Miscarriage and Loss: A Letter to My Son

•November 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

We share this letter with the hopes that someone who has gone through a blighted ovum will find some comfort in knowing that there is a community who loves and cares about you.  We are thankful for our church family in particular our small group who has been kind, generous, and loving to us.  To anyone who has experienced a miscarriage, we encourage you to not go through it alone.  There are people who will love you well if you allow them. There will also be people who do not know what to say, or say the wrong thing, I think they mean well, but anytime someone who is going through loss it can be difficult to find the right words to say. To those who do not know what to say, I encourage to just say I am praying for you and I’m sorry.  Those words are not trite and go a long way. Here is my letter to my son.

To my son;

I say you were my son because your big sister wanted a brother from the day we found out your mommy was pregnant.  She never wavered, she is such a good big sister and I am sorry you will never get to play with her.

Son, you were a surprise, we were not expecting you at all, but after we got over the shock we were excited to meet you. For whatever reason your chromosomes didn’t match up which caused major problems, the technical term is called a blighted ovum. Your mommy and I read this article to help us understand what was going on with you.

Son, I had many dreams for you. I looked forward to teaching you how to play catch. To teach you how to root hard for The East Carolina Pirates, Green Bay Packers, and the Chicago Cubs. (You would have lived in a world where the Cubs are actually good). I looked forward to protecting from your two big sisters trying to dress you up and make you play tea.  I looked forward to teaching how to love, care, respect, and take care of your sisters and mommy. I looked forward to pointing you to Jesus, who is our only hope. Oh son, how I looked forward to so many things.

The thing I am most sad about is that you will never get snuggles from your amazing mommy. Your mommy is the best. She is the only one who got to care for you (even though it was just for a little while). She would have nurtured you, cared for you, and dressed you up in some funny crazy, stuff.

I mentioned your sisters, oh how they would have loved you. Charis (your big sis) is such a little momma, and it probably would have drove you nuts but you would have known that you were loved by her.  Violet is younger than Charis and she would have poked your eyes out and said “dough” all the time to you. I am sad we will not see the three of you playing together.

Some people will say will this is a blessing because of our situation. You see we are living with your Omama and Opapa right now in Phoenix. I am looking for a job, and our situation is not stable.  They might think that you not showing up is a good thing.  It isn’t true, son you were a welcomed addition to our family. Even though the circumstances might have not been right, you would have always been loved.

Son, you are with Jesus now, I believe that God is a good and gracious God that saved you from having to face all of the heartaches of this world.  Son, I would have let you down, I am not perfect. Your mom and sisters and grandparents and aunts and uncle and cousins would have let you down. You would have faced the ugly effects of sin and all that entails. Jesus spared you from that and now you are with Him. You are with the perfect Father now, and He will never let you down.

Son get in some good worship. I am sure your grandmother welcomed you home and ushered you into the presence of Jesus.  She is teaching you how to worship Jesus in the full.  I look forward to that day when we can worship Jesus together and marvel at His magnificence.

Son, you have reminded your mommy and me that our hope is not in this world, that it is in Christ. Thank you for your life, thank you for the joy you brought us, thank you for the hope we had of holding you and kissing you.

Son, you will forever be in our hearts, we will hold you dear and talk about you often. Because your life mattered, because you were created in the image of God. You are not an angel in heaven, you are a human in heaven with your glorified body worshipping Jesus. You will be missed, you will be remembered and your mommy and daddy love you so very much.

Son, this is what we are praying now, as we grieve:

Jesus, in the midst of our pain and grief, in the midst of this sinking feeling, in the midst of losing a child, we trust in you. You are our hope and we know that even though things like this happen you are still a good and gracious God. We know that you are holding our son and will take care of him forever.  We realize that Charis and Violet are not ours, but rather we are stewards of their lives to give back to you. Jesus comfort us in this time. Help us Jesus.

From,

Your Daddy

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Is Going to Church Important?

•June 11, 2013 • 1 Comment

            Have you not been going to church lately?  I know Memorial Day has arrived and summer has officially started.  The golf course is calling your name, the beach is beautiful, family picnics, vacations and on and on the list of distraction goes. Trust me, I get the fact that the things I mentioned are fun and enjoyable and that sometimes church is neither. Now as a pastor, you may think the only reason I am writing this blog is to increase attendance at my church. Not true.  My goal is to help us understand what God says and to try and obey him.

To help us understand what God says we have to look at the Bible.  We will look at a passage from the book of Hebrews.  Hebrews 10:24-25 says this: 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. The first thing we need to notice from these two verses is that we are to stir each other up to love and good works. Christian fellowship is to be so close that mutual encouragement can be given in a natural way. Through close association with one another, God’s love through His Spirit will manifest itself in countless, wonderful ways. Without being in involved in a local church fellowship there is no way you can receive this type of encouragement.  We all need to be encouraged. There is no better place to receive that encouragement than you local church. 

Verse 25 says do not forsake the assembly of the saints as is the habit of some.  Man, I sure am glad that the early church had this problem as well.  The author of Hebrews knows that people are skipping out on church. Some folks just don’t recognize see the importance of it.  They think cleaning their house, going to the beach, or any of the 1,000 excuses one can come up with are more important than church.  The author cautions not to do this and encourages those who are skipping out to get back to church. 

So, why is this important? Why should this change how you view attending church? Well, the first thing you miss out on is community.  A church is like a family. You don’t always get along, but you love each other anyway.  Every family has a little dysfunction to them, and let’s be honest, you are probably a little dysfunctional, just like me.  Secondly, you miss out on serving.  God has given you special gifts that only you have.  You may share the same gift as someone else, but God can use you differently than He can use the other person. If you are never at church, how can you serve the church? The third reason is you miss out on preaching.  Preaching is important. It is where God encourages you to be more like Jesus, where the Holy Spirit works on your heart and changes you from the inside out.  Now I know that you can listen to great preachers for free on the web and I would encourage you to do that, but it does not replace being with God’s people on Sunday.  Fourthly, if you don’t come to church how can anyone hold you accountable?  If you are never here, how can anyone get close enough to you to warn you when you are about to step off a cliff?  This point ties back to the first point, without being involved in community, you can’t be held accountable and you will not grow.

God has ordained that the church is His bride.  Not the building but the people.  If you are married you know this is true. Can you just pick up and leave your spouse and not tell them where you are?  Of course you can’t. If my wife did that to me, I would be worried sick. I would be calling, searching and trying to do whatever I could in to find her and make sure she was ok.  This is what we are doing to God when we consistently skip church to do what we think is more important. No one who is reading this would say cleaning the house is more important than God, but when you skip church to do what you want to do instead of honoring Him, what you are saying with your actions is I am more important than God.

I would like to encourage you today, to consider going back to church.  I don’t want you to think that I am a crazy legalist and you can never miss a Sunday.  I understand that vacations happen, things happen. You may need to take a break some Sunday. I get that and so does God.  What I am concerned about and who I am talking to is the person who has a pattern of going to church for a couple weeks, then missing a couple of weeks, or attending from Christmas to Easter and then taking the rest of the year off.  I want to encourage you to evaluate your relationship with God. Are other things more important than Him?  If that is the case, then you need to talk to God and I would love the opportunity to help you in your journey.

Politics and Christianity

•May 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

After the blog post on Osama Bin Laden, my blog has received more views than ever before.  When I say ever before, take every time people have viewed and add them to the last post and it out numbers them.  Trying to keep this trend alive I will blog on another hot topic: (especially for conservative fundamental Christians) politics.

The first thing I want to say is, I did not major in political science.  I am friends with a guy who could probably write circles around me on this area (he is getting his PhD in political science and a strong Christian). However, this is an area that pastors need to address.

As a pastor I must (which will be very difficult for me to do) keep my opinion to myself. “Why?” you may ask?  Here is the reason: too many times a pastor’s view on politics can get in the way of the gospel.  I want people who voted for Obama and who voted for McCain to come to church.  I want the gospel to influence the way they think about politics not their politics to influence the way they view the gospel.

In the tradition that I grew up in and am still apart of, it was that you must vote Republican to be a “good” Christian.  I am not saying if you vote Democrat or Republican you are not.  How did voting one way or the other become a way to measure if you are following God or not?  The Republicans will say: “Aren’t you pro-life, anti-gay marriage?” The Democrats will say: “Don’t you care about the poor or the environment?”

Both sides are over simplifying the argument! Why are these the only issues that matter?  I would like to pose some questions.  Out of the last 5 presidents 3 were Republicans who served for a total of 20 years. If electing a president comes down to one issue, why is abortion still legal?  There has been a Democrat in term for 10 going on 11 years.  Why are we still hearing oil is the problem and we must get off of it and we are not?  These statements may be over simplifying the issues.  However, making a decision for one party based on one issue is over simplifying the problem.

Whether I am for or against big government is not the issue. Because I am a Christian I am pro-life.  Because I am a Christian I am for good stewardship of the environment.  Because I am a Christian I am for taking care of the poor.  Because I am a Christian I think marriage is between one man and one woman.  However, to vote on one of these issues as your trump card is not the answer.  What, ultimately will it do?

Now some Christians will be called to serve in politics.  This, in my opinion, would be one of the most difficult jobs for a Christian to do.  We must pray for our elected leaders, whether Christian or not.  Some people God has called to help promote justice through politics.  These people have a very difficult job in front of them and we must pray for them fervently.

Again, I am not advocating not voting or discussing these issues.  I think voting is one of things we should do and can hopefully and possibly influence change. But, THE THING THAT CAN INFLUENCE CHANGE IS THE GOSPEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Christians should have good debate and discuss these things.  However, we should not be closed-minded on these issues that we must wade through and ultimately make decisions on.

What I want to promote is that politics becomes a tertiary issue- that we become so consumed with the gospel of Jesus that we could almost care less about politics.  Because as much as we would like it to, legislating morality or Christianity will not make people Christians.  Only the Holy Spirit convicting people of sin will.  How does he do this? Through the preaching of the gospel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is what we as Christians must be about.  If it is not, then we have failed to live on mission. Again, I am not saying we cannot have an opinion and have good discussion . But, if most of our time is spent on watching the news and thinking about politics have we not forsaken our first love?  Do not be deceived that it is almost always good things and productive things that deter us from the mission of God.  We must be on guard for this deception.  If you want more support for this argument I would suggest reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

One Christian Pastor’s View on Osama Bin Laden’s Death

•May 2, 2011 • 2 Comments

Reading my facebook page and other social media one would gather that this is one of the greatest days in America’s history.  I am not trying to downplay or forsake the great effort the military did in finding and ultimately killing this decade’s greatest terrorist (specifically to America).  I would have said century but let us not forget that Hitler was in this century and caused another great and momentous celebration in our country and worldwide.  Only time will tell, as more information and decisions that need to be made in the near future of how this moment will be remembered historically.  Remember it was only after the Nazi’s and Hitler were defeated did we realize how horrific their treatment of the Jews was.

As many know I have argued for pacifism, that there is always another way than taking life.  I think that argument can still be made.  However, at this moment I do not think it is the argument that needs to be made.  I understand that most if not all American’s are rejoicing in this victory.  I rejoice in the fact that justice was done.  An evil terrorist was brought to justice.  Justice is something that God has been teaching me much about in this past year.

Justice is not just that terrorists are killed.  Justice is something that we should be seeking in every facet of our society.  If a young child is molested we should seek justice.  If a woman is being beaten we should seek justice.  If a child, whether in America or in another part of the world, is starving we should seek justice.  We need to seek the welfare of our city.  We need to seek the welfare of our world.  Osama Bin Laden was brought to justice.

In saying that Bin Laden was brought justice does bring us some joy.  However, as Christians we should also be saddened.  Why? Because the world is not the way it should be.  Because we sinned this world is fallen.  Because of sin people kill each other.  Because of sin we lie, cheat, steal, and will do whatever we want in order to be god our selves.   When we look at Osama Bin Laden we should not look with judgment.

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You may ask?  Here is my reasoning.  If it were not for the grace of God in your life would you not be the same way?  Sure, maybe you wouldn’t kill someone or be a mass murderer, but, would you not still have hate in your heart towards someone?  Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount says that if you have hatred in your heart it is the same as murdering someone.  Jesus also said to love your enemies.  So, if Osama Bin Laden is our enemy as Americans and we have hatred in our heart towards him are we not guilty of the same thing he was? Again, I am not saying that justice was not served; justice being served is always a good thing. As Christian-Americans and I am including myself in this category, instead of hoping and possibly even praying that Bin Laden would be killed, should we not have been praying for his salvation?

You may recall one of the apostles used to be a mass murderer of Christians.  His name was Saul of Taurus and was renamed Paul.  God could have used someone to kill Saul.  He could have.  But, instead God chose to make him one of the greatest apostles to ever live and to author half of the New Testament.  Paul, I think, would say to every American this is a loss of life, not something to be celebrated but something to remind us of what sin has caused and that is death. We celebrate justice but not death!!!!! SIN AND DEATH ARE OUR ENEMY!!!!!!!! We must never think of ourselves as being too self-righteous to not possibly be in the same position; if we had been born to different parents, in another country, with different beliefs.  Who knows how we would believe and who we would be or serve?  It is only by the grace of God that He gave us our situation.  It may not be perfect but if we are believers in Jesus than He has given us so much more than we deserve, because we deserved Death and separation from God; but, Jesus bore that penalty onto Himself so that we might have life. So, when thinking back on this day let us celebrate the Justice of God, but, let us remember that without His Grace and His Loving-Kindness we would also have the wrath of God against us.

May God use this historic day to bring many people to repentance and to trust in Him.  May the gospel go forth even quicker and to more places!  We long for the day of the return of Jesus, let us wait expectantly for that day and pray that on this earth, His Kingdom come and His will be done.  To the glory of God the Father!!!!!!!!

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism

•August 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have been on a long hiatus from blogging.  Due to work, ACL reconstructive surgery, you know the norm.  Well, today I received an interesting article from my pastor.  Here it is: http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/08/27/almost.christian/index.html?hpt=T2 .  I appreciated him sending me the article and giving him my analysis.  Later in the day, I had the same article sent to me by one of the guys who leads our music.  I figured writing a blog post on it would help people in the church to hear what their youth pastor’s response is to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD from this point forward).

I first heard of this idea by a guy named Christian Smith. He is now a professor at Notre Dame.  While he was at UNC-Chapel Hill (thank goodness he wised up and got out of there), he came to ECU and presented this idea in a series called the Jarvis Lectures.  I was really offended then by what he said.  I didn’t quite understand all he was saying which probably led to my offense.  Dr. Smith was merely reporting the facts; my offense should not have been angled toward him, but the Christian community that was passing this on to the youth.  Dean, who is the professor at Princeton, agrees with the idea that Smith proposed and is elaborating on it further.  Here is what the article says :

Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls “moralistic therapeutic deism.” Translation: It’s a watered-down faith that portrays God as a “divine therapist” whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.

The reason why Christian youth can believe this is because most of what is being taught from the pulpit, is this exact non-sense.  Most of liberal Christianity teaches that God is a “good guy” who wants you to do good things.  So, the best thing you can do for someone is to take care of their physical needs.  So, if someone is hungry feed them, if someone is naked clothe them, if someone is without a house, take them into yours or build them one, you get the idea.  I am by no means arguing against doing these things for them.  I think Jesus did these things and would demand the same from His followers.  The difference between what Jesus did and what liberal Christianity is doing, is that Jesus dealt with the MAJOR problem facing humans, God’s Holy wrath against us because we have sinned.  Jesus dealt with the heart issue, liberal Christianity often times does not.

Now, this is not a blog to bash liberal Christianity.  I think many card carrying conservative evangelicals fit into this category as well.  Evangelicals can go one of two ways typically. First, they are so concerned they will be labeled as “liberal” they refuse to do anything for social justice.  Social justice issues except for abortion, get put into a category as secondary issues.  It is more important to get someone to pray a prayer for salvation, then to feed them.  Now, I agree that the soul is far more important than the body, however if the body is starving there is likely no way to hear the truth of the gospel.  It is not an either/or, but a both/and issue.  I think that conservative evangelicals may not necessarily say this, but practice it.  The second way the conservative evangelical can go, is to forget that the major problem facing humans is sin.  So they water down the gospel in order not to offend anyone.  They will say things like God just wants you to have your best life now, or God wants you to love yourself, things like this.  They never deal with the fact that we have sinned against a holy God and His wrath is now set on us.  It takes the amazing sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth to satisfy it.

So the question is, what I am going to do about it as a youth pastor.  And what is Fellowship Church going to do about this as a church.  Here are some of the things we are going to do. First, we will unashamedly preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection will be at the core of everything we do.  Without this there is no hope.  The best way to do this is by preaching expository sermons through books of the Bible.  By doing this, we will limit skipping over tough subject matter, and let the Scripture say what it says in the proper context.  Second, we will perform acts of social justice.  As a youth group, we will help build houses with Habitat for Humanity, visit the elderly at local hospitals, continue to run our food bank.  We will try to handle the many needs in our community, while sharing the Good News of the gospel.  Third, we will prepare our youth for the questions they will be asked in college, and by their lost co-workers and friends.  We do this by teaching theology.  Young people are smart.  There is no reason to believe that they can learn Chemistry, Calculus, Algebra, History, and so on and not learn theology.  We will call our students to a higher responsibility for learning what they believe.  This will allow their faith to be theirs and not just their parents.  Fourth, this will be the most difficult one for me.  To live out what it means to be a Christian in front of them.  When I sin and mess up, to confess that sin, repent, and be restored.  To model what true brokenness looks like.  To show them what worship is, not what we have made it.  Worship is not the 30 minutes before the sermon where we sing songs and lift our hands.  That is part of it, but worship includes every minute of every day.  As Romans 12: 1 says: “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship.”

This is our plan of action.  If you are a youth pastor or are leading kids, I beg you not to present a watered down version of the gospel.  The cross is a stumbling block of offense.  Make no apologies about it.  The article says this as well: “parents who perform one act of radical faith in front of their children convey more than a multitude of sermons and mission trips.”  I agree that living out your faith is important.  However, do not fall into the trap that most of liberal Christianity wants.  That doing one big social justice issue without presenting the gospel is going to show your kids something different.  Do this act because of what Jesus has done for you.  When we talk about evangelism in youth group, this is what is said about the primary motivation.  People are not worshipping Jesus.  Jesus is worthy of worship.  So we want more people to worship Jesus.  This is what drives a God-centered view of evangelism and not a man centered view. When everything you do as a church is centered on worshipping Jesus in Spirit and in truth, the exception will be youth and congregants that practice MTD, the majority will practice biblical Christianity.

Is Making Discples a command or an Option?

•June 7, 2010 • 1 Comment

The command to make disciples is one of the most famous commands of Jesus.  If you grew up like me in church (especially a SBC church) you heard this taught often.  I am thankful that I did.  I love my pastor growing up and I don’t think that this is his fault but a misconception that I made for myself, so that I would not be challenged.  I thought the only emphasis was on going.  While in Matthew 28:18-20 it is not.  The verses say: 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” The English translation of verse 19 is poor.  Now, I am no Greek scholar or will ever claim to be but, this was one of the verses we had to translate in Greek class and we had a lengthy discussion about it.  The “Go therefore” is actually a participle, a verbal noun, which is better translated “as you are going.”  The imperative verb in the sentence is: “to make.”  The emphasis is on making disciples.  This changes the command.  The primary emphasis is not on going, but is on MAKING DISCIPLES.  This applies to every believer!  It is not left to professional Christians who have a seminary degree.  The command is for everyone!  Now you may be thinking that I am under emphasizing the going part. NO!  How can you make disciples of ALL NATIONS without going?  So, there is a going aspect to this command.  So, what is the point? Every believer is commanded to make disciples of all Nations.  If you are a believer, and believe in the authority of Scripture, you probably have no problem with the statement and agree with it.  However, does it show in our life? I want to ask some questions of you to see if this is a command you are following in your life.  I am asking the same of mine. If they don’t line up then we need to beg the Holy Spirit to change us and to help us make disciples.

  1. Have you ever shared the Gospel with anyone? Since, this isn’t a one time thing but something we are to do continually have you shared the gospel with someone in the last week?
  2. Have you and are you pouring you life into a young believer? i.e. teaching them how to read their Bible, how to pray, how to give, how to follow Jesus with all their heart.  This is tough thing especially if we are not doing it.
  3. Have you or are you giving sacrificially to the world-wide advancement of the gospel?  I think tithing is a part of this because part of your church’s budget should be going to missions but, what I am specifically talking about is going above and beyond 10% of your income to where it is actually a sacrifice of your lifestyle.
  4. Have you are you willing to give everything up in America to go and make disciples to the least reached peoples of the world?  Now, I am not suggesting that everyone should do this.  We need people here who make a lot of money and give extravagantly to support missionaries who go.  The crux of the question is ARE YOU WILLING.  If you fell like you are supposed to stay in America, and I really do believe a lot of us are, we still should go on short-term mission projects.  This will hopefully help the missionaries who are on the field, but, also will affect how we live our lives here.

Now some may be thinking, “Well, I am just a business man, lawyer, doctor, janitor, teacher, cook, carpenter, administrative assistant, or whatever job is, I am not qualified to go to the nations.”  This is a common misconception.  People around the world could use your area of expertise.  Fighting for justice in the court-room in another country could be a great stepping stone into the lives of people.  Doctors and nurses are needed everywhere.  Did you know that 26,000 children die everyday due to hunger or preventable diseases.  If you can cook and bring food you can help.  If you are a carpenter you can teach people around the world how to build safe houses and buildings.  Who can’t use an organized person around to help others get organized?  If, you’re a janitor you can go and teach people how sanitation can help you from getting sick.  If you are an entrepreneur business-wo/man you could provide a way to make sustainable income in country.  Jesus did not go and call the Pharisees.  The “trained professionals” he called the fisherman and the tax collectors.  Is he calling you?

Now, the list of questions is not exhaustive by any means.  I think it does provide a good starting point of self-examination.  My goal here is not to make anyone feel terrible but to move us into a right thinking of what the command of Jesus means in our life.  If you read this please pray for Leslie and Drew as they are living this lifestyle out.  I am so proud that they are my family and take the command of Jesus seriously.  I can’t wait to go visit and help them as much as possible in the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus.  Jesus really is worth it!

Don’t Read This

•May 17, 2010 • 2 Comments

Well, I just finished another book. It was an interesting and easy read. By easy read I mean not of theological jargon to get caught up in. It was written in a very easy to understand way. There-in lies the problem. It is so easy to understand but hard to put into practice. If you are content in your Christian Life DO NOT READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The title of the book is Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream by David Platt.

I came across Platt when he was asked to speak at seminary.  His passion for the glory of Jesus is contagious and you can’t get enough of it.  So, I started downloading his sermons on itunes and listening.  This book is reflection of those sermons.  Seriously, the call Platt makes to American Christians is high and costly.  IF you are comfortable in your faith you should get this book. However, be warned it will wreck you if you allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you.

Platt shows that Jesus is worth losing everything for throughout the book.  The main theme you get out of the book is that Jesus is really worth losing everything for.  Now, in our American Church culture we will not disagree with that statement.  We know this theologically.  It is like saying in Jesus name at the end of a prayer.  It is rhetoric to us.  But, how do we practically work this out.  We spend our money on expensive building to house our worship in.  Millions upon Millions of dollars so we can meet together.  We spend our money on nicer and nicer cars.  On eating out.  On Movies (Ouch that one hurt me!). We buy more and more stuff and spend more and more on entrainment.     Our culture is entertained to DEATH.  We spend hours in front of the tv, at the golf course, on facebook, on anything that will give us some excitement. Now, if you think I am preaching to you, look at the examples I gave,  I am talking to me!!!  Granted you might find yourself somewhere in those statements as well, but, my intention is not to put a guilt trip on you.   This is the great thing about Platt’s book.  He using convincing arguments that are biblically based to get you out of your comfort zone.  It is not legalism that makes you want to change.  After reading this book you  don’t think you need to earn God’s love.  After reading you think, WOW, what an amazing God.  I want to make HIS GLORY KNOWN TO ALL THE WORLD!!!!  This is the right motive for change.  If you like your life and do not want to be challenged by the gospel don’t read this.  If you are a Christian and you really love Jesus, I would highly recommend getting this book and reading it.  I think that Platt’s message in this book is a timely one for American Christians. God raises up men at certain times in history like a Martin Luther to show the pure gospel.  I think God has raised Platt up for this purpose to show us how we have taken the American Dream as the gospel and put a Jesus spin on it.

Here are some quotes from the book:

“The modern-day gospel says, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.  Therefore, follow these steps, and you can be saved.” Meanwhile, the biblical gospel says, “You are and enemy of God, dead in your sin, and in your present state of rebellion, you are not even able to see that you need life, much less to cause yourself to come to life. Therefore, you are radically dependent on God to do something in your life that you could never do.” The former sells books and draws crowds.  The latter save souls.  Which is more important? In the gospel God reveals the depth of our need for him. He shows us that there is absolutely nothing we can do to come to him.  We can’t manufacture salvation.  We can’t program it. We can’t produce it.  We can’t even initiate it. God has to open our eyes, set us free, overcome our evil, and appease his wrath. He has to come to us (32).”

“The questions, therefore is not “Can we find God’s will?” The question is “Will we obey God’s will?” Will we refuse to sit back and wait for some tingly feeling to go down our spines before we rise up and do what we have already been commanded to do?  Will we risk everything- our comfort, our possessions, our safety, our security, our very lives-to make the gospel known among unreached peoples? Such rising up and such risk taking are the unavoidable, urgent results of a life that is radically abandoned to Jesus (160).”  I told you not to read!

“To everyone wanting a safe, untroubled, comfortable life free from danger, stay away from Jesus.  The danger in our lives will always increase in proportion to the depth of our relationship with Christ (167).” This chapter is going to mess you up if you read this book.

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy; it is dangerous.  It is not smooth sailing abroad a luxury liner; it is sacrificial duty aboard a troop carrier. It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us (181).”

I recommend the book but it does comes with this warning, your life will be challenged.