From the blog this week: Advent: Focusing Our Hearts on Christ
“Religion is the number one substitute for genuine faith. Religion convinces you that you are worthy and gives you a list of things to make yourself more worthy.
Religious people would rather have a religion that just teaches us to live a good life, to be a social activist, to be generous, to be a better you, to live strong. So far as Christianity has gone mainstream, people have corrupted it to say just that. The details change from generation to generation, but our tendency to water down the gospel never does.
But ‘being good’ isn’t the gospel. The gospel is that we are God’s enemies. All our best deeds are a filthy rag. We don’t need to be a better us. We need a new us.”
“Suddenly the whole world is talking about Christian missions. In his own way, John Allen Chau has sparked a conversation that now rages within the church and outside of it. I’ve spent the past week gathering my thoughts about his situation, and would like to offer a few points I hope you find helpful.”
“There aren’t enough songs for sad Christians. I realize most people like to pretend that ‘sad Christian’ is a category that shouldn’t exist, but it does. Have you read the Psalms?
Too many of our songs today sound overly triumphalist. We only experience “victory” now. We only see ‘freedom’ and ‘joy’ now. We do experience victory, joy, and freedom in this life, but it is in part and it is not the whole story. Joy in this life is mixed with pain. Victory comes along with ample helpings of defeat. We experience freedom, but now we also feel the sting of our own sin.”
“At the heart of Christmas is a biological and theological miracle that requires supernatural faith. Skeptics scoff at the notion of God conceiving a child in a virgin’s womb, calling it a biological impossibility and dismissing it as mere legend. Believers will recognize that only a sinless human being could save humans by dying for them, and that such a sinless human being could only be conceived by God himself.”
“Sometimes, I need the story to correct me. That’s what Psalm 127 does. It doesn’t let me long for what could’ve been, but rather live wholly—and trustingly—in what is.”