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I really hope this column will bless you. You can read the most recent column below and previous columns at the archive.

Objections to the Bible: God does "bad" stuff

Posted by Kyle on August 15, 2015

As I teach the Bible lately, I’ve been interested in examining perspectives not traditionally examined in a text.

For instance, when Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, people often look closely at Jesus’ perspective on the story because Jesus is the named character. They look at the way he draws the woman into a conversation and how he broke down her guard to share the gospel with her.

Objections to the Bible: People do bad stuff

Posted by Kyle on August 8, 2015

In the throes of preparing for battle against enemies attacking Israel, Jephthah began to do what many people do in times of stress: He started making promises to God that he could not or should not keep. In this case, Jephthah promised to make a burnt sacrifice to God out of the first thing to come out of his house to meet him if God granted him victory (Judges 11:30-31).

After he won the battle, Jephthah returned home. As Jephthah approached his house, his daughter came out dancing to celebrate his victory and return. The text seems to indicate that Jephthah, being a man of his word, killed his daughter and offered her as a burnt sacrifice.

Objections to the Bible: It was written by men

Posted by Kyle on August 1, 2015

The Bible is simultaneously the most popular and most hated book in the world.

The idea that a collection of ancient religious literature is singularly inspired by God, uniquely communicates his nature and will and holds authority over every human endeavor is an incredible claim. If we’re being honest, it bears noting that the majority of humanity does not believe that the 66 canonical books of the Christian Holy Bible measure up to their own claims. As irrational as it sounds, even large swaths of Christianity do not believe in the absolute authority of revealed scripture.

But I do. And I’d like to spend the next couple months explaining why.

Basics: Share eternal life

Posted by Kyle on July 25, 2015

In the middle of yelling at someone for saying thoughtless and evil, Jesus said something profound, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34b).

Our literature and movies paint the ability to know what people are thinking as a supernatural power, and certainly the things in minds of other people are largely unknown to us. But don’t the things in our hearts speak more of us than the things in our minds? We can know what is in the hearts of others by listening to what they say. More accurately, you can know what is in your own heart by listening to what you say.

So there’s the question of the day: What is in your heart?

Basics: Give generously

Posted by Kyle on July 18, 2015

I recently finished something I haven't been looking forward to.

Every year, I read through the entire Bible, but I never read it straight through, cover to cover. I skip around so that I can procrastinate reading one particular book: Leviticus.

Basics: Enjoy the people God loves

Posted by Kyle on July 11, 2015

My mentor in ministry taught me something I pray you will also remember: You will always find what you’re looking for.

In the next paragraph, it will seem like I have drastically changed the subject. When I do, remember that you will always find what you’re looking for.

Basics: Serve the people God loves

Posted by Kyle on July 4, 2015

I have been blessed in my relatively short ministry to have had the opportunity to work with people from almost every imaginable walk of life: disadvantaged youths, millionaire businessmen and everything in between. The thing they all seem to have in common (at least the ones who believe in God) is they want God to do something extraordinary in their lives. They want their families to be miraculously better. They want their health to be miraculously better. They want peace that passes understanding. Some just want their loved ones back.

Basics: Worship God

Posted by Kyle on June 27, 2015

Receiving eternal life through trusting Jesus and his death and resurrection is nothing short of a miracle. Holy God declares sinners righteous and cancels their debt through simple belief in a work that was already done for them. There is no greater miracle. Healing bodies is one thing, but healing souls is something greater and longer lasting.

Basics: Breathe prayer

Posted by Kyle on June 20, 2015

I’m not sure about the context, and I don’t remember where I saw it, but the picture immediately resonated as true. An older woman was sitting at a table in a restaurant with a teenage boy, presumably her grandson. She was looking at him with a less-than-pleased look on her face. He was wearing noise-cancelling headphones and looking down at his phone. The caption read something like, “Put your phone down! She just wants to talk to you.”

I wonder what happened when the waiter came by. I wonder if the promise of food finally prompted the boy to put down his phone. He might have very quickly engaged with the people around him when he wanted something from them, but I wonder how quickly the headphones went back on when the waiter left.

Basics: Struggle with Scripture

Posted by Kyle on June 6, 2015

I hate being wrong more than almost anything else. Most people do. Maybe you don’t hate it as much as I do, but nobody enjoys eating crow and admitting that they were wrong.

However, in his book Margin, Dr. Richard Swenson prescribes that people with Type-A personalities (like me) admit to being wrong out loud in front of someone else at least twice a day. Talk about a tough pill to swallow.

Basics: Stand in the right place

Posted by Kyle on May 30, 2015

I like darts. It is a simple game and it’s a lot of fun to play. But, I am really just not that good.

I recently improved my game dramatically, however. I learned how to stand in the right place.

Doesn’t that sound basic? Standing in a straight line with the center of the target doesn’t seem revolutionary, but the results don’t lie. I’ve thrown some of the best games of my life recently because I got something very basic right.

The Christian life is much the same way.

Rethinking Jesus: Jesus wept

Posted by Kyle on May 23, 2015

Over the past couple months, several people rather close to me have passed away. When I stop to think about it, I hurt.

I know I’m not the only one. I’m not the only one close to these friends of mine. Not only that, but people die day, and the people close to them suffer for it. Husbands lose wives. Mothers lose sons. Children lose parents. Friends are parted. Death hurts and life hurts even more.

Even Jesus was not immune to the grief of loss.

Something about the recent Indiana religious freedom restoration act has really bothered me. It doesn’t bother me that business owners refuse to participate in practices they do not believe in like it bothers the liberal multitudes. And it doesn’t bother me that people from jurisdictions with similar laws criticize Indiana’s version, like it does the conservative legion.

You may wonder at my untimeliness. I’ve waited to see if the new legislation in Indiana bothers anyone the same way it bothers me. I would like to invite you to be bothered by Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act the same way I think it would bother Jesus.

Rethinking Jesus: Jesus wasn't married

Posted by Kyle on May 2, 2015

In 2003, Dan Brown took the literary world by storm with a murder mystery that based much of its intrigue on the controversial and extraordinary claim Jesus was married. Dan Brown was able to make this claim because he didn’t take the canonical 66 books of the Bible seriously. Neither do Mormons, who also like to claim that Jesus was married (to two women, no less).

Rethinking Jesus: Jesus makes the party better

Posted by Kyle on April 25, 2015

Since the beginning of civilization, marriage has been a cornerstone institution. Almost as long as marriage has been an institution, marriages have begun at ceremonies we call weddings. And as long as there have been weddings, weddings have gone terribly wrong.

Grooms say something stupid. Brides pass out from standing too long. Embarrassing secrets are revealed. Cakes end up places cakes shouldn’t be. Rings get lost. At the very best, the weather doesn’t cooperate.