Monday, August 27, 2012


This weekend I started reading the book of Job. It's a different translation so it's fun to read the little differences.

But here's where it gets weird. I am reading another book that talks about why God allows bad things to happen. Then last week I was asked to speak at HSE at Cru about why God allows bad things to happen.

I really hope this isn't God hinting at something coming up...

But if it were you, and you were asked why God allows bad things to happen, what would you say?


Monday, August 20, 2012

How's Your Level?

My wife came up the wonderful idea of building a patio in the back of our house with individual pavers. You cannot know how much joy this has brought me trying to make sure that every single brick, all tumbled so they are imperfect to begin with, fit perfectly together and make a flat, level surface for us to stand on. To do so, for every single brick we lay we have to make sure it is level. We have a nice little level that we use for the job, and without it I'd be dead in the water.

It has amazed me how often I think I have a brick perfect, and it's completely off. The problem is my view is completely narrowed, I'm on my knees staring at one brick, I can't see the whole picture, so in my mind that brick is perfect. But when I put the level on it, not even close. I thought this may happen once in a while, but it's more like 75% of the time.

That's what the level is for. Without some sort of level, all we're doing is guessing based on the tiny narrow view in front of us. In life, that is what's happening way too often. The story of the rich young ruler who came talking to Jesus comes to mind. He asks what he needs for eternal life and tells Jesus he has done everything in his narrow view of life. I even love how he calls Jesus good, to which Jesus asks, "Why do you call me good?" Jesus knows this young man's view of good is skewed, much like all of ours. He's not balancing it against the level, the ruler, the Scriptures. He's just going by what's in front of him. I hear it all the time, "I'm good, I'm not as bad as-". If I want my bricks to be level, I don't look at the wonkiest, most crooked one and go, "This one is better than that, so it's okay." I get a level and make sure it's as close to perfectly level as possible.

Over the next months at Fire & Water the sr. highs are going to be looking at the Bible, what it means, how to read it, how to use it as a level in our lives, how to make sure that God's Word is real and alive in us. It's the best spiritual level we have, II Timothy 3 tells of all it can do, teaching us what is true, helping us see what's wrong in our lives, and "it straightens us out and helps us do what is right" (II Tim. 3:16b, LB). If you can make it, we hope you can come on out and grow with us.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting The Message

Every once in a while the things I read seem to line up with exactly what I'm thinking about or with things going on in my life. It seems a little freaky, but I think, "Okay, maybe there's a message here." The scary one now, I'm reading three books and all of them are saying the same thing at this point.

What's even crazier, they are three completely different books. One on little known stories of the life of Walt Disney, one from the ceo of Starbucks and one on the discussion between Peter and Jesus at the Last Supper (which, incidentally is free this week for Kindle, if you don't have a copy you should pick one up here).

I think sometimes when it comes to hearing from God we put so much on it to be this huge spiritual experience. Yes, many times God speaks through times like the footwashing and prayer at the end of our summer mission trip. But many other times God is speaking to us through every day experiences, through the people we talk with, even for some the music that plays over and over in your head (right Dustin?).

So if we want God to speak to us (and He wants to), that means one of two things. We either have to have massively spiritual events all the time, which will eventually seem less and less special because we're doing them so often, or we need to start looking for God in the everyday. Too often we like to separate the spiritual and the rest of the world, but that's not how God is, He's in the spiritual and the everyday, He made the everyday world, didn't He? So why can't He speak to us in it?

Be looking, maybe God is trying to get a message to you...


Monday, August 06, 2012

Cognitive Illusion

This is something I was reading about last week. It was a little blurb about the news and how having so much information at our fingertips has changed how we view the world.

In a nutshell, cognitive illusion is the idea that we make assumptions about our world based on what we hear, usually without knowing it. How it applies to the news is because we have so many news stories in our heads all the time from all over the world, we start to believe that what we hear is the case everywhere and it shapes how we view our world.

An example would be child kidnapping. A hundred years ago if a child was kidnapped three states over we would never had heard about it. That news didn't reach us and it didn't apply to us. Now with the internet, amber alerts, etc. if there is a child kidnapping we hear about it instantly, all of them. So because we hear about more child kidnappings we assume that they are on the rise and we begin to act accordingly, kids aren't allowed to cross the road by themselves now. But the reality is child kidnappings lower, they are not nearly as prevalent as we think. Since we hear about it more, we assume there are more, and act accordingly.

And this whole process got me to thinking about faith and what cognitive illusions we've created and how they shape how we act. We talk to three people who believe in Jesus, so we assume everyone believes in Jesus and act accordingly. We hear that two people are serving at a local seniors center, assume lots of people serve and they don't need our help while in reality they have only two volunteers.

So the question I keep asking myself is looking at what I think and how I act for Jesus, is it based on truth or is it based on assumptions I've made about the world around me from isolated stories...?