Bells Rung Simultaneously

Hebrew ThoughtI’ve been reading through a book called Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek. Not likely to become a best-seller anytime soon but this book is loaded with interesting perspective. This is particularly interesting for a Christian since the Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the New Testament is written in Greek. One of the passages that stood out to me comes from John 1. The first three verses begin by explaining Jesus.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

In the Hebrew thought “word” is “deed.” As the book unpacks it: “‘Word’ and ‘deed’ are thus not two different meanings… but the ‘deed’ is the consequence of the basic meaning…”

In the Greek thought “word” is “meaning.” As the book unpacks it: “The deepest level of meaning in the term ‘word’ is thus nothing which has to do with the function of speaking… but the meaning, the ordered and reasonable content.”

If we consider both the Hebrew and Greek understanding of this idea we find that Jesus is literally the deed of God and the ultimate meaning of God’s intent. Words have meaning, and this one especially so. This word shows us God Himself. I love that it doesn’t matter what language or culture you pick between the two. Both expressions show us that in Jesus we see the fullness of God.

(more…)

Finding Truth in Entertainment

Finding Truth in Entertainment

I’ve always appreciated a biblical guy named Daniel. He can be found in an Old Testament book with his name. Daniel was an Israelite but found himself living in another nation under a foreign power. I find this to be incredibly insightful as America completes the transition out of Christendom (where Christians are the majority and have the power). Daniel also had a few friends who together modeled faithfulness to God in the midst of some challenging circumstances. One verse in particular stands out to me. In describing Daniel and his friends it says, “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds” (Daniel 1:17).

I love that God gives them something we don’t normally attribute to God: literature, learning, and the understanding of visions and dreams. This knowledge goes far beyond an understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. A modern-day parallel might read like this: “To these four young men God gave understanding of Dostoyevsky, Dickens, and Shakespeare. He also gave knowledge of string theory, quantum physics, and relativity. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams better than Sigmund Freud.”

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

(more…)

Top 20 Quotes from Leadership Summit (2016)

Top 20 Quotes from Leadership Summit (2016)

This is part of a series of posts on 20 quotes. Click here to see others.

I spent the last two days with about 2700 leaders in my community at our Mesa and Gilbert campuses. We absorbed insights and encouragement from speakers at this year’s Global Leadership Summit. For those of you who may be unaware, the Leadership Summit is a two-day conference hosted by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.

Below I’ve selected twenty of my favorite quotes from the event. Each of these quotes is my best representation in writing of what they said verbally or a summary thereof. Any errors in wording are my own. These are in order of appearance at the conference, not in rank.

(more…)

Why My Kids Go to Public School

Why My Kids Go to Public School

I’m a product of public education up till college and these days I’m working on my Master’s degree. I love learning and I’m one of the people who enjoy the classroom setting. As of this week, I now have three kids in our local elementary school. I’ve watched over the last few years as more and more people leave the public school system for private and charter schools. Many of them are my close friends. This move is usually motivated by at least two desires:

  1. A better education
  2. A way to strengthen their Christian faith

There’s nothing wrong with either of those, but consider what these desires communicate to parents who decide to use public school. Depending on the context, it can seem like you don’t care about your kids’ education or you don’t care about their spiritual health. As a result, many parents feel they should put their kids in a private education and that public schooling might be a modern, yet subtle form of parental neglect.

(more…)

The Spirituality of Wine

The Spirituality of Wine

Recently I read through Gisela H. Kreglinger’s book, The Spirituality of Wine. I was already familiar with most of what the Bible says about alcohol (I include a discussion of alcohol in chapter five of my book Redeeming Pleasure). Yet this book explored more nuanced aspects of it that I enjoyed (such as the quote below about Noah). She does a great job connecting wine with aspects of the Christian faith as well as offering ways to enjoy it from a healthy, balanced perspective. In Christian circles alcohol quickly becomes a divisive subject, yet this book approaches it from an objective and cautious perspective.

Here are some of my favorite quotes about how wine connects us to Jesus:

(more…)

The Sign of the Fish

This weekend I wrapped up our seven-week summer series at Central. It’s been called Pixelated, and unpacks Old Testament stories and how they reveal more of Jesus to us. We closed out the series looking at the story of Jonah, and how it’s hard to see Jesus when you keep demanding more.

Below you can also watch the final Facebook Live video we did as we went through questions you guys submitted.

(more…)