Forged in Fire: Suffering & Christianity


I’m not a big fan of television. I don’t have moral reasons against it, I just find it horribly boring most of the time. There are two shows that I will watch when they are on: The Walking Dead (of course) and Forged in Fire.

Forged in Fire is a contest show that awards money to the person who has forged the strongest blade. Many people view bladesmiths as an ancient career of the past but these men & women are beyond impressive with their craft! The finalists are given the task of re-creating a famous weapon from history. Each of them returns to their workshops, labors over the intricate details of their blades, and then returns to the show to have the blade tested.

Each person’s blade appears beautiful and well-crafted. The blades are tested through a series of stress tests. Each test is intense and has the power to shatter the blade and expose the blades imperfections. Every blade looks beautiful until it is under the scrutiny of pressure.

Might I suggest this is a perfect illustration of the Christian faith?

Peter, one of the leaders in the early church, describes the Christian faith this way:
You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7) 

Suffering, trials, and conflict reveal the true condition of our faith. If we are not deeply rooted in the Scriptures, committed to authentic community, and living by the power of the Holy Spirit we will not be able to endure these “stress tests.”

Are you going through a trial right now? What are you learning from God as a result? Let me know by leaving a comment, I’d love to hear from you! 

If We Were Having Coffee…


I am going to begin participating in the #weekendcoffeeshare on WordPress. These are going to be special posts going along with the theme shared by the Daily Post
“Each weekend, bloggers publish posts about what they’d say to their readers if they were sitting down together over a cup of coffee. Some bloggers do it every weekend, while others dip in and out.

As a point of clarification, I hate coffee. So while you are drinking your coffee, I would probably have a soda or fruit smoothie.. Just saying.

While I sip on my virtual Mountain Dew, I want to share with you a few things God has been teaching me this past week:

1. Pride is subtle yet exceedingly dangerous.
I am preaching this Sunday at The Rescue Church. Teaching the Bible is one of the ways God has gifted me. I absolutely love spending time reading slowly and meditatively through the Scriptures while pondering how God’s timeless Word applies to our lives today. I will be teaching on Exodus 14:10-18 and I am absolutely PUMPED to be doing so!

But can I make a confession?

Often I turn my gifting into my god and seek to worship it.

I released a Facebook status on Monday sharing that I had the honor of preaching on Sunday. Rather than getting one “like” because I forced my wife to do so, over 12 people shared it and invited friends to church (and they weren’t even related to me!) My first reaction was to applaud myself for the platform I had built among my church community… This is simply evidence of pride and spiritual arrogance in my walk with Christ.

The only platform I should be building is Christ’s. If I get opportunities along the way to teach about Him, the teaching should be about HIM.. not my cleverness or preaching techniques.

Pride is extremely subtle and can turn good things into god things. Are you worshiping the gift or the Giver?

2. True faith which brings salvation is practical and full of good works.
I wrote a paper this week for seminary which answered the question on how good works and faith interact when it comes to our final salvation. Specifically, I used James 2:14-26 which SEEMS to contradict that salvation comes through faith alone and grace alone.

Ultimately, faith is a gift that comes from God. The same way that a child does not decide when to be born but it is the will of its parents; Christians do not decide when to be saved but it is the will of God (see James 1:18).

True faith which comes about through the Gospel will reveal itself in practical acts of service to fellow man. If you claim to be a Christian but have a heart that is cold and distant from the pain of humanity, you are deceiving yourself and your faith is useless, dead, and impractical.

We are not saved BY works but we are saved FOR works.

What opportunities has God placed in your life to serve your fellow man?

How was your week? I’d love to have you take a break from the caffeinated beverage you are drinking and tell me about YOU. What has God been teaching you this past week? What was difficult? What brought joy? Let me know by leaving a comment!