Monday, 24 October 2016

A Letter to my Bridegroom-Self

Dear Bridegroom Me,

This is a letter is from me - that is from yourself - in the year 2016. 

(No, cars still don't fly.)

In a couple of days you’ll get married to a girl that you’re very much in love with. I’m writing this letter to you because you’re stupid. And as you’re stupid, there are 7 things you really need to know in order to save yourself a lot of pain in the years of married life ahead of you.

1. Value intimacy over sex. Now I know that you’re going to have to go back and read that a few times. It still doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? Right now you’re a 21 year old virgin just two days away from your honeymoon – all you’re thinking about is boobs.

Don’t deny it - I know you are.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, sex will be a lot of fun. Though the quality of this dynamic will vary with the seasons that your marriage goes through, you’ll remain a fan of the activity. But as the years go on, that’s not really what you’ll value most. Now sex and intimacy certainly aren’t exclusive – but they’re not identical either. Being close and able to open up and share your heart with your wife will be of chief importance. I know – it sounds kind of girly to you now, but it will make sense later.

2. Your wife isn’t a dude. Now I know you got that from the physical stand point (see the note on sex above). But you also have no idea just how different women are. Though you wanted one, you had no little sister growing up.

Right now Peter’s command to husbands to, “live considerately with your wives, giving honour to the woman as the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3) is a verse you don’t get. In time you will learn to appreciate the deep differences between male and female – and it will affect both how you see marriage and friendships. Give your wife freedom to be a lady. Speak positively to that difference. Don’t always talk to her just like you do your guy friends. You will come to see how she flourishes under your gentle encouragement – not under criticism.

3. Get a Macro-Theology of Marriage. You need to see the big picture. Your marriage doesn’t exist just so you both can be happy. It’s doesn’t just exist so that you two can have children. Your marriage exists so that you can reflect God’s eternal plan for humanity. Your marriage is supposed to point people to the great marriage at the end of time – the one that will unite a redeemed humanity with one another and with Jesus in perfect relationship and love. Your small marriage here is significant because it points to a big marriage later.

4. Don’t think Hollywood. You two are not each other’s ultimate answer in the search for happiness. Don’t put the foundation of your joy in something you can lose – including your marriage. Remember: as a Christian woman, your wife-to-be could be just as happy were she to marry someone else.

5. You’re wife cannot be a substitute for your best friends. You’ve said to several people, “I’m about to marry my best friend.” Now sometimes we use “friend” in the strict, unmixed with romance, platonic sense. Other times we use that word in the wider sense to include family and romantic others. I’m not trying to correct your terminology here.

But you are calling her your “best friend” and you are understanding that to mean something you shouldn’t. You’ll need close friendship unmixed with romance. Marriage involves many other dynamics than just friendship – and you’ll need someone who’s just a pure friend more often than you now think.

Those intimate, platonic friendships and confidants that you now have – please don’t let them wilt in your first year of marriage. Because that’s what you’re about to do.  You’re going to lose some good ones. Hold tightly on to them – fight for them.

If not, in a few years you will no longer be best friends. You will be strangers with memories. And in years to come the thought of that will break your heart.

Firmly make time for your friends and always support her in having time with the guys and gals she now values as close friends.

6. Pray together. The one thing you’ll get right – and the thing that will help hold your marriage together through the stormy seasons that you’ll face – is your commitment to pray together regularly. It will help maintain intimacy and bring the God’s power into your lives and relationship. Jesus is faithful. You’re right in making him a priority – stick with it, even when you don’t feel like it.

7. Be a peace-maker, but not a peace-keeper. Lastly, know that you're a peace-keeper (I’m not saying that as a compliment). 

To put it more bluntly, you’re a coward.

Your self-esteem is more caught up in having close and harmonious relationships than with your job or career as is often the case with men. There are positives to this, but the big down side is that you’ll do just about anything to keep those meaningful relationships close and peaceful. If they get threatened or removed, your whole identity gets deeply shaken.

In the early years of your marriage, you’ll do anything to keep your marriage calm. Sometimes this is good. But sometimes it isn’t. At times you’ll need to lead in the direction of what is good and right – even if your wife strongly disagrees with you. Especially then.

Deal with this cowardice sooner rather than later. On the surface, it may seem like you’re loving your wife to always let her have her way. But this will keep you both in immaturity. You need to follow your conscience as submitted to God’s word - and then lead your wife.

Yes, always have her as a source of wisdom and counsel – but then be a man and take responsibility when it’s time to make an actual decision. You’ll learn – but only after years of getting it wrong – how to say “no” to someone you care deeply for. Right now that idea terrifies you. But that insecurity is going to keep you from loving your wife (and others you’ll come to cherish) as you should.

You will suffer if you do this thing right. But through that suffering you will find life and joy. 

Sincerely yours,

PS. You'll soon hear talk of "the iPhone". Sell everything and invest all. 

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bkNeed help with a male-female friendship? Check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Elijah and the Hate Preachers

"YHWH wants me to say something..."
"Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed." -James 5

The Bible says that Elijah was a human being like us. He was rugged man that lived during rugged times - the 9th Century B.C. in the Ancient Near East.

Israel had been experiencing a spiritual revolution away from YHWH to pagan gods. The wicked King Ahab took a Canaanite princess, Jezebel, as his wife. Under her influence the spiritual revolution embraced the full blown sexual consequences that naturally accompany such a change in worship. Our sexuality follows our spirituality.

When Israel worshipped YHWH, sex was seen as a gift to be enjoyed between husband and wife in the safe place of marriage. Deviations from that pattern were warned against. But when Israel started worshipping Master Baal, Lady Ashtoreth, and other pagan deities a flood of other sexual practices flooded the Holy Land on national scale.

Elijah loved Israel. It broke his heart that the people of God had wandered so far from their God. He prayed tirelessly that things might change. God used this prophet to speak hard words to the king and to the people of Israel. His hard words – because they were spoken from a place of compassion – produced soft hearts that repented of sin and returned to the living God. As their hearts came back into line with a righteous God, so did their pants.

Elijah and the Hate Preachers

There are some in today’s mainstream media that may have classified Elijah as a “hate preacher”. But speaking in such broad brush and sweeping ways reveals more about our culture that it does true Hebrew prophets. Those who have a heart to please God can tell the difference between a strong prophetic voice that is willing to speak what is unpopular - and mere hate speech. Yes, both the true prophet and the hate preacher may speak against something that is wrong. But that's where the similarities stop.

True prophets lose sleep praying down mercy upon those they preach to. 
Hate preachers do not care about those they preach against.

True prophets weep as they call the lost to turn from their sin. 
Hate preachers enjoy condemning the lost in their sin – whether they turn or not.

True prophets are quick to listen and slow to speak.
Hate preachers are quick to speak and slow to listen - especially to opposing views.

True prophets tremble at the enormity of their own sin. 
Hate preachers believe their own sin is small compared to those they condemn
True prophets can speak to a valley of dry bones and see a righteous army raised up. 
Hate preachers, with a self-righteous spirit, simply tell the bones how dry they are.

True prophets are aware that God hates all sin. 
Hate preachers only think He hates the particular sins that they are not guilty of.

True prophets take no joy in the attention (negetative or positive) their words may bring - they prefer to be alone with God.
Hate preachers seem to thrive on the attention and influence their words bring them - it makes them feel important. 

It's interesting that though Elijah spoke hard words, he was not a hard man. He spoke against sexual immorality and false religion, yet his housemate was a young widow from another culture and religion (1 Kings 17). He was kind and gracious to her and her young son. He could be personal friends with those he disagreed. This is not the personality of and relational grace of religious hate preachers.

This world has a lot religious hate preachers. I used to live as an ethnic minority in another country where it was not hard to hear the prayers of “Death to Israel, death to America, death to Great Britain” going up on a regular basis. Those prayers are common through much of the world. 

There are also many secular, irreligious hate preachers that condemn people of religious belief or people of other politics. In each case the problem is not that they strongly disagree with a belief or a lifestyle, but rather that they do not have humble and compassionate hearts towards those with whom they disagree.

"Christian" Hate Preachers

Steven Anderson - A misguided hate Preacher
and media pin up. Let's pray for him.
Earlier this year, I wrote about reckless responses to Islamisation. It was a couple of pieces warning against the growing nationalism that many see influencing politics in both the USA and UK. Sadly, it seems there are a handful of preachers who in a desire to get well known - or for whatever reason - are tapping into this current mood. As they wave their Bibles, they're getting a hearing and begininng to form small groups which replace Jesus’ call to serve the Kingdom with a hyped up, quasi-form of patriotic nationalism.

The actual numbers in these groups are quite small – the largest is Steven Anderson’s church of 300 in USA. But because of media attention, they seem far bigger – and have a much lounder voice – then their small numbers actually warrant. These groups are not physically violent, but their words are very mean and their hearts are hard.

Having worked and travelled in Christian circles for most of my life, I am thankful that most Christian preachers are, well, Christian. Christianity is unique from other belief systems in that in order to enter it, you must first confess that you are completely unqualified to do so.

That's why the term “Christian Hate Preachers” is a bit of an oxymoron. One of Jesus’ most central commands is to “Love your enemies and bless those who curse you” (Matt.5.44). We're called to love terrorists, paedophiles, trans-prostitutes, bank CEOs, Tories, Democrats, Nazis, Communists, Republicans, Labour politicians, day time television hosts – and yes, we are even called to love hate preachers. 

Because of the attention that media has given these guys, it has the effect of silencing good, humble preachers who would - like Elijah - want to want to warn against spiritual and sexual compromise in the church. They are silent because they fear being lumped together in popular opinion with the haters. This silence is also pride - just from the other direction.

The church does not need self-righteous, hate-filled preachers. Nor does it need silent ones who side step or compromise on important issues from the platform. We need those who can pray and speak in the courage and compassion of an Elijah. We need this because Elijah points us to Jesus. His cross is a message of both offensive truth and radical love. 

Jesus' death speaks the hard truth that you are so wicked and evil that the perfect Son of God had to be crucified in order to save you. 

At the same time it speaks a message of unspeakable love: that God so cared for you that he was willing to leave heaven to do so.

[For a good example of how Christians can denounce hate preachers, please see the video of Dr. Michael Brown’s denunciation (here) of Steven Anderson’s hate speech – a pastor made famous through a BBC documentary]
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Related Article: Is Jesus really silent on Homosexuality?

bkNeed help with a male-female friendship? Check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Holy Halloween?

The big ugly debate is upon us.

No, not the Presidential one. This debate involves dwarves and banshees of quite another variety.

As heated as the political scene may now be, it will pale to fervor with which Christians will begin debating if and how they will celebrate what is now commonly called "Halloween". This battle of ideas will be waged from the beaches of church pews to the hills of Facebook. There will be shots fired and people unfriended.

But what cyber surfing culture warrior would be complete without some historical trivia and theological sanity? Here you go...

The Background Story

The devil would love to steal All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) away from Christians. He is making good progress at it too.

All Hallow’s Eve is neither American nor pagan in heritage. The name should be obvious enough. Hallow means ‘holy’ (‘Hallowed be thy name’) and it marks a three-day celebration of the victory of Jesus over the powers of darkness as experienced by departed saints and Christian martyrs - with November 1st being All Saints Day. These type of celebrations have happened since the 300’s AD and the date became formalised on the Church calendar in 835 AD by Pope Gregory.

Traditionally, this holy day was a time to remember Christ’s victory over darkness and to remember that we still have to battle against evil. As St. Paul writes in Ephesians 6, 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

How have Christians historically celebrated this? By joyful mockery. Satan has lost his final victory, is a defeated foe and nothing pushes back his minions like Christian joy. It is from this tradition that people draw silly pictures of the devil and let their kids dress up as ghosts to show that he can no longer dominate the redeemed people of God - we no longer need to be afraid. Historically, Christians would even burn the costumes afterwards.

Now I confess, there has been a historic debate about this day. Catholics and Protestants have argued over how highly departed Christians should be viewed - with Catholics over-venerating past Saints. But both groups still see the main point being Christ's victory with his people over evil.

Halloween is also a historic occasion for friendship. Though sweets (candy) is abundant and cheap today, in previous centuries, giving these small gifts to children was more costly and an act of true Christian generosity.

Christmas and Easter

Christians are a redeemed people and as such we have a cheeky tendency to alchemise the culture around us. We make once wicked things into trophies for our God. We did this with Christmas and Easter. Those holidays have pagan roots – but we’re stolen the whole thing and redirected it to honour Jesus. No longer is Saturnalias worshipped mid–winter, now we sing the praises of Christ through carols.

But now pagans and the commercial industry is trying are trying to get revenge for Christmas and Easter by hijacking our All Hallow’s Eve – a holiday that started out Christian. They try to claim associations with ancient Celtic Harvest days. They want to change it into a day of celebrating the powers of darkness over the powers of light. Unfortunately, some Christians are unaware of their own roots and have let the pagans think for them - buying into this propaganda.

Letting let the pagans and mainstream commercial society have our day show's a certain type of cowardly insanity. We Christians are retreating from a holiday that was once wholly ours. Let's reclaim the victorious and hospitable traditions of the past and teach the children around us that through Christ's death and resurrection, we no longer need to be afraid.

Let’s celebrate All Hallow’s Eve big this year. The sweets you give your neighbourhood children should be far more generous and grad than those given to them by your unbelieving neighbours!

Let’s celebrate Christ's victory with style - until he returns for all his Hallows.
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bkNeed help with a male-female friendship? Check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Confessions of a Lonely Christian

Loneliness has been a regular visitor in my life since I was a teenager. He rarely announces in advance when he’s going to stop by. He doesn’t ring or text. He could swing by when I’m in a crowd or on my own. 

Loneliness likes to surprise me like that.

Sure, sometimes his visits make sense. Loneliness may come singing his sad tunes when I perceive a slight from a friend. Unmet expectations from those I care about can open the door for his arrival. But other times he seems to come for no apparent reason – when relationships and work seem to be going well. I can be joyful and at peace for a good while... then loneliness drops a surprise kiss on my soul like a fart from hell.

Like all Christians, I also experience temptations to sin. Nothing exotic – just the ordinary type of damnables. But loneliness in itself is not sinful to feel – it’s a form of brokenness and a symptom of living in a fallen world. Other Christians deal with other types of brokenness like depression or doubt. But neither of them are frequent visitors of mine.

The pain loneliness brings with him hurts so badly at times, I become near paralysed. I’m almost unable to work. I usually introvert my feelings, so only those who know me the best notice. But if I let it go, I'm not fun to be with. I just want to curl up in a ball on bed and cry or sleep or somehow just escape. As an adult, a father, a pastor, and a Christian I often feel ashamed for feeling that way – and even for writing it here. I sometimes think that if I was more emotionally mature, I wouldn’t feel this way.

Loneliness really is all it’s cracked up to be.

All types of people deal with intense loneliness: Muslims, Agnostics, Vegans, Christians, politicians, socialites, loners – it comes to married and unmarried people.  Pin pointing the cause is not an exact science, but it probably has to do with life experiences, physiological make up, as well as spiritual and relational dynamics.

When I’m in such a state, words, time, and touches from loved ones help tremendously. (Yes, ‘touches’. I thrive on non-sexual, physical expressions of affection.) Everyone who deals with loneliness knows the comfort that can come from another human being. My wife - like a couple of other close friends - are good at speaking encouraging words when I'm down. But contrary to popular perception, marriage doesn't make it just go away. 

But as a Christian, I also find two unique kinds of help that can’t be found anywhere else.

The first is the Embrace of Grace. Christianity is the only belief system in the world that teaches that the Creator God voluntarily embraced loneliness. He didn’t have to. As the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – he eternally existed as a friendship, all within himself. He was always emotionally complete and happy.

But what did he do with that perfect acceptance and joy? He gave it all away. On the cross he put himself in our place and opened his arms wide to receive infinite rejection. And he did all this so that you and I can have the only type of acceptance that really matters – the embrace of the communal God.

The other comfort is the hope of Jesus’ promise. It won’t always be this way. If Jesus is who he says is – if he really did rise from the dead, then not only am I embraced by God, but I’m put in a new family. I’m so grateful for the fellow Christians in my life who love and accept me – people who I wouldn’t ever know if it weren’t for Christ. But as good as that is now, I know one day it will be far better. In this word Christians still struggling with sin like everyone else and we only see dimly.

But Jesus is preparing a place of perfect love for us. There will be no unrequited affection there. No embarrassment, insecurity or jealousy. You won’t have to be cool enough, pretty enough, or clever enough. The best moments of the most intoxicating relationship you’ve had here on earth is just a small foretaste of the love that is to come through that perfected family – for all eternity.

When loneliness visits me – this embrace and this hope gets me through.
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bkFor a look at how the Gospel helps build satisfying friendship across the gender divide, check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Does the Bible Encourage Rape?

The Bible encourages men to rape women.

Or so I’m being told by confident atheists on social media.

These secular prophets are basing their denouncements on the NIV English translation of Deuteronomy 22.28 which reads,

If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

So… does the Bible encourage or condone rape? Does the Bible command rape victims to marry their rapists? Or have we misunderstood something?

Sadly, the NIV did – in the estimation of many – translate this quite poorly (as did the HCSB and NET). Many other solid translations – such as the ESV, King James, Geneva Bible, the NLV and the NLT - do not use the idea of or the word ‘rape’ here. Why? What’s going on?

What is Lexical Range?

Let’s get technical for just a moment. The confusion has to do with the Hebrew verb that the NIV translates as ‘rape’. It’s the word taphas. Like many Hebrew words, it has a big lexical range. What does that mean? 

Take the English verb ‘to hold’ for example. Is it a good word or bad word? Does a person usually want to be ‘held’?

As you would probably say, it depends on the context.

I want to be ‘held by’ someone I find attractive. I don’t want to be ‘held down by’ an aggressive person. And still more, if you’re going too quickly I may ask you to ‘hold on’ for a moment.

That Hebrew verb, taphas, is like our verb ‘to hold’. The connotations vary. Elsewhere it’s translated: manipulate, seize, catch, handle, hold, surprise, and take. At times, it has nothing to do with force. Some translations use two verbs here - one stronger and one weaker to help cover all the possibilities. The NLT - a version that seeks to translate the sense of a phrase rather than a word for word translation - uses the verb 'to have intercourse with'.

Of course, the actual word could mean 'rape' – but that would be at one end of the interpretive scale. Instead of just looking at the verb, we must ask what translation the wider context suggests? Most translators and commentators don’t think it should be 'rape'. Here’s why…


First of all, rape was just discussed in the previous verses. It talks about a woman being raped in the countryside and crying out for help. In those instances capital punishment is recommended for the man and the woman goes free. In those verses the word used for ‘rape’ isn’t taphas (above). It’s a completely different word, chazaq – which also has a wide lexical range. But in these previous verses, the context is clear that it should be translated as ‘rape’. If verses 28-29 were continuing the discussion on rape, it would be logical to use the same verb and not introduce a completely new one.

Secondly, not only is the word different, but it seems contrary to what is being discussed above – laws that seeks to protect women from punishment when force is involved in illicit sex.

Significantly, these laws were also listed previously in Exodus. The word ‘Deuteronomy’ means ‘second law’. It's called this because it’s a recap of what was previously covered in the Pentateuch. When the law is mentioned for the first time in Exodus, the wording is slightly different and it avoids the ambiguity found here. It reads,

If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to anyone and has sex with her, he must pay the customary bride price and marry her. –Ex. 22.16

Given both the immediate context of the passage and the larger context of the Mosaic Law, we are within our rights to argue that the word should be translated ‘seduce’, ‘trick’ or even pssibly  ‘to have intercourse’.

But Why Marry Her?

But all this may raise another question. Why this law? Why state that he should marry her? Is that being cruel to the woman?

The answer is simple: this law protected women. It protected them from players and all forms of sleazy dudes.

In the Ancient Near East, a girl who had given it up outside of marriage was damaged goods. She would stand little chance of finding a husband and thus securing her economic future.

By requiring guys to marry the girl – it drastically reduced the number of guys who were willing to chat a girl up just to bed her. This law killed the motivation of would be Casanovas who just wanted to knock boots with a girl and then move on - leaving her possibly pregnant and with little chance of finding a husband.

Not only does the law state that he must marry her, but it adds that he may never divorce her. Do you understand how significant that is? Under Mosaic Law, divorce could happen if one of the parties was unfaithful. But this law states that if a man has sex with a girl before marriage, then he cannot ever divorce her. He must continually support her always – regardless of what type of wife she becomes!

Can you see how this law was designed as a deterrent - to protect young women?

We also cannot forget the sub-clause. Mosaic Law also states that in this instance,

But if her father refuses to allow his daughter to marry him, the man must still give the usual payment for a bride who has never had sexual relations. –Ex. 22.17

That means if the father looks at the guy who seduced his daughter and thinks he’s a sleaze (and especially if he has reason to believe that the sex was forced or overly manipulated) then he can deny the man the right to marry his daughter – and still get the full bride price from the man! 

Often critics of verses like these imagine that Ancient Near East was similar to our 21st Century, Western culture. It wasn’t. Women didn’t marry primarily for romantic reasons like today. They married to secure their financial future. Being a single gal simply wasn’t an attractive option. If she slept with a man, she didn’t HAVE to marry him – but she would almost always choose that as the preferable option. She could choose to stay with mum and dad - but what happens when they die? 

True Biblical Rape

Lastly, let’s remember the actual recorded incidences of girls getting raped in the Bible. Read Genesis 34. When the Diana got raped – all the brothers went to war over her and killed every man involved. The same happened with Tamar (2 Samuel 13). 

Tonight if a girl gets raped in London… will there be the same passion to avenge her honour? Of course not. Rape was taken more seriously in the Bible than today.

Contrary to the accusation by secular preachers that this verse encourages rape - and thus puts women at risk - this law is one of the most protective, pro-woman verses found anywhere in the ancient world. The idea that the Bible encourages men to rape women is laughable to any careful reader - except those with an agenda to discredit it.
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bkFor a look at how the Bible says men and women SHOULD treat each other, please check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

What is a Harvest Service? (and who cares?)

To readers who, like me, are of the urban variety - or those in outside the UK - this may require some explanation. What exactly is ‘Harvest’?

Harvest services here in the UK are when rural churches celebrate the agricultural harvest which affects the surrounding farming community. The closet thing Canadians and Americans have to this is holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s a time where thanks is given for what we have.

Now-a-days many may see such services as dated - as few of those who live in even rural settings are farmers anymore. Perhaps. But though some of the trimmings and trapping surrounding Harvest may be antiquated or nostalgic, it brings us to a too little discussed Biblical doctrine: gratitude.

Now this is more than just a small, side dish issue. Paul puts this at the very centre of the Gospel. He writes that the chief qualities of those who are lost is that they ‘don’t want to glorify God or give him thanks’ (Romans 1.21). Elsewhere, in Ephesians 2, Paul contrasts the heart that receives life as ‘the gift of God’ with those people who ‘boast’.

Which Soul do we Have? 

A boasting life is one that sees the good things they have as what they deserve.
A Harvest life sees all they have as a gift.

A bosting life is one that always looks to see if it is being treated fairly.
A Harvest life seeks to give goodness – even to those who don’t deserve it.

A boasting life thinks that it deserves better than what it has.
A Harvest life wonders why it is so rich with goodness.

A boasting life sees those with more and thinks, ‘I should have that.’
A Harvest life sees those with more and are happy for them.

A bosting life sees those with less and thinks, ‘They should’ve worked harder.’
A Harvest life sees those with less and freely gives and shares what they have.

A bosting life thinks that God owes it love and blessing.
A Harvest life is thankful, happy and amazed that God allows it to exist.

A boasting life believes its need for forgiveness is small.
A Harvest life feels the deep conviction that even on its best day, it needs much mercy.

A boasting life can only speculate on why Jesus had to die.
A Harvest life cherishes the cross of Christ more than any earthly possession or relationship.

A boasting life is one of striving and trying to achieve.

A Harvest life is one of rest and gratitude for all that’s been given to it.

The Eternal Trajectory of Harvest

The boasting life is one turned in on itself. The ego grows and it's universe gets cramped. It's seeks to gain it's own life - and therefore loses it. In self absorption, it creates hell - as it travels there. 

The Harvest life is one turned outward to God. The ego shrinks and lives in a Universe that gets ever larger and more adventuresome. It's seeks to loses itself in something greater - and therefore finds itself. In self-forgetfulness, it discovers love - as it travels there.
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bkFor a look at how the Gospel changes friendship across the gender divide please check out Forbidden Friendships - available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle in the USA and the UK.