Odds & Ends


Lifestyle Evangelism3Jesus charged his apostles – and by extension, his church – with the great commission.  The mission he gave us involves both the proclaiming of the gospel as well as the discipling of those who put their trust in Jesus.

If we are honest with ourselves, the American church is not great at either proclaiming or discipling, but we are doing worse on the proclaiming end, and it’s only getting worse.  As our culture becomes increasing secular and as Christians increasingly buy into the notion that our faith is to be kept private, we are becoming increasingly reluctant to proclaim Jesus.  There are a host of reasons for this, but I am not concerned to analyze them at this point.  Instead, I want to focus on the type of evangelism we are opting for in its place.  Some have called it “lifestyle evangelism.”  Lifestyle evangelism entails the notion that the way we live our life is the best witness of Jesus.  Our lives are a living gospel.  This form of evangelism is summed up in the apocryphal quote attributed to Francis Assisi: “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.”

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worshipSinging is a spiritual exercise (Psalms; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).  Few things can open up hearts to God like beautiful music and meaningful lyrics.  The effects of music on the soul are nothing short of amazing.  That is why virtually all Christian congregations feature music in their services.  But what we sing about is just as important as the fact that we are singing.  After all, singing the latest Taylor Swift song would not be deemed spiritual just because it was sung in church.  Content matters.  But not just any ‘ol content that mentions God will do either.

Theologically Lean

I have been increasingly concerned over the years with the lyrical content of mainstream “worship” songs.  Many of our songs suffer from theological anorexia.  There’s not enough theological content in them to make the Devil yawn, yet alone choke.  They are so generic that one may have a hard time telling what God they are talking about (if God is even mentioned).  Then there are the “God of my girlfriend” songs that are spiritually androgynous.  One can’t tell whether they are singing about their love for God or their love for their girlfriend.  Finally, there are songs some have called “7-11” songs: They contain seven words sung 11 times.  If you want to know what theologically robust songs look like, get yourself a hymnal that’s more than 30 years old.  They are pregnant with theological substance. (more…)

It’s been just over two months since my last post. No, I’m not dead.  No, I haven’t given up blogging. I’ve just been working crazy hours at my job.  Sleep has been a luxury (to give you an idea of how crazy it’s been, last week I slept five hours between Sunday morning and Thursday night), so blogging has been out of the question.  I apologize for not at least posting something a couple months ago notifying everyone that blogging would be next to non-existent for a while.  When I have a few minutes I write down some thoughts for a blog post, but then it takes me 10 days to get back to it, and I only have five minutes to write.  So I will be posting something in a few days.  It’s only a few paragraphs, but it took me more than a month to write!

For those of you who have not already subscribed to my email feed, I would encourage you to do so (click “email notifications” on the top right).  Hopefully by December things will be back to normal, and I’ll resume blogging on a regular basis.  Until then, I’ll try to post when I can.  Thank you for your faithful readership!

InfatuationThere is a difference between being enthralled/infatuated by someone, and being in love with someone.  Enthrallment or infatuation is when you are consumed with your desire for someone else.  Love, on the other hand, is the giving of oneself to another.  It is caring for their needs as you would your own.  It is doing all you can to make them a better person.  In short, infatuation is self-consuming, while love is self-giving.

I tend to think that we have so confused the two in our culture that only a minority of couples ever experience true love.  Instead, they experience intense periods of infatuation in the beginning of their relationship, and that gives their relationship the gas it needs to continue for a considerable distance.  But like a car that only gets filled with gas in the beginning of a long trip, the relationship does not reach its intended destination of “til death do us part.”  Only true love (or pure will and commitment) can fuel a relationship so that it can endure the many hardships of life.

For quite some time now, I have wanted to expand this blog from a one-man show to a team of like-minded bloggers.  My hope is that this will add more diversity to the blog, and engage more people on multiple levels. That is why I am pleased to announce that Chad Moore has agreed to team up with me as a contributing author at Theosophical Ruminations.

Chad is a lifelong Hoosier who was born and bred in Bloomington, IN with my wife, Tonya, and their three children. He is absolutely committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and wholeheartedly believes in the local church, having worked for a decade in youth ministry, and regularly serving as a teacher in his local church.

Chad earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. So by day, he is a software engineer and web developer, and by evening, he is an avid reader and theologian.  One of the remarkable things about Chad is his ability to translate the truths communicated in the ivory tower in a way that is relevant for the people in the pew.

Chad is not new to blogging. He has been blogging at What’s More for some time, and will continue to blog there as well as at Theosophical Ruminations. Check out his personal blog when you have a moment.

Everyone, please welcome Chad to Theosophical Ruminations!

BoredI’ve always said that if you are bored, you are not in the will of God. After all, if we are doing what we are supposed to do as Christians, we don’t have time to be bored. If someone says they are bored, ask them if they have prayed, read their Bible, talked to someone about Christ, helped the needy, visited the widows, etc.  I think we all know what the answer will be.

As I think about boredom, it’s not just that people are failing to do the activities they should be doing; it’s that people are filling their lives with the wrong kind of activities.  Their days are spent pursuing insignificant activities, entertainment, and self-fulfillment rather than living their lives for God and others.  They pursue meaningless activities like playing video games for hours on end, watching endless amounts of television, and spending inordinate amounts of time on social media rather than pursuing relationships with God and others.

For an increasing number of people, their “relationships” are mostly virtual.  Having a relationship with people has been reduced to posting pictures of yourself online and waiting for your “friends” to like and comment on them.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not against entertainment or social media, but if that’s where we are spending most of our time, and that’s where we seeking meaning for our life, we will be bored.

Exclamation point“God/Father/Jesus” are not punctuation marks, so they shouldn’t end every sentence we utter in prayer. Prayer is our communication to God. We wouldn’t communicate with any other person by ending every sentence we say to them with their name (“What did you do today John? Are you going to the game John? It was nice to see your kids John. They played so well last week John. The hot dogs at the park were delicious too John.”)

When we talk to God that way, we are not using his name to address Him, but as “filler” material. I doubt God is annoyed by this in the same way that I would be annoyed if someone talked to me that way, but I think we can do better nonetheless.

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