You're not alone and everything is going to be OK

You're not alone and everything is going to be OK

I met with a group of young Christians on the weekend to discuss the topic of loneliness. We each asked the question, "Where is Jesus when we feel lonely?" and I invited them to do a journaling exercise. We began by asking God to give us the name of someone we knew, who was lonely. Then we asked God what he would want that person to know. Matias got my name, and here’s what God told us both.

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How to forgive Bill Cosby

How to forgive Bill Cosby

I don't want to live in a world where Bill Cosby is a rapist. But neither did Andrea Constand, or anyone else he assaulted, and they weren't given the choice. So here we are, trying to figure out how to say to all of the Bill Cosbys in our lives, "You have wounded me, I cannot trust you, you are not safe... but you owe me nothing. I release you to a higher authority. The devil will not have the last laugh out of your choice to wound me. I am walking away in freedom. You are forgiven."

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It's only just begun

It's only just begun

For Christians (and churches) that don't follow a liturgical calendar, it's easy to lose track of the fact that Easter is just the beginning. Most of us probably enjoyed the long Easter weekend, had an extra-special Sunday meeting, took new family photos and then went back to work. That's certainly what I did, and I don't begrudge anyone who did the same... but the fact remains, Easter is just the beginning. On Resurrection Sunday, Jesus is only getting started. Some of the most remarkable displays of what God is like come to us after the resurrection. And the new race of humanity that Jesus ushered in is just getting started too.

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He came to be trampled on

He came to be trampled on

The year is 1637. You are a priest, who has travelled to Japan to locate your former teacher. You travel from island to island, encouraging tiny groups of Christian believers, who are hiding for their lives. You are eventually captured by the Inquisitor, who tortures other believers in front of you in an attempt to make you renounce Christianity. Eventually the Inquisitor offers to end the torture if you will simply tread on an icon of Jesus.

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When you're tired and empty

When you're tired and empty

Sometimes there's just nothing left in the tank. I'm not talking about chronic depression, just plain old, run-of-the-mill malaise. When there's too much housework to even know where to start. Or when you've been sick in bed for a week and somehow you're still tired but also bored. Here's my advice: If you do nothing, then the nothingness will certainly win. But if you can let go of the things that aren't important, and intentionally surrender to God all the things that are, then the day may not be lost. Take a deep breath, and repeat after me...

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You don't have to be like Trump

You don't have to be like Trump

Each culture adopts values and principles considered desirable or necessary in their leaders. Personas and archetypes emerge that come to define certain roles and responsibilities. We end up being told that in order to do that we must be like this. But you don't have to be like that at all. You can be like you! If you've ever felt like you just didn't fit into the mould of the leaders around you, then this one is for you.

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Dear Pastor: What is your church's career path?

Dear Pastor: What is your church's career path?

Most churches are founded around a shared set of values. God often gives someone (or a group of someones) a blueprint, a vision of some aspect of spiritual life that has been neglected in their generation or their region. A community grows around these values. What happens once the community is saturated with your values? Do you keep force-feeding them, or find new values?

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Fear is an invitation

Fear is an invitation

If you are afraid of anything then you have room in your life for more of God's love. It's as simple as that. Fear is a signal, an invitation, a waving flag, that says "I have room for more love." We can't make fear go away by sheer force of will, instead God invites us to surrender it  over to him. He is gentle and he will not force us. If we don't respond now, he will still be waiting till we are ready. But it's far more embarrassing to deal with our fear of the dark at 50 than it is at 5 years old.

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The battle beneath the surface

The battle beneath the surface

If whatever you're doing right now just feels like it's sucking the life out of you in a profound way, then I want you to consider that there is a battle raging beneath the surface of what you can see. When you show up each and every day, you are going to war, that's why it's so exhausting. But we need you to keep going.

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What virtual reality taught me about sin and death

What virtual reality taught me about sin and death

Once you're wearing your VR gear, you have roughly 9 square metres to explore. But of course, you're not exploring that space at all, you're exploring a virtual world that only you can see. It's fantastic escapism, but I think sin operates in our lives in very much the same way. When we choose to sin we experience another reality, and in this other reality God feels distant to us. It feels profoundly real to the human experiencing it, but God hasn't changed position at all. 

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When there's not enough love

When there's not enough love

Love covers a multitude of sins. If one of your relationships can't tolerate something that has happened, then there's not enough love in it. What are you to do when you discover this? I think we all have two options: toss the relationship, or invest in it. One of those options is going to cost us a lot more than the other.

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God is Freedom

God is Freedom

Religious people have given God a really bad rep. He's often made out to be this angry, insecure, self-centered guy who imposes arbitrary rules on humanity. No wonder a lot of people don't want to have anything to do with him. But what if God was more like a kid running into the sunset? Free, full of hope and life and dreams and joy. That's the God that scripture shows us through Jesus. Playful, passionate, and free. And he invites us to live in freedom as well.

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How to find your purpose

How to find your purpose

Follow your dreams, live your passion, be a person of purpose... they told us a bunch of this stuff, but I never had a clue what my passions or purpose was. Now that some years have passed, here's my advice: don't wait for anyone to reveal your destiny to you, just go out there and live. Experience things, try new stuff, be a person that leans forward, rather than holding back. Don't sit around doing nothing out of fear of missing out on "God's plan." God is out there, and he wants you to play with him.

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What to do when your life sucks

What to do when your life sucks

Spend any amount of time with honest humans and you'll discover an important fact of life: it often sucks. People can be jerks, plans don't always work out, dreams often don't come true... and then you brush your teeth and go to bed and it all starts again. Now, I'm an optimist and my life is also filled with hope, but I can't deny the reality that life includes a lot of hard times. So what do we do when life sucks? Here's my plan of attack.

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What is Lent?

What is Lent?

I grew up sort of non-denominational Charismatic with missionary Baptist and Presbyterian influences (the simplest label would be Evangelical). Most of us who have grown up in the shadow of the Evangelical church are needlessly afraid of 1700 years of Christian history, including Lent. But Lent isn't something anyone needs to feel threatened by or afraid of. It's really quite special, actually.

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He gets us ready

He gets us ready

Today I watched YouTube videos to figure out how to cut my son's hockey stick down to size, and two girls from down the street came over to show me how to put all his gear on in the right order.  I was reminded of our good Father, who provides the equipment, the training, and the community to prepare us for new adventures. Our challenge is to figure out how to have fun while we get ready. 

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When you want to worship but you don't like U2

When you want to worship but you don't like U2

I think each one of us has some kind of favourite music. Something that triggers things in our body and our soul, that makes us come alive in a unique way. For me, that's dance music. Trance, house, EDM, if it's got a 4/4 beat and synthesizer, I'm hooked. But most worship music doesn't sound like that. If you don't like folk-rock ballads then just about all modern worship music probably doesn't really do it for you either. What to do?

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Tips for Dealing with Depression

Tips for Dealing with Depression

Life is full of amazing, beautiful things for us to enjoy. I've always thought this... but a couple of years back I got stuck. Some hard stuff had happened, and the blows were too much for my emotions to deal with. I was sad but I didn't realize it, so I got angry but I didn't realize that either. So I was depressed and that was all I knew. 

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