From the monthly archives: January 2015

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'January 2015'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

Ball Don't Lie: Searching for Moral Clarity in "Deflategate"

“Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good” (Proverbs 20:23).

It’s no secret that the NFL is what America sees when it looks into its reflecting pool, and it’s no secret that the NFL has a problem with moral clarity. The “Deflategate” controversy surrounding the New England Patriots is only the latest instance of this moral ambiguity.

But are we really wasting words and pixels on this? Are we really taking time to discuss two pounds of air pressure in 11 NFL game balls? It’s absurd. Yes. And the absurdity presents a tremendous opportunity. These 22 pounds of missing PSI may be the perfect context to discover why we struggle with moral clarity.

When my kids were little, our discipline had a consistent pattern. Prior to administering the discipline, we would ask them, “Now, why are you getting disciplined?” Repeatedly, they would respond with something like, “Cuz I ate a cookie.” They made the case that the discipline they were about to receive was, in the words of Tom Brady, “ridiculous.” Who gets disciplined for eating a cookie (or deflating a football)? Good question. No one should ever be disciplined for eating a cookie (or deflating a football). And that is exactly what we would tell our beautiful little children. “Sweetheart, you are not getting disciplined for eating a cookie. You are getting disciplined because mommy told you NOT to eat the cookie and you disobeyed.”

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The Good Portion: Embracing Spiritual Disciplines in 2015


Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:38-42)


The story of Mary and Martha is one of the more familiar stories in the New Testament because it’s so relatable. We all see shades of ourselves in Martha and feel this twinge of conviction every time we read her story. And yet it’s hard not to be like Martha. We’re important people and there are important things to get done.

This year, though, part of our vision as a church is to stop giving only nodding approval to Mary’s decision, and instead actually try to be like her. We want to get serious about sitting at the Lord’s feet.

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Dear Church: It's Not You, It's Me (Really)


I'm usually the last to know anything, whether it's at work, in life, whatever. It's a sore spot for me, and one that can turn me into a gossip if I actually do get a bit of juicy information (which is next to never, thanks to God's grace). But sometimes being the last to know is a good thing.

I recently caught wind of some brothers and sisters who have left Summitview because they didn't like the worship music. I don't know much more than that, but it got me thinking. I know that the pastors often get complaints about their sermons and a myriad of other things, but could it be that there’s nothing wrong with the pastors, the worship music, or whatever? Could it be that something is wrong with us?

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Juno: A Storm about Culture, Loneliness and Neighboring


There’s a blizzard in the Northeast. A big one (but maybe not quite as big as expected). A nor’eastah. This blizzard, this spoken swirl of snow and wind, even has a name: Juno.

Juno, as an impersonal weather phenomenon, is incapable of creating culture. But it can impact the culture-making activities of the affected populations along the Northeast Coast. If culture is what we make of the world, then folks from New York City to Bangor, Maine are having to make something of a world blanketed by more than two feet of snow and battered by 60 mph wind. Their new cultural artifacts will include variations on “hunkering down,” which in this day and age means, among other things, lots of Netflix binging.

But what happens when we can’t make anything of a snowbound existence?

Mashable posted an article detailing how “people in storm-bound areas of the Northeast have taken to Craigslist to post ads for companions during the storm. You know, someone to drink beer with, to binge-watch Netflix with, to cuddle and perhaps begin a fleeting romance with (one as lasting as the flurries themselves).”

Screenshots from some of the ads are included in the Mashable article. In one of them, someone asks, “Anybody else alone for the upcoming Blizzard?”

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Sinners, Sufferers, Saints: An Introduction to a Series on Mental Health and the Church


In the first of his 2015 vision messages, Mitch spoke of an increasing sense of anxiety and depression in our church and asked us to consider what “masters” we might be following that were contributing to this. He received some push-back on that, with people asking if he really meant that if they struggled with depression or anxiety it was the result of following other masters besides Jesus. There’s a complexity to that question, and he addressed some of those concerns in the second message.

But I think there is some reluctance in evangelical circles to the idea that sin and mental health issues might share any commonality. I believe this is to be the case because the Church hasn’t always been great at addressing believers with the triadic notion that we are all sinners, sufferers and saints.* We have a tendency to swing our pendulums to one extreme or the other. One side of the pendulum is that mental illness always points to sin and that it is a wholly spiritual issue (we are sinners only). Those struggling in these scary and lonely places feel unheard, uncared for and further burdened by a sense of spiritual failure. In reaction, the pendulum gets swung to the other side, shunning personal responsibility in favor of either wholly organic causes to mental illness or victim-only stances (we are sufferers only). And both sides forget that we are also saints! As a certified counselor (NCC through the NBCC) with both secular and biblical training, I believe the Church needs to stop swinging this pendulum if we are going to be relevant to the needs of not only the broken people outside our doors but also the broken people inside our doors.

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