Kobe Bryant’s Death and a Lesson from Jesus

Even though roughly 150,000 people die every day in our world, we are still shocked when someone dies unexpectedly. I certainly was when I heard that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. Eight others died with him including his daughter. All nine people were gone in an instant.

The world focuses on Kobe not because the others were less important but because Kobe was a celebrity. Kobe was a household name for over two decades. We feel like we knew him even if we never met him. We watched him enter the NBA straight out of high school; we saw him win the NBA dunk contest as a rookie; we witnessed him battle against my beloved Utah Jazz in the NBA playoffs early in his career; we watched him win championships and become one of the greatest basketball players of all-time.

I have watched many interviews with different people paying tribute to Kobe and the people who lost their lives in the accident. Each time my eyes well up with tears because the pain of death is real. Many people are left with questions in the wake of a tragedy. I wonder what kind of response is appropriate when the world turns its attention to the brevity of life and the reality of death. I try to imagine what Jesus would say if the news reporters stuck a microphone in his face and asked him to comment on the nine lives that perished in the helicopter crash. What would Jesus say?

Continue reading “Kobe Bryant’s Death and a Lesson from Jesus”

A Prayer in the Wake of the Las Vegas Massacre

How long, O God, is the foe to scoff? Is the enemy to revile your name forever? Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord. He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; Continue reading “A Prayer in the Wake of the Las Vegas Massacre”

Microchips: The mark of the beast?

Ever since childhood, I have heard people associate microchips with the mark of the beast from Revelation 13:16–17:

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. (ESV)

The USA Today reported last Friday (August 4) that a Wisconsin company is offering microchip implants to its employees. The chips will enhance efficiency by enabling convenient entry to facilities and automatic access to corporate computers. As expected, the news has triggered speculation about the Bible’s end-time prophecies. Continue reading “Microchips: The mark of the beast?”

Adam, Where Are You?

The Atlantic published an article by Emma Green last week titled, “It’s the Moms who Get Kids to Church: A new study suggests women are the primary models for religious faith in many households.” As the title suggests, the article indicates the moms are out doing dads in having a more prominent and significant influence on the spiritual lives of their children. Relying on studies conducted by Pew Research and Barna, Green begins her article with these words: Continue reading “Adam, Where Are You?”

Five affirmations to remember during an election year

As we approach November, I think it is fair to say that the media coverage of the presidential race has been both exhaustive and exhausting. Even within the world of evangelicalism, we have received our fair share of election analysis. I am thankful for the fruitful political dialogue that has taken place by evangelical leaders in the public square. These discussions are healthy as we try to bring the Scriptures to bear on our decisions this November. However, the constant drumbeat of political analysis coming out of Christendom can easily give the impression that we Christians ride the coattails of politicians (may it never be!). Amidst the overwhelming amount of evangelical opinions telling us what to do this November, I simply want to articulate five scriptural affirmations that should help shape our collective spirit this election season—and every election season for that matter. At the risk of being labeled “captain obvious,” I think we need to be reminded of the bigger picture every once in a while. So here goes: Continue reading “Five affirmations to remember during an election year”

What Religion Would Jesus Belong To?

What religion would Jesus belong to? This was the question posed by Nicholas Kristof in an op-ed piece published in the New York Times on September 3, 2016. Kristof argues that if Jesus were alive today, he would not endorse the type of Christianity reflected in many conservative evangelical churches—a Christianity that emphasizes the importance of theological convictions and doctrinal clarity. Instead, Kristof suggests that the Jesus we meet in the Gospels was less concerned with a “system of beliefs” and more concerned with compassion and service to the needy. Kristof appeals to Brian McLaren’s new book, The Great Spiritual Migration where McLaren argues that modern-day Christianity has migrated away from the religion founded by Jesus: Continue reading “What Religion Would Jesus Belong To?”