R.A. Torrey, in his short biography of D. L. Moody:
“I believe more promising [ministers] have gone on the rocks through self-sufficiency and self-esteem than through any other cause. I can look back for forty years, or more, and think of many men who are now wrecks or derelicts who at one time the world thought were going to be something great. But they have disappeared entirely from the public view. Why? Because of overestimation of self. Oh, the men and women who have been put aside because they began to think that they were somebody, that they were “IT,” and therefore God was compelled to set them aside.
Continue reading The Ruin of Many Pastors
In Genesis 41, the Pharaoh had two dreams that warned him of the famine that would soon sweep the whole region. No one in the palace could interpret the dreams, except for Joseph who was still in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Then the chief cupbearer remembered him.
I’ve always read this account with a delicious sense of irony. The guy who would save them all was right there all along, under their noses, suffering an injustice, forgotten by the people who were supposed to help him out of his prison cell. There are so many things to be gleaned from this story, most of them are already clichés to our ears. Let’s venture to mention a few.
Continue reading God Also Cares About Your Personal Drama
In internet-speak, cancel culture is the practice of withdrawing support for public figures, organizations, or churches after they did, said, or posted something considered objectionable or offensive.
So if internet people catch you doing something deemed unacceptable, you get “cancelledt.” That last word is not a misspelling. One doesn’t properly cancel someone without using that particular spelling. And if you do agree to cancel someone, you are obliged to comment, “samedt” in the comments section. Again, that’s not a misspelling. It’s the word “same” stylized with the additional D and T. Don’t ask me how that mongrel of a word came to be; I didn’t make the rules. I suspect it’s the same grammar rules that gave us the word “shookt.” These days you are no longer shocked, horrified, appalled, or mortified. You are “shookt.”
Continue reading Why Cancel Culture Is Not Enough
The doctrine of predestination, also called election, is a difficult topic to talk about. Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Some people are surprised I believe in this. I always say, “Why not? It’s all over the Bible!”
But why do many Christians avoid this topic? Two reasons. First, because some think it means humans no longer have a choice. They become like robots and their decisions don’t matter anymore. But if you look at the Bible, Jesus said things like, “come to me all of you who are weary and burdened…” “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” These are invitations. God is calling for a response from the people he is inviting. You don’t invite robots; you program them.
Continue reading Why People Avoid Talking About Predestination
In cinema and television, it’s mostly single people with no attachment to families who save the world. Things like getting married and having kids are usually unnecessary encumbrances. World-saving is important. Nothing else matters.
Continue reading Why Are Superheroes Always Single?
Here’s something I got from our frontliners’ group chat in Victory Caloocan. This nurse tested positive last week. What she wrote warms the heart and fuels our hope. I’m sharing her reflections here. She requested to remain anonymous. Sentences are tweaked a bit. Here goes:
Continue reading COVID-19 Positive Ako, Ano Na Next?
I don’t understand cooking shows. The full range of my cooking skills involves cooking rice and a few tricks on how to prepare quick meals appropriate only for college dorm life. Beyond that, I’m totally useless in the kitchen. My wife Donna is different. She’d watch a YouTube video about a recipe and in less than an hour she’d come up with her own version of whatever dish she’s interested in.
Continue reading Theology for Ordinary People
For those who are passionate about changing the world and making a difference in society, David E. Fitch’s book is a good read.
“Does the church have anything to offer a world full of injustice? Can the church reach out to the worlds around me in a way that doesn’t judge them, alienate them, or ask them in some way to come to us? Can the church engage the hurting, the poor, and the broken with something more than just handouts? We have seen the programs, the missional church, the justice teams, the church in a coffee house or in a bar, and nothing seems to change. Can’t we do all of this better without the church?
Continue reading Faithful Presence
Brian J. Tabb, in his article on Themelios Magazine, made a case that this pandemic is iconoclastic. Iconoclastic refers to someone who breaks images or icons; someone who smashes religious idols. Tabb meant that coronovirus is practically smashing our most cherished cultural idols.
Continue reading The Smashing of Idols
The confusion about how Christians should respond to the political issues today betrays an apparent disconnect between our theology and our practice. Many of us have conveniently relegated politics and culture to the periphery of our lives. We are busy people. We don’t have much use for political intrigues and bickering.
Continue reading Toxic Politics and the Third Way
Romans 6:12-14 says, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”
Continue reading Don’t Skip the Private Parts
A Response to John Nery’s Column at the Inquirer
“How can someone who knows the Bible well enough to quote from it at will—usually from the Old Testament—support the killing of drug suspects or the manifestly unfair shuttering of an entire TV network?”
That’s how John Nery of Inquirer.net started his column today, July 21. I was intrigued not just because I somehow recognized the Bible-quoting person he was writing about but also because fascism and the Bible don’t usually appear together in the same sentence.
Continue reading Bible-Quoting Fascists?