Last night was a rough night for me and NFL football. The Saints lost a heartbreaker to the 49rs, even though they dominated a lot of the game both offensively and defensively. Just some costly turnovers, and not being able to cover Vernon Davis. Anyway, there’s always next year.

Then we turned over to the fighting Tebows agains the Pats. I didn’t have high hopes for this game, but I at least wanted Denver to show up. I didn’t get my wish. Throughout the course of the game, I kept checking twitter to see what was trending. Tebow was getting a lot of both positive and negative comments. And then the Focus on the Family commercial came on. As I watched this, I first hoped it wasn’t a mormon commercial, and then hoped that nothing stupid was said at the end. Unfortunately I know Christian culture enough that they usually ruin good stuff like that with something dumb.
Twitter began to blow up. Everyone was tweeting #John316 and #focusonthefamily. I came across a few people who said, “Another example of Christians using children to push out their violent beliefs.” After my initial what an idiot thought, I began to wonder. What’s so violent about John 3:16. Set aside all other issues that you may have with God, the Bible, church, Christianity, Tim Tebow. There is nothing controversial about that. It’s like saying, here have a free sandwich. You don’t have to eat it. I’m just giving away sandwiches.

It reminds me of what Jeff Vanderstelt said the other day at a mini-conference I was at. He said, you have to be able to preach the gospel into a gospel narrative in their life. If they don’t see a gospel narrative in their life, the gospel won’t make sense to them. Unfortunately, our world no longer has a gospel narrative. We try to fit them into football players, horses, and other junk, but we lack it in our own lives. How much have you given up in your life for someone else? How much have you sacrificed for God and for the church? Until we begin showing the world that, John 3:16 will be a controversial issue.

Hey everyone! I just uploaded the video I’ve been working on for the past couple of months. Special thanks to Seth Kuhn, whose stuff can be found here. Also, to the supporting cast, who live out what were trying to do, Laura Hooton, Justin Czimskey, Deidre Haun, and Jamie Holley. You guys inspire us all to demonstrate and declare the gospel.

Without further adieu!

Recently there has been alot of buzz about this video. It’s really well done, and has a great gospel presentation at the end, but in the words of Amy, “this video is more about hating religion than Jesus.” I tend to agree. I guess I am realizing something about myself that I hate. And now when I see it elsewhere, I hate it too. I’ve realized that I’m a cynic. I can make fun of and dislike pretty much anything. Lately its been overplayed Christian music. And by lately I mean the past 8 years. And to be completely transparent, I think spoken word is lame and annoying.

Anyway back to the video. The premise of the video is spelled out in his one line, “That Jesus and Religion are on opposite spectrums.” Now I understand his desire to separate hypocrisy in the church and Jesus, but I wonder if he is swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction. We cannot discount the fact that Jesus came save us and establish the church. The church is a response to communal salvation. His line, “Jesus had you on his mind” is very pretty and makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but he also had everyone else’s, God’s sovereignty, and a bunch of pain. So you weren’t alone on his mind.

The last part of my rant, is that the book of James talks about religion, and it doesn’t seem like it’s on a different spectrum than Jesus. 1:27 says this: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” So the question is not abou getting rid of religion, but remember what the church was made to do. To glorify God by loving the least.

Now somebody make a lame video about how God loves religion, when it does these things, and we can all have something else to talk about.

I sometimes get very emotional about the thought of the church that my children will grow up in. People are not simply withdrawing from the church, but becoming hostile to it. It’s obvious that people don’t want to hear about God, see Him, or see others experience Him. Just take the backlash from Tim Tebow being a christian.

There’s so many factors involved.

1. We live in a self esteem culture. A culture that says success isn’t important, its self esteem that is. We tell them that they’re the best, that they can do anything they want, and the sky is the limit. But they’re not, and it’s not. instead of teaching self esteem, let’s push people to set valid goals and when they succeed, they will get self esteem. The church is not about self esteem, it’s about identity. It’s about surrendering your identity to Christ.

2. We love individualism. We think that personalizing everything will set us apart from everyone else. As long as I don’t like the same music, dress the same way, talk the same way, wear my hear, buy the right computer, and so on, I can be different. Cynicism is the new humor. We believe that we have a right to make our decisions because we are individuals. The problem is that we don’t live on an island. Our decisions have a profound impact on those around us. Especially in the church. Sin, apathy, and dissention don’t work in churches. Neither does individualism.

3. We hate authority. I sometimes wonder if somehow the word freedom has changed into anarchy. You can’t tell me what to do, we live in a country of freedom. But someone has to be in charge. I hope this is just a stage of life issue and not an entirely generational problem for the future of our country. You cannot function in a church and hate authority. If you want to be a part of a church, you must submit to the authority laid out by scripture. And this is a hard task for some.

Sometimes I forget how important what we’re doing is. As we talk to people who are outside our circles, I remember how we need to continue to encourage and empower people to make their faith the most important part of their life. I don’t want to assume that it isn’t for most, but that the way that our lives match up with our faith is so important to our witness to people. We live in a culture that is so scared of ruffling someone else’s feathers and a culture that is so obsessed with the individual and not the collective. I wonder what our great grandparents would think of the way we live. Sometimes I forget…

It’s Christmas eve and instead of spending time with family, I decided to post to my blog. I am amazed at how significant Christmas really is. I guess you do it so much, you forget how important it is to spend time with family and friends and to just enjoy their company. I think the extended family is becoming less and less in our culture and Christmas reminds us how much we need it. No matter how rough it can be, it’s important that we celebrate together.

I wish that I could capture how important this time is. Even as we sit here just hanging out, i realize how much community is a part of life. Because we are so individualistic in our culture, we think that we’re somehow reverting to our childhood if we spend time with family.

This Christmas, i want to think about how important it is for us to spend this time with family. Don’t take it forgranted, but engage in community with your extended family.

As i disengage to write this post….