Worthwhile August 9, 2019

What’s up?! It’s Friday and for some of us the last weekend before the new school year starts. Which means an end to the adventures of summer and the return to routine, kids at school and plenty of things to pull at our attention spans. I like routine, so the new schedule and three kids at school at the same time each day is enticing.

So what should you consume on this potentially last weekend of the summer? Here are a few options. Tailored to my preferences of course.


Killing your silly dreams.

I came of ministry age in an environment of visioneering. “God-sized” dreams that outpaced everything that has come before. Innovation for its own sake… so imagine my dismay when I read the requirements for elders in 1 Peter calling us to “shepherd the flock that is among you.” Wait, I want to shepherd the flock I design, I dream about.

Detrich Bonhoeffer in Life Together challenges us to kill our “wish dream,” and instead find gratitude for what God has given you in the midst of where you are. So kids, kill those dreams.

Chase Replogle shares his story and how Bonhoeffer wrecked him. Check it out on Christianity Today.


Sam Storms has a new book about speaking in tongues and while this can be a controversial topic, at least one that makes many people uncomfortable, there is much to learn from this scholar/pastor.

He was recently interviewed by Pneuma Today and shared that piece on his blog.

While you may not be convinced by one interview you will certainly be enlightened.

Praying in tongues enables us to bring our requests to God when we’ve run out of things to say. We are finite. Our minds eventually go dry and empty. But praying in tongues is the way in which the Spirit can articulate our prayers to the Father when we feel inadequate to do so. Also, tongues is a way in which we can sing our praises to God (1 Cor. 14:15) as well as give thanks to him (1 Cor. 14:16). 

Read the whole interview here.


Finally, I have long been a fan of Malcolm Gladwell and his inquisitive thinking. I tend to learn a lot from him in just asking the right questions of things. His podcast, Revisionist History is no exception.

Last week’s episode not only educated me on a couple of police-involved shootings, but also stirred some thinking about “disordered attachments.” Important stuff for us to think through, especially given our current political climate.

Listen to the episode here and think about subscribing. Warning: the topic is shootings so there are some hard moments of the story of one man being gunned down and why he was.


That’s it for this week. Live long and prosper, or at least take a nap. See you on the other side.

A Culture of Confession

“But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. “My son, give me thing heart” (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to go on lying to yourself and your brother, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Confession and Communion in Life Together.

We have spent so much time in religion demanding behavior that the end has been a lack of transparency and a guarding of our true selves from our community. Growing out of that is a lack of Christian community; community based on mutual confession and clinging to the cross of Christ. We become, rather unintentionally, self-righteous in our good works and modified behavior which is in itself, no righteousness at all. Have we lost our call to repentance; the continual call of the life of a believer? To regain that, we will confess to one another. Not in some glory seeking way but earnestly among brothers that we might experience the grace of forgiveness as reveal through the body of Christ.

“He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone.” This is how Bonhoeffer begins his chapter on Confession and it is true. Christian community is not surprised by the gravity of sin because we know the gravity of the cross. An ounce of repentance and confession in our churches will bring such a flow of grace that we will speak of it as revival. Shall we be about it?

From the phraseological to the real

Every Tuesday morning at 6:30am our young adult ministry hosts a group called Theological Life. We discuss theological ideas and think through how they inform our lives. We have just started our fall session and are embarking on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. This is from the introduction:

(Bonhoeffer’s writings were characterized by) “an insistent realism, a ‘turning away from the phraseological to the real,’ for him Christianity could never be merely intellectual theory, doctrine divorced from life, or mystical emotion, but always must be responsible, obedient action, the discipleship of Christ in every situation of concrete everyday life, personal and public.”

This truth was big in the life and ministry of Bonhoeffer and it should be for us as well. It is far too easy to get the intellectual depth of understanding or the emotional surge of church environments but not allow it to drive the real, the everyday life.

I talk about the gospel a lot. I attempt to unpack it in different ways so those around me won’t think I am just on a phraselogical kick. I just don’t see anything else we are called to proclaim. But should I let the proclamation neglect the life I am in danger. Grace is a gift to be experienced and acted upon in every nook and cranny of your life. Christian, turn away for the worry of using the right words or only checking an intellectual box; let the truth of Christ define and drive every situation of everyday life.

The Insanity of Redemption

This last week I came across a quote that sums up a consistent argument against Christianity.

“The insanity of the Christian doctrine of redemption really doesn’t fit at all into our time. Nevertheless there are learned, educated men, occupying high positions in public life, who cling to it with the faith of a child. It is simply incomprehensible how anybody can consider the Christian doctrine of redemption as a guide for the difficult in life of today… A church that does not keep step with the modern scientific community is doomed. It may take quite a while, but it is bound to finally happen.”

The author goes on to belittle members of the clergy for being ignorant and essentially believes that Christianity is not compatible with modern society and thinking. Certainly this is a statement that you could hear on the streets of Portland or in the classrooms of our schools and it is not a new idea. But this quote is not from an academic or your neighbor. This is from the personal diary of Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda director and a central figure in the rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s.

As I read Eric Metaxas’ Bonhoeffer I am fascinated by the way in which the German church shifted its theology to match the philosophy of the National Socialists. It is an important lesson in maintaining clear, Biblical theology in the face of popular opinion or “new” ideas. Today we may not have Nazi influence but there certainly are movements that challenge the tenets of denominations, think of those that have shifted in the past decade over cultural issues no longer held as important.

History reminds us over and over to stick with scripture and to trust in grace alone but too often we are swayed by slick speaking and things of a “tolerant” or a “generous” philosophy. Should we determine to be more about the cross and Christ as the only way to the father? I think so.