Life Posts

What Is God’s Role in the Oklahoma Tornado?

oklahoma tornado

As of this writing, the confirmed death count for the recent tornado in Oklahoma is twenty four people killed. Our hearts break for the families and communities affected by disasters like this. We stagger to make sense out of the destruction that they leave behind.

These moments also provide opportunities for our discussions of God to take center stage as each one of us wonders what His involvement is, or lack thereof, in moments such as this. In moments like these you’ll hear hellfire preachers declare God’s wrath on the gay community or some other group of declared sinners. In moments like these you’ll hear some people say that God must be cruel if He allows things like this but does not stop them. And in moments like these you’ll hear people talk about how this shows us that there is no God since a good God would not allow such heartache.

We all need to make sense out of moments like these.

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God Can Move Mountains (and Trash Cans)

Trash cans 1

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20b

Have you ever wondered if certain things are off limits to pray about? Maybe not off limits, but are there inappropriate things to ask God? Or maybe you’ve wondered if some things are a waste of God’s time or attention to get involved with? I can understand this tension and I have a tendency to over-think much of my own prayer life.

About a year ago we moved into a new neighborhood. While the house has worked tremendously for our family, the problem has been one of our neighbors. Let’s just say they have a tendency to over-extend themselves. The picture above shows a regular trash day in our neighborhood. If you look closely you’ll realize that there are two bins on our side of the property. While this certainly isn’t a big deal, there have been times where I don’t have room to put my trash bin out, or we can’t get our vehicles out of the driveway, or our trash collector has commented to us that there isn’t enough space to collect our trash. This is the norm, not the exception.

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You Need to Time Travel

futureme.org 6I wrote a couple of emails to myself today… in the future. Let me explain.

I know I’ve written about time travel before and expressed my love for how it can affect a good story in books like this. But I’m talking about a practical way that you can do it yourself.

There is a great website called FutureMe.org that allows you to send an email to yourself at any specified time in the future. This can be a couple of months from now or decades from now. The purpose is to check in with yourself to see how you are following through with goals or ideas that you have currently. What better gut-check could there be than hearing from a younger version of you?

I’ll be honest, it is more of an odd experience than I thought. It feels a bit schizophrenic to talk to yourself this way. Regardless, I pushed through this awkwardness and checked in on myself with a few goals that I’ve set for the future. Hopefully I forget about the emails (they are a few years from now) and that they have the desired effect when the older version of myself finds them in my inbox, or maybe they’ll appear on my retina lens contacts…

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The Science of Pornography

A note before you read:

  • This post will be easy for the male readers to process.
  • For the ladies, it might seem that you are off the hook. However, I’d encourage you to continue reading and do so with the application of what this might look like in your own life. What defines “porn” in our culture is subjective. The essence of what we are talking about will look different for men and women but both sexes can ultimately be affected in the same way. I’ve written previously about emotional pornography and I think this is what women often struggle with.

Whenever we talk about pornography, especially in the church, it often sounds like this: “Even though you may want to look at porn, don’t do it. God doesn’t want you to.” It’s no surprise that non-Christians view this logic as absurd and that many Christians often struggle with this.

While there are plenty of great spiritual arguments as to why we shouldn’t allow ourselves to experience porn (in any of its many forms), here is a great video that shows the science behind what happens to our brains. This applies whether we are talking about graphical or emotional pornography.

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How Much are Dog Teeth Worth?

Chloe

Michelle and I had an interesting conversation last week. She took our dog Chloe to the vet and then came home to report to me that we had just committed $600 for our dog. What’s the $600 for? I’m glad you asked… cleaning her teeth.

Now depending on how you are predisposed to feel toward animals you might react to this in one of two ways. For the animal lovers who cry every time Sarah McLaughlin sings a sad song about pets (you know who you are), you look at this as an obvious investment into a family member. For the non-animal lovers among us, this is a tough pill to swallow for teeth cleaning. For a dog.

As Michelle explained the details to me it was obvious she had mentally spent the money already. This wasn’t a whitening service we were getting for our dog. Apparently her teeth were in bad need of deep cleaning. I offered a few contrary perspectives that I felt should be discussed. She eventually put it into perspective for me.

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