The creation story humbles me

I have been trying to immerse myself in the creation story for my message next Sunday.

I am grateful for amazing scholars like Walter Brueggemann and John Walton who take me away from the petty “Science vs. Faith” arguments and draw me once again to the story.

As I work through these verses again I am so humbled. How GREAT is our God! And how GREAT is the work to which HE has called US.

Humanity is SO SIGNIFICANT in God’s story. Who you are matters. 

God has this great story started. And I belong in that story.

As I consider it all, I truly fall to my knees in worship. I can’t wait to get this message finished and try to give it out!



Whatever you do, DO NOT pray this prayer!

The Church of England was trying to get a 60 second ad on the front of movie trailers in theaters this winter. It was a subversive ad that wasn’t going to get past the very open minded film companies. The ad’s words were using JUST the words of the Lord’s Prayer. How devastating!

The story and some thoughts from a bishop are HERE.

Be sure to read his thoughts on the Prayer. It gets to the heart of just how dangerous this prayer really is in the life of a believer. Here are a few of his thoughts:

First, this prayer gives to those who pray it an identity and a place in the world and a countercultural community. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name”.  It opposes the myth that we are random specks of matter floating through space and time.  It opposes the myth that our lives do not matter.  It opposes the myth of fragmented humanity…

Second this prayer gives us the courage to live in an imperfect world.  “Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. 

The world is not as it was meant to be.  It is distorted from its true purpose.  But God is at work to redeem and transform this world, to establish his kingdom.  The Lord’s Prayer invites us not to retreat from the world in fear and pain, to anaesthetise or indulge ourselves.  The Lord’s Prayer invites us to join the struggle to see justice and peace prevail…

“Give us this day our daily bread”.  This is not a prayer for more.  This is a prayer only for what we need.  Every other advert in the cinema is there to encourage us to spend money in pursuit of happiness.  This one restrains our greed…

So, whatever you do… Do NOT pray this prayer!

The humility of reading Scripture

When I get into truly studying a biblical text, there are times when I am overwhelmed with humility. It is when I discover that I have been asking questions of the text when the text wasn’t designed for MY question. The text was answering another set of questions.

If I can get into the text and discover THOSE questions… I find what the text is saying. It is then I find an opportunity for even more worship.

The place where I find this impacting my life the most is the Genesis 1 creation text. I am humbled every time I come to it because it cares not one bit for my small questions about a “literal” day. It instead calls me to a grander story.

And I find worship… if I will give up my smaller questions.





The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner is the second book in a three book set that leads the reader into understanding who they are in God. Each book is fairly brief and has discussion questions for personal and group study.

This particular volume leads the reader into “self” discovery, but not in a way one would normally think.

“Discovering yourself” isn’t about constructing something through self-improvement. It’s not an object to be grasped. It can’t be torn down and built back up by therapy.

Benner’s contention is we find out WHO we are by seeking GOD.

“There is no true life apart from relationship to God.”

A fairly bold statement for a therapist to make.

As we seek and know God, we find true freedom. We also find our calling. We find the pleasure of understanding what brings pleasure to God… and how he pours that pleasure back through us.

This past week I was reminded of that joy when I shared in another class about my main vocation: pastoring. I teach as an adjunct and really enjoy it, but when I was in another class sharing about my city, my church, and the ministry… I was overwhelmed with joy again. THIS is what brings pleasure more than anything. It wasn’t talking about the relationships I have with city leaders and others in my community. It was the relationships themselves that brought me joy. I think of the deep friendships cultivated and the HOPE of seeing these friends come into Kingdom blessing… and I find true joy.

Two buzzwords we have about our lives are “happiness” and “fulfillment.”

“God just wants me to be happy.”

“I just want to be FULFILLED in life.”

Those are important to God, but can’t be divorced from his DESIRE for us. Deep joy isn’t found in our personal happiness or fulfillment. Deep joy is found in Christ.

Benner boldly states that simply pursuing happiness and fulfillment as ultimate goals is idolatry. Our purest joy, deepest satisfaction, and true authentic self can only be found in Christ.

Benner’s slim volumes are packed with intense thoughts. Short sentences leave me thinking about those thoughts long after I put the book down.

IVP sent me these books at no cost and no obligation for review.