Posts Tagged: "forgiveness"

The Irish Word For Forgiveness

Pádraig Ó Tuama, in his book of poems: Sorry For Your Troubles, says…

The Irish word for forgiveness is maithiúnas. It comes from the word maith, meaning good.

The word is the same, or similar, in Cymraeg, Gaelg, and Gaidhlig—other languages spoken across the islands of Britain and Ireland.

To forgive someone is “to good” them. To forgive someone is to treat them with the goodness with which they did not treat you.

Curiously, this syntax arranges power as the possession of the troubled one. It is they who can… Read More

Lent Day 36… The Little Tyrant Inside

You need power only when you want to do something harmful. Otherwise, love is enough to get everything done. —Charlie Chaplin

Jean Vanier, in his book Community and Growth, wrote…

We are so inclined to want authority for the honor, prestige and admiration that comes with it. Inside each of us is a little tyrant who wants power and the associated prestige, who wants to dominate, to be superior and to control. We feel we are the only ones to see the truth… Christians can sometimes hide these tendencies behind a mask of virtue, doing what they do for “good” reasons. There is nothing more terrible than a tyrant using religion as his or her cover.

The little tyrant inside. Sheesh. How I wish this wasn’t true, but… Read More

Lent Day 33… If I Cannot Find The Face Of Jesus

Far from being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command to love our enemies is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and civilization, love even for enemies. —Martin Luther King Jr. (sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, November 17, 1957)

Jim Forest, in his book Loving Our Enemies: Reflections on the Hardest Commandment says…

If I cannot find the face of Jesus in… Read More

Becoming Human Again

The other day I stumbled across a video of Martin Greenfield, “Tailor to the Presidents,” and fell in love…

martin greenfield cufflinks for post
You see, I have a thing for craftsmen and women—people who make handcrafted stuff: rustic Italian bread, wine, skateboards, pottery, whiskey, furniture, cabins, letterpress printing, whatever.

martin greenfield scissors for post

And I also think old men are… Read More

Do You Know What God Dreams About?

*this post comes from Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s children’s book God’s Dream


Dear child of God, what do you dream about in your loveliest of dreams? Do you dream about flying high or rainbows reaching across the sky?

Do you dream about being free to do what your heart desires? Or about being treated like a full person no matter how young you might be?

Do you know what God dreams about? If you close your eyes and look with your heart, I am sure, dear child, that you will find out.

God dreams about… Read More

Jesus, Hyperbole, & Ignoring Him Completely

*note: picture above is a statue of Jesus in Hallgrímskirkja – the iconic church in Reykjavík, Iceland.

I got into a crazy discussion with a pastor friend recently.

It all started when I answered a question honestly. My answer was something like this: “I don’t believe in guns.”

Chaos erupted in the room. Every eye was on me as I attempted to explain myself.

I tried to describe how, as a follower of Jesus, I embrace his way of non-violence, forgiveness-times-infinity, enemy-love, blessing those who curse, etc.

There were more questions. Hypothetical situations raised. Some ridicule. Maybe a little genuine curiosity too.

But then it got weird. Somehow the question… Read More

I Can Have Enemies

- - Uncategorized
*This is a re-post from one year ago. It seems relevant to events taking place in our world and country this year. With just a handful of days left in 2014, it feels like this year refuses to go quietly or peacefully. In this Advent Season, I’m especially longing for the Prince of Peace to come – as the Isaiah prophecy says: “In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all.” —Isaiah 11.6

*          *          *          *

I used to believe it was OK to have enemies.

Because Jesus said to love them, bless them, pray for them… I kinda took it as permission to collect ‘em.

Like Jesus was saying, “It’s OK to call people or groups of people your enemies.”

But I don’t believe that anymore. I don’t believe it’s OK to collect or have enemies.

Here’s what I mean… Read More

This Is Not A Tupperware Party

- - Uncategorized


You are not just a recipient of God’s grace.

Fundamental to what we believe about the kingdom of God is that we, the people of God, have been blessed by him—AND we are a blessing to the earth.

We’re more than blessing containers.

This is not a tupperware party. It’s not about storage. It’s about flow.

When Israel escaped from Egypt, approximately 2 million people were now camping out in the desert.

The land could not sustain them. There were no orchards or farmlands.

There wasn’t a Walmart Superstore nearby.

No taco trucks or hot dog stands…

So how did they eat?

God provided “manna” – bread from heaven for them.

He gave them instructions to take just enough for their families for the day—assuring them that He would provide enough manna for everyone each day.

He told the people not take more than they needed, and not to store the manna.

No manna in doggie bags, no tupperware containers.

Can you guess what happened next?

Some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning By then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. —Exodus 16.19 NLT

I believe the blessings of God are not meant to be stored, hoarded or kept to ourselves.

When we try to keep or contain His blessings, things start to stink real quickly.

God’s supply never diminishes. He’s not in recession.

What He provides, there’s always more where than came from…

More grace. More forgiveness. More mercy. More love. More favor. More blessing.

Our job isn’t to put it all in a tupperware container for safe-keeping. Our job is to look around and make sure everyone is getting some.

Don’t let what God blessed you with get all stinky.

Don’t let your manna become a maggot farm.

Instead—share, give and pass on the blessings to others.

We must not only be recipients of God’s grace, but we must be in the flow of his grace—touching others with the grace of God everywhere we go.

We have been blessed by Him—AND we are a blessing to the earth.

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. —Colossians 1.6 NLT




An Introduction to Straight Up G

- - Uncategorized


For whatever reason, the church (everywhere) has always been one big agenda magnet.

It attracts people with specific agendas…

You name it—somebody wants it.

And they’ll fight to get it.

To be honest, it annoys the snot out of me.

Sometimes the agenda is for a good and worthy cause.

Other times, the agendas are absolutely ridiculous.

Either way (good or bad), they’re always nonessential; they are superfluous and peripheral.

If we’re not careful, the agendas will take over—eclipsing the main thing.

What is the main thing?

It’s the Gospel.

And what is the Gospel?

Gospel means literally, Good News.

Quoting Tim Keller,

The Gospel is news of what God has done to reach us. It is not advice about what we must do to reach God.

The Christian Gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.

God’s love and forgiveness can pardon and restore any and every kind of sin or wrongdoing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done… There is no evil that the father’s love cannot pardon and cover, there is no sin that is a match for his grace.

God has entered the world in Jesus Christ to achieve a salvation that we could not achieve for ourselves which now 1) converts and transforms individuals, forming them into a new humanity, and eventually 2) will renew the whole world and all creation. This is the ‘Good News’—the Gospel.

We never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced.” The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s but the A-Z of Christianity.

The Gospel is the big deal, the main thing.

It is essential. Without it, we do not have a church.

The church can live without various agendas (in fact, it tends to thrive in the absence of peripheral agendas).

Our job in the church is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Agendas must never become our rally-cry.

It has always been, and will always be, the Good News of the Gospel.

That’s what this new series of teaching at NWLife is all about: Straight up G.

Together, we’re gettin’ after the Gospel.

We will be digging in to the book of John—this week, chapter 1.

I hope you will join me. C’mon! Let’s be straight up G together.


straight up g for web