Pushing through the Pain

This weekend we celebrated graduates. Given the chance, I took some time to offer a bit of advice on how to survive a college experience in an environmental that is increasingly openly hostile to orthodox expressions of the Christian faith with that faith in tact. Thanks for reading and congratulations to the graduates!

Pushing through the Pain

Although the number of years between now and then is getting larger all the time, I still remember my first few days at college. I don’t remember every single detail, but I remember some key events and the way I felt during the week. I was excited like any incoming freshman is, but mostly I remember wondering what I was supposed to do now. Fortunately, I met some really great people early on and made some connections that are still paying dividends. 

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Digging in Deeper: Romans 3:9-10

“What then? Are we any better off? Not at all! For we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin, as it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There is a difference between encouragement and reality. They may point in the same direction, but they are not the same. Given that, which is better? Is it better to offer encouragement that deviates from reality, or to simply drop reality on the table and let it be what it is? I guess the answer to that depends on who’s being asked. Some people would rather wave away reality and find some bright side to their situation even if it isn’t truly real, while other folks just want the unvarnished truth and they’ll figure out how to deal with it later. Why am I thinking about this kind of thing this morning? Because we are entering graduation season. Let’s talk about it.

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God’s Got You

This past Sunday was Graduate Recognition Sunday. From preschool to masters degree, we recognized and celebrate our many students and the grand things they have accomplished. Then, when it came time for the sermon, I offered the following as a challenge and encouragement. Thanks for reading.

God’s Got You

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike?  I actually still do.  For whatever reason that particular day is seared in my memory.  If you think about it, other than walking, learning to ride a bike is one of the most significant accomplishments a kid can achieve.  The reason is freedom.  There’s something about being on a bike that brings a sense of freedom few other things allow.  As you push the pedals with your own two feet, you are able to power yourself to go anywhere.  You don’t have to rely on your parents to get you there—within reason anyway.  And when you’re pedaling away, with the air rushing past you, you can feel yourself moving.  With every push of your legs, you are moving yourself more and more in some direction.  Even if it’s just to the end of the neighborhood, you’ve gotten there.  All by yourself. 

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The One Thing

This Sunday I focused my attention specifically on the graduates we were honoring.  If you’ve got a graduate in your life, this is a great message to share with them.  Even if you’re not a graduate, though, this is a message you need to hear.  In what follows I offer an answer to the question of how we can be prepared to give a reason for the hope we have in an increasingly non-Christian context.  Thanks for reading.

The One Thing

I don’t know about you, but new things always make me at least a little bit nervous.  I thrive in environments that are stable and consistent.  I can tolerate a little bit of change…a very little bit of change…but it’s got to be within preset limits.  Beyond that, I’m outside my comfort zone.  Perhaps the most nervous I have gotten at various points in my life is when I have started a new job.  I remember starting work at OfficeMax in seminary.  The first week was nice because I got to sit in the back office and take training courses on the computer.  They were functionally meaningless since I didn’t remember any of them once I left the room and in any event I learned everything I needed to know while I was actually doing it, but I did get to spend the whole first week hiding out.  Once I hit the floor, that’s when things got scary. Read the rest…