An eight-year-old girl broke my heart on the metro last year. Her name was Briana.
Several years ago, I attended a church retreat during which I wrote and performed a skit that I now regret. It was basically a stand-up routine in which I played the part of a megachurch pastor, and to be fair, it wasn’t all bad. Some of the skit was just gentle ribbing of big, seeker-sensitive churches. But there were other parts that included not-so-subtle backhanded insults and biting sarcasm. Those parts got the biggest laughs from my audience, and therefore, I considered the skit to be a big success.
During my junior year at the University of Southern Mississippi, I invited a Yugoslavian student to a campus worship service that was organized by my church, which was predominately white. After the meeting, we were talking in the hallway, and he noticed a group of mostly black students meeting across the hallway. Then he asked something that caught me off guard. “Why do the white Christians and the black Christians meet separately?”
One time, we had this cable guy over to our house, and I really liked him — at first. He was doing everything he could to figure out why we couldn’t get the Internet to work, and while he did, he talked a lot about Jesus. But then things got weird.
The night before my wedding as I was drifting to sleep, I decided to ask God for a small favor.
When I was in my 20s, I was obsessed with the fear that I was not actually saved — that my so-called “faith” was nothing but an elaborate web of self-deception that would end in eternal damnation.
I can hardly stand to read my journal entries from my college years — it stresses me out. I was an extremely zealous Christian, and although I was genuinely seeking to follow Jesus, I got a little sidetracked during my freshman year.
I am conversationally fluent in Spanish, but under the right circumstances, speaking Spanish can be scary for me.
Well, I learned my lesson: If you want to tick off a bunch of people and lose some subscribers of your personal blog, write a post that encourages readers to appreciate the positives in a church like Hillsong NYC.
I didn’t expect an article from GQ magazine about a megachurch to get me choked up, but recently, it did.
Last week, I wrote an op-ed for Fox News Opinion called, “How to Know the Moment When You Really Got Saved.” I have never written something that provoked so many comments, personal emails, or Facebook messages. Fortunately, most of the responses were filled with awe at how completely God saved us through the blood of His Son, Jesus. And one of those messages, in particular, touched me.
I grew up in the Deep South, an area heavily influenced by the evangelical Christian faith. For many of us southern believers, the best articulation of our theology of salvation was the phrase, “Once saved, always saved.” The idea basically boils down to this: Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and once you say the “sinner’s prayer,” you are forever saved, and it can’t be undone, no matter what you do.
Last year, I went trick-or-treating for the first time in my life. Up until that point, as a matter of principle, I never even handed out candy on Halloween.
When I was in college, I lived with the perpetual fear that somehow I had missed the salvation boat, that although I had placed my trust in Jesus, in the end, I would come before God’s throne, and He would shake His head and say, “I’m sorry, but you just thought you were saved.”
I once knew this guy who regularly started conversations like this: “Have you got a minute? I need your prayers.” Except there was never any prayer involved – it was just a religious intro to gossip.