The adventure of following Christ

th-13There is no such thing as pragmatic Christianity. Christianity is true because it’s true, not because it works. Continue reading

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This is it!

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Seventy years are given to us!
    Some even reach eighty.
But even the best of these years
    are filled with pain and trouble;
    soon they disappear, and we are gone.  Psalms 90:10

You were hoping for something a little better? So was I. Continue reading

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IN-N-OUT GIFTS OF GOD

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There is a chain of fast food burger stores that began in southern California, and so far has spread to Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Texas, called In-N-Out Burger. They are Chandler’s and my favorite fast food place. The nearest one is about a 20-minute drive and I will think nothing about going out there at nine or ten o’clock at night if we’re hungry. Their claim to fame is that they don’t cook ‘em up until you order ‘em. Plus they pile on the lettuce and tomatoes, and the fries are cut fresh from potatoes you can see stacked in the back of the kitchen. It’s a little longer wait than most other fast food places, but since each hamburger is made to order, it’s worth the wait. The kitchen is clean and in full view, the cooks and servers are all up-beat, and the choices are few: single or double hamburger, fountain drink, shakes and fries. That’s it. It’s been that way since the first store was founded in Baldwin Park, California, in 1948.

And there is an in-n-out principle that permeates the teachings of Jesus about the gifts of God like grace, mercy and forgiveness. Continue reading

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I don’t believe God loves me if…

th-6“You know God loves you, don’t you Kevin?”

Why is it that such a basic, underlying truth seems to catch us off guard, as if we have never heard it before?

After reading yesterday’s Catch, Kevin remembered Mrs. Goodrich, a Sunday School teacher when he was a kid who always would greet him with this question: “You know God loves you, don’t you Kevin?”

We all need a Mrs. Goodrich in our lives.

“You know God loves you, don’t you John?”

Well, no, I don’t if I’m constantly beating myself up in my own mind.

I don’t believe God loves me if Continue reading

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Beginnings

Pizza and Bonanza night.

Pizza and Bonanza night.

We remember when the Beatles first crossed the ocean, and when the Beach Boys started surf music. We sock-hopped to Chubby Checker and slow-danced to “Theme from a Summer Place.” We know all about bobby socks, cruising, the twist, pompadours and low riding. And we remember where we were when we heard President Kennedy was shot. We were in high school in the early ‘60s and this weekend I will attend a roughly 50-year reunion of friends who were in high school graduating classes from around 1961 to 1966. Continue reading

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The price of free thinking

thThere is a serious tension between how to think and what to think.

Lois wrote us after reading yesterday’s Catch, “As a Christian and an educator, I know how you felt, John. It is heartwarming to find young people who think. Sadly, most schools are teaching information and not critical thinking. Blessedly, I have three homeschoolers who are intelligent thinkers. Praise the Lord!”

Yes, indeed, however there is a price to be paid for teaching any level of critical thinking.   Continue reading

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‘Cogito ergo sum’

René Descartes  "I think, therefore I am."

René Descartes
“I think, therefore I am.”

I ran into Chandler the other day at the Koffee Klatch — the local coffee hangout in town where I often go to write. Only this wasn’t our Chandler; it was another Chandler; actually the only other Chandler I’ve met since we named our son fifteen years ago. I’ve always been surprised at that. Being that Chandler was one of the friends of the very popular TV show by the same name, I thought there would be a rash of Chandlers. But that hasn’t been the case.

This Chandler is a college student at Biola College headed for graduate work at Loyola Marymount University. Meeting this Chandler was like uncovering a time capsule. Continue reading

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The kingdom of God

th-10One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”  (Luke 17:20-21)

Isn’t it just like us to always be trying to locate what’s already here? We want definitions and labels. We want sides to take so we can be over here and everyone else can be over there. We want lines in the sand. We want to organize. Continue reading

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