Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"October Baby," Inspired by Abortion Survivor, Opens March 23

"October Baby" opens in theaters this Friday, March 23. The movie was inspired by the life story of Gianna Jessen, the survivor of a failed abortion.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A "Perfect" Diet?

Bosch Last Judgement DetailI was having a conversation with a some Christian friends about the "perfect" diet. We quickly came to the conclusion that while some foods are nutritionally superior (and others hardly qualify as "food"), there's no such thing as the perfect diet. 

That's because there are no perfect foods—all of our food is grown in a post-Fall, imperfect world. After Adam and Eve sinned, God declared that the ground was cursed (Genesis 3:17). So all of the edible plants in the world have been growing from cursed ground since that time. All animals have eaten those plants, and carnivores have eaten other animals that ate the plants. In essence, all vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, and animal products (e.g. milk, butter, lard) are contaminated.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

When Health is an Idol

95appleI used to watch The Dr. Oz Show religiously. Actually, I’d record it so I could rewind and jot down information on supplements to take, medical tests to demand, and the right type of lip balm to keep my pout healthy year-round. While no human physician has a fail-proof prescription for perpetual good heath, I thought Dr. Mehmet Oz’s seemed pretty close.

Then the unthinkable happened: Dr. Oz was diagnosed with a precancerous polyp in his intestine. He told People magazine, “This was a shakeup for me. I have done everything right.”

I, too, thought I was doing everything right. Along with watching Dr. Oz, I worked out more than 10 hours every week, which included teaching two hip-hop classes at my gym. I meticulously planned my meals to have a nutritionally exact balance. I weighed, measured, and recorded every bit of food I consumed. I had a schedule for drinking specific quantities of water, a schedule for taking supplements throughout the day, and a schedule for eating high-potassium foods at regular intervals.

Then I, too, got sick. 

Thursday, February 09, 2012

"Come, Lord Jesus!" or "Wait, Lord Jesus!" ... or Both?

READING: 2 Peter 3
I often hear Christians excitedly say and pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!" 

Meanwhile, my own prayer has often been, "Wait, Lord Jesus, wait!" because I want family and friends who aren't submitting to God's authority to have a chance to recognize it. I've been greatly comforted by 2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent."

I think both of these prayers"Please come!" and "Please wait!"represent the same desire: We want what God wants. We want everyone who will eventually recognize God's authority to do so, and we want God to do away will evil and suffering, and to rule. We want his perfect justice.

Paul is Hard to Understand & His Words Will Get Twisted: 2 Peter 3

"Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. ... And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of [Paul's] comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction." 2 Peter 3:11-12a, 15-16 (NLT)

In this passage, I've always focused on the concept of God's patience. Today, when I read this passage, something popped out at me for the first time: Peter tells us that the Bible will be twisted, wrongly interpreted, and thus made to mean something that it doesn't. Peter specifies that this will occur in particular with Paul's letters.

In recent years, I've heard more strong criticism of Paul's letters than of any other part of the Bible, from both folks who are not Christians and from devout believers.

It doesn't surprise me to hear folks who aren't Christians rail again Paul's statements on topics such as the sin of homosexuality and how women should not teach men. It's understandable that these positions would seem unfair, even unjust, to someone who is not submitted to God's authority. (One friend told me he'd be amenable to exploring Christianity if he could throw out Paul's letters from Scripture.)

But I'm perplexed by comments I've heard from Christians such as, "Paul got it wrong. Paul got a lot of things wrong," and "Scripture can be interpreted in many different ways."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Helpful Bible Reading Resource

I've been using the Horner Bible reading plan for a couple months now and am very much enjoying this method of reading the Bible. A PDF of the plan is available free online:

The method was devised by Grant Horner, who serves as a professor at The Master's College. It involves reading 10 chapters from throughout the Bible every day. The beauty of the system is that you read just ONE chapter from a book of the Bible, so you get a chance to read different styles of writing (e.g. historical record, personal letters, poetry, and more). Most beneficial, you can see the connectedness of the books of the Bible, as one big story that has a overseeing Author.

With this plan, every day you will read from:
  • the Gospels
  • the Pentateuch (Torah)
  • the Epistles (you'll usually read two chapters, one from two different Epistles)

Monday, January 23, 2012

"I Believe: What Every Kid Needs to Know About the Christian Faith"

The curriculum I wrote, "I Believe: What Every Kid Needs to Know About the Christian Faith," is now available on It answers the question, "What do Christians believe?" using concepts from the Apostles' Creed. It includes 10 lessons along with a Leader's Guide with teaching ideas and activities. Some of the specific topics addressed include:
  • What does it mean to believe in God?
  • Why do Christians call God their “Father”?
  • Is there anything God can't do? 
  • Why did Jesus have to die?
  • Did Jesus really come back to life?
  • Does Jesus have authority over me?
  • Why will I be judged? What have I done?
  • Why didn’t Jesus stay on earth?
  • Who is the Holy Spirit?
  • Why do Christians call each other “brother” and “sister”?
  • What do I need to do to be forgiven?
  • Could I really live forever?
  • How do I know if I’ll go to heaven?  
If you have kids, work with youth, or would just like a quick refresher in how to explain Christian beliefs, check out this PDF download. It's selling for $19.95 and you can make up to 1,000 copies for your church or organization.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Encouraging Words from God's Word: 1 Cor. 15:58

"Be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." --1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT

I'd imagine that most Christians go through a season of discouragement, wondering, Why am I doing this? Does my work for God even matter? Does it make any difference?  

I've asked these questions a lot. My blog is the perfect example of the downward spiral that can occur when I question the value of my work. I began blogging in 2006 and was consistent at posting weekly for three years. Then grad school kept me from writing regularly for a couple years. After graduation, my time seemed to fill up with a variety of other projects. Really, it was other excuses, driven by the question, Why should I keep writing about God and faith on a blog that nobody reads?

Monday, January 16, 2012

REVIEW: Take a Pass on "The Daniel Fast"

Review of The Daniel Fast, Susan Gregory (Tyndale, 2010)
I requested The Daniel Fast because I’d been interested in the topic of fasting. The concept of a partial fast was intriguing, particularly since author Susan Gregory offered a “how to” that seemed more in-depth and extensive than anything I’d previously come across. (In hindsight, I realize this is probably because very little instruction is required for a “no food” plan, which is typically how fasting is discussed, while Susan’s book is largely about food preparation.)

But The Daniel Fast plan is not a Scripturally-based model for fasting. Rather, it’s a nutritional plan with the potential to have a spiritual component—I will further explain why that potential isn’t reached—catering to those who would like to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet.