image of God

Discipleship as Story: A Shared Journey of What It Is to Be Fully Human

I’ve been to India twice now. On both occasions I took in a trip to Agra to visit the Red Fort and the famed Taj Mahal. I was traveling with my family on the second tour and wanted them to experience all I had in my first Eastern adventure. 

You see, my first tour was with a native travel guide who completely immersed herself in the history and legacy of her country. She told stories about the people and events that had inhabited the sites as though she had experienced them herself. She was connected with the story. She told it as if it was her own. I listened with keen interest, hung on every word. I was invited into her world, her history, her life. I not felt I knew her country and her heritage; I believed I knew her. 

Eager for my wife and daughter to experience the same riveting interaction, we embarked on the two-hour ride to Agra from New Deli. My eagerness waned as…

Made in the Image of LOVE

I often feel like I’m supposed to have the spiritual stuff of life all figured out. I think I mostly feel that expectation from other people; after all, I am a clergy-card-carrying pastor. That doesn’t mean every person expects this of me. I do plenty of projecting onto unsuspecting, even anonymous, people, assuming I know what they’re thinking. Turns out, what I do have figured out is that I’m still a work in process. But I digress. 

I don’t have all the “spiritual” stuff figured out.

  • Like, the problem of evil. Why?
  • God’s take on the notion of “original sin.”
  • Why God heals some people and not others. Or does he?
  • Why God protects some people from certain death in the face of danger and allows others to die. Or does he?
  • What it means to be made in God’s image. 

God’s image. There’s a “spiritual stuff” question. You and I…created in God’s image. Really? Just what might that mean? There are many explanations about what it means to be image-bearers of almighty God. Among those explanations are the following…

    What's Your Label?

    I didn't meet the guy who drives this Jaguar convertible. But he picked up this label somewhere - and then paid to announce it to everyone. At least everyone who sees his ride.

    It's interesting - the labels we wear. Some we give to ourselves. Many we take on from someone else. 

    • Successful. Failure. Incapable. High Capacity. 
    • Skinny. Fat. Attractive. Ugly. 
    • Leader. Crowd-follower. Independent. Stubborn.
    • Rude. Sweet. Professional. Normal. Real.

    I don't know where you picked up the label or labels you most naturally wear - ...

    The Gospel. Scandalous Grace.

    There's a reason we affirm and sing the phrase "amazing grace." But it's almost unbelievable how unamazingly we treat grace. The Gospel Grace. God's grace.

    What's so amazing about grace is that it is absolutely scandalous. It's not reasonable. It's not fair. It's supernatural.

    • An adulterous king is declared to be "a man after God's own heart." 
    • A man who gave his wife up as his sister for sexual relations with another man was "the father of many nations."
    • A prostitute makes it