Where I was on 9/11

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Adapted from an essay of the same title, originally published September 11, 2011

I thought it was an accident. When my high school principal announced over the PA system that the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. I distinctly remember hearing someone in the back of the class mutter, “terrorism.”

It’s an interesting juxtaposition sixteen years later. In some ways, it seems like a lifetime ago. While at the same time, I remember it like it was yesterday. Almost every year on September 11, I watch different documentaries about that day. And it’s never any less shocking that that happened. Continue reading “Where I was on 9/11”

There’s no such thing as a Christian who has not been born again

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Being born again is another word for the doctrine of “regeneration.” It is a supernatural work that God does within a person who comes to faith. All Christians are born again because all Christians have experienced regeneration. There’s no such thing as an unregenerate Christian. That’s not a Christian!

Being born again is about coming to Christ, turning away from sin, and trusting in Jesus as your Lord and savior. And when we come to him, there is grace. There is forgiveness for our sins. Continue reading “There’s no such thing as a Christian who has not been born again”

Contrary to past media reports, Hurricane Harvey shows most Americans aren’t so hateful, after all

There are multiple videos of “human chains” being formed to save people from rising floodwaters in Houston. An old man trapped in his car. A woman going into labor.

Incredible videos of heroism. People potentially endangering their own lives to be good samaritans.

I see those videos, and no one cares who voted for whom. No one cares how rich or poor someone is. No one cares what color someone’s skin is, in fact you see people of different races coming together. There’s no discrimination, or hatred, or malice. Continue reading “Contrary to past media reports, Hurricane Harvey shows most Americans aren’t so hateful, after all”

Society shows why we need the gospel as it vilifies Osteen

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Blood is in the water and the sharks feast. This week’s meal is Joel Osteen. The pastor of America’s largest church is being vilified because he didn’t open up his church to flood victims of Hurricane Harvey.

In the court of social media, you make a mistake, and there is no forgiveness. It’s a shame culture, and no matter what a person does to make things right, it’s too little, too late. It’s just them doing good because “they got caught,” it’s just them doing good because there was a backlash, it’s just them doing good to try to put up the facade that they’re good (but they’re not good). And even if they do the right thing, it’s not because they learned from a mistake. When we’ve seen someone fail, especially someone we already dislike, their good deeds count for nothing. Their goodness is viewed with cynicism. Continue reading “Society shows why we need the gospel as it vilifies Osteen”

Is Harvey Osteen’s Katrina?

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

There have been numerous articles criticizing Houston mega-church pastor Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, the largest church in America for not doing enough in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and for not letting people stay in the expansive church facility as a shelter.

In terms of his prosperity gospel theology, there are many reasons to criticize Osteen. I’m not a fan of him. Continue reading “Is Harvey Osteen’s Katrina?”

Love, justice, and the heavenly way

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From the sermon Love, justice, and the heavenly way

The gospel is offensive.

God is perfect and righteous. And the only way for imperfect and unrighteous people to be with him was for Jesus to pay the price of sin. To absorb the wrath of God. And for some reason, the world is so twisted that that idea is offensive. That the Lord paid the penalty for our sin so we could be with him. But that’s not good enough. Because that takes the control away from us.

And people hate that idea. We’re fine with the love of God but we are not ok that sin needed to be atoned for. Continue reading “Love, justice, and the heavenly way”

Why Jesus? Couldn’t there be another way?

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“Atonement” is a theological word that gets mentioned. In short, atonement refers to the work that Christ has done for those who have faith in Him to earn their salvation.

I think people sometimes approach the gospel with skepticism. Jesus died for the sins of all who believe in him.

I know I used to ask was “why do we need this? Why do we have to believe in Jesus? Is sin such a big deal? Why is he the only way?” Continue reading “Why Jesus? Couldn’t there be another way?”