Singled Out: Does the Church Ignore Singles?

A while ago, I had a someone email me and ask whether or not I believed the church pushes marriage. I immediately thought, yes, I think the church does push marriage.

But should it?

Do we really want the message that the church promotes to be one of marriage versus singleness? Is marriage a sort of spiritual achievement worth striving for and if so, where does that leave all those who are single?

So yes, the church at large places marriage on a pedestal. However, I think part of the reason the American church idolizes marriage is a bit less honorable than we might suspect. Continue reading Singled Out: Does the Church Ignore Singles?

Your Dream Must Die

So, lately my church family has been talking a lot about our “wish-dreams.” Our what-the-whats, you may be asking.

Our wish-dreams.

What’s a wish-dream? I know, it sounds like some sort of hippy-dippy, new-age malarkey, but it is so not. The term “wish-dream” was coined by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and has proven to be one of the most challenging ideas to my faith in a very long time.

A few weeks back, the consistently awesome Frank Viola, posted an excerpt of Bonhoeffer’s explanation of a wish-dream (if you have time, I encourage you to read the full excerpt. It is just too good not to). Many of those in my church family read it and we began sharing with one another our own wish-dreams.

So what is a wish-dream already? It’s definitely not what might assume…. Continue reading Your Dream Must Die

Don’t Follow Your Heart

God made us to be emotional beings. We experience millions of varying emotions over the course our lifetime from elation, to horror, admiration to disappointment, anger to joy.

If God designed us to express and experience emotion, it is no surprise then that for many of us, our emotions are critical in guiding and directing us.

Yet, as believers, should we always yield to our emotions? Better yet, is it always safe and wise to follow our heart, wherever it may lead?

Because I can’t help but wonder, in all of the ways the Lord gave us to help guide us in making wise decisions–the counsel of others, the Bible, prayer, common sense, our intellect, and our heart–if following the latter is always the best choice.

Especially, when you consider the sort of shocking statement the Bible makes regarding the heart… Continue reading Don’t Follow Your Heart

The Territorial Christian

Christians are territorial. Have you ever noticed this? We often walk around like we’re the *ish* and project a certain air of supremacy or snobbery.

We lay claim to our Christian-y things, like our music,  our movies (which generally stink, by the way), our Bible, our worldview, our morals, our churches…

We are not very good at seeing other peoples’ boundaries. We only see our own. Often times, we only operate within our own sphere, but why? Why are we so territorial when it clearly contradicts the Gospel? Continue reading The Territorial Christian

Does God Want You to be Happy?

You might be thinking that this title sounds familiar and you’d be right. A while back I wrote a post called “The Top 5 Lies Christians Believe,” and among them was the lie that Christians think happiness is a guarantee of following Christ.

I’ve had enough people write me and disagree with me on this particular point that I thought I should address it in its own post.

I’ll be honest, I don’t like this idea–the idea that happiness is not necessarily guaranteed to us believers. I don’t like thinking that God is more concerned with my holiness than my happiness or more concerned with His glory than my good times.

But when I look at the Word and when I listen to the Holy Spirit, I have never been left with the feeling that my happiness is important. That doesn’t mean our happiness is irrelevant to God, but rather less important than we tend to think. Continue reading Does God Want You to be Happy?

The Most Important Type of Church

I read this quote the other day, and I have to say, I completely disagree with it:

A good church is a Bible-centered church. Nothing is as important as this–not a large congregation, a witty pastor, or tangible experiences of the Holy Spirit.”― Alistair Begg

I mean, on the surface, I think it sounds right. We know that as believers, the Bible is our bread. It is God’s very Word to us, able to divide joints and marrow (spiritually speaking). But is a Bible-centered church really the most important thing in creating a “good church” (whatever that means)?

Consider the Acts church, which grew rapidly and spread the Gospel like wild fire. Do you think the thing they focused on most, was the Bible? Was it within the Bible, and from the Bible, that they found their strength and power?

I doubt it. I think the Acts church focused most of their energy on something else entirely.

I once heard a pastor at a local Phoenix area mega-church talk about the 3 kinds of churches that exist. The first church is a Bible church, that focuses primarily on the Word. The second is a Jesus church that focus mainly on the Person of Jesus. And the third kind of church, he said, was a Holy Spirit church, that was more so preoccupied with things of the Spirit.

So after reading that quote and recalling this pastor’s sermon, I got to thinking; which type of church is best? Which of the 3 types should we strive to achieve and focus our energies upon? Continue reading The Most Important Type of Church

Women Who Idolize the Wrong Men

Today’s guest post is written by none other than my awesome cousin, Ryan Goble. Ryan is a recent college graduate and when I asked him to write about some of his observations about young single women and the ways they view men, he didn’t let me down. His thoughts here are insightful, challenging, and, in my opinion, right on. I hope you enjoy!

Lately, I have noticed a trend among college women and especially Christian college women. I see this trend as a cancer in the church that desperately needs to be cut out before it kills a generation of men and women…

For generations it has been expressed that men are the ones who deal with issues of lust and desire. Yet, with the modern day movie and music star, I believe that our women are being greatly affected by society’s lies of what they should be looking for in a man. I believe that this issue has been buried so deep that we often do not even see it as an issue.

Have you ever been with a group of women and listened to them talk about how they are “in love” with their favorite movie star? Or how they are going to watch their “boyfriend” on the big screen? Do you know women who talk non-stop about the men they idolize and how great it would be if they could just be married to them?

Have you ever heard women talk about a man’s abs or his arms in ways that their husband (or future husband) would NOT be happy? If you haven’t heard a woman talk like this, I’m happy for you, because as a man, it sucks.

But here’s the clincher: I believe that modern day romance films and “sexy” actors and musicians are doing the same thing to women that pornography is doing to men. Here’s how… Continue reading Women Who Idolize the Wrong Men

God Never Said to Just Love Yourself

Is it just me or does it seem that lately, instead of people attempting to improve themselves, the new fad is to simply accept yourself for who you are, even if who you are isn’t that great?

We talk about being easy on ourselves, being kind to ourselves, being our own best friend. This seems absurd to me. How can I be my own best friend? And why would I want to?

Here’s another one of my favorites: “You can’t love anyone else, until you love yourself.” Or the variation: “No one will love you, until you love yourself.” When did loving yourself become a prerequisite for loving others or being loved? I know a guy named Jesus, who would probably disagree with this sentiment.

Yet, we’ve heard this mantra time and time again. We tell people that they’ll never find love until they learn to love themselves. We’ve heard Oprah and Dr. Phil tell us that loving ourselves is necessary if we’re ever to find true happiness. But when I think about this, an image pops in my mind that actually causes me to laugh out loud: Continue reading God Never Said to Just Love Yourself

I’m No Movie Star

Today’s post is part of a blog series sponsored by Prodigal Magazine, which seeks to answer the question: What Does it Mean to Live a Good Story? I’m honored to take part and hope that you will visit some of the other talented and gifted bloggers participating, as well.

I suppose I wasn’t very different from most other teenagers I knew. I wasn’t concerned with being good, so much as fitting in, which showed itself in my willingness to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and have sex with my boyfriend. I never felt good about these choices, but they brought me happiness…or rather, acceptance.

Like any 16 year-old, I was consumed with myself. Teenagers are notoriously self-centered and I was no exception. My story was all about me. The story I lived to share, and longed to share, was my own. If my life was a movie (and what 16 year old doesn’t on some level believe their life actually is a movie), I was the star. It was my name I desired to see up in lights.

Forget Angelina, Charlize, Reese. I was the main character of my own film. It was a blockbuster, written by, directed by, and starring me.

I remember how the need for attention would swell up inside of me. I remember how I would position myself, negotiate situations so that I might fall into the limelight. I loved the feeling of walking into a room and people taking notice. Looking back, I’m ashamed to admit that I lived for that kind of adoration.

But, one month shy of my 17th birthday, I met the Man who would begin to tell me an entirely different story. Continue reading I’m No Movie Star

Gold Stars and Performing for God

Today’s guest post is from Malisa Price, a long time reader and member of the Modern Reject community. Malisa has a heart to serve God and also has a blog of her own. I can easily relate to her post today and hope that it leaves you as encouraged and comforted, as it did me.

When Nicole wrote about not liking women’s ministry (gatherings, retreats, teas, etc.), I was doing a happy dance and celebratory hand-waving. I’m sure I looked like a nutty person, but I was so relieved that she felt like me.

I recently, went to a women’s retreat. I have been on retreats before, but this was the first one I have gone to that was paid for out of my own pocket. This time felt different because I had a time and financial investment.

I don’t know what actually possessed me to sign up for the weekend getaway. I like being home with my hubster, eating the meals I make, and sleeping in my nice bed. But, I think it was the quiet voice of Jesus calling me, “Come Malisa, experience more of what I have for you. I want to spend time with you and get to know you better.” Shockingly, I signed up.

In doing so, I allowed myself to be vulnerable. I allowed myself to be a follower rather than the leader. I allowed myself to be out of control and go with the flow. Continue reading Gold Stars and Performing for God