Unless you have lived under a social media rock, then its pretty easy to see that the church and our culture have clashed over the issue of gay marriage this week. I think that every other post on Facebook for the last 5 days has either been a picture of an equal sign, a rant about gay marriage, or a post poking fun at the situation.

I feel like supporters of gay marriage have been extremely aggressive and hostile this week. Those who disagree with their stance deserve no tolerance. In one conversation I had earlier this week I was told that “intolerance will not be tolerated”. The church has been vilified this week, we have been painted as hateful bigots, and the Bible, the base of our belief has been attacked. We have been labeled as the enemy.

This is not the first, nor the last time that the church and society’s views and values have or will clash, we have to learn how to respond to society in an appropriate way. The people of the secular society are not our enemy, so the key is not to fight with people. It’s to love them all the way back home. I’ve come up with a few things that I believe need to happen in the church so we can live out God’s call to take the gospel to the prodigal.

1. The unneeded division in the church has to die.

Here in Texas I’ve noticed a strange habit among believers that I personally have been extremely guilty of in the past. I feel that God has hammered me over this and brought me to repentance, we like to compare denominations, worship styles, and preachers, and then we talk about what is wrong with every single one of them. While there are some things that every Christian should have in common (Christ as our source of salvation, Jesus’ divinity, Biblical infallibility etc.) there are other arguments that have to die.

As Bible Belt church members we enjoy debating over music styles, Bible translations, the way we dress in church, and whether or not drinking beer is sinful. If you are a hardcore church attender you get together and debate about Calvinism or Armenian theology (predestination or free will). We group together by denominations and refrain from contact with any other believer who expresses their adoration for the same Jesus in a different way than we do. If we do come together we debate doctrine that has little to do with the rest of the Bible. In the end, after all of these debates, nobody has been brought closer to Jesus and we have done nothing more than ignore those who are far from Jesus.

If we want to see Jesus Christ made famous and the church restored to health, we have got to start coming together as a body. We cannot compromise our beliefs about salvation, and the cross, but we can agree to disagree on if we should use an organ, read from the NIV or ESV, and if preachers should wear a robe, suit or jeans. These things really don’t matter.

A kingdom divided against itself can’t stand, when I think of the American church, I think of a divided kingdom. This has to change. Lets quit debating about things that don’t matter and come together to worship the only King who does matter.

2. We need to take Jesus seriously.

With the sadness that exists in this world, be it racism, homelessness, abortion, and especially the huge amount of people who will be spending eternity in Hell if they don’t come to know Jesus Christ, its sad and peculiar how easy it is for us to wake up, go to school or work, come home and watch television, and continue on with our lives. Maybe our lack of action says more about our beliefs than our church attendance, Facebook statuses, and Christian t-shirts ever could. Maybe our lack of action says that we don’t really believe any of this at all.

I recently talked to a friend who runs sober houses for people who are trying to end drug and alcohol addictions, at this sober house they also share the gospel with these people. He told me about a family vacation that he had taken to Florida where they met a man who was an addict, loaded him onto their family van, and drove him back to Fort Worth so that he could get off of drugs. Upon returning they found that this gentleman was hostile to the gospel. While I talked to my friend about this whole situation, he seemed legitimately stoked that this was all going on and understood that there would be baby steps towards this man’s salvation. That’s what Christianity would look like if we really believed this whole thing. In the next conversation I had with him he asked if Lyndsi and I would want to come feed and pray with homeless people with him and his wife on the streets of Fort Worth sometime soon. I’m planning on taking him up on this offer.

If we really believe that Jesus who is fully God gave everything He gave for us, then we have no right to hold onto anything for ourselves. Our life belongs to Him and He wants to use it to reach His lost children. This is not a part time job or a hobby. Its a sold out, serious, life shattering commitment.

If we want to see the morality of this nation restored we’ve got to live like we believe that this whole thing is real. The last thing that the church needs is complacent, fake, political Christians who attend church with the sole intention of boosting their political credibility, making friends whose kids don’t cuss, or to debate secondary issues. If you claim Christ, live like it. Otherwise, call yourself an atheist or agnostic or something. This is something that I’ve felt challenged on lately in my own personal walk.

3. Quit putting down sinners and start magnifying Jesus Christ.

I have strong disdain for the holy huddle. The holy huddle is the scientific term for Christians who get together in groups and talk about how great they are at practicing their faith, how much they love their church, and complaining about how sinful everyone around them is. These people are great at tearing down other people and making themselves look great. Generally, the holy huddlers are terrified of sinful people and retreat to their homes and huddle shaking in their living rooms. They may occasionally serve with their church, but outside of their church’s walls or their church community their lives look no different than the kind agnostic family down the street, but the agnostics actually are kind to people.

If we are so concerned with the sin of others, we need to remember that we were at one point as evil as the rest of the world. Whether our sin was killing puppies, or legalistic thinking, we all once walked according to our sinful desires and were made right by Jesus Christ. If we are so concerned with the sinfulness of the world around us then we should take them to Jesus Christ. He came to the earth, bore sin on the cross, and in doing so made the sin of all believers null and void. He took our sin upon himself and died for us. Then three days later he rose again.


4. Don’t lose hope.

Three days later He rose again. Three days later, He rose again. Can you catch that? Death couldn’t handle Him. We serve a God who is bigger than sin, stronger than demons, and who destroyed and vanquished our iniquity. We have no reason to feel that evil will prevail if Jesus Christ rose again. He’s our only hope. With that hope I can gladly say ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS! There’s a world that needs Christ, we have the answer. We have to share it.

To say that this last week has been chaotic would be an understatement. I’m not sure where I’ve heard the expression “if you wanna hear God laugh, tell Him your plans”, but its so true.

Last Tuesday, after a lot of prayer and study of scripture, I felt like God was calling me to resign from my job in youth ministry. This was a massive shock to my system. There was no wrongdoing on anyone’s part and I left on good terms with the church. I just simply felt that I was not serving in a ministry that God had called me to anymore. After a short argument with God and consulting with some Godly people in my life, I decided that the best decision I could possibly make was to listen to what God had commanded me to do, resign, and wait for His direction. When this decision was made Lyndsi and I’s wedding was 5 months away, I had a car payment due in a few days, and I had no job, no income, and no solid idea of which direction God wanted to take me. All I knew was that God had told me to leave, I didn’t want to, and that I should probably do what He said.

While I should have been terrified over the past week, I can honestly say I’ve never been so sure that I was being held in the arms of Jesus.

While I love my career in ministry, one of the drawbacks of it is the fact that its really easy to say “God is all satisfying” when He’s placed you in a place where you are making good money for making that statement. Its really easy to say that God provides when you are being paid by a church.

As someone who had a good salary paid by a church, and as someone who God made walk away from all of it, I can look at you and say that God is still all satisfying. As someone who has no job, I’m still able to stand up and say that Jesus is better than any money, office, power, plans, or career. I would so much rather walk according to His calling and have nothing than walk in a way that is outside of His will and have everything. Jesus really is so much better.

I don’t write this so that people can see how faithful I am. I fall short of His glory daily. I write this so that you can know how good God is. Here’s the crazy part of this whole situation:

While I had no real plans on what my next step was going to be when I decided to resign, within two days God had opened up doors. Over the last 6 days I’ve started and finished the interview process with and have been offered a position at a new church, its closer to home, and its the perfect place for Lyndsi and I. There is no way I can take any kind of credit for what God has done here. He is so good and so faithful. His ways are so much better than mine. I can’t take credit for any of this. God made it happen.

I can’t help but think of Jesus’ first disciples in John 1. These guys left everything and followed Jesus. It never says in the Bible that they weren’t terrified, and it never says that it wasn’t a hard decision. What I do know is that these men left their livelihood and followed Jesus’ call, and in doing so they were not only taken care of, they were also given the privilege of being a part of the movement that is the only hope the lost in this world have. They were able to participate in the most epic win in history. On top of all that, they were able to walk in step with Jesus Christ, and have a deep, and personal relationship with Him.

My prayer to you today is that you would hear where God is calling you today, and that you would drop everything and follow Him. There is nothing better.

“Hey! How’s life?” 

When people ask me that question my standard response right now is “Crazy!” its the most honest response I can think of at the moment. 

Last month I started a new job as the Director of Student Ministries at First United Methodist Church in Cleburne, planned to move into a new apartment, found out that said apartment was known as “Meth City” among several locals in Cleburne, canceled my move into that apartment, assisted my beautiful fiance in the wedding planning process, started taking correspondence courses from Andersonville Theological Seminary, and have struggled to keep up on my P90X workouts (I’m trying to do it twice before our wedding in August). I didn’t even mention trying to figure out a budget. 

Yes, my life is crazy. Yes, there are days where I want to pull my hair out. Yes, I get stressed. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. 

I love my job. I love the fact that God has blessed me with a means of taking care of myself and my future family, I love that my office has a plastic owl with large creepy eyes, I love the fact that I get to hang out with  Jr. high and high school students, and I love the fact that partnering with parents to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at the center of my job description.

Every Wednesday night I get to stand up and read the Bible, preach, and speak truth to an awesome group of kids. I get to show these kids who God has designed them to be and more importantly, who they are to Him. Granted, I don’t do much of anything, God works through me. 

There’s a ton of preparation for Wednesday night services (we call it Fusion), sometimes its stressful and frustrating, but every ounce of it pays off when God stirs a kid who didn’t know Him before towards Himself, convicts a kid of sin, saves one of His children, and meets our kids where they are. On a weekly basis I’m reminded why I have the most amazing job in the world. 

While my moving to Cleburne on February 1st plan fell through, I’ve been blessed by the situation. My two hours in the car every day lets me listen to my college lectures as I drive, and I get to see my family and future wife a lot more than I would if I had been able to move. My time in the car is awesome, I’m going to miss it when I do find a home out here. It even gives me some time to talk to God in the morning.

Wedding planning is probably the most stressful thing on earth, but it hasn’t been too bad for me. I think its because I have been blessed with a wonderful future wife, and a mother in law who is one of the most on the ball people I’ve ever known. The fact that I’m planning to marry one of the most beautiful, intelligent, and humble women on earth in a little over 5 months makes planning seem more like a privilege and less like a burden.

Almost seven months ago I sat down at Blue Mesa Cafe and talked about everything and nothing, laughed at funny stories, and barely ate anything with Lyndsi. Even though we had  just met for the first time, it felt like I had already known her for my entire life. It is so awesome to know that I WILL know her for the rest of it. The events leading up to our wedding and the fact that God has thrown this beautiful woman into my life are the greatest things to happen to me since my salvation. I’m so stoked to spend the rest of my life with this beautiful, Godly woman. 

I’m loving Andersonville Theological Seminary. I love the fact that my classes are presented in an easy to do format with no quick arriving due dates, my classes are extremely practical and usable, and every single class I will take for the remainder of my education is based on what God’s word says. At the end of this process I’ll have my elusive piece of paper that says that I can jump through an educational institution’s hoops (a B.A. Degree in Theology), and I’ll have a better understanding of God’s Word. I’ll also know how to be a more effective minister for Jesus Christ.

I love my workout routine. It keeps me healthy and will allow me to do the work that God has called me to. What kind of witness would I be if I didn’t have the energy or health to do what I knew God had planned for me? I’m not doing my future wife or future (way future) children any favors if I’m not staying healthy and fit enough to support and care for them.

On top of all this God has still managed to give me time to rest and recharge. He’s so good and so faithful. I absolutely love my crazy life. I love the craziness because God is at work behind every ounce of it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My prayer for you, is that you would look hard for God in your crazy life, that you would see Him at every twist and turn, and that you would grow to embrace His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. 

While I love my job, my future wife, my home, and my health, none of it is halfway comparable to what God has bought for me with His Son. I didn’t do anything to deserve it.

“Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging in the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”

-Ephesians 2:3-5