Finding Life in a Chaotic World

There are few who find and experience the reality of a real, meaningful, hopeful, abundant, free, and full Life.

The gate to that Life is very narrow.

And the road leading there is hard to follow.

Going to church does not guarantee that kind of Life.

Saying the name of Jesus does not guarantee that kind of Life.

Reciting the sinner’s prayer does not guarantee that kind of Life.

Getting baptized does not guarantee that kind of Life.

Doing something nice for someone does not guarantee that kind of Life.

You may be the greatest and most respected “religious” person, who never misses a Sunday service, who never forgets to put money in the offering plate, or who never misses the taking of the Lord’s Supper.

But none of that guarantees that you have found Life.

True Life is only found by fully receiving the love of God and totally surrendering everything to Him.


And one would rather die than to ever stop living in that kind of all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love.

And my guess is that most of you agree with all of that.

At least in theory.

Of course we love God with all of our hearts, minds, and souls!

Of course we would rather die than to ever stop living in that kind of all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love!

I hear you.

But here’s the kicker.

It doesn’t stop there.

This all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love is not simply meant to be received.

It is meant to be given as well.

And here is what that means.

It means that we would rather die than to ever stop giving that kind of all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love.

What is received… is meant to be given.

And that turns everything completely upside-down.

Perfect love casts away all fear.

If we receive perfect love.

If we give perfect love.

There is nothing to fear.

But fear has a massive death grip on many Christians.

We are afraid of instability.

We are afraid of tyranny.

We are afraid of “losing freedom.”

We are afraid of opposing ideologies.

We are afraid of the government.

We are afraid of “losing our rights.”

We are afraid of the government “taking our guns.”

We are afraid of the government taking our religious liberties.

We are afraid of our money becoming worthless.

We are afraid of losing our jobs.

We are afraid of “new world orders.”

We are afraid of Anti-Christ figures.

Don’t miss what I am saying here.

I am not saying that we ought not work peacefully and prayerfully to oppose those things that work against the extension of the kingdom of God in the world.

But what I am saying is that as we receive perfect love from God… we begin to realize that we have absolutely nothing to fear.

And as we give that perfect love to others… we fear nothing.

Everything else fades away.

Only perfect love remains.

And it is exquisite and beautiful.

If we would really open ourselves up to experience that kind of love, we would have no other choice than to believe that it is worth living in, giving to others, and dying for.

Because it is a better narrative.

Because it subverts the conflict.

Because it was the way we were always made to live.

Because that is what God intended for us at the very beginning.

And it is with that kind of perfect love that this life is to be lived and experienced.

Not by avoiding the conflict.

Not by praying for a “Rapture” of the church every moment.

Not by constantly begging Jesus to return and take you away to heaven.

But by gracefully and mercifully and lovingly and prayerfully walking through the conflict and chaos of life, while working toward and anticipating resolution.

The way we choose to live presently is a good indication of how we will choose to live in the future.

That is why we need to change right now.

If we aren’t living like Christ presently, when times are relatively good, then we will never live like Christ if times get really difficult in the future.

We can’t be a people content to only receive the love of God.  We have to be people who live sacrificially to extend the love of God to everyone… even in a chaotic world.

That may be hard to swallow because it confronts us with how insufficient and negligent we have been at extending the all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love of God.

Think about it.

Are you criticizing, demeaning, and devaluing the President of the United States and his policies – or – praying for him and loving him despite what actions he takes?

Do you hate the leaders whom we have been told are our enemies or whom we have been told are working against us- or- are you ignoring these voices and choosing to love our enemies the way Jesus Christ loved his enemies.

Do you find yourself getting angry with other people or people groups when you listen to right-wing or left-wing talk radio, when you watch news programs, and when you read the newspaper – or – are you tuning out and learning how to mercifully and gracefully love all people and all people groups despite their situation or circumstance?

Have your allegiance and identity become so closely aligned with the values of our country that you believe it is appropriate to kill people when they are deemed an “enemy” – or – are you on your knees seeking to better align yourself with the love and peace of Jesus toward friends and enemies alike?

Do your actions, when standing for a position on an issue (that you also happen to believe is the position of God), make you hurt, minimize, and wound individuals and people groups – or – do they heal, lift up, mend, and restore individuals and people groups in the loving, graceful, and merciful love of Christ?

Are your words and attitude toward others divisive, angry, hostile, demeaning, and devaluing when you disagree with their position or the way in which they live their lives – or – are your words and attitude always full of life, love, kindness, encouragement, and the building up of others?

We are just scratching the surface with these questions.

How does experiencing the all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love of God change every part of our lives?

I pray it is changing us in every way.

And so much that it pours out of everything we do at all times.

Let the world only know us for our all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love.

Nothing less.

Jesus is calling us out of the large spectator crowd and along the narrow pathway with him.

He wants us to surrender every ounce of our lives to follow him and his way.

He wants us to walk away from a life that is easy.

He wants us to walk away from a life that is predictable.

He wants us to walk away from a life that is comfortable.

He wants us to enter into a life of risk.

He wants us to be willing to suffer pain and alienation.

He wants us to be willing to die.

For love.

Jesus expects everything from us.

And he is asking us to not just receive God’s all-consuming, enveloping, and overwhelming love, but to also be willing to surrender our lives in order to give it away.

That is the place where sacrifice is needed.

And it begins today for those who want to be radical disciples, so that you will be ready in times of difficulty and hardship.

Let us be a people who are not stressed, anxious, or worried in our present lives or at the first sign of turmoil, but rather let us be a people who put our entire faith and hope in a God who takes care of His children.

Let us be a people who do not let the light of righteousness burn out in our present lives or as the world continues to grow darker around us, but rather let us be a people with a renewed sense that we are to have a unified purpose together extending the righteousness of God in the present, even as things become increasingly complex and chaotic.

Let us be a people who are not just announcing a watered-down Good News message with our lips presently or becoming even more silent in the face of opposition, but rather let us be a people who understand fully and unequivocally the life-changing, world-altering reality of the Good News of the kingdom and let us be a people who announce it to the world with our words, our lives, and our all.

Let us be a people who do not run from Jesus in the face of hostility and persecution, but rather let us be a courageous people who exist for a purpose in the way we love, encourage, serve, share a meal, embrace, and give all we have to our friends, enemies, and especially to others who are losing hope.

Let us be a people who are not easily swayed by propaganda, talking heads, political leaders, or any other thing that could lead us astray presently or as times become increasingly uncertain, but rather let us be a people resolved to know Jesus so intimately, his kingdom so thoroughly, his voice so specifically, that we could never be misguided.

And let us be a people who are not sucked into the national news headlines, the talk-show venom, the political mudslinging, the divisive rhetoric, and the cultural instigation presently or in times when it will be easier to blame and hate others, but rather let us be a people so overwhelmed and full of the love of God that we would rather give our lives than not give that love away.

This piece is a modified excerpt from my book AND THEN THE END WILL COME! (



Being Jesus to Atheists, Homosexuals, and Abortionists

One Sunday we showed up at our rented church building.

Someone had spray painted a Nazi swastika on the front of the building.

We didn’t pay much attention to it as it looked like the work of some foolish children.

But after a couple of weeks the swastika was still there.

I heard some people in our church musing over an idea to use spray paint to turn the swastika into a cross.

I didn’t pay much attention to the idea.

I thought everyone was just having fun with ways to “redeem” a terrible symbol.

I didn’t think they were serious.

However, a few days later I was riding my bike passed our building, I noticed that, sure enough, the swastika had been transformed into a cross.

With the word “love” written beside it.

I didn’t say anything about it.

But I did not like what had been done.

As I anticipated, my fears came to fruition.

I returned back to the building later in the week to find that the word “NAZI” had been spray-painted on the building again.

And this time along the entire front of the building.

Including the windows.

This was retaliation for our naive move.

Lesson learned.

Violence begets more violence.

Even when it is just spray paint.

Here’s the point.

When we respond to people in the same way they treat us… the vicious cycle begins.

One group tries to rise above the other group.


Eye for eye.

Tooth for tooth.




This approach creates more hostility and divisiveness and antagonism and conflict.

This approach NEVER changes hearts.

It may change behavior for a bit.

But it NEVER changes hearts.

It just embitters and callouses and hardens and begs for retaliation.

The cycle never ends.

Unless someone stops the cycle.

And that someone has to be us.

The followers of Christ.

The proclaimers and extenders of the kingdom.

Our way must be the lowly and humble and meek and loving and blessed and non-retaliating approach of our Christ.

Our way must be the way of Christ, the peacemaker.

No other way will do.

Because when one submits in love… the cycle stops.

That’s the way of Jesus.

And it has to be our way as well- to atheists, to homosexuals, to evolutionists, to members of different political ideologies, to abortionist, and anyone else we perceive as “fighting us” or “waging war against us” or “jamming their agenda down our throats.”

It is only the way of Jesus and the kingdom that changes hearts and changes minds.

And it is that way that will eventually change the world.

But that is the true dilemma.

How will we ever respond to real affliction and persecution in the way of Jesus and his kingdom… if we neglect the way of Jesus and his kingdom when other people simply inconvenience us or frustrate us?

How will we ever love someone who beats us and is trying to crush us… when we don’t even love those who simply make fun of Christianity with their words?

How will we ever bless someone who imprisons us… when we don’t even bless the atheist who says God doesn’t exist?

How will we ever humbly and lovingly serve someone who takes everything from us… when we don’t even serve those who try to remove “In God We Trust” from our currency, who try to remove the Ten Commandments from public property, who keep Creationism out of the public school system, or who try to keep prayer out of school? 

How will we ever say “Father forgive them” about someone who kills our loved ones… when we don’t even ask God to forgive someone who paints our church building or who steals something belonging to our church?

How will we ever be entrusted and given more of this kingdom to extend… if we can’t even be trusted with a little?

The truth is that we have a lot of kingdom to discover and embody before we will ever be prepared for anything that resembles “End Times” affliction.

For if we are not like Jesus when times are relatively easy, there is no way we will ever be like him if our lives grow increasingly difficult and hostile.

This text is a modified excerpt from AND THEN THE END WILL COME! (



Rediscovering the Word Evangelical

There is a beautiful word… an elegant descriptor… that has been maligned, tarnished, lampooned, distorted, and completely misunderstood. It is a name many have abandoned for all of it’s negative connotations and ugly stereotypes. But this bruised and battered identifier… this lowly mark tossed carelessly to the side by a cynical generation… is finally being rediscovered, reclaimed, renewed, and washed clean by those hungry to wear it and hold it high for the world to see clearly.

The word is Evangelical.

And it is beautiful because at it’s very heart, it’s very core, it simply describes anyone who proclaims the Good News. But it seems that many have skewed the Good News and given the name Evangelical a bad rap by proclaiming messages that don’t seem so good… that make people feel worse on the inside and not so hopeful that there is an alternative to this confusing, messed up world.

As an Evangelical, as a proud proclaimer of the Good News, I want to share with you the Good News of the Kingdom of God… and the reason why I will continue to wear the name and preach the message until the day I die.

The Good News is that there is an alternative. This is another way. There is a reason to have hope.

The great alternative to this world, that Jesus preached about and was preoccupied with establishing, operated by a new set of values, a new way of thinking, a new way of being human. The Good News that Jesus announced was like nothing the world had ever known or seen before. As such, Jesus was not preoccupied with fighting violently against the kingdoms of the world, or the prevailing governmental or political order. Jesus wasn’t even preoccupied with trying to reform them or preoccupied with trying to establish a new or different political system or governmental system. And, he was certainly not trying to build up a bricks and mortar palace where he would rule from the top-down.

The Kingdom that Jesus came to proclaim would be established much differently than those of the world, and it would not look like anything the world had ever seen, because the people in this Kingdom would do everything opposite from the ways and workings of the world. It would be a grassroots, organic movement that changes the world from the bottom-up and from the inside-out, defying every bit of worldly wisdom in the process.

When the world hits you, do not retaliate, but give the other cheek. When the world is weighing you down with heavy requests, don’t just go one mile with the request but go two miles. When the world takes everything you have, even the coat off of your back, don’t just give your coat but go even further by offering your shirt. When the way of the world harbors anger and holds grudges, be one who forgives your friends and your enemies alike. And, don’t just forgive once, but forgive and forgive and forgive.

When the world is quick to respond and rip a person to shreds, be one who controls your anger and the words that come from your mouth. When the world devalues relationships and marriages, be one who looks to the interest of others, honors commitments, and always remains selfless. When the world looks out for and protects its own pursuits and interests to the detriment of others, be one who treats others as you would want to be treated yourself. When the world is ready to cast the stone of judgment at the sinner, be one who loves and stands beside every single person without judgment. When the world shuns the outcast and pushes him to the edges of society, be one who befriends the outcast and welcomes him back into loving community.

When the world lords over you with mighty power and authority, be one who is humble and comes from the bottom-up to serve everyone. When the world takes the seat of honor so it can be seen and noticed by everyone, be one who takes the seat of low-position in the back of the room. When the world puts on a show of being pure and good but is corrupt at the very core, be one who is pure from the inside and let it work out through your life. When the world continues in the ways of injustice and is merciless to the least in society, be one who stands for the least and for those who cannot defend themselves by demanding justice and mercy.

When the world fights and wars, be one who always stands on the side of peace no matter the situation and no matter the circumstance. When the world insults, ridicules, and curses you, be one who blesses in return. When the evil of the world assaults you, be the one who does not resist the evil. And when the world beats you, spits upon you, and is preparing to crucify you, continue on the way of forgiveness and self-sacrificial love.

That is the Good News of the Kingdom of God! That is what it means to be a true, genuine, authentic Evangelical. That is the treasure of great riches that the world so desperately needs to discover. That is the pearl of great value that we sell everything we have in order to attain it. That is what will spread like an infection, a mustard seed, yeast in the dough if the world would ever hear it and see it put into practice by a transformed people. That is the in-breaking of heaven into the house that has been held hostage for far too long. That is the occupation, proclamation, task, and obsession of the follower of Christ… of every Evangelical… in the vineyard of the world!

The Kingdom of God is the full-on reign of God in the hearts and minds of those who believe in the way, life, and teachings of Jesus, who have died to the old, tired, and worn-out ways of the world, and who have been made new by the working and empowering of the Spirit of God in order to bring heaven on earth, while awaiting and anticipating the return of Christ as Lord at the renewal of all things!!! It is what a life looks like when God reigns in and through a person here on earth in every single thought, action, attitude, situation, or scenario. The Kingdom of God looks like an invasion from heaven into the strongholds of a person’s life, a cleaning out of the house, a light breaking through into the darkness, and a constant and continual in-breaking of heaven through one’s life into the world. It is a Kingdom that reigns in the hearts and minds of people, not through the political, governmental, bureaucratic, religious, institutional brick and mortar systems of the world. The Kingdom of God will never come through those systems, because they will all pass away one day.

That is why Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is not something that can be seen or observed. It is not visible with the eye for anyone to see or to visibly discover. In fact, people will not be able to say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the Kingdom of God is within the hearts and minds of those who follow the way, life, and teachings of Jesus. In this way, the Kingdom of God can not be conquered, destroyed, or defeated, but it continues to grow larger and continues to spread from person to person all throughout the world like a mustard seed in a field or yeast in dough. It breaks into our world like an infection to displace the kingdoms of the world and to establish the reign of God, through and through, in the hearts, minds, and lives of people who are like Jesus in everything we do.

That is what it means to be an Evangelical. That is why I wear the name with honor and will hold the banner high. It is to Jesus Christ and the Good News of his Kingdom that I pledge my allegiance and give my life.