What Israel Taught Me About America’s Election

What Israel Taught Me About America’s Election

The most hyped election in recent memory happens tomorrow. I won’t be in the country for it.

I’ve spent the last week in Israel in the posture of a listener. Listening to the narratives of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Trying to consider solutions between a hundred-year conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It’s tempting to believe that just one narrative has validity. To believe that the solution emerges without ambiguity. And yet conversation after conversation I’m reminded that despite how much we crave this, any critical thinker will resist the urge for this easy way out.

A couple of nights ago we had a Sabbath dinner with a Jewish family. The dad is a law professor, and his wife is working on her post-doctorate. It was moving to watch the way they intentionally raise their kids to understand the Bible (in particular the Old Testament) and the relevance in which he discussed current events in both Israel and America. He commented to us that America is beginning to look like Israel, and “not in a good way.”

If you’ve spent any amount of time understanding the conflict in the Holy Land, you will see how shocking that statement sounds. It’s a reminder that if division isn’t checked, we end up in a never-ending cycle downward. Which tragically tends to end in violence.

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Is It Possible to be Hopeful Right Now?

I preached at Central this weekend continuing in our series on hope. Peter gives us a powerful way of finding hope in a surprising area of life as he connects it to holiness.

10 Observations After Writing about Donald Trump

10 Observations After Writing about Donald Trump

Last week I decided to take a substantial risk and share some of my personal thoughts about Donald Trump. After I posted it, I was blown away by both the positive and negative response. I don’t intend to keep blogging on this topic, but I felt it appropriate to at least attempt to summarize some of my thoughts regarding the massive response to last week’s post. Before you read the following list you should read the original post first (see: An Appeal to Christians).

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An Appeal to Christians Who Support Trump

An Appeal to Christians Who Support Trump

I’ve waited more than six months to write this post. I would attribute this delay to three reasons: first, I realize my words could offend many people who I respect and consider friends. I don’t write them lightly. Second, I have a lot to lose and little to gain by addressing this publicly. I recently read a tweet that said: “Privilege = not speaking out against Trump’s racism & misogyny because you don’t want to tarnish your platform with controversy.” That tweet has haunted me for days. Rarely does anyone get upset when I as a pastor talk about believing in Jesus. It’s an entirely different reaction when I as a pastor suggest there might be things we believe in that are actually contrary to Jesus.

Third, and perhaps most frustrating, I don’t have a great solution to offer you. I heard someone argue (if you’ll excuse the illustration), that just because you hate diarrhea doesn’t mean you love constipation. If I lost you on the bodily functions there, basically I’m not going to tell you that you should vote for Hillary instead of Trump. No need to stop reading just yet if you’re not a Hillary fan.

Much has already been written on Donald Trump and this is my attempt at highlighting some of the best of what I’ve heard so far and offering some perspective as you navigate it. This is a spiritual post, not a political one. If you aren’t a Christian much of my argument won’t apply to you. And as a disclaimer: I’m not overly concerned with how to govern America. To be honest, I think our overdeveloped sense of nationalism is one of the American church’s greatest sins. It clouds our view of the Kingdom more than anything else. I’m writing to anyone who considers themselves a follower of Jesus Christ and who cares about living as His disciple.

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People to Be Loved

People to Be Loved

Few topics today divide people (especially Christians) as quickly as our views on gay relationships. I continue to wade through this one as my heart longs for a stance that my understanding of Scripture doesn’t support. So I keep reading, and processing, and listening to gay people share their stories and perspectives with me. All the while trying to hear from God as clearly as possible. In that light, I was very grateful for Preston Sprinkle’s book, People to Be Loved. In it Preston goes point by point through the six passages in the Bible that address homosexuality and how to best understand them today. Preston does a great job exploring this through an objective lens with a heart for both sides. More importantly, he keeps his heart (and you as the reader) focused on people instead of an abstract issue. I would highly recommend this to anyone seeking to understand the Biblical perspective on this better.

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Top 20 Quotes from Bart Tarman

Top 20 Quotes from Bart Tarman

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

I spent last week in Colorado with a group of guys connected with Carl Medearis. Some were pastors and some were business leaders but all wanted to talk more about Jesus. Carl is an author and has a way of connecting people to Jesus. He models how to engage Muslims through a conversation in community rather than opposition. During this gathering we had the opportunity to hear from a pastor named Bart Tarman who they affectionately refer to as “Yoda.”

Below you’ll see my 20 favorite ideas shared throughout our time together from ideas Bart shared. Normally I save my ’20 quotes’ posts for conferences, but this week brought a ton for me to think about so I decided to include it. This list is my best attempt at capturing some of the incredible insights I received from this week in hopes it can be a blessing to you as well. These are in order of our conversations, not in rank.

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