Tag Archives: C. S. Lewis

Learning to Love Better

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means that love is in the air.

Or is it?

I ask the question because I’m convinced that love is one of the more widely defined–and misunderstood–concepts in our culture. And I’m far from the first person to point out that this time of year doesn’t always lend itself to the clearest thinking on the subject.

So when you get right down to it, what does it mean to love someone in God’s eyes?

Is Following Jesus Really Worth It?

My eight-year-old daughter has many strengths, and I love her dearly. But when she needs to take some medicine that doesn’t taste good to her, I’ve come to suspect that something goes mysteriously wrong with her ability to communicate. I’ll say, “Hannah, you really need to take your medicine.” But judging from the look on her face, what she hears is something like, “Hannah, you need to swim with poisonous jellyfish.” And the high pitched, inarticulate sounds that escape her mouth seem to confirm this. It doesn’t really matter how badly she needs the medicine. She’s just not convinced that whatever benefit she’ll get from it is worth it.

I wonder if the same dynamic can be true of us when it comes to following Christ. Whether consciously or not, we all ask ourselves whether it’s really worth it.

But what does Jesus himself have to say about that question?

Wrestling with Pain and Hardship: One Look Behind the Curtain

How do we make sense out of pain and hardship?

I recently read about a boy who was born without the ability to use one of the joints in his thumbs. On the surface, this might seem to be a relatively small disability. But taking into account how often we use our thumbs, and the complex movements we sometimes require them to make, we might begin to see what a difficult trial this would have been for a young boy. And this is particularly true of one who, in his words, “longed to make things, ships, houses, engines. Many sheets of cardboard and pairs of scissors I spoiled, only to turn from my hopeless failures in tears.”

I’ll admit that I find stories like this one hard to hear. Perhaps it’s because I have three kids of my own, and I reflexively imagine what it would be like for one of them to face the same difficulty. It would not be easy for me to see one of them crying with frustration and sorrow after failing again and again to do what most of us can accomplish with relative ease.

Of course I would hate it. Of course I would question God. Of course I would wonder why it had to be that way.

Chocolate Pie, a Wedding Ring, and Comic Books: a Tribute to My Mom

img_2726The following is adapted from a short message I gave at my mom’s funeral this past weekend. Due to cancer, she faced a difficult course over the last several years, but she ran her race and finished well. She will be missed.

There are a lot of things I could talk about in relation to my mom, but I’ll briefly mention just three: chocolate pie, a wedding ring, and comic books. Hopefully it will make sense as we move along.

So the first is chocolate pie. My mom was a very good cook. And one of the things she was especially good at was pie crusts.

In fact, I’m not sure I can remember one of her pie crusts that ever turned out poorly. So my mom made a lot of pies over the years, and she nearly always made them for holiday dinners.

And as you might imagine, at Thanksgiving, she made pumpkin pie. But, for me at least, that was a problem. Because I’m evidently one of the few people in America that doesn’t like pumpkin pie. But my mom knew this.

What is Your “One Thing”?

One thing. If you could have just one thing in your life—one desire granted—what would it be?

That sounds like a question that might come from the old “find a genie in a lamp” scenario (or the related state of “my kids just watched Aladdin for the umpteenth time, and long after most of my memory is useless to me, a funny blue man singing ‘A Friend Like Me’ will be seared into my brain”).

But it doesn’t. The question actually comes from the Bible. In Psalm 27:4, David writes, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek….” How do you think most people would finish that request? How would you? Would you ask for money? Health? Security? A wonderful family? Great accomplishments?

All of those things are attractive for one reason or another. But look at how David chooses to finish:

What Do You Want Most for Your Kids: Pt. 2

“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.”

Last week I mentioned that C. S. Lewis quote in support of an important, biblically grounded point for parents: while there are many good things that we rightly want for our children (a great education, a good job, a family of their own, etc.), the best thing we could ever do for our kids is to introduce them to and consistently encourage their faith in Jesus Christ.

But that brings up another key question: how might this fundamental truth change the way we parent on a day to day basis? Here are a just a few suggestions:

What Do You Most Want for Your Kids?

Occasionally, my wife and I offer a seminar that’s designed to help parents of newborn and very young children. One of the reasons we offer it is because we remember how clueless we felt when we first had kids. One of the reasons we offer it occasionally is because we need a good stretch in between to forget how poorly we follow our own advice.

At any rate, we’ve always begun the seminar by asking parents a question that I’d like you to consider at the moment: what is it that you most want for your kid(s)?

I think it’s fairly easy to list some of the more common answers that parents in our culture are likely to give to that question:

The Super Bowl: One Big Illustration

SB50I’ve been a football fan ever since I can remember. And I’ll likely be one until I die. So like most Americans, I consider the Super Bowl to be appointment viewing. But a couple of days after Super Bowl 50, I’m struck by how much the sport’s biggest showcase event isn’t just a game. It’s also a giant illustration of some of the more fundamental truths you and I need embrace as we go about our lives.

Think I’m “the-pastor-who’s-really-desperate-for-a-decent-illustration-so-he-can-have-a-topic-for-his-blog-post”?

Maybe. But think about the following:

Point of Focus: The Problems of a World Without God

The existence of evil has long been considered a problem for those who believe in God. But does taking God out of the equation make more sense out of the world, or less? The latest edition of Point of Focus takes a look:

Truth Vs. Opinions

Is it actually wrong to steal someone’s car for fun? How about cheating on a test in school, or treating someone poorly because of the their skin color?

For many of us in the United States—particularly kids in school—answering “yes” those questions might be more complicated than we might think.

In a recent piece for the New York Times, philosophy professor Justin McBrayer (who received his Ph.D. at Mizzou and attended The Crossing) writes of discovering two signs on the bulletin board of his son’s second grade class. They read:

Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

Note that these definitions apparently suggest that claims must either be a fact or an opinion. What’s the problem with that? McBrayer explains: