How to Pray for Ukraine

When we feel helpless in the face of evil, our theology matters. Oftentimes evil done to us or others can actually bring out the worst in us (which is one of the strategies of evil). This is why our view of God matters. Free will is real and God by nature of love is non-coercive. God responds to us in moments like these.

I’m reminded of the quote Stephen Colbert recently rattled off from memory: “We must not be frightened nor cajoled into accepting evil as deliverance from evil. We must go on struggling to be human, though monsters of abstraction police and threaten us” (Robert Hayden).

These are moments to commit to praying by asking and inviting God to intervene. You may not know how to pray or what to pray for as you watch the news unfolding. Here are a few ideas.


The Answer Has Nowhere to Go

If you’re anything like me, you may find it hard to understand how people seem unable to see certain things. Part of maturity—as well as humility—is acknowledging we don’t know what we don’t know. But it can sometimes be painfully easy to see what someone else doesn’t know, even if they can’t see it.

There are people like Sean Feucht and Joe Rogan who are often brought up in conversation amongst friends of mine. Most of what Feucht and Rogan say I find utterly ridiculous and counter to Jesus. But people I love and respect sometimes don’t see it that way.

How do we bridge this gap? More personally, how we do help those we care about to see the things we see that are important to us? It’s a question my friends are likely asking me in return. Regardless of where you land on your beliefs, I think this is something we can all resonate with.


Die With Zero

I can usually tell in the opening chapter whether I’m going to love a book. Sometimes I get an ominous foreshadowing of the discipline required to make it all the way through. Regardless, most books unpack good ideas which are worth your time as a reader (it took the author much more time to create it for you). And occasionally you stumble into really good books with ideas you’ve not heard before or ideas that make you reconsider opinions you’ve held for years.

Bill Perkins’ book called Die With Zero was one of those books for me. It immediately grabbed me with its premise to “rescue you from over-saving and under-living.” Perkins goes after the notion that is ingrained in us as kids to save for the future. While saving itself is valuable, most of us take it to absurd extremes as we get older. It doesn’t feel this way because everyone around us is trying to do the same thing. But as the book argues (very persuasively in my opinion), we actually lose out on much in our life as a result. So do our friends and family.

The point isn’t to consume more either. It’s to realize that money is a tool for the people and things that matter to us and we should spend it on them rather than mindlessly accruing more and more of it until we die and leave behind some massive bank account.


What Does Loyalty Look Like?

This is a bit of a longer post than normal. I have a story to tell and I’m going to end this post with a question rather than making a point.

I’ve been a huge fan of Buffalo Wild Wings for as long as I can remember. I mean, I love wings, and their Parmesan Garlic sauce is incredible. We’ve even trained up the next generation to love it as well. Our kids have been begging us to take them to get wings for weeks now so we finally relented and decided to take them.

Our visit did not go as expected.

When we walked in I first noticed a sign by the check-in desk. They were looking for servers and you could start working this week. Just talk with the manager.

It made me flashback to when I was in college. I had spent the summer before as a food server at Texas Roadhouse. When I moved to California for school I assumed I’d be able to get a job at a restaurant out there. I remember applying to restaurant after restaurant only to be told they didn’t need more servers. I ended up working at Office Depot after realizing that working at a restaurant wasn’t going to happen for me.

The ‘Great Resignation’ has changed things.


727 SE Locust St, Dundee, OR from Ruum Media on Vimeo.

The Cloud Wine Cottage

Last summer Michelle and I bought a home in Oregon to use as a short-term rental. After a leaseback with the owners, a few months to set it up, and a few more months working through licensing with the city, we’ve now officially begun to rent it.

The Cloud Wine Cottage is officially a thing.

It has four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. We’ve always been surprised how many rental homes have queen-sized beds. Not this one. We’ve got a California king in the main bedroom, king beds in bedrooms two and three, and two bunk beds in the fourth room. This allows us to comfortably stay there with our family of seven (which is not an easy thing to find) as well as host ten people at a time.

It’s in the heart of Oregon wine country, one of my absolute favorite places ever. Not only does this area showcase the beauty of the PNW, but it also wows you with more than 600+ wineries within a short driving distance. Not to mention that a handful of wineries are in WALKING distance from our home.


Does Fear Belong in Christianity?

Despite the Gospel often referred to as ‘good news,’ many people associate other feelings with Christianity. One of the most common reactions is fear. It’s understandable, as we tend to present the ‘good news’ with an ultimatum. If you choose NOT to follow this good news there’s a steep price to pay. Namely, you’ll burn forever.

Now it’s not usually said in those terms, it’s usually couched in language that shows our concern to save others from burning forever. But that simply communicates the same fear in a friendlier way. We’ll be sad if they burn.

Is this what Jesus had in mind?