Archives For faith

I started my church 11 years ago with big dreams for God.

Church planting networks want people with big dreams for God.

We create huge conferences to encourage people to dream big dreams for God.

At this point your “cynic radar” is already starting to go off as you read this.  Bear with me a little longer before you cast me off.

Try to name one person in the New Testament who had “big dreams for God” in the way pastors and church planters are taught to.  The first people who come to my mind were the Jewish crowd in Matthew 21:1-11 who laid their coats on the ground while waiving palm branches as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey.  This was “big thing” energy at its height as people shouted praises to Jesus and proclaimed him as their Messiah.

This frenetic crowd was made up of the same mob who shouted “Crucify him!” later in the week. Continue Reading…

INSTRUCTIONS: Make up an imaginary person.  This person could be truly imagined, like the Tooth Fairy, or you can pick someone who has died and make up imaginary things about their life, like a tall tale.

Now, you need to write down these imaginary stories.  You write down that this imaginary person rose from the dead and then went up into heaven.  Rather than be smart and keep it vague, you decide to be very specific about the way your imaginary person died: when, where, by whom (using famous historical figures), how, etc.  And you’re also quite specific in how your imaginary person rose from the dead, listing specific people who saw him, and the places where he was seen. Continue Reading…

Ever see the movie Gladiator? All that “Christians fed to the lions” stuff really happened! These were the Christians going around with the newly written books of the New Testament saying that 6 people that everyone would have known (most importantly, Jesus) had risen from the dead.  Being lion food is not much of a reward…makes one wonder what motivated them?

Easter Sunday is coming, which has a lot of people thinking about resurrection from the dead.  Two Sundays ago, I preached on how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead (and smelly) for 4 days (John 11).  This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the religious leaders to kill Jesus once and for all (John 11:47-53).  It’s sort of hard to disprove a religion where people keep coming back from the dead, after all.

This got me thinking about the significance of the other New Testament accounts of people being raised from the dead, and wondering if other religions made these same claims.  It’s sort of going “all in” once you say that 6 local “Average Joe” types that everyone knew had risen from the dead in spectacular, public fashion, most of them at their very public funerals, and you try circulating that story in the very town you claim it happened. (Knowing your reward for circulating it was persecution, torture, and death by the Roman authorities)

I did a little research…okay I posted in on my Facebook page…to see if other faiths/religions made such audacious claims of local people coming back from the dead or not.  If your God is able to make dead people come back to life, that’s a pretty good claim of authenticity. Continue Reading…

Suffering is one of the most common reasons people doubt God.

If God is so loving, how can such bad things happen?

Trite statements by Christians only make this worse:

Something good will come out this, just wait.

God has a purpose for everything. 

Something good will come out of rape, child abuse, or the premature death of a loved one…

As if God were committing atrocities so we’d learn a lesson later.

I want to propose that most people live with the expectation that this world is heaven, so when they discover (through observing or experiencing suffering) that it isn’t, they are devastated.  Specifically, their idea of God is devastated.

This is a very complicated topic because we are indeed eternal beings, yet we do not live in an eternal world.

As eternal beings, we long for heaven.  Not just heaven as the place or destination, but a state of being without suffering, pain, disease, and death.  This is, in fact, what we were created for so it makes perfect sense we’d still be hardwired for this.  What we long for is a world without the effects of sin, while we live in the midst of a world riddled by these effects.

Continue Reading…

Behind the Curtain ministry podcast noah filipiakRadical Christianity and New Monasticism are exciting movements of the faith.  But can they be applied to “ordinary” contexts like the suburbs, child-rearing and hectic schedules?  Sarah Arthur and Erin Wasinger seek to find out as they spend a year doing one intentional practice each month.  What they find out is refreshing and freeing for those who seek to serve Christ’s Kingdom in deeper ways but wonder if they have room to do it.

You can listen to Noah Filipiak’s “Behind the Curtain” Podcast interview with Erin and Sarah on the Podbean Player below or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes. Continue Reading…