Friday, January 30, 2009

Interview on Steve Brown, Etc.

Today I had the privilege of joining Dave Schmelzer, author of Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist (SaltRiver, Tyndale), on Steve Brown, Etc. What a kick! Steve Brown, Dave, and I had an hour to discuss what it means to find, lose, and re-embrace faith.

In Dave Schmelzer’s case, he dropped out of church by age 7, became the campus atheist as a teenager, but then lost his atheism during his first two years of college and became a sold-out follower of Jesus Christ. My story is a mirror opposite of Dave’s. In my case, I visited church at age 7, became a solid-out follower of Jesus Christ by age 13, and then during my first two years of college paid my dues to my atheistic father by studying under a German existentialist philosopher.

I absolutely love Dave’s very readable / super smart book, resonate with much of what he wrote and said during our hour together on Steve Brown, Etc., and highly recommend his blog.

You can catch today’s Steve Brown, Etc. interview on his website.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Multnomah University Alumni Chapel

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking at Multnomah University's "Alumni Chapel." I spoke on the importance of keeping the faith (2 Timothy 4:7) and shared many stories from my own life and experiences.

You can listen to the message online on Multnomah's website.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Didn't Win the Lottery

I often struggle with the way traditional Christianity has claimed that “salvation and going to heaven is the greatest deal on earth.”

According to this line of thinking, only the lucky, the blessed, the preordained who agree with me (whoever “me” happens to be) get a country club estate along one of heaven’s finest avenues.

I’m sorry, but I didn’t win the lottery when God gave me the gift of faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Instead, God “won” me by paying the steepest price possible. And He paid that price for everyone (1 John 2:2), not just me.

Please hear what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that in the end everyone will be saved. I’m also not saying that I don’t rejoice that God has promised heaven when Jesus returns (for me when I die or for all of us in one fell swoop, if He so chooses during my lifetime). Scripture is clear that Jesus commanded 72 of His disciples to “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Believe me, on my good days I find that one of the easiest commands to obey.

But I don’t rejoice in my salvation and future in heaven in a worldly, juvenile sort of way as if I’ve won the lottery — and as if “you and you and you” haven’t (insert plenty of attitude here).

The same Jesus who said “rejoice” also wept over those who rejected God’s gracious gift of faith, mercy, grace, and salvation from the coming judgment here on earth (at the hands of the Roman Empire) and even greater judgment beyond this life (at the hands of the Almighty Creator and Governor of the universe).

No, I didn’t win the lottery. Instead, I received something infinitely better when God gave me the gift of faith and brought me to my knees. And the same God who saved me doesn’t want anyone else to perish. Instead, He wants all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

I know many will reject Jesus Christ to their dying day. But I’ve seen too many saved in their dying days to believe God somehow stops caring about the unrepentant after age 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 or 90 or 100.

Never give into the fear that one of your loved ones or friends hasn’t won the heavenly lottery yet. No one ever has — or ever will.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

100 Huntley Street -- Watch it Here!

My 100 Huntley Street interview is now posted on YouTube. You can find the twenty-two minute interview in two segments:

Again, it was a tremendous blessing to be with the staff at 100 Huntley Street and to have the chance to share my story!

Friday, January 16, 2009

100 Huntley Street

This past Tuesday I had the honor of being interviewed on 100 Huntley Street regarding the themes of If God Disappears. If you're interested in watching the segment, you can access the show on their program page (program #8239). My interview starts at 32:20 and lasts for twenty-two minutes. 

I am thankful to 100 Huntley Street for allowing me to return to their program and share my heart about If God Disappears.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lyrics :: Andrew Peterson

"The Silence of God" by Andrew Peterson (Love and Thunder album) is another song that compassionately and accurately depicts the struggle of wondering if God is there and if he cares. It ends by saying something that is often difficult to believe, but that is true nonetheless:

And the Man of all Sorrows 
He never forgot
What sorrow is carried 
By the hearts that he bought

You can listen to the whole song on YouTube. 

Even when our prayers are met with silence, we are not forgotten by our God.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lyrics :: Natalie Grant

Throughout this month, I will be sharing portions of lyrics to the most meaningful songs I have found regarding losing--and keeping--the faith. 

Today's song is "I Will Not Be Moved" by Natalie Grant (from her Relentless CD, Curb Records):

I have been the wayward child
I have acted out
I have questioned Sovereignty
And had my share of doubt

You can watch Natalie perform the song on YouTube as well. 

What do you think? Can you identify with her words and her experience? Do you too feel that though you may be swayed, you will not be moved...because of God's grace? Or could you sing this song as a re-commitment to God, no matter how "moved" you have been before?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Beyond Being Shaken

This morning for half an hour I was on a call-in talk show broadcast on the Faith Radio Network. Five minutes before I was supposed to go off the air, guest host Stephanie Bakke and I took a call from Robert. Robert said he used to be active in church, but now his faith is “beyond being shaken.” He went on to say he’s lost all hope after foreign investors eliminated what he called “the best job in the world.” He’s had three jobs since then, each pushing Robert further into discouragement and despair.

When Robert finished, Stephanie reminded me I had only 60 seconds. What do you say to someone like that? There are no quick, easy, 1-2-3 answers. The reality is, I wish I would have had 60 or 90 minutes to hear all of Robert’s story. Because until I hear his whole story, it may not really matter what I have to say to Robert, no matter how compassionate, personal, practical, biblical, and theologically on target I may be.

What’s your story? Are you struggling with your faith? Or have you experientially lost your faith? If so, I’d love to hear from you and I promise I’ll write back.

PS Pray for me as I prepare for a 15-minute TV interview on 100 Huntley Street next Tuesday, January 13. The interview is schedule to air live across Canada and again later the same day across the U.S. It also will be posted online for anyone to watch anytime.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

When is it too late?

One question I hear a lot is:

Q. When is it too late to “come back” to God?

A. Some teach that if someone experientially loses her faith, he or she can never come back. In essence, they teach that such persons have sealed their fate. That’s false.

            Again, so it’s clear, I’m not talking about losing one’s salvation. I’m talking about losing one’s faith, which is a wonderful and invaluable gift from God. Someone can have lots of faith, and then lose it. Do they still have at least a “mustard seed” of faith? Yes. But it’s so small the person often is not consciously aware of it. 

          It is never too late to come back to God, no matter what you have gone through or what you have done. God wants to be back in relationship with you. Even if it's been a long time since you last spoke, you can come back to him today.