Simple and Ordinary

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For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
1 Corinthians 15:3-5

Christ died for sins, was buried, and was raised on the third day in fulfillment of the word of God. This is the gospel. This is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). This is enough.

Recently, I’ve given more thought to students in the church who don’t know Jesus. As I prepare lessons, I wonder how to help kids see that Jesus is better than anything else in life. I wonder how to connect the dots between what a student knows and what a student believes. I want lives to be changed, not just heads to be filled. So I try to use good illustrations and plan better lessons and answer questions well, yet I still feel like I’m missing something. I’m still unable to open a student’s ears to truth.

I find a similar difficulty in writing. I often approach the blog with a desire to be profound or novel in some way. I want to say something meaningful, something worth pondering or repeating. I want to stir up a love and a reverence for the Lord. So I consider phrases and consult editors and attempt to use pointed words, yet I still feel like I’m missing something. I’m still unable to open the reader’s eyes to truth.

I sometimes feel my words are too simple or too ordinary to get the work done, yet I forget that the effectiveness of the gospel isn’t contingent upon my eloquence or profundity. No quality or quantity of speaking or writing can make deaf ears hear or blind eyes see. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, can do both. He works through human words to awaken souls to life, empowering the gospel message as it is spoken or written. And while profundity and eloquence and wit can serve us well, Paul argues that the gospel message is enough on its own to change lives. He writes,

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

While Paul did at times delve into deeper matters – and was not always easy to understand, according to 2 Peter 3:15-16 – he reminds the Corinthians that the gospel by itself is sufficient for the work. The Spirit moves through the simple message to transform lives for eternity. So we need not worry as we share the message of Christ with others. Words that may seem simple and ordinary to us still have the power to shake loose the shackles of darkness and to bring life to the dead. The gospel is enough for that student, it’s enough for that post, and it’s enough for you and me.


Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Thanks to Maci and Cortney for reading over this post in the editing process.

Give Me a Love for People

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Give me a love for people,
For runny noses and achy heads,
For homesick widows with empty beds,
For orphaned children who long for homes,
For refugees on a strange sea’s foams,
For unwashed sweaters and hole-filled shoes,
For ears weary with unhappy news,
For feeble bodies both young and old,
For hearts white-hot and for hearts now cold,
For neighbors nearby and far away,
For friends who go and for friends who stay,
For enemies who have not earned peace,
For captives awaiting their release,
For those who share my blood and my name,
For names I would prefer not to claim,
For fallen minds that think much like me,
For souls with whom I still disagree,
For happy voices singing their songs,
For those I fear because of their wrongs,
For tongues I do not now understand,
For both innocent and guilty hands,
For those remembered, those forgotten,
For both highborn and misbegotten,
For image bearers in ev’ry form,
For the lost, the fervent, the lukewarm.
Give me a love for people.


Photo by John Simitopoulos on Unsplash

The Misfit Syndicate – a group effort

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Six guys from college have kept in touch consistently over the last number of years. Cade, Dustin, Jeff, Kevin, Will, and myself have shared encouragement, accountability, and laughs through seasons of difficulty as well as seasons of joy. Last year, they challenged me to write a blog post or a poem on any subject of their choosing for each of their birthdays. This year, they collaborated on a poem for mine. I suggested they write about the brotherhood of believers, using our group as an example, and I’m excited to share their work with you below.

Thanks, guys!


Isolation.
Sequestration.
No man was meant for the hermit’s Operation

Accountability.
Brotherhood.
How some men will stand the opposition of wormwood

Emotionless.
Stoic.
No man was meant for the pure role of heroic.  

Scripture.
Games.
Binded by the Lamb’s blood running through our veins.

Gandalf.
The Doctor.
A fan of these, as well as soccer.

Jaime Vardy.
Leicester City.
Go hand in hand like Joe and witty.

Friend.
Brother.
A man like Joe, there could never be another.

How then must these truths be taken?
None other than creating mancation!

A dream to most
We created a weekend of chaos, I must boast

But in the Cross that is
For it is no credit of our own, this work is simply His.

The game playing,
coffee drinking and steak eating will fade.

But this brotherhood is fraternal.
It cannot be broken, for this bond is eternal.

•HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO JOE THE WALLER•


Photo by Alex Holt on Unsplash