Christians With Questions

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Are you a Christian? Do you have questions?

You’re not alone. Many Christians, especially younger ones, are wrestling with their faith. Between politics, culture wars, public scandals, racism, and the constant barrage of ideas on social media, questions abound.

Generally, the church has not been too kind or patient to those who ask hard questions. Most churches just don’t have time. Questions are not efficient. They don’t fill the seats or the offering plate. They aren’t “seeker friendly”. They also can scare off the faithful or cause them to start asking their own questions. Questions are like a virus.


Ravi Zacharias and the defense of Christian faith

the failure of apologetics
the failure of apologetics
Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

As a student at the University of Florida in the early 90s, I was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru). The ministry grew during my time at UF and I became a leader. It became my primary community both spiritually and socially at a campus of 50,000 students and where I met my future wife.

Outside of developing lifetime friendships and setting the course for my family to come, Cru was the proving grounds for my developing faith in Jesus. …

A shattered Christian witness and the days ahead

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Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

Pastor Mike here again. Some of you must have missed my previous message. It seems like you still need some pastoring, especially after the events of January 6, 2021.

If you are a follower of Jesus, regardless of your political stripe, the images of violence and death with that yellow “Jesus Saves” banner in the background cut to the core.

Is this our Christian witness? Is this “Good News?”

In the days since, I’ve been thinking about those images and the witness of Jesus in 2021. It’s like we had a beautiful vase and someone decided to use it as…

Advent is the arrival of the earth’s king

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Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash

Have you heard the saying, “Keep Christ in Christmas?” Or what about, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season?” Are those just ways to sell bumper stickers to Christians or is there something deeper to consider?

Advent is the traditional word for the season around Christmas. It is the celebration of the “arrival” (Latin: adventus) of Jesus in both his nativity and second coming. Depending on your church background, Advent is an annual forty-day deep dive filled with traditions that place you in a posture of waiting, listening, and preparation. …

Jesus and his radical invitation to join in the full life of God

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Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

If you read the Gospels, especially the Gospel of Luke, it does not take you long to realize that Jesus had a bit of a thing for the Pharisees. Outside of resistance from his own family and people of his home region, no one plotted, schemed, and outright hated Jesus more than the Pharisees.

In recent history, at least since the Protestant reformation, the Pharisees have been demonized as “legalistic” over against the message of “grace” through Jesus’ death and resurrection. …

It’s time to become salt and light for the healing of our nation

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Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I’ve come to a simple conclusion: a lot of you Christians out there need some pastoring. You probably have a pastor already. That’s great! I don’t want their job. But, it’s abundantly clear that all the preaching, counseling, and church programs in the world don’t seem to be helping.

You see, it’s a pastor’s job to be a shepherd. That’s literally what the Greek word for pastor (poimēn) means. A shepherd’s job is to make sure the sheep don’t starve, or eaten by wolves, or stuck in holes. It’s a messy, challenging, and necessary job. …

Accepting God’s invitation to a life of true freedom

Two couples dancing on a beach
Two couples dancing on a beach
Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Have you seen the “campaign” bumper sticker that reads, “Any Functioning Adult — 2020?” It garners a chuckle, but there is also a deep truth behind the joke. We want our leaders, especially our political ones, to grow up and act like adults. Based on the selfish and destructive ways people treat each other, we could all use some lessons in maturity.

The Bible says the goal of following Jesus is to become “mature” (2 Corinthians 18:9, Ephesians 4:13, Hebrews 6:1). But what does that mean, exactly? Knowing more about the Bible? Being able to share your faith? Having wisdom…

Following Jesus in a “choose your own adventure” world

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Photo by Artem Bryzgalov on Unsplash

If you’re a Gen-Xer like me, you grew up reading the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series of gamebook novels. They were short, fast-paced, and filled with binary decisions that could end in narrow escape or being cast off into outer space for eternity.

As humans, we naturally believe that our choices positively affect the outcome of our lives. We have a good job because we chose the right major and studied in college rather than partied.

Our kids are successful because we chose to send them to a private school rather than a C-rated public school. …

Discovering our calling as followers of Jesus

A man under a beam of light
A man under a beam of light
Photo by Ahmed Hasan on Unsplash

“Let me tell you about the night I was called into full-time ministry!”

Pastors, missionaries, youth ministers, worship leaders, and evangelists have all started conversations with those words. They have a story about how they were set apart by God for ministry. In other words, their calling.

Where is that in the Bible?

Well, it’s all over the place. Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Martha, Mary, the disciples, Paul, all were called by God and were used by God in spite of their weaknesses or lack of authority.

Does that make them special…

Chapter 12 — Guadalupe

“Great ride this afternoon, but man, I’m beat. What’s on the menu tonight?”

John Bryan leaned back into Sam’s sofa and propped his feet up on the coffee table. After returning from St. Thomas, Sam had taken a month sabbatical from responsibilities at Beyond Church. John was checking in with his consulting clients, but relished daily afternoon rides and dinner with his friend.

“Classic Texas chili,” Sam tossed his friend a bottle of Lone Star. “This will hold you over.”

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Photo by Jeremy Banks on Unsplash

“Thanks,” as John took a swig. “I’ve been messaging with Andrea. …

M.J. Bishop

Writing on faithfulness to the Way of Jesus, becoming fully-formed humanity, and the table as metaphor and praxis of being church. Oh, and a good story or two.

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