From the monthly archives:

May 2009

  • Define a “personal relationship with Jesus” by whether you go to church or engage in religious rituals.
  • Adopt the following statement as true, “The primary goal in my Christian life is to be happy.”
  • Teach your children by example that being a Christian does not mean that your family changes priorities, especially concerning lifestyle, sacrifice, and time commitments.
  • Live with a strong belief in relative truth.  That is to say, truth that is defined differently depending on the circumstances.

If you follow the previous tenants, others will never accuse you of being a religious fanatic, bible thumper, fundamentalist, or closed-minded and dangerous zealot.  You will also be considered “progressive” and pitied by the society.  Your children will benefit too … they will never be engaged enough in Christianity to be considered weird and will never be accused of bigotry or racism by the radical elements of society.

In other words, it’s a “win/win” for you and your family.  Everyone will like you, you will not be forced by biblical thinking to really do anything, you can still pray to God without being convicted to change, and people will think you’re a really nice person, though misguided and simple-minded.

Most reading this would never make the willful choice to do these things.  Few would take them seriously and would reject them outright.  The problem is “the proof is in the pudding” or to put it biblically “we reap whatever seed we sow.” George Barna provides the following stats that tell what most American Christians have really believed over the past 3 generations because of the “fruit” now being produced in 18-25 year old young adults.  Eighty-six percent of the young adults polled said they were “committed Christians” with 34% describing themselves as born again.  Seven out of 10 were engaged in some church related activity in a typical week.  In other words, these are the young adults who are the next generation to lead the church.

Here is what the research found:

  • Two out of three (65%) said the Devil is not a living being but is “a symbol of evil.”
  • Three out of five teens (61%) agreed with the statement, “If a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others, they will earn a place in heaven.”
  • More than half said that Jesus committed sins while He was on the earth.
  • Thirty percent believe that all religions pray to the same God but use different names.
  • Only 9% of born-again teens believe in moral absolutes.

This past Sunday, one of our young adults described to me how the previous night he went to a friend’s apartment.  On the sofa was a young man giving free tattoos to “whosoever would come” while another group was surrounding a hookah (think water bong).  The scene was surreal, to say the least, and surprising to my young friend … but not particularly shocking.  These were Christians, by the way, who the next morning found their way to the church of their choice.

Most reading this are more righteously offended by the scene described than convicted that the American church these kids have grown up in has allowed them to be so calloused that they do not recognize a lifestyle so far removed from godly living. It will take humility to change that mindset.

This past Sunday I preached from John 15 and how “abiding in the vine” demands that we develop a biblical mindset concerning our lifestyle.   The little book of 1John:15-17 says,
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world-wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important-has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out-but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” The Message

You cannot read those words without considering all of the toys and trinkets we live with that rob us of a deeper walk with Jesus.  The generation we are raising deserves that we example a more biblical as opposed to hypocritical lifestyle.  I want to be done with Christianity that does not change me.  I want to know, on a daily basis, the transformation in lifestyle that Romans 12:2 promises to those who take in God’s Word.

How about you?

This week, change, friend.  Change your mind, change your direction, and change your heart about what is really important.  Remember, where your treasure is, that is where your heart will be also.

Maranatha, the Lord comes!

P.S.  Please pray for me and the team as we teach in Kerala, India over the next 2 weeks.


Some of Jesus’ most devoted servants and friends were ladies who followed and obeyed Him. Two of them were sisters, Mary and Martha, who learned many lessons from walking with the Master. This story is about one of the most important lessons they learned.

“Mary! Mary! Where are you? My goodness, you are never where you should be. I need your help!” Mary and Martha were sisters who were quite different in almost every way. Martha was a doer and Mary was a dreamer. “Always dreaming,” Martha would say, “never doing.”

But one thing they had in common. No one knew of two sisters who loved each other more. And even though they were different, one wonderful thing was the same. Bot of them love Jesus above all else.

Mary was daydreaming under the big tree that gave shade to the livestock pen in the back of their home. She knew that her chores needed to be done, but it seemed like such a fine day just to dream. “Oh, Mary! There you are. Jesus is coming to our house this afternoon! So hurry and come in; there is much to do.”

Mary began helping to prepare the most wonderful meal imaginable for their friend, Jesus. But as the time for Jesus to arrive drew closer, Martha’s excitement turned to worry.

“What if Jesus doesn’t like our stew? And just look at our little home! It will never hold all of our friends!”

Mary tried to quiet her older sister’s fears as best she could. “Now, Martha, you know that Jesus is coming to see us, not our home! And don’t you remember that he told you how much He enjoyed your cooking? You just wait until He tastes your stew. It will be the best He has ever had!”

But nothing seemed to calm Martha’s fears. By the time Jesus arrived, Martha was more anxious than ever. She so wanted to make a good impression.

Jesus was all smiles and laughter as He entered the home. “Oh, Martha! I could smeIl your cooking all the way from the street! And your home is so fuIl of love. I am so glad to be here.” But Martha was too busy and too nervous to even hear what Jesus was saying.

Jesus sat down as all of the villagers gathered to listen to Him talk. Mary found a spot right in front where she could hear every word that Jesus said. Martha, though, was too busy trying to serve everyone to notice that Jesus was telling His stories. Poor Martha hustled and bustled to and from the kitchen in a tizzy, trying to impress all the guests.

But as she rushed from the kitchen with yet another pitcher of cool water, her foot slipped and the pitcher crashed to the floor. And the first one to help clean up was Jesus.

He knelt down next to Martha, whose tears were now mixing with the water on the floor. Such compassion He always had!

“Jesus, I am so sorry that I ruined Your day. If my sister, Mary; would help more, none of this would have happened.”

Jesus was very quiet for a moment, as if He had something very important to say but did not want to hurt Martha’s already wounded heart. After everything had been cleaned up, He and Martha were alone in the little kitchen.

“Martha, I know how hard you are trying to make everything nice for Me, but you need to learn an important lesson from your sister. You have been worried and troubled about many things, but only one thing is needed. The only thing that is really important is for you to enjoy being with Me as much as I enjoy being with you. So come in with Mary and sit by Me as I talk about My Father’s kingdom.”

Martha understood. All the work of getting ready for Jesus was good, but Mary knew when to stop and just be with Jesus. After all, the greatest privilege we have is to spend time with Him!