Allow me to paint a picture for you:
I knew a man in my old neighborhood. He was an old leathery-faced balding biker with facial tattoos. He was the kind of guy that when you saw him, and his scowl heading in your direction, you thought about crossing the street, just in case. I met him at my old church’s neighborhood food pantry. Once you got to know him, you found out his wasn’t that bad. He was headstrong and had a temper sometimes, but he could also be quite sweet in some ways. He was also drunk or high around us too many of those times to count.
Including on Sundays.
Continue reading “The CHF Articles: Secure In His Righteousness”
Yesterday, I went for a walk during lunch.
This walk took me places I hadn’t been in a long time. Working near your childhood home will afford you that luxury. As I passed buildings, new and old, it reminded me of my youth and how my friends and I ruled this kingdom by walking its borders, pushing the boundaries of our land further out as we got older. There was a time when I felt like I knew every nook and cranny of this familiar landscape. I knew every escape route to safely excavate ourselves from the looming judgment of any disapproving adults ready to pounce on our fun. There were tiny pockets of “forests” in this concrete jungle, that gave us enough of an illusion that a jungle existed here, perfect for a rousing game of manhunt. Continue reading “Simple Nostalgia”
Early on in my Christian walk, I was told exposing your sin is the only way it could be robbed of its power over you. So I did it. I told people. Lots of people. It was hard, and it hurt, and it was tough on my family, especially my wife. When the smoke cleared, I didn’t feel better, or freer, or more holy. The only thing I knew now was the people knew what a horrible sinner I was, and after the initial pats on the back, it seemed as if I hadn’t said a word. Continue reading “We Sin. God Forgives. Grace Reigns.”
I don’t remember the first time I heard the gospel, but I do remember the first time I began to understand it. It wasn’t during a revival meeting, a church function, in an accountability group, or anything like that. It was at home, and I was dealing with exposed sin in my life. In that moment, I felt as beat up as anyone could. Then, something struck me for the first time, and it sounded like:
Snip… Snip… Snip…
Like scissors cutting away strings from a puppet’s limbs, one by one, the strings fell from the handle as they were cut away:
Continue reading “The CHF Articles: The Gospel: No Strings Attached”
In light of everything else written in the New Testament Epistles about the life of the Christian, God immediately smacking down the hand of justice upon Ananias and Sapphira for their lack of moral character, seems dubious. Now, numerous Old Testament passages appear to show God routinely punishing His people for rebellion and sin. Of course a closer look shows us a God who regularly held back punishment, putting up with much before finally bringing correction. So why were these two in the book of Acts so quickly dealt with? To be honest, I’m not sure. Some scholars have speculated at whether or not they were true believers, and others state that at such an early time in the development of the church where the Spirit was present in the community, it was important to deal with any issues of distrust and disunity immediately, and that was what God did with Anaias and Sapphira. Continue reading “What Killed Ananias & Sapphira?”
*This was written last winter, but it still applies… I hope you enjoy it.
While in the midst of cursing this winter that never seems to end, I was confronted in my mind with a particular insight as I watched the snow come down this morning. As snowfalls go, this has been one of my favorites. The giant drifting snowflakes gently coming down remind me of the manna falling from heaven to feed God’s own people. The flakes so large, look as if they’re of a greater, tangible substance and not just water that melts away in the warmth of your hands. There’s no wind blowing violently to turn it into an icy sheet and the weather is just warm enough for you to stand outside and enjoy it without having to rush back in. This is the kind of snow you want to see on Christmas Eve. It is “Postcard Perfect” in the way it falls and in the way it lies on ground before people go about the business of brushing it all aside. Continue reading “A New Snow, A Saving Grace*”
We’d like to think sin is hidden away where no one can see it, but it’s not. It’s not simply done in the darkness that comes with the night, but in the darkness of our hearts and minds in the middle of the day. There are days that I walk oblivious to it all. Not paying attention to my surroundings. There are other days, where the darkness screams out at me from others all around. It’s not my judgement of them, but what I so acutely recognize of myself in what I see. I see the hiddenness of sin with a foothold in the daylight. I see what was once hidden away now embraced by a world tainted by the thistles and thorns of hell. Continue reading “On The Edge Of Sin”
I apologize to you, all the people of the world.
I apologize for my part in making Christmas necessary. I have learned that Christ is NOT the reason for the season, I am. It’s true. All the sin and shame I bear for all my wrongdoings have made it a necessity for Christ to come in the form of a man, being born of a virgin. Right from my birth, scarred with a heart that needed cleansing, my very existence meant that a sacrifice would be needed on my behalf.
Continue reading “The CHF Articles: I Am The Reason For The Season”
What was your reaction to The Gospel when you first heard it? I mean, REALLY heard it and grasped it? When did you realize forgiveness was not just some abstract thought or idea Christians talked about, but came to understand that it was real, it was true, and it was very personally for you? Continue reading “The Gospel and White Noise”
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. -Psalm 1
Is it really that simple? I know the running joke in Sunday school is that the answer is always Jesus, but sometimes it really is! Continue reading “That’s Jesus?!? (Psalm 1)”