In communion, we can be reminded in a very human way that because of what Jesus did on the cross, God is as close to us as the bread and the wine in clear view. God is present to you, closer to you than the air you breathe, closer to you than the very heart in your chest.
Perhaps we need exercise caution when crossing gender boundaries, but God’s call to love also means following his Spirit and serving people the way they need even if that risks misunderstanding and disapproval from others.
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.
It’s easier for me to give my own struggles to God than for me to trust him with the people I love.
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.
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.
As kids, we believed that we could change the world. We wanted to fly to the moon, write novels, and save people from burning houses, but then we grew up and discovered just how much time living takes.
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.
For singles who choose celibacy until marriage, a healthy sex-drive can feel like a curse. Despite what married people say about enjoying singleness and the challenges of marriage, sometimes we just want to have sex.
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.
I don’t like feelings very much. I don’t like them because they are vulnerable and raw and I’d rather be covered and safe. I don’t like them because they show weakness and fear and much worse, shame.
In my favorite books, I’ve learned about life, about what it means to be a human, just by sitting down and reading words on a page. I lived a thousand lives and got to be a thousand different people, which, in turn, shaped my own life.
Aggressive, risk-taking and adventurous behaviour is actually part of a man’s make-up and wiring. Testosterone, a hormone found roughly 15 times more in men than in women…
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.
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.
Somewhere along the line I had been told by some friends that the bible doesn’t really teach the idea of “the one” and that is was actually just Plato’s idea, but I still thought, worried, and prayed like there was “the one” out there for me.
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.
Most people are really good at either humility/hearing or courage/doing. To be great at both hearing and doing requires time and effort.
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 […]
We know God is loving and good, but we also know the Bible addresses homosexuality as a sin. So, what’s the answer?
From refugees to monks and from commitment to divorce, here are the 10 most-read articles Converge published in 2015.
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 […]
If we want to know if a particular ministry is being “successful” we should ask the following question: What signs of the kingdom have we seen or experienced during the past week? All other measurements of success fall subservient to that single question.
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 […]
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 […]
Every time I put on a poppy I can’t help but feel conflicted. As someone who first got to know Jesus through the “gospel of peace”, accepting the fact that there are many ways for Christians to fight evil, including war, is hard to do. But I’m learning to let go of that. You see, […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
I am the son of a Buddhist father of Chinese and Thai heritage, and a Pentecostal African American mother from New York City. My home growing up was multicultural, to say the least. At a young age my father briefly served as a monk in Thailand. As an adult he would occasionally go to the […]
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. […]
My phone crashed to the ground yesterday. After trying everything I knew to restore life to the black, cold iPhone, I surrendered. I almost cried. Embarrassing, right? I went the next 24 hours without my phone. Just 24 hours. But I learned a lot in that one day. I learned that I truly have forgotten […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
I knew Jackson was trouble the moment I met him. We were both studying abroad and attending our pre-departure orientation. I was drawn to his confidence, light blue eyes, and boyish grin, yet put off by his obvious arrogance. Despite the bright red flags that urged me to run far away, my attraction trumped my […]
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 […]
“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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
A few years ago, if you had asked me if I would ever live in New York City, my answer would have been a confident, “Yes!” I could easily imagine myself walking the streets of New York City, bundled up in my trendy pea coat, toting an equally trendy coffee, and rushing in and out […]
‘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 […]
I am seeing someone. If you know my dating history, this statement in and of itself is quite an accomplishment. We met at a coffee shop, and he’s charming, spontaneous, and significantly smarter than me. Like any “good” Christian couple we decided on setting physical boundaries early on in our relationship. When we asked the question, […]
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 […]
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 […]
“Six years ago, I realized trafficking isn’t something that just happens in other countries.” says Amy Fatzinger, a Georgian wife and mother of three boys. “It’s here.” She can’t recall quite how her research started. One day, provoked to learn about ministries geared toward women in stripping, pornography, and prostitution, she simply started to stumble […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 shuffle along the white sandstone street in Jerusalem, trying desperately to focus on our tour guide’s words. To my left, a vendor loudly advertises his wares — dresses, rugs, jewelry, and wood carvings, the same items we have seen at every market stall from here to Caesarea. I adjust my ankle-length skirt for the […]
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 […]
When I was a kid, each Christmas Eve at my house replayed the same scenario. After the candlelight service at church and the annual viewing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, my older brother and I would pitch camp on his bunk bed and stay awake as long as our sleepy eyes would let us. Our […]
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 […]
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 […]
The Love and Respect Now author and blogger talks about her newest venture, The Illumination Project, a small group study series based on relationships You will only ever have two choices: love or fear. Choose love. (Jim Carrey) Regardless of your religious or philosophical leanings, as human beings we have two choices regarding our approach […]
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 […]
I nearly flunked English grammar. Ask Mrs. Harding, my seventh-grade grammar teacher, and she’ll validate that. But this much I know: The word Christian is a noun. A Christian is a person who follows Jesus. Follow is a verb. And I’ve learned over the years that nouns need verbs. Jesus loved verbs. Verbs like love, […]
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 […]
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 […]
The recent Bible Engagement Study shows a decrease in Christians’ Bible reading. Surprised? Neither were we. When people hear that I’m getting a Master’s degree in theology, their assumption is that I’m immersed in biblical studies. Well, I’m not. I tend to hang around with the doctrinal and spiritual theology crowd while the biblical studies kids, with […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“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 […]
When my Grandma Britt returns from vacation she always brings me back a pack of colourful Keds socks. It’s her small way of saying she was thinking about me, and you better believe she was worried about the temperature of my toes. While Grandma Britt’s primal urge to give me stuff has predicated our relationship, […]
We hear sermons that convict us for not praying more. We read books that convince us to do more for global hunger. We talk to friends who inspire us to give more and read more and witness more. The needs seem so urgent. The workers seem so few. If we don’t do something, who will? […]
Stephanie Desloges never imagined working as a graphic designer on a ship in the middle of the ocean. But about a year ago, she realized she needed to make a change in her life. “I wasn’t growing spiritually and I wasn’t doing anything to contribute to God’s kingdom,” says Stephanie. So, she prayed that God […]
Though I consider myself a Christian, I am well acquainted with doubt. When I think about “God,” the concept seems so astoundingly ridiculous; I can’t believe anyone in their right mind would believe — let alone submit to — an omnipresent, invisible, supernatural being, who created the entire universe out of nothing. During a time […]
July, 2014 will forever be remembered as the time of one of the bloodiest conflicts in the history of the Gaza Strip. As Israel has flexed its military might, Gaza has endured unprecedented destruction; it is difficult to see how, once a lasting ceasefire is agreed upon, the area might carve out a new infrastructure […]
We met the summer before I entered university. He was handsome, sporty, and impressively intelligent. A year my senior, he looked out for me during my first months as a frosh. It was a close but ambiguous relationship. We talked on the phone for hours, lead our campus Christian group together and he’d invite me […]
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. (Albert Einstein) When I was 16, I imagined a lot of things about myself as a 20-something. I hoped to be out of my parents’ house, close to […]
To wear jeans, or to not wear jeans in church. Is that really the question? I’d like to think I’m a pretty casual guy, and my wardrobe tends to reflect that. I have lots of hoodies, a few pairs of jeans, and the suit section of my closest is full of clothes that my parents […]
I sat in her big purple chair. It was a Monday afternoon in 2011, and I would rather have been anywhere else. I looked down at my dangling feet. This stupid chair. As if people didn’t remind me enough about my height, now this chair is laughing at me. I feel so small. Can I […]
Two words hang over Christians until their death bed: “finish well.” Whenever I hear this phrase, I picture Yoda, in all his wisdom. (“Luke, remember this, finish well.”) I think I know what those two words mean when they’re spoken from the pulpit or when they are the title of seven-week Bible study. They mean […]
A man’s mind, once it has been stretched with a new idea, can never return to its original dimensions. (Oliver Wendell Holmes) “The climb has taken me far beyond the mountain,” says Denise Heppner. She was one of 45 women from around the world who climbed to Everest Base Camp in Nepal to raise global awareness […]
Lightfall, a Toronto-based worship band, released its first EP on June 24, and has already made quite the impact. The album shot up to #1 on the iTunes Inspiration Charts, #36 on the Canadian Top Albums and #67 worldwide (according to UK charts). Made up of five guys who came together from different churches and […]
My first summer job was looking after Duggan Grey’s lawn. I was 14-years-old, and Duggan was a veteran of the Second World War. He would pay me $100 a month, and would always invite me inside for a glass of water after work to tell me war stories. My favourite part of the job — […]
If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and in the negative. Know when to close the account. (Christie Williams) If relationships are like bank accounts, I shared a workspace with someone who was far more proficient at making withdrawals than deposits. She hardly ever made a positive […]
It’s just temporary. We’ve heard it, said it, and lived by this phrase. At least I have. This job, this location, this stage of life, who we are even, is just temporary. We are working towards something else, something better. Something more exciting. Temporary makes us feel better about where we are, reminding us there […]
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. (Mark Twain) For most of us, forgiveness is one of the most difficult virtues to master. I’m no exception; I’ve been known to hold a grudge and make it last a lifetime. Forgive him? After he hurt me? After he offended […]
I am your single friend. You may know me as the girl you have in mind for your brother, your worship leader, your cousin… or your brother’s worship leader’s cousin. But before you plan our chance meeting, let me pass on something. Being single, I’ve observed my friends and family members who are married, and […]
If you are between 18 and 35, chances are good you are living with debt. And if you’re not, it’s likely inevitable. Even if you’ve managed to avoid getting into debt in your early 20s, it’s not as if the future offers the prospect of debt-free bliss. Try buying a house without it. While my […]
Dear Amanda, Unlike most people my age, I have never been kissed and I’ve never been in a relationship. I have only been on one date my entire life, and it was a complete flop. I know that my value comes from Christ, but it’s hard sometimes. I have had plenty of crushes before, and […]
I’m sitting in a room at Westside Church in Vancouver, waiting to interview Kings Kaleidoscope. I can hear their sound check upstairs. They’re headlining a show in about four hours, and a local band called The Wind & The Waves is opening. All of a sudden the muffled music stops, and ten minutes later, the […]
This October, the Duck Commander Bible will hit bookstores and Amazon. While some have called it blasphemous, others are excited about the branded Bible, especially after the success of the Duck Commander devotional. But what can be gained from this reprint? The answer, for most consumers, is nothing. The Duck Commander Bible is the King […]
Becoming Wise as Serpents Recently Leadership Journal published “My Easy Trip From Youth Minister to Felon.” The anonymous author is a convicted felon who will be on the sex offender registry for life due to his sexual abuse and statutory rape of one of the youths under his leadership. But this isn’t the story he […]
My husband and I have been in the market for a new home for almost a year. Almost. A. Whole. Entire. Year. We have never been in want, but we are now in a season of wanting; wanting a permanent home, wanting a place for our child to grow up, wanting some stability and financial […]
When I was 18, one of my friends tragically died overnight. She was my friend who sang Meredith Brooks at the top of her lungs in my car while we waved at other drivers. My friend, who talked about how she was unsure how to tackle this weird thing called adulthood, and how together we […]
It was one of the greatest experiences of his life. Adrian spent two weeks in Israel, in the land that God has chosen. He walked where Jesus walked, crossing the Sea of Galilee and exploring the cavernous tunnels beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He traversed the desert to the south where David hid from […]
If you’re a millennial and if you’ve grown up in an evangelical church, chances are you’ve been introduced to the video series The Way of the Master (hosted by my friend and yours, Kirk Cameron). The series focuses on connecting those from outside the Christian faith with Jesus, as strangers are asked questions meant to […]
*A review on Iain Provan’s book Seriously Dangerous Religion * When I mentioned to an acquaintance that I thought Christopher Hitchens, in his book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, had made some fairly accurate points, I was met with astounded unbelief. “But why would a Christian read Hitchens? He is an atheist!” And there […]
I’m failing at my Lenten intentions. Again. Every year I set a standard for how I will live the next 40 days, and without fail, I never do it just right. This year my plan was to drink four litres of water a day, and with every glass of water, to pray over a specific […]
I am starting to believe that God is intentionally frustrating. It seems like a bold statement, but as I listen to some of the things Jesus said on behalf of God, it causes me to wonder. The more I listen, the more things jump out at me as not quite right, or just plain frustrating. […]
If you haven’t heard, Fred Phelps of the “God Hates Fags” movement has died. There are various responses I’ve seen in the days leading up to his death. Unfortunately, most of them have been hateful. What is the major issue at play here? The problem is that Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, was […]
I graduated college 642 days ago. And for 642 days I have asked myself, “Who am I? Am I doing this right?” In each day since graduation, I have felt — even if it’s just for a brief moment — completely lost. A lot has gone right in these 642 days. I’ve married my best […]
It happens every day. I’m sitting at a red light on my way to work; listening to my music, coffee in hand. In my own little world, just thinking about how many minutes late I’m going to be. When suddenly, I see him. He is dressed in plain black pants and a winter coat hardly thick […]
If we were to play a game of “my dad is better than your dad” I’d win every time. There’s no contest. My dad is remarkably similar to Ron Swanson in his love of grilled meat and ability to build things. He’s a fair boss and natural leader. He’s wise in practical matters and won’t […]
This year Vancouver’s Pacific Theatre is doing Shakespeare for the first time in, well, almost ever. Not that it hasn’t been in the works for some time — Measure for Measure is a play artistic director Ron Reed has wanted to produce before Pacific Theatre even existed. To be honest, I generally find Shakespeare kind […]
The polar bears had “caught a cold.” That’s what the sign said at their exhibit at the zoo, anyways. While a cluster of mothers tried to explain this phenomenon to their screaming toddlers, I busied myself by looking at tribal art depicting seal hunters in fur hoods. My accompanying male acquaintance made a comment about […]
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are a lot of frustrated singles out there. And the Christian ones seem more frustrated than most. You see it in the open letters and thoughtful explanations offered by plaintive unmarrieds, asking the world at large, “Please stop asking me why I’m single/when I’m going to get […]
“Eating with the fullest pleasure — pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance — is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living in a mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.” […]
I’m 23, I just graduated from university, and I’m single. Many of my friends are married, and a few are starting to have children. And I feel as if I just graduated from high school again. You could say my life is in transition. And it’s true; I am in the middle of shifting myself […]
It is not uncommon for me to log onto Facebook and find friends who have posted the most recent viral Fox News gaffe. Nine times out of ten the gaffe is something that I have seen before — a news anchor putting their conservative foot in their mouth or a liberal guest who puts the […]
What would you say to someone who views feminism as the typical caricature … you know, of… John Stackhouse: An angry lesbian woman who hates men? Well that’s what keeps most of my students from identifying themselves as feminists. Feminism should mean, simply, advocacy on behalf of women because they are being mistreated because they […]
This July, Jesus Culture — a worship driven ministry that is gaining a reputation as sort of the Hillsongs of America — is putting on a conference in LA. We got to chat with Jesus Culture director Banning Liebscher about the origins of JC, the conference, and what it means to be a “revivalist” Tell […]