning I woke up to see the sun reflecting the arch of a rainbow across my entire wall. “Hope! God is present and active today and tomorrow,” it seemed to say over me. I wondered why living with hope […]
Though the Christmas Season is filled with busy shopping, parties and celebrations, it is also the season where our heart strings are tugged and we feel the need to be compassionate to those less fortunate
Joshua Milton Blahyi a passionate preacher living in West Africa. He has a wife, three adopted kids, and runs a mission for homeless children. In his spare time he enjoys playing chess. If you met him on the street, you would probably think he was an ordinary man with an upstanding sense of morality. But […]
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. — Matthew 25:35-36 […]
The “Freshers Fair” — a core experience for university students all across the United Kingdom. For anyone who has not heard this term before or witnessed this event, it is most accurately depicted by the image of a Mexican street market in which thousands of new university students cram through a narrow lane of booths […]
We all have blind spots. It’s so easy to see the fault in someone else or in another group but so difficult to see the limitations in ourselves. Unless you learn to see the faults in yourself and your heroes, though, you can’t appreciate how God has gifted other Christians. Only then can you understand […]
From Halloween to Comic-Con conventions, one costume that prevails is that of the superhero. We dress up like them, we fantasize about them, we hang pictures of them in our rooms and offices. Kids and adults alike want to be them. Why? Because the world of comic book superheroes reflects the culture it seeks to […]
I’m a Christian and I am divorced. I’m not proud of this marital status, but I am tired of standing in shame of it. I’ll be honest, I used to judge divorced people: “Why don’t they just try harder?” “They shouldn’t look for a quick out like divorce.” “Love means working through the difficult times.” […]
Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2) Thrusted into unfamiliar surroundings — a new city, new job, new school, new role — most of us have experienced, at some point in our lives, that gut-wrenching feeling of being on […]
“Can we just go ahead and rename Facebook Engagement Book already?” This is the familiar plea of those who are single. And in turn, myself. In the midst of engagement photos and wedding announcements over social media, my future consists of only saying yes to the bridesmaid’s dress. I am afraid I have become a bit of a […]
If you grew up in the North American church, especially in the 70s and 80s, you might have some fear and trepidation at the thought of celebrating Halloween. When I was small, my parents only knew Halloween as an American tradition of dressing up and going from house to house asking for candy. It was […]
I recently had a conversation with a friend about God, Hell, and pain. Especially the latter. Because of the enormity of pain and suffering she had observed in her life, she was certain God couldn’t exist. It was a heavy conversation. And, as a Christian engaged in full-time ministry, I felt the extreme pressure to […]
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.” Genesis 1:1-3 Work. It’s hard sometimes […]
I remember entering university in a state of absolute anxiety. So many decisions had to be made, and I had so many questions. Where would I move? What would I study? Were those studies going to pay off someday? What classes should I sign up for? Will I get accepted? These were big questions that […]
If you consider yourself to be up-to-date on the biggest trends in worship music, the billboard hits on K-LOVE, and the debuting artists in the CD racks at Lifeway, then you probably consider yourself an avid “worshipper”. For a long time that’s what I considered myself. And I still do. But only because I’ve seen […]
Famously known for his spoken word on Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus, Jefferson Bethke has challenged the prevailing ideas of what it means to be a Christian in today’s culture. His first book Jesus>Religion topped New York Best Seller’s list and now Bethke has come out with his second book It’s Not What You […]
I’ve always been pretty. As a baby, my parents told me I was super cute, chubby, just the right shade of brown, with a big smile. In elementary school and middle school, there were some awkward years, especially as a child of immigrant Indian parents. But once I could choose my own clothes and hairstyle, […]
The Problem with Voting for Christian Issues I used to think that staying true to my Christian faith and being involved in the political process was a simple thing to do. All I had to do was tally up all of the issues I cared about most – issues I thought Jesus would care most […]
Heroes of the past influence our modern world in more ways than we can imagine. We stand on the shoulders of giants, and there are few places where that’s more true than prayer. There have been some incredible intercessors that have gone before us. I recently traveled 37,000 miles around the world on a modern-day […]
I have a confession to make. The past few days have brought me to seriously question my motives for getting alone with God. I found out the hard way that what comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’… for from within, out of the heart of a person, comes evil … deceit…arrogance and folly. My […]
I was recently reading a book about relationships and our “learned behaviors” that negatively affect them. In thinking and reflecting on this, I realized that at the root of most of my destructive learned behaviors is shame. Shame is that feeling that we are not enough, that what we did or who we are is just […]
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” — C.S. Lewis There inevitably comes a time in life where you will reach the ‘end of your rope’ — the end of yourself. Hopefully […]
A few years ago I was on my way to a speaking engagement in Los Angeles. While driving, I saw an object moving rapidly toward my windshield. Then I heard the impact, “SMACK!” The object struck the bottom right side of my windshield and left a crack. Before long, the crack started creeping across my windshield, […]
I remember my confusion when I started an internship at an environmental policy office. It wasn’t paperless; not even close. The office lights were wired as a package deal, meaning they all stayed on until the end of the day. Take-out lunches came in crisp white Styrofoam containers, and mine were the only meatless meals […]
Revelation 7:9: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” I grew up in the suburbs of the American heartland in the WASP-iest of WASP-y neighbourhoods. I knew I was in the […]
ENFP. My personality profile. Among other things, for those who are familiar with the Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment, you recognize these letters as indicating an unstructured personality. So when it comes to incorporating spiritual disciplines into my life, I’ve gone through several phases. I find that they cycle to some extent. When I was in high […]
For a good part of my life, I focused my faith on knowing Jesus through morality management. More accurately, Jesus was savior and the Spirit was the voice that helped give me the strength to avoid things like cussing, gossip, lust, and pride. Getting through a single day where those sins were avoided meant a major […]
I never thought it would happen to me. When I was in seminary, I heard about how many pastors left the profession each month (over 1,000 per month according to one study). Professors used phrases like “burnout” and “moral failure”. I don’t know if the point was to scare me into dropping out, but I […]
Do you ever have those days when you just feel “blah?” Nothing motivates you and to do the things that you love, seem laborious. To do the things that you hate, feels worse than it usually would. For me, the things I love include reading, studying, and writing. The things I hate, well… the “honey […]
“Dear Lord, don’t let Billy’s memories remain anchors that he has to drag along. Turn them to treasures he can carry with him.” This prayer by a friend of musician Billy Sprague is one of the most profound things I’ve read in my 28 years. It first resonated with me when I came across it […]
Someone asks you to help at a charity function or to support a local or overseas organization. You recognize that an invitation to help someone in need has just been handed to you. You think about it, and while you know it would be a good thing to do, you let the opportunity pass by. […]
Beauty is conditional. It is conditional upon the color of your hair, your weight, the symmetry of your facial features, the size of your lips and hips, the length of your eyelashes and skirt, your height, your bra size, your jean size, and the flawlessness of your skin. Beauty is present when (and only when) […]
As a pastor, I had often felt I ought to preach a series on prayer. But I have to confess that I had always been put off doing so because so many of the sermons I have heard about prayer have made me feel rather depressed. You know the kind of thing: somebody will tell […]
What do I want to order from your ten-page menu, Mr. Waiter? You have no idea the inner turmoil you are creating by giving me so many options with only three minutes to self-diagnose my food craving! The decisions of everyday life, much like selecting from a large menu, can be overwhelming even for you […]
My first real, healthy dating relationship begin and end in the span of six months. I think I experienced real love, and when it ended, felt hurt like never before, and was a bitter mess for months. I learned a lot about myself and relationships during that time. Through the process of finding and losing […]
These days, people are talking about “hymns” in the same way they talk about things that are “vintage”. They think of hymns as being more authentic and countercultural — mostly because they’ve been around longer than ten years. But do they really understand what hymns are or where they came from? Probably not. I have no beef […]
Fire is appealing. The bright embers can warm and even ignite us. Spiritually, this very thing can save a cold soul who has ebbed and flowed in a frequency of lukewarm faith. A lack of a fire can destroy our faith. It’s natural to not maintain a steady fire for God — we are temperamental beings […]
I often hear complaints among my guy friends about the music at church. You know, the general ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ type of music that so many of our churches are into. I admit, there’s only so many times I can sing ‘oh how he loves us’ and variations of ‘I need you, I want […]
If you’re newly married, or about to get married, this is especially for you. But even if you’ve been married for a while, you can still use these ideas as tune-ups. Here are eight things you won’t regret doing before your first anniversary: 1. Work on your sex life Yep, I’m starting with an attention-getter. […]
Content adapted from What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung There is a growing discussion among those who agree that the Bible forbids homosexual practice about whether same-sex attraction itself is sinful. The issue requires careful thought, not least of all in defining our terms. What do we mean […]
It’s new, it’s hip, and it’s even got its own acronym. BYOD, or “bring your own device,” is transforming the business world. With BYOD, you can combine work and home technologies; any personal smartphone, computer, or iPad, can now moonlight as a work device, allowing you to stay plugged in beyond the 9 to 5. […]
If I asked you, “Who do you love?” I’m sure you could give me a list of the significant relationships in your life. Pondering these people probably brings up an assortment of feelings: gratitude, joy, sorrow, longing, and maybe even regret. If you look closely, you may notice some of the feelings associated with our […]
If we go to church, do we have a guaranteed spot in heaven? What if you constantly skip church but lead a very good life? This question gets at the heart of most people’s understanding of religion, which is basically that the point of religion is to ‘get into heaven.’ And if I’m basically a […]
When reading the Old Testament, should we interpret it literally or metaphorically? Answering this question depends what we mean by ‘literally.'(the best answer to nearly every tough theological question: ‘Depends.’) ‘Literally’ originally meant ‘as the author intended,’ or the closest interpretation to what the author wanted to convey. However, it has come to mean […]
I spent twenty years fat. And if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s my own. I grew up working very hard and eating very hard. I stopped working hard just as I hit my teens. It didn’t occur to me to stop eating hard until much later. My health suffered. My complexion suffered. I lost strength, then stamina. I could no longer […]
“Our present ecological crisis… has a great deal to do with our failure to think of the world as existing in relation to the mystery of God, not just as a huge warehouse of stuff to be used for our convenience.” —Archbishop Rowan Williams There’s this old statement of faith called the Westminster Confession that answers […]
The mundane doesn’t need to be meaningless. Often times, the ordinary can be the perfect opportunity to slow down, to reflect — to meditate. What do you do to unwind after a long day? Some opt for the Netflix route, plopping on the couch and turning their minds to autopilot. Others feel that the best cure […]
As usually happens after some sort of sexual abuse is revealed in our Christian communities, many take to social media and the internet in an attempt to separate the facts from fictions and to express their opinions and emotions in response. While this can be very helpful for those of us who have been comforted […]
Beauty matters. A few weeks ago, I was surprised to find myself at the arena downtown a couple of nights in a row. I saw two different recording artists who had come through town on their multi-city tours. There couldn’t have been two more different shows to see than these. The first night’s show would […]
I was talking to my married, younger sister (who knows infinitely more than I do) recently, and we talked about how many of her friends are unmarried and growing tired of waiting for guys to show interest. She told me about one friend in particular: “I feel sorry for her. She said she’s 25 and […]
I’d come to the Middle East, 23 years old and engaged, on a six-month mission. I’d learned Arabic and taught English in Palestinian camp to children with dirty faces and wide eyes and ragged clothes, feet bare against the garbage of the ground. I’d taught rich wahlad in clean uniforms and learned what it was […]
In college I bought into the pursuit of body perfection. I achieved goal after goal of shaping my body, thinking that if I looked better on the outside, something on the inside would feel complete. But nothing changed in my relationships, and the inner part of me felt frustrated and confused. “Why am I not […]
Eating breakfast alone in the Caf one September morning, I noticed an old friend at the table in front of mine. We started a friendly chat. The conversation rolled around to our plans for the year, and she told me she was going on a January missions trip to India. “Wow,” I said casually. “That’s […]
As I move into the last year of my twenties, even the thought of owning a houseplant still seems like too much of a tie-me-down commitment. As a single, I want my life to be my own. And I must confess: I love it that way. In fact, I love it too much. In my singleness, […]
Within the story of creation, God is very clear that aloneness is a state that is “not good.” God carefully ensured the world was free from the design flaw of loneliness by creating companionship. From this union, a family would form and multiply like the branches of a tree. Our families go way back. I […]
There is a longing deep down in my gut. It is infused with pain and passion. It might not be the right kind of longing though. You see, I am single. Because I am single, I can be found prone to spiraling down from complete contentment in the Lord to complete longing for compliments and […]
I recently spoke with Mr. Gibson, the associate director of Lake Avenue Community Foundation in Pasadena. He told me a story about cowboys. Mr. Gibson’s takes underprivileged kids and gathers them in the company of real life cowboys; he takes them from their disparate enclaves in southern California to a environment that disorients everybody — a dude ranch […]
The primacy of the individual–the encouragement to “climb every mountain,” pursue every dream and create every identity as we see fit–is unmistakable in modern western culture. And the church has bought into it too. This is one of the reasons why evangelical Christianity in the west is finding itself so confused, so weak and so easily defeated in LGBTQ discussions, for instance. We’re […]
We all have an insatiable desire for something more. In this frustrating life, where our appetite never ceases, we constantly find ourselves seeking to satiate these cravings. Usually, we end up concluding that we need more money to do so. Yes, we all need to buy the basics like food and shelter. But most of […]
Suddenly, we’re farther than I’ve ever gone before. Beyond the mind-altering sensations that follow one upon the other like stock cars on their final lap, my ears are ringing with the impact of having met this unlikeliest of all people, to whom there’s no need to explain jokes or literary references or certain secret hopes, […]
Maybe it’s not so much what you’re called to, but who you’re called to. I’ve spent the majority of my life worrying about my calling. At a young age, I drew up a map and navigated my path with precision and accuracy. And as you’d expect from anyone following a map drawn by a four-year-old, […]
Patience is known as a virtue for a reason. According to the dictionary it is, “The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”
If she’s old enough to be his mother, then the relationship is seen as distasteful. But wines get better with age; surely the same can be said of partners. While relationships involving older men and much younger women are still viewed as a little suspect, there is often a very clear bias against relationships involving […]
I first started working on a farm when I was just a toddler. Ever since then I’ve been tromping around cornfields and playing in pig pens. And while most of what I’ve done on the farm is far from glamorous, I would like to think that I have learned as much about discipleship in fields and […]
My great-uncle Leroy is a man of no uncertain force. After serving in World War II, he came home from the Navy with an imposing anchor tattoo on his forearm. He went from near illiteracy to being a high-school English teacher in only a couple of years. And he loved to box; he routinely challenged […]
We live in a culture that bombards us with the message “do what’s best for you”. It’s influence has seeped into every area of our lives. And for myself, I found it led me down a very dangerous road — a road that has tangled up the way I love Jesus. More specifically, the way […]
Though the word “Trinity” can’t be found in the Bible, the theological term is used to describe God’s mysterious nature that is woven throughout the pages of Scripture. Theologians have always had difficulty finding adequate metaphors to help us understand the how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct, yet unified. How […]
A thin gray wash of sterile-looking light barely illuminated the room on that early fall morning where Cheri and I found ourselves as far away from our goal of becoming parents than we could have ever imagined. For three years, we had pursued medical intervention to help us conceive, and now it had landed Cheri […]
We are the leaders of tomorrow, man, and don’t we deserve it! We’re the first generation to grow up using the Internet and personal computers, after all, and the first generation to enjoy unparalleled access to the accumulated wealth of human knowledge through Google, online newspapers, searchable libraries, and Wikipedia. We’re also history’s most educated […]
I’m going to out myself right now… I’m a bible reading newb… which is embarrassing considering I’ve owned a bible pretty well since the day I came into this world. I’ve had too many bibles to count through my climb up the Sunday school ladder. They have had pictures, student study guides, footnotes, and lots […]
The Bible is filled with stories of people who took “oops” to a whole new level. And in our own flawed humanity, we can deeply relate to their inadequacies and failures, can we not? Adam and Eve Within the first three chapters of the Bible, Adam and Eve made the biggest mistake in the history […]
I’m just going to come out and say it… I hate my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend. It’s not something I’m proud to admit, considering the kind, confident and friendly woman I pride myself on being. It’s an unwanted feeling that reduces me to a jealous and catty high-school-girl stereotype… and I’ve been out of high school […]
How a generation of millennials are working and dreaming in the new gig economy When Britany Robison’s $1,200 a month lease on her Manhattan apartment came up for renewal, she did what her mother had hoped she wouldn’t do: she walked. Instead of renewing the lease, she struck out across the country searching for a […]
“Hang out here a minute, they’ve asked me to come inside,” he said. My Australian guide opened the truck door slowly. “Um, are you sure it’s safe here? Why do they want to talk to you? Is it because of the camera?” Heart pounding, I couldn’t hold back my barrage of questions. The guide paused […]
“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.” —Ephesians 5:3 The tragic truth is that pornography is a big problem in most churches today. 51 per cent of pastors say Internet pornography is a temptation, and 64 per cent of Christian men and […]
Judah Smith speaks with a slight drawl and a charismatic rhythm that draws listeners in. The first thing he tells me, as he sits down for our interview, is that he’s addicted to hand sanitizer. He produces a bottle of Purell from his vest pock and squeezes a generous amount into his hands. I ask […]
I have a strong tendency to assume the role of a victim. It can be big or small. It can be as simple as having plans cancelled on me. It isn’t hard for me to blow things out of proportion. Recently I spoke to a group of high school kids I’ve become familiar with over the past two years, […]
I was three years old when my first brother was born. A few days later we learned he had a serious malfunction in one of his organs that would soon take away his life. A life-threatening surgery was necessary for his survival. In the midst of this turmoil my parents asked some friends and relatives […]
I almost got a tattoo once. I was seventeen, full to the brim with angst, and dead set on what I wanted. I asked my parents, and while it seems completely strange when I think about it now, they hesitantly agreed. I was pretty sure you had to be 18 though, so I got them to […]
“Are you a Christian?”, asked the woman as she scrubbed and trimmed and polished the impurities from my nails. Our conversation had suddenly shifted from friendly formalities, of where I lived and what I did, to something of deeper significance. I immediately questioned just how deep I should let the conversation get (granted it was still […]
If you came to this article thinking you would read a scandalous confession about my virginity (or lack thereof), you will be disappointed. However, I hope you will stick around. The fact that the title enticed you is exactly what I want to talk about. In much of the Christian world (and outside of it), […]
Porn. It’s become a hot button issue for more and more people, whether they are coming from a Christian perspective or not. Both individuals and organizations, like Fight the New Drug and XXX Church, are emerging to expose and stand against the ugly truth. Although pornography is a predominantly male-marketed industry, women make up about […]
When we hear “adventure” we usually think of crossing oceans or continents. But what about finding some excitement closer to home? When you’ve been in one place for a long time, it’s easy to forget how great that place can actually be. There’s joy to be found in being content with where you are, even if […]
Katy Perry has a Jesus tattoo on her wrist. Now, I’m not trying to judge her, I can get down to some California Girls, but I’d say Katy has strayed a bit from her Christian upbringing, or at least the way she used to define it. And yet, she doesn’t hide the tattoo. She’s proud […]
March is Women’s History Month in the USA, UK and Australia. As it comes to an end, let us be reminded that what the world needs is for more women to come alive. I can imagine that God is searching the earth, looking for His daughters to wake up and come alive—to go out with […]
“…For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.” – Naomi Wolf Naomi Wolf’s statement is striking. It reveals to us just how far porn has distorted the modern view of sex. In Gail Dines’ Pornland and a similar book […]
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and anyone who fears has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4.18 The Western church has nearly always struggled with interpreting earthly safety and prosperity as a thumbs-up from God. I’d lay money that this fallacy […]
First, can we all take a moment of silence for the Christian male population? Fellas, I am so sorry. Lately you’ve been scrutinized both online and from the pulpit about how singleness and the lack of healthy dating is ALL YOUR FAULT. Christian culture loves to point the finger at men and shame them into […]
What you believe drives everything. The way you behave, the habits you form, the character that defines you at your core, all are driven by what you believe. Admittedly, we are in an age where post-moderns believe in everything and skeptics believe in nothing. So, how strongly do we “believers” believe our beliefs? Can we […]
There I was, a knotty kneed third grade boy, with scuffed elbows and an Alfalfa cowlick, trying to solve a problem miles above my pay grade. My mom insisted that if I wanted to talk to her, I needed to ask for Genevieve. There was only one problem: my mom’s name was Nancy. I had […]
And so it was that all were brought safely to land. (Acts 27:44) The Apostle Paul had a lot of travelling adventures, perhaps none more harrowing than the shipwreck episode in Acts 27. As Paul and other prisoners are being transported via boat from Caesarea to Rome, they encounter a fierce storm, followed by the […]
Water. Without it we will perish in about 3 days. We who are privileged to have it running from our taps without limit take it for granted. In a globalized world with so many technological advancements there are still 748 million people that live without access to clean water — every single day. We hear these kinds […]
The Joy of Missing Out: How Then Shall We Live in a Wired World? An excerpt from Christina Crook’s new book, The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. A painter takes a pause before he starts a stroke, hand hovering inches from the sheen of canvas, as if in prayer. […]
If you were born in another part of the world — not in North America, for example — do you think you’d still be a Christian? If I wasn’t born in south Louisiana, a Bible Belt breeding ground, would I still be a Christian? While studying abroad in Spain, I’m determined to answer this inarguably […]
In 2009, Toronto resident Leroy Smickle was caught in his cousin’s apartment posing for a selfie with a loaded gun when police coincidentally raided the home. Stupidity aside, Smickle had no criminal record, and the gun belonged to someone else in the house. Based on mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for possession of a loaded firearm, […]
It seems so obvious: If we invent a machine, the first thing we are going to do–after making a profit–is use it to watch porn. — DamonBrown, Author of Playboy’s Greatest Covers Pornography is so pervasive today, it’s hard to imagine it having a history. Porn can be thought of as sex taken out of our […]
I got married too young. Or so everyone tells me. There are so many things to do and places to see and people to meet. And now I’m going to spend my days cleaning a cramped apartment, arguing with my wife, and trying to pay the bills on time. I settled. I cashed out. I […]
I just got off the phone with one of my best friends who now lives a few thousand miles away. She is struggling with a substantially altered “normal” after a recent major life change. Although this change is good, she feels at the mercy of the depression that has wrapped its heavy arms around her […]
‘Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.’ (Luke 10:36-37) For many of the Jews in Jesus’ day, one of the most unexpected (and unwelcome) aspects […]
Like many non-denominational, evangelical church kids, I grew up on Christmas, Easter, and stranger-danger. Lent was one of the strangers. Most years, Resurrection Sunday would slip in and out of my world unannounced, without even a Good Friday service to herald its coming. Lent, in short, felt too Catholic for my Protestant roots — roots […]
Some days, we all need to pause, take a step back, and view the bigger picture in order to see the world just a little more clearly. I have a few friends who help me do that. One is in the fourth grade. The other two are 10 and 14. When I was a […]
Author Tim Basselin speaks on discovering the good in the grotesque One day when Tim Basselin was in the sixth grade, he got called to the principal’s office. His father — a mechanic for a heavy machinery dealer — had been working on a front-end loader when the tractor’s three-ton bucket swung down suddenly and slammed […]
Before he had even released his first album, Andrew Belle was making waves in the music industry. He was awarded a John Lennon Songwriting award in 2009 before he debuted his 2010 freshman album, Ladders. Three years later he released Black Bear, a sweet mix of his poetic lyrics and new electronic beats. We had […]
I am a confident girl. I’m the funny, never-let-them-see-you-sweat girl. I have a great living situation, a full-time job, a budding relationship. I even have a puppy. From my Instagram and Twitter profiles, it looks like I am the happiest girl in the world. And yet, I am caught up in the most crippling bout […]
For many single ladies out there, Valentine’s Day is scarier than Halloween (with just as much sugar intake). Before you anxiously count down the minutes until February 15, here are some tips to survive Valentine’s Day and — dare I say it — actually enjoy it: Get your love on With your friends and family. […]
Remember the great “Worship Wars” of the ’90s and early ’00s? On one side, drum kits were demonized, on the other, organs were considered passé. Thus, a great, seemingly uncrossable, chasm formed between the generations. Some of the arguments were theological in nature, while others focused on musical preferences. And then there were some arguments […]
Do you want the villain to live another day, or die in a fiery pit of lava near the remote village of Cholula, Mexico? Or maybe your lifelong enemy should live the rest of his days in solitary confinement in an inner city prison? It’s your choice, because it’s a “choose your own adventure” book. […]
Christian conversations about money often sound like good advice from a wealthy, moral — albeit secular — uncle. But in reality, Jesus said some truly outrageous things about money. The majority of His ethics and parables on the subject took the focus off money altogether, and instead re-focused His listeners on God and eternity. 1. […]
There’s a new witch-hunt transpiring. It’s called Toxic Friend Poaching. Lately, I have noticed countless articles online urging us to identify, and then collectively shun, all those in our lives who are “toxic,” as if it’s some strange twist of Lord of the Flies meets The Hunger Games. The writers of these articles say we […]
Blue Like Jazz author talks about writing Scary Close, his first book in five years Every generation of Christians has a voice, a person who takes a stand and articulates the words we need to hear. I remember hearing about Donald Miller’s memoir, Blue Like Jazz, many years ago, being warned about its liberal tales of honesty […]
In the world of worship music, John Mark McMillan is a man that marches to the beat of his own drum. Blending Americana and praise, the North Carolina singer/songwriter has carved out his own path, writing some of the most moving worship songs this past decade including “How He Loves Us,” “Skeleton Bones,” and “Future/Past.” […]
In my early 20s, I still embraced a decision-making strategy that no career counsellor in her right mind would ever recommend. Basically, I collected as many college and university catalogues as possible, and then stared at them in a prolonged and confused state until I ran out of time. In the end, I made a […]
A year ago I was battling some serious insecurity. This was deep stuff: body hatred, negative self-talk, social anxiety and isolation. But something has changed since then and I think I finally put my finger on what it is. It all started with an epiphany that occurred while I was talking on the phone with […]
There’s one thing I just don’t understand: why people love list articles so much. It seems as if every time I scan a social media feed, there’s yet another article with a picture of a sad person on a bench, introspectively looking at the clouds. And then it’s titled something smarmy, like, “10 things every […]
The start of a new year can be both exciting and intimidating. It’s filled with hope for success and fear of failure. At the start of the new year we look for resolutions: we acquire more projects, more friends, more money, more triumphs, more of whatever will make us feel good about ourselves. Why? To […]
Feza Ertek eludes description. The sheer density of her spirituality either attracts or repels. She’s direct in the way that really spiritual people are; as if she’s somehow transcended the minor earthly concerns of the body. We mortals of flesh and blood trade in a currency that Feza transcends. And yet she wasn’t always that […]
The bass was pumping — hard. Packed bodies gyrated across a spacious dance floor with the ebb and flow of a human tide, a swirl of energy powered by a techno soundtrack that rattled the ribcage. Overlooking the scene was a large wraparound balcony, where the rulers of Europe’s club scene surveyed their subjects with […]
Masturbation! There, I said it! I can scarcely imagine a subject more likely to inspire the creative use of euphemisms and awkward exercises in not getting to the point. This is especially true amongst Christians, as many of us are still learning how to talk freely and frankly about sex. Most people, at some point […]
Communication expert Alexandra Franzen has recently informed me that January 8th to January 14th was Universal Letter Writing Week. “When you write something,” she says, ”your words have the power to change someone’s day, week, month, or life. (Which, in turn, shapes your own life, too.) You never know what kind of impact your words might […]
So why am I treating it that way? Scroll, tap tap. Like. Scroll, tap tap. Like. Scroll, eh, don’t like. Scroll. That’s how I spend hours each day — mindlessly, unintentionally, and passively weeding through social media content. Last week, when my head hit the pillow, I remembered I didn’t have quiet time with God that day. So, […]
The first time I read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road it was like hearing a siren’s call during the stormy seas of adolescence. The book articulated the secret longings of my heart: my yearnings to bomb down highways in borrowed cars toward the revelatory music, artistic pals, bohemian women, and the ruckus of big and […]
I’m at a dinner with my friends. I momentarily glance up from my mushroom risotto, only to see everyone else glued to their phones. They’re busily picking the best filter to accompany the latest upload of the food they’re about to eat. And then I wonder: if I enjoy a meal and none of my […]
I have spent a lot of time over the past few months lamenting over what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri. I’ve read news coverage, testimony transcripts, public opinion pieces, and responses from black leaders. And I have watched in horror the video of Eric Garner as he was strangled by a police officer on a […]
When I was a young teenager, someone at church looked at the casual way I dressed and asked, “Is that how you would dress if you were going to meet the Queen?” In that moment, I had an epiphany. I realized that if God is my King, I ought to have respect, and it should show […]
The paper glimmered, the race to the tree thrilled, the anticipation built. Then, it was over. A strange sensation of dissatisfaction crawled in. Guilt tip-toed behind disappointment. For many, Christmas is either spent sitting among tons of stuff that will only temporarily satisfy — or catching the hint of sadness in their mom’s eyes because she couldn’t afford every single […]
And not just our minds I have a friend who prays quite differently than I do. I’m not talking about her words, although they too are different than my own. It’s actually her posture I have in mind. We were in a small group together, and when it came time to pray she got off […]
The other day I walked into Target and was confronted with a very disturbing reality. As my roommates and I giggled (yes, giggled) over the new arrival of fuzzy Christmas socks, excitedly plucked the newest Taylor Swift CD off the shelf, and finally ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the brand new Starbucks being built near the entrance, […]
We broke up via text message. No matter how many times I tell the story, people still look at me incredulously, as if they couldn’t believe breaking up via text messages actually happened in real life. Others react with anger, feeling the same rage I first felt when I read his text. I always say I’m […]
So many of our biblical heroes are outstanding sinners. This makes us uncomfortable, to say the least. We want to justify their conduct somehow, so we read the Old Testament through a moralistic lens. In the process, we whitewash behaviours like Abraham’s deception of Pharaoh, or Samson’s sexual promiscuity. This is true. And it’s about […]
I was sitting by a bonfire in California when I first really heard someone else’s story. It was the summer of 2008 and I was attending a 10-day leadership program in Southern California. I was one of 20 high school seniors who had spent the last several days getting to know each other through service […]
To live, to truly live, we must be willing to risk. To be nothing in order to find everything. To leap before we look. (Mandy Hale) There I was, telling my father I was moving an ocean away. Again. He’d gotten used to hearing me say this; at 26, I had already lived abroad twice. […]
Christians are prone to talk endlessly about predestination and mission, but when it comes to the concrete everyday mores of life, we are oddly silent. So what does God intend for the most ordinary of things like food? Quite literally, the Bible tells us whether we eat or drink, we should do so for the […]
Ask Amanda: an advice column from someone who has been there Hi Amanda, I’m dating a guy that’s extremely sweet, talented, good-looking, fun and adventurous… but he’s not a Christ follower. He believes in “something out there,” but not God the way I serve Him. He’s definitely open to learning more and loves me enough to […]
“It was the highlight of my year.” “It showed me how much we have to be thankful for.” “It changed my life!” These might be typical comments from teenagers returning from a short-term mission trip. But our group is not typical. Our group isn’t from a specific church or youth group. And the students aren’t […]
“I’ve already had 900 jealous thoughts today. What’s wrong with me?!” I sent my best friend this text the other day. There’s a good chance I was just hungry, but considering my constant state of envy, I don’t think that’s the case. “Nothing. You’re normal.” She was quick to respond, and I know she’s right. […]
Allahu Akbar… The sound was haunting, arresting, as it wafted through the warm desert air of the Omani capital of Muscat. It was the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, recited five times per day as a confession of faith. I wasn’t surprised to hear it: Oman is about 75 per cent Muslim, after all. […]
As a new patron to a grocery store, I have realized that I have an incredible amount of power when I walk through the doors. And even more so when I get to the checkout line. Any sign of impatience (glancing at my watch, scanning the other aisles), and out of nowhere, a new cashier’s light […]
Predicting the future. Many of us spend a considerable amount of energy trying our hand at it, because ultimately we want to create systems that will protect the things we desire, and ward off the things we wish to avoid. Our constant attempts to direct our lives one way or another often require wisdom; but […]
My chest felt like a suitcase had been thrown at it. My lungs were mixing concrete, and I tried to take deep breaths without the success of actually doing it. Earlier that day, I had received an email that struck like a knife. I was angry and defensive and hurt. I wanted to cry, but […]
Your weekends are filled with showers and bachelorette parties for newly engaged friends, your newsfeed is dominated by your exes’ wedding photos, and you’ve just gone through a break up. It’s enough to make you want to grab the nearest spoon and eat your weight in Ben and Jerry’s. Break ups are no fun, and […]
I don’t make friends very easily. In fact, it can take quite a while for me to feel connected to someone. I don’t mind the quiet and being by myself; sometimes I prefer it to the alternative. I enjoy just being in other people’s presence without feeling the need to make small talk. The list […]
The kind of man you deserve isn’t looking for a woman to complete his kitchen. While I’m sure the steaks need marinating and the fruits need washing, I’m also sure his momma taught him how to do that. The kind of man you deserve isn’t looking to shepherd you into sedated submission. He isn’t a […]
The outlook was bleak. As I lay hooked up to an IV in the city of Chongjin, I realized how much my mistake had cost me. I’d wasted all my money, lost my friends, abandoned my family, and turned my back on God. Now, at 23-years-old, I was going to die in North Korea. Nurses […]
I knew something was going on in my body. I felt tired. Two blood clots had developed in my legs. I was starting to bruise easily. Then, two days before Christmas 2011, my doctor called: “It looks like you have leukemia. I’ve arranged for you to meet with the doctor at the cancer centre today.” […]
“Blessed is the name, the name be blessed, written on my heart in burning letters. That’s all I know, I do not know the rest.” This may sound like a couple of lines from a poetic praise band, but instead this gem comes from 80-year-old folk poet Leonard Cohen. The legendary Canadian singer/songwriter has released […]
We spend semesters in classrooms learning the trade of our future careers, searching for the perfect internship, and then crossing our fingers that we’re good enough for consideration. This past summer, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and into the brutal and busy streets of New York City. It was a journalism […]
“Thank you for talking to me!” His words were surprising, direct, and intentional. Yet they were woven warm with all of the enchantment and depth that makes a human being unlike anything else in all of existence. His words were heavy and laboured, nearly lost in his thick Hispanic accent. His smile lit a face […]
At 28, the only thing I’m sure about is that I’ve stopped growing — in inches that is. As I reflect upon my near three decades on this earth, I’ve realized I’ve forgotten a lot, learned a little, and am still discovering even more. In a culture where our 20s have become the be-all-end-all decade […]
When I was gone one Sunday, my aspiring mega-church pastor offered my job as music director to someone else. He never told me I was being fired, he just… replaced me and didn’t plan on telling me. My wife and I had just bought our first house five months earlier based on a housing allowance […]
Whether you realize it or not “What is God really doing in my life?” “I should do more to show God to others somehow.” There are moments or days or months (or years) when we feel like there’s no physical, tangible, touchable evidence of His presence in our lives. So we ask ourselves these questions, […]
My father immigrated to America in hopes of finding a better life for himself. When I was a young teenager, my dad loved to share the story of how he had to hold up his wooden roof during the monsoon season. Whenever I complained, my dad reminded me how good I have it. At a […]
If I had heard the word Ebola a year ago, I likely would have laughed at the absurdity of a word that sounds like a jumble of letters used to win a close game of Scrabble. Fast forward to today, when Ebola is a household word, sensationalized by the media, eliciting fear and uneasiness whenever […]
Consumerism. It’s so ingrained within us, within our culture. So it’s not surprising that it has bled — or maybe even flooded — into the church. Often when the issue of consumerism is addressed and confronted from the pulpit, we tend to shrug it off. Our minds race to those we consider more consumeristic than […]
An interview with the makers of Violent, a companion film to We Are The City’s 2012 album Violent, the debut film from local British Columbian talent Andrew Huculiak, Cayne McKenzie, Joseph Schweers, and Josh Huculiak, was one of the highlights of the 2014 Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). The film is a companion of sorts to […]
A Marine Corps vet reflects on the crushing reality of mental illness They’d brought a prisoner in the back of the humvee. He was an Arab, a puny wasp of a man, with a bush of dirty hair and large twitching eyes. His beard was too large for his gaunt face, and his neck seemed […]
People are moving all around me. People sitting, standing, walking, or kneeling. Children grab at their parents. Sometimes they cry or giggle, contributing in their own way to this constant flow. Music fills the room; singing becomes inseparable from prayer. The service has formed into a dance of coming and going, prayer and praise, sound […]
Stephen and I were going to get married. Well, there wasn’t a ring or anything. And OK, we weren’t actually dating. But we would get married one day, I was convinced of it. When we weren’t spending hours alone together, we were with our shared group of friends. We texted each other inside jokes while […]
I’m not bitter, but I am concerned. I can’t begin my graduate degree this year because I don’t have enough money. Earlier this year, I was admitted to a top PhD program in my field, and I had been aiming for this program since I began my master’s degree three years ago. I put forth […]
Maybe it’s more “both/and” than we’d like to admit I can remember the first time I had a conversation with a non-Christian about why I believe what I believe. I was 12 and had recently gone to a youth rally with my church, so I was high on Jesus and I was ready to tell […]
Learning to set boundaries with my mentally ill mother “Don’t you love me?” The lines around my mom’s eyes deepened, the confused pain engraved across her face. “Then why won’t you live with me?” she asked. “I don’t understand.” “Yes, mom, I do love you,” I said. But I just can’t live with you, I […]
Preston Yancey talks about his new book, Tables in the Wilderness I need written prayers because otherwise I become too comfortable with my own haphazard version of grace. — Preston Yancey, Tables in the Wilderness We’ve been hearing the same narrative our whole lives. Gladys and her friends in the seniors’ ministry are holding the […]
During college, there was a time where I spent three years being mostly single. Prior to that I had been in a couple relationships that had ended in a lot of hurt. So in the three years that followed, I used a lot of energy envisioning how I wanted any future relationship to go. I spent […]
Oh great. My parents sponsored a starving African child in my name instead of buying me a real Christmas present. It was Christmas morning. The whole family was together, even though most of the children were married and starting their own families. We were about to open presents. There was only one thing on my […]
“Let’s be honest,” my friend says to me. “You didn’t really want to drive all the way down there just to get coffee, right?” I thought of what I really wanted to say to my friend, the questions I wanted answered, and the emotions that were galloping through me. I wanted to confront my friend […]
One year later, learning the same lessons Nothing has changed in a year. I am nearly 27, I am unmarried, I am childless (see what I just did there?) and I’m waiting for something big to happen. Again. I worked at a great place the whole school year. I had the opportunity to get another […]