Why I got rid of my iPhone

A lot of people have been asking me why I ditched my iPhone and returned to a $15 dumb flip phone.

Basically, I got tired of staring at my phone all the time.

So you don’t like “The Message” Bible? I hope it’s not because…

OK, so I’ll confess…I don’t blog much.  I tend to only jump on here if I’ve got something to say.  And I do today…

So our morning show does a daily morning feature called “Moment From The Message,” in which the hosts will read a few verses from The Message translation of the Bible (yes, it actually is a translation, albeit a different kind) and discuss how it impacts them or how a listener might apply this to  his or her life.


This is probably the segment of the day from which we get the most positive response from listeners.  It airs at 6:30 and 8:30 a.m. weekdays, so people are always telling us it helps them start their day with this “nugget” of devotion to God.  As with anything in media, we also get negative response.

A lot of people don’t like The Message.  Clearly.  And I get that.  There are a still a lot of “King James Only” type people out there, and if that’s you, cool.  Some people just prefer NIV, ESV, NASB, NLT, or any selection from a host of other translations.  And some question Eugene Peterson’s supposed soft translation technique on homosexuality.  Again, totally cool with that.

But here’s the one complaint we get very often that I just think is so tragic, because you can tell the spirit from which the complaint resonates.

“I don’t like the Message because I can’t even recognize what scripture you’re referring to when you read it.”  

I think this feedback is tragic because if we’re not careful, I fully believe that we can turn our knowledge about the Bible into our functioning God.  It’s possible to assume confidence not in God himself, but in what we can know about God.  And this is absolutely tragic.  So some listeners may complain about the version of the Bible we’re using, simply because they “don’t know it,” while totally ignoring the spirit of the passage, or heaven forbid, opening their ears to hear the Word of the Lord in a slightly different way.  Today, that spirit was Jesus inviting the people into his rest, gentleness, and humility in Matthew 11, which ironically, sparked at least one complaint.

If you don’t like The Message, again… I’m totally cool with that.  I don’t like it all the time.  Even Eugene Peterson has said, “When I’m in a congregation where somebody uses [The Message] in the Scripture reading, it makes me a little uneasy. I would never recommend it be used as saying, “Hear the Word of God from The Message.” But it surprises me how many do.”

Friends, let’s try to live this verse.  (And I’ll even give it to you in NIV)..

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12


There has to be a reason

You know that passage in Romans where Paul says he doesn’t do what he wants to do (in other words, he sins even though he doesn’t want to), and he basically explains that he wants to do good, but he can’t carry it out.  (Romans 7:14-20)

I think the bad part is, we just read that and take the wrong message from it.  I know I’ve read this and often thought, “Well, good.  That’s the Apostle Paul who wrote a ton of the Bible, so if he struggles with sin, then I don’t feel as bad about myself.”

I don’t think that’s the point, though.

I’m reading a book called “One.Life” by Scot McKnight and I’d like to share a few questions he poses that probably amplify what this thing is all about.

I don’t know about you, but I can really relate to the part in bold below.

Why do we want what we know is best,
what is good, what is loving,
what is peaceful, what is just
and what is wise…
but can’t find the energy, the resources, the willpower,
or the ability to live them out on a day-to-day basis?
Why are you holding back?
What are you holding back?

Reading about this today, thought I’d share.

Hi friends.  Ever read these words of Jesus?


“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. – John 15:18-20

Yea, and ((((all))))) that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. – 2 Tim 3:12
I just sort of randomly visited the website persecution.org this morning as I was drinking my first cup of decaf (lame, I know) for the day and watched the first video on the page, called “Your Bridge to the Persecuted Church.”  If you care to do so as well, here it is…
I have seen this website around in various places, but never really stopped to look at it.  A couple years ago, I was listening to a sermon by Jim Nicodem, pastor of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL and he said that he goes on this website either every day or every Sunday before he preaches.  The site is dedicated to awareness of and helping Christians around the world being persecuted.
 The second time I heard about this website (and organization) was in reading the book “Radical,” by David Platt and it challenged me to become a Christian who cares about all nations.
Some questions that came to mind as I read this.  No need to make a comment (unless you want to), but just things to think about and maybe actually (gasp) apply to our lives and checkbooks.
– What emotions, ideas, thoughts come to mind to us as we read these verses and watch this video?
– Go to this site and see the 6 major areas where this organization provides assistance.  Do any of these areas stick out…?  Would you be more passionate about helping one area than another?
– Do ((((we)))) really suffer any kind of persecution at all?

Heaven and eternity, and stuff

My wife and I were talking today about the concept of eternity and heaven, and how it’s kind of…well…scary sometimes.

Here’s what I was thinking…it is kind of scary…and I think the main reason is that we don’t actually know what to expect.  And while we’ll never truly know what to expect as eternity rolls on, I think it’s a pretty good idea for us pay attention to this.  Here’s why.

I think there’s a real danger that we could ignore ideas about eternity and heaven simply because it scares us a bit.
 In this ignorance, we might be tempted to focus too much on our earthly surroundings, which then causes us to be deceived or preoccupied in regards to what life is really about.  Does this make sense?
I just finished listening to a very relevant and encouraging, thought-provoking, clarifying message series on this issue from Cross Point Church in Nashville.  It’s all about Heaven and what the Bible actually says about it.  It helped clarify some thoughts on what Heaven is and more importantly, what it ISN’T.  (That’s what the series did for me).
Definitely worth the time invested.  After all, we’ve got a lot of time in the big scope, right?

One of my favorite prayers

I was just sharing this prayer with my wife.  It’s one I keep in my iPhone as I feel the words are so meaningful.  And, as confession is such a necessary part of each Christian’s life, especially my own…it’s handy to have around.

Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and
too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our
hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image, through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.

From the PCUSA Book of Common Worship
Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1993; p. 88

Thinking cap

So I recently said something on the radio about how we should be members of our local church who serve  and not just consume.

Well, a young man (junior higher) called after that to ask what I meant because he heard at his youth group last night that Jesus calls us to serve “to the ends of the earth.”

I explained the whole concept of “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth” concept about how we should take God’s word everywhere, not necessarily one place to the exclusion of the other.  It made sense to him.

I love it when people listen with their thinking caps on, especially young adults.  That is pretty cool.  Thanks for calling, my friend.