This Fourth of July, Don’t Forget Whose You Are

Recently I was invited to a gathering of three dozen religious leaders where we dove into to the hottest and most controversial topics in the church. To be honest, I didn’t say a word. It was one of the conversations where I didn’t think anything I said would have moved the conversation forward.

I sat in silence.

A far less controversial question surfaced in the midst of the debate, “What is the core message of all that you write and teach?” [Tweet this]

And as people shared, I realized that my core message was different than everyone else in the room. I had that sneaking suspicion that, “One of these things is not like the other.”

For more than an hour people shared, and I, I sat in silence. Eventually we were dismissed.

And as I look back on that experience, I keep asking myself, “Why didn’t I speak up?”

It’s not like what I do is a secret to myself or anyone else in that room. It’s not like anyone can’t go to my website, check out Facebook or Twitter, read one of my books and not be able to figure out quickly what I am about.

What is the core message of all that I write and teach? To introduce people to the beauty and wonder of God and Scripture. Yet in that room, on that day, I didn’t say a word.



Fear of being different. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being thought of as old school or simple-minded. Fear of simply being myself.

The truth is that when I engage with people who are different than me, I learn new things—not just about others but also about myself. That day I discovered that I’m not as brave as I thought I was.

Of all of the disciples, the one who faced this reality the most notably is Peter.

But Peter’s denial of Jesus did not define him, it refined him.

We will all have circumstances and situations when we will look back and think: I wish I had handled things differently. I wish I had been more honest. I wish I would have been more courageous. I wish I had been the one to speak up.

I can’t go back and make things happen in a different way than they did in that room with those religious leaders that day. But I can go forward. I know I’ll have many more opportunities not only to share but live out my faith.

The question in our faith journey is not when will we make mistakes, but how we respond after we make them. [Tweet this]

For When You Make That Big Mistake

May we remember that whatever we’ve done or left undone is never beyond God’s redemption or restoration. And that the work he is doing in our lives is beautiful.

This week we dove into John 18-19.  You can catch up on this week, here.

FOR DISCUSSION: Answer the following questions as a comment to this blog post. Feel free to ask questions, reply to others’ comments, and post prayer requests.

  • John’s portrait of Jesus’ death suggests that Jesus is in control from beginning to end. Jesus is not being forced to die; he is choosing to give up his life. On a scale of one to ten, how often do you forget that God is in complete control?

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