Several years ago, a Dallas high school teacher with a group of students asked renowned artist Makato Fujimura to help his students “see” the artist’s works. Fujimura, a pioneer in the Japanese technique of Nihonga, responded with the following letter. Continue reading
Oswald Chambers, the early 20th-century Scottish preacher most known for the devotional classic My Utmost for His Highest, once called repentance “the foundation of Christianity.”
On the same topic, Martin Luther famously said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”
Perhaps most importantly, Jesus’ first words of public ministry were, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew4:17)
It seems crucial then, that believers should have a strong understanding of repentance and what it means to live a lifestyle of it. And yet, for most of us, we do not. Many young Christians—myself included—haven’t the vaguest idea what repentance truly is. (Or more importantly, what it isn’t.)
So what is repentance?
I hate going to the grocery store.
It makes me feel like Jeremy Renner in this scene from The Hurt Locker. If you’ve never seen the film, let me preface it. Renner plays a staff sergeant in a bomb squad unit in Iraq. His job is to don a giant blast suit (the kind that looks like those deep-sea diving suits), walk up to a bomb, and defuse it before it explodes in his face.
Needless to say, it’s a stressful gig.
This fall, Young Life in Greater Athens will celebrate 50 years of life and ministry. The following is a piece I wrote for their 50th Anniversary Book, a collection of stories and reflections over the past half century.
When I first started showing up to a high school lunchroom in Oconee County, I was—like many Young Life leaders before and after me—absolutely terrified. Even though I was older (and theoretically cooler), they somehow managed to make me feel like Phil Dunphy from Modern Family. I suffered through a plethora of awkward conversations. I got ignored constantly. One time I sat down at a table and everyone simultaneously got up and left. (Great talk guys!) Continue reading
In January, 1946, while studying at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Flannery O’Connor began keeping a prayer journal in a ruled Sterling notebook. O’Connor, who had left her home in Milledgeville, Georgia, for Iowa, turned twenty-one in March and had her first short story, “The Geranium,” accepted for publication that month. She was a devout Catholic, and over a year and a half she filled the notebook with a series of prayers addressed to God. The following excerpts from her journal chart her thoughts on the subject of faith and prayer, and her hopes for her fiction. O’Connor would later go on to become one of the most acclaimed Southern writers in American literature. Continue reading