Unbroken: When Saying Awesome Makes Sense

You know how people abuse the word “awesome”? As in, “I bought popcorn for tonight’s game! Awesome!” or “I just won five bucks at the slot machine in Vegas. Awesome!” kind of abuse?

They keep using that word. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Let’s consider this event from the true story of Louis Zamperini, as told by Laura Hillenbrand in her best-seller book Unbroken, about to be turned into a movie. Continue reading

Unequally Yoked and Married. Is That Christian?

I already wrote a post about Christians marrying unbelievers. I’ve been asked, however, to provide further evidence from the Bible and from the writings of biblical scholars, since I seem to state that it’s always ok for believers to court and marry unbelievers.

In a sense, this is understandable; Christians have been hammered for so long with the idea of not “being unequally yoked” that, in their mind, the idea of wanting to marry an “unbeliever” is automatically a sin worthy of the discipline outlined in Matthew 18:15-17. When a fellow Christian comes along and says, “marrying an unbeliever is not automatically a sin; the Bible leaves it to our spiritual wisdom, when counseling such a believer, to discern the best course of action,” he or she is met with reactions that range from a raised eyebrow to accusations of downright heresy.

So, what does the Bible say on the issue? Continue reading

Why Do People Die?

My brother-in-law’s grandmother passed away last week. Another funeral, less than a year after my father passed away. When I was young, I never thought about death. I took people for granted. I remember one summer day, when I was nineteen, looking around at the people at the beach, taking them in as is. As if old people were born old, and young people were born young.

I knew death was out there, of course, but it was a distant, impersonal idea. Would never happen to me or my family, right?

Then you get older, and all the loved ones you took for granted start dropping like flies, from grandparents, to parents and uncles.

And at the funeral you sit there, listening to their adult children reminisce about them, about a life full of memories and loving deeds and sacrifices, and decisions. And that is all gone, left to weak, fallible, and fading memory of their children and friends. And when the latter are gone, there’s nothing left.

It’s like Rutger Hauer’s character in the movie Blade Runner: Continue reading

Does God Burn People in Hell Forever? Is That Fair?

The doctrine, held by most Christians today, that God burns the wicked in hell forever bothers many (and rightly so, I would say). Usually Christians reply to such concerns by saying that people have an incomplete understanding of three things: the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of sin. As fallen human beings, the nature of God and of His holiness is a difficult concept for us to grasp. We tend or want to see God as a kind, merciful Being whose love for us overrides all His other attributes.

No Christian would deny that God is loving, kind, and merciful (1 John 4:8, 1 Cor. 13), but He is also a holy and righteous God and judge. He is so holy that He cannot tolerate sin. His anger burns against the wicked (Isaiah 5:25; Hosea 8:5; Zechariah 10:3). He hates all manner of sin (Proverbs 6:16-19). And while He is merciful, there are limits to His mercy. “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). Continue reading

10 Great Ideas for a Father-Daughter Date

The other day my wife found a book with lots of ideas for a father-daughter date. Here are our favorite ten.


Start with location, characters, plot ideas, then take turns writing the story, one paragraph at a time. This will get your creative juices flowing.


Grab blankets, pillows, chairs or stools, and build a fort with your daughter. Then lie down and read her favorite story or watch a movie together. This is best for rainy days. Continue reading

The Ten Commandments for a Happy Marriage

Once upon a time, I was sitting in my psychology class in college, and the professor was talking about the halo effect, the perfection-perception one feels about his or her new loved one, how they as a couple can never fail, hurt each other, do anything wrong. Yes, all the couples around them have fights and problem, but they won’t. Ever. “And then, you know what happens?” asked the professor. “Yeah,” the resigned voice of an older student cut the air from behind me, “reality sets in.”

Everybody laughed.

Everybody laughed because we all want to love and be loved “happily ever after,” but know few do.

We laugh about it when it’s not us. When we are not the ones hurting from a broken relationship, when we have to look into the eyes of our children and tell them that mom and dad, their heroes, their world, are no longer one soul, but two broken vessels, floating about in a ocean of pain and regrets.

Then it sucks. Continue reading

The Astonishing Size of God’s Throne Room

In describing the events that take place in GOD’s throne room, as narrated in the book of Revelation, chapters 4 and 5, the apostle John gives details that reveal the astonishing size of that room. Besides the fact that on that throne sits the living GOD — the Ancient of Days, the Great I AM, a Being with holiness and powers beyond imagination — John mentions that around His throne are four creatures covered with eyes, front and back, and 24 elders, along with 100 million holy angels. Yes, 100 million (Revelation 5:11), if you take that literally. The verse might in fact indicate  innumerable angels.

Considering that a single angel could induce unspeakable terror in any human being (Luke 2:9), and that a single angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (Isaiah 37:36), can you imagine the sheer size of a throne room that holds 100 million of those soldiers? Even assuming that those soldiers are sized like humans and packed like sardines, that room must be the size of the entire city of Los Angeles!

I can barely picture that in my mind. Think of the utterly majestic display of power! Continue reading