Five for Friday (1.30.15)

5Happy Friday everyone! May your weekend be warm(er) and sunny! Here are five articles to keep you thinking through the weekend.

“American Sniper” and the Christian Worldview – solid article about the movie everyone is talking about!

‘Christian Cleavage’ Probably Isn’t the Problem – great article on modesty and the church.

Why All Comparisons Are Bad and How to Avoid Them – this sets up perfectly the new series we’re starting Sunday!

For Years I Pleaded With God to Make Me Straight, So Why Did My Prayers Go Unanswered? – powerful testimony from someone that grew up with same-sex attractions.

Creative Ways to Finance a Church Facility – This is the article I referenced at Wednesday night’s Conversation about Mosaic Church in Little Rock. They’re doing great work!

Five for Friday (1.22.15)

5Happy Friday! Keep reading, keep learning, keep growing.

In a TV World, NFL is King – a strong commentary on our devotion to the NFL and how Christians can redeem it.

“Dad, Look!” When Your Kids Invite You Into Their World – so true! Must read for all parents with young kids.

Fisherman That Don’t Fish – a stirring parable for those who claim to follow Jesus.

5 Things Minecraft Teaches Kids – A good article about the video game that has taken over our world.

10 Things You Can Do to Experience Financial Freedom in 2015 – great advice here!

Five for Friday (1.16.15)

5Happy Friday everyone!

Public Schools Aren’t the Enemy – As a kid who grew up going to public schools, I love this!

A Caution for Believers in 2015 – Good words of advice as we start 2015.

Discretion, Free Speech, and ‘Charlie Hebdo’ – a needed perspective on this volatile subject

3 Signs Your Ego is Making Your Decisions – good word!

Yosemite Fee Climbers Reach the Top of El Capitan – I shared this link in an earlier post, but it’s worth reading again. Human achievement worth celebrating!

The Most Impressive Thing About the Yosemite Climbers

El Capitan stands as a granite monolith that dominates the beautiful Yosemite Valley. As a kid growing up in California, a trip to Yosemite and El Capitan was a regular occurrence. I remember sitting in the lush green grass of the valley, staring up at the overwhelming edifice of El Capitan, watching climbers scurry back and forth like ants on an oak tree.

1.15.15

This morning we all woke with the news that two climbers scaled the face of the imposing El Capitan over the course of nineteen arduous days. The fact that they did the entire thing in a ‘free-climb,’ meaning they didn’t use ropes or climbing aids that are considered essential to make it to the top is what has lit up the climbing world. The congratulatory tweet from President Obama is well deserved.

But when I read the article this morning, here was the most impressive thing: the determination. One of the climbers, Kevin Jorgeson, came to a particularly difficult stretch of the granite wall. Without climbing aids, getting past it is practically impossible. He tried it. And failed. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And then he got it. He failed (and fell) eleven times over seven days. He came close to quitting, but he didn’t. His friend who chose a different route and could have finished six days ahead, waited a week for his friend to conquer his giant. That’s what was most impressive to me.

The free-climbing success of Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell isn’t just a story of skill. It’s a story of determination, the power of friendship, and what happens when you don’t give up. Come on now, that will preach! That’s what we need more of in our world today.

Five for Friday (1.9.15)

5Happy Friday everyone! Here are five stimulating articles to keep you thinking through the weekend. Go to church somewhere! Be part of community!

5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit About the Bible – Thought-provoking. Great read!

8 Ways to Stop Human Trafficking in Our Own Backyard – great thoughts if you want to join the fight.

Stuart Scott on the Beauty of Community – The world lost an incredible sportscaster this week. Here’s a great quote from his life.

5 Things We (Millennials) Need to Hear at Church – Great words for anyone reaching the next generation!

News Weak - A great rebuttal to the hack n slash article on the Bible printed in Newsweek recently.

Five for Friday (12.12.14)

5Have a great Friday. Never stop learning!

Dealing with the Santa Claus Dilemma – great advice for parents of young kids.

20 Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Church in America – so true!!!

10 Words of Advice From a First-Time Guest – Good stuff here!

To the Mom in Need of Grace . . . – Read this moms!

Nine Ways to Pray for Church Leaders – please read and pray!

The iPhone Proves (To Me) There is a Creator

The most amazing thing happened to me the other day. I was walking through the woods, miles from civilization. In the vast expanse of wilderness I came across one of the new iPhone 6 Plus devices that are all the rage. It was incredibly immaculate, beautifully designed, flawless in function. Here’s my conclusion: this iPhone was created by a happenstance of molecules bumping into each other, a random combustion of millions of improbable probabilities that resulted in a wonderfully complex piece of machinery. It spontaneously formed on its own.

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Now I could scream from the mountaintops that this iPhone self-created, but the rest of humanity would know different. Apple makes iPhones. There is a creator behind the beautifully designed, incredibly complex phone enjoyed by millions. We can’t comprehend in our minds the possibility that something as complex as an iPhone being the result of random molecules bumping into each other. A creation that complex obviously has a creator.

As silly as it would be to make the assertion that my iPhone was a random combustion of trillions of molecules, many make that same assertion when it comes to Creation itself. And yet this claim is even more far-fetched, because Creation is so much more infinitely complex. Try and comprehend the width and breath of the universe; how the earth is the exact distance it needs to be from the sun and is tilted at the exact angle needed to sustain life; how our atmosphere is made up of exactly the right composition of gases and molecules needed for humans to live, something not found on any other planet to date; how incredibly complex and interconnected our ecosystem is; how extravagantly designed the human body is; how you have a mind and conscience (something science has yet to fully explain) to even comprehend this blog post. Creation is so much more infinitely complex than an iPhone. Something this complex was designed by a Creator. We call him God.

Some will always argue that we’re nothing more than a random explosion of molecules, but to me, that takes a much bigger leap of faith than a claim that an iPhone self-created. For me, the simplest and most logical conclusion is that we were created by Intelligent Design. We were created by God.

5 Things I’ve Learned After 500 Posts

Yesterday’s post was my official 500th blog post. That’s over two years of writing. I thought I’d take a moment to pause and process some things I’ve learned after 500 posts:

500

 

1. Dreaming of a blog is easy. Writing a blog is difficult. I’ve dreamt for years about the possibility of writing a blog. In my visions of grandeur, the writing was easy, conversation generating, and of course, heavily trafficked. And then I actually started it. All my great ideas dried up in two weeks, but I had still committed myself to write. Writing is one part creativity and inspiration and four parts discipline and hard work.

2. You never know which blog will go viral. This continues to surprise me. I’ll work on a particular blog, knowing for certain that it will take off and go viral. I’ll spend extra time to word smith and polish for when a major news outlet picks it up. Those blog posts tend to bomb. And then every once awhile, one will take off and go viral. It will get hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of hits. It’s usually never the ones I’d expect. That’s why the discipline of writing everyday is so important. You never know which blog post will go viral.

3. Anger is easy. Hope is hard. I made a conscious choice early on to avoid the angry rants that can too easily fill up a Facebook newsfeed and reinforce the negative stereotype of the judgmental evangelical. After 500 blog posts, I now see why so many blogs and Facebook rants are angry: anger is easy. It’s simple. It’s can be devoid of actual facts. Hope, on the other hand, is hard. It takes focus. It takes effort to see the silver lining through all the clouds. But more than anything I want my blog to offer hope. So I do things the hard way.

4. Sometimes I wonder if it’s making an impact. There’s honestly seasons where I just write and write with little to no feedback. Am I making a difference? Am I actually helping people, inspiring people, or simply clogging up the internet with another useless blog? It’s in those moments that God usually steers someone my way. Recently I walked into my local cell phone provider’s store and the sales associate who helped me shared how it was crazy he saw me that day because just yesterday his wife emailed him my blog post from the previous day for them to discuss together. Moments like that remind me that it’s making a difference.

5. At the end of the day, I’ve loved it. Countless hours have been put into this blog. I’ve yet to make a penny off of it (some people actually make their living off of a blog. Pipe dream!) At the end of the day I love writing this blog for two reasons: I’m continually learning new things as I teach others and I’m helping people. It’s made me a better person and a better pastor.

To all of you who are reading this, thank you! Here’s looking forward to the next 500 blogs!

* (Technically this post is #501, so only 499 to go!)

Five for Friday (11.14.14)

five red buttonHave a great weekend! #HailState

7 Truths About Marriage You Won’t Hear in Church – Harsh but true words about marriage!

10 Reasons Why Friends and Family Struggle to Believe the Gospel – This may help explain your frustration in witnessing.

Why Mississippi Hates Washington – This hits a little close to home, but helps explain the culture I live in.

Altar Calls: Are They a Biblical Approach? – This helps explain why we don’t do altar calls at Mt Vernon Church.

Why I Don’t Endorse Candidates From the Pulpit – My thoughts exactly.