It often surprises people when I describe myself as a Catholic Christian, because the association immediately goes to the Roman Catholic Church. In reality, Catholic is simply a word that means “universal,” and is particularly associated with the unity of the Church.
When, in the Apostle’s Creed, we say “I believe in the catholic church” we are saying that we believe fundamentally, the church is one. Political and secondary theological issues aside, there is a unity in our common, core confession of Christ that binds all Christians universally into one church. All Christians are part of one catholic Church in this sense and should be able to say this part of the Creed without feeling uncomfortable.
Only Jesus is enough.
Social media is not enough. Information overload is not enough. Self is not enough. Always-on is not enough. Things are not enough. Money is not enough. Time is not enough. The American Dream is not enough. The perfect vacation is not enough.
We were driving to church; it was a fairly typical Sunday morning. I was thinking about new improvements to this site, the worship set I would be leading during the service, the new drum we’d bought to give some more energy to our acoustic sound. I was feeling a bit nervous about singing some fairly new songs and working with the drum for only the second time. It was a cold night for Phoenix the night before, down in the fifties. The morning air was still chill enough for me to start the heater in our car.
I pulled up to a stoplight near Mountain View and 7th Street, the outskirts of one of the less great parts of central Phoenix. There is a large homeless population in this area that begs for money at lights while camping out at abandoned gas stations. Today a younger-than-normal blonde woman stood by the side of the road with the typical cardboard sign and grocery cart full of old clothes and bags. She stretched our her arm to wave, and I noticed her hands were dirty. She’d been on the street a while. She shuffled alongside the road, eyes tired and downcast.
Our culture is increasingly hostile to a life of prayer, solitude, listening, authentic community, discipline, rich symbols and roots that extend deep through time and space.
Digital-age discipleship means meeting the challenges and possibilities of our hyper-connected world with an ancient faith that is alive and singularly focused on the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus has provided all you need and more for peace, joy, contentment, and salvation from the evils of this world. Living in light of this is life’s grand pursuit, and is both our greatest challenge and our deepest comfort.
My mission to is join with you on this journey toward Jesus, offering a helping hand when I can and learning from you along the way.
Together, let’s make the most of the unprecedented opportunities for building the Kingdom of God in our present age, remaining steadfast against the constant demand for us to bow down to the idols of information, materialism, and idleness. These things will never be enough for us.
Only Jesus is enough.
Cultivating a thankful heart seems like it should be easy, yet I find it is one of my greatest struggles.
I know that if I don’t pay attention and make the effort to direct my heart toward gratitude, I quickly become self-centered, discontent, and distant toward God.
As I grow in thankfulness, however, I’ve seen the opposite happen: I care more for others, I am satisfied no matter what the circumstances, and my relationship with God deepens.
I’ve created this five-day devotional booklet to help you:
Get the digital download now for only $0.99.
I’ve been thinking this week a lot about contentment, and how I seem to focus on ridding myself of desires for material things. This is all well and good, after all the Bible tells us:
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6, ESV)
I am excited to be a part of the Mission.
This video speaks in terms of “Scripture, Spirit, Sacrament.” This “three-streams” approach is sometimes scoffed as contrived or forced, but I think it brings a needed intentionality and balance to Christian practice. We can and should be evangelical, charismatic, and catholic. We must have a heart for mission and authentic Christian life, while staying rooted in the great traditions and rich history of our faith.
There was a time where I wondered if I would ever find a community that intentionally pursued this kind of balance, with a radical focus on the Gospel. I wasn’t sure it existed, or if it would even be possible to maintain. I was almost ready to give up on the institutional church completely.
Christianity has long held the tradition of praying at fixed times throughout the day, and especially at morning and evening. During the time of the Reformation, the Church of England simplified the monastic habit of praying eight times daily to a simple morning and evening prayer pattern. This practice stuck and has formed the backbone of devotional practice for Anglicans and many other Christians over the centuries.
Praying the Daily Office has been an essential part of my own spirituality for the past few years, and has had a tremendous impact on me.
I’ve created a simple and elegant prayer journal that provides the Scripture readings for each day of Advent and Christmas liturgical seasons, along with space for your own notes and prayers to God in a one page per day format.
I’ve been wanting to put this together for a while now, and I’m so glad I finally did! I hope you’ll be blessed by using this little journal to track what God is teaching you through the Advent and Christmas season.
At less than $10 shipped, this a perfect way to stay focused and go deeper in your devotional life this Advent & Christmas.
The Charismatic movement has been (often rightly) taken to task for excesses, abuses, and cultural flaws that obstruct the Gospel. Nevertheless the Charismatic renewal throughout the world has been in my estimation a mostly positive movement, and has given us a language and theology to describe the more experiential aspects of the Christian faith. Although in past I have been hesitant to use the label, I now embrace charismatic as a word that accurately describes one aspect of my faith practice. Here are three reasons I still consider myself a charismatic Christian:
To reach satisfaction in all
desire its possession in nothing.
To come to possess all
desire the possession of nothing.
To arrive at being all
desire to be nothing.
To come to the knowledge of all
desire the knowledge of nothing.
To come to the pleasure you have not
you must go by a way in which you enjoy not.
To come to the knowledge you have not
you must go by a way in which you know not.
To come to the possession you have not
you must go by a way in which you possess not.
To come to be that which you are not
you must go by a way in which you are not.
When you turn toward something
you cease to cast yourself upon the all.
For to go from all to the all
you must deny yourself of all in all.
And when you come to the possession of the all
you must possess it without wanting anything.
Because if you desire to have something in all
your treasure in God is not purely your all.
~ John of the Cross
Be hungry for God and nothing else. Find good in things not for their own sake, but because they express the goodness of God.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39, ESV)