That’s God Lying There

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“So that’s God, lying there on the real leaves and the real vines?”

His toddler eyes looked curiously up at me, his hand still tightly gripping his slipping-off backpack.

“Well, it’s a picture of it,” I replied. “That’s what it looked like so long ago.”

But it wasn’t really. It was a old wooden Nativity, with the blue paint flaking off Mary’s dress, Jesus blond haired and blue-eyed, and sheep apparently still so dazed by angels that they were tilted and close to falling over.

And so often we would just pass by this wooden scene. Just some painted figures and lighted yard decorations, not even accurate. They’re nothing special. They’re nothing holy.

But this little one, with his ever-rambunctious hair and ever-eager eyes, saw it differently. Continue reading

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Christmas Isn’t the Beginning — Or the End

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Do you know where the Christmas story begins? Because often, we start in the wrong place.

Our advent calendars will start out with. “And it came to pass in those days, that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” (Luke 2:1)

But that’s not really the beginning. Some may even start earlier in Luke 1, opening with an aged Zechariah, and the birth of John the Baptist. But that’s not far enough either.

We don’t need to flip back a chapter to find the true opening of the Christmas story. We need to go back an entire Testament. This story doesn’t start with an espoused Mary, it doesn’t start with a barren Elizabeth. It doesn’t even start in the New Testament. No, the Christmas story starts with, “In the Beginning.”

In fact, we can’t even truly call this the Christmas story, for that is far too small a scope. It would be like calling the Lord of the Rings “The Battle of Hornburg” story. This isn’t the Christmas story. This is the Reality Story. The Story of Everything. The Great Story.

Because if we just begin in Luke, we miss the whole reason for the Story.

So let’s flip back the pages, and begin this Story properly. Continue reading

Your Work Is Worth It (TCB Article)

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(Originally published on Top Christian Books)

Do you know one of the hardest questions for those of us who have grown up in church? Not “Why do you dress like that?” or “That’s how you’re doing relationships? Really?” or “Why do you believe that?” No, the real, true, dreaded, impossible question.

“What’s your favorite Bible verse?”

Ok, perhaps I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek. But this is still always a difficult question. How do you expect me to pick just one verse out of the entire Word? How can I love just one sentence of God’s story more than the others? It depends on my struggles at the moment. It depends on what I’m studying. It depends on what He’s teaching me. It depends on the month, the day, or the hour. Which is a blessing in a sense, proof that His Word is living and active, continuing to teach us throughout all of life. But that doesn’t make answering the question any easier.

However, there has been one passage this last year that has stayed very near the top of my list. (Notice, I said passage, rather than verse, so technically I’m still evading the question.)


“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” – 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Because honestly, this last year has been exhausting. All of us have experienced this. We have basketball practices to make and get-togethers to schedule and papers to finish and doctors to call and finals to take — and we’re tired. We’ll soldier on through our weeks, but still inside of us we cry “How long?”

We know it shouldn’t be this hard. We know we shouldn’t have to struggle against so many sins and situations. We groan, just like the rest of Creation, waiting for everything to be made new. We look about us at this corruption, and long for the Something Better that is coming. All these attacks, fears, and hatred — we know it can’t go on like this. Our world is restless for restoration. All our own selfishness, weakness, and impatience — we know it can’t go on like this. We’re eager for the day when we will be made new.

At the moment, we feel surrounded by the darkness, punctuated only by the slow red-and-white flash of ambulance lights. Lost on these tilting plates, the world seems sliding faster and faster into chaos.

But it won’t always be this way.

Finish reading here.