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I really hope this column will bless you. You can read the most recent column below and previous columns at the archive.

A few years ago, a pair of Mormon missionaries arrived on my doorstep for the first time. I am naturally pretty curious about everything. I had lots of questions, and they had lots of answers. But after a little while, it became apparent to me that while we were using a lot of the same words, those words meant something very different to each of us.

I left the encounter pretty confused and with even more questions. I wondered if, as a Christian, there were any words that my faith redefined the way the Mormons had. This week, as we celebrated Independence Day, I realized that “freedom” is one of those words.

Rethinking America

Posted by Kyle on July 1, 2017

I have been a patriot for both Texas and the United States for most of my life. I am an Eagle Scout, and I was involved in many honor guards. I did flag ceremonies on the Texas Senate floor, for the governor and for US Senators and even a first lady. I love the United States.

But then I met Jesus. As the Holy Spirit began to reshape my thinking, I started thinking about history through a biblical lens, and my patriotic fervor began to wain. I am still very thankful for the freedoms we enjoy and the prosperity God has blessed our country with. But while our country and state were founded by a group of men that included several professing followers of Jesus, I began to see that they did not found our country with entirely biblical motives.

America is not a Christian nation

Posted by Kyle on June 17, 2017

Al Fadi is an former Muslim from Saudi Arabia, and he now works as a Christian apologist.

He recently gave his testimony on a YouTube video with fellow apologist David Wood, and he made an interesting comment about the Saudi perception of America.

He said the people of Saudi Arabia hate America, because they hate Christians, and they think of the United States as a Christian nation.

Then, they see our movies and television, and they hear our music, and conclude that Christians, and Christian doctrine, are immoral.

Obviously they’re wrong.

Not about the immorality — all Christians are sinners — it’s a prerequisite to being one.

They’re wrong about the United States being a Christian nation, but they can’t be faulted.

American Kerygma: Why we share the Gospel

Posted by Kyle on June 10, 2017

If I told you I had something new in my pocket, you would immediately begin to wonder what it was. If I just left it at that, you would probably ask to see it, wondering what it was. It’s just common sense.

But the American church violates this common sense pretty regularly. There’s a famous verse. It’s near the top of every “Top Bible verses to memorize” list. AWANA children know it by heart. If you start it, lots of Christians can finish it: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Most pastors salivate when they read the second chapter of Acts.

Everything we could possibly want for our church is described there. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit moves powerfully, the church grabs the attention of the city, there’s good preaching and there’s peaceful fellowship among believers. Most attractively, it says, “and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41) and “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47)

I just got some new stuff. I love new stuff because I’m an American, and we have a special affinity for new things. When it comes to a new digital audio recorder for my YouTube channel, new things aren’t so bad. When it comes to the way we relate to God, new things are harmful.

American Kerygma: Only Jesus can fix things

Posted by Kyle on May 13, 2017

Our world is broken.

Most what we see day-to-day forces us to agree that our world is broken. When we disagree, we disagree on the degree, the cause of and the solution to the problem we all recognize. In America, though, the variety of solutions we all fight over has a theme, “Do your best to change and behave according to my group’s definition of good.”

There is a question that befuddles believers and unbelievers alike, “What is the gospel?”

Pastor Bob Beaver of Christian Church of San Angelo was the first person I ever heard say, “That’s not the gospel.” I was in the middle of personal crisis and mental health problems, and the best help he offered me was identifying the root cause of my trouble. I was trusting in something that was not the “Power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). He was the first person I clearly remember to tell me exactly what Jesus’ main message is.

In his best-selling book Radical, David Platt shares the account of a particular Christian in India who, as men skinned him alive because of his faith, told his torturers, “I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for I will soon put on Christ’s garment of righteousness.” The great irony is that, with a response like that, our persecuted brother seems like he already had. He had already joined the likes of the Apostle Paul, who counted everything he had “as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7). Because of his life in Christ, his death in the world did not mean much to him. I want think that way.

When we are alive to one thing, being dead to everything else is easy.

During my first year after high school, I worked at a popular restaurant in Austin. I hated it. I had to deal with people all day, and I hated people. I was irrationally annoyed with the very people who paid my paycheck. If only I could have been paid without having to put up with their peculiarities and needs.

A Beautiful Death: How to die to self at home

Posted by Kyle on April 15, 2017

As an occupational hazard of pastoral ministry, I have had the opportunity to observe private family life in a way most people don’t get to. Sure, we know our own family’s “dirty laundry,” but I never saw just how normal dysfunction is until I became a pastor. And that’s the great secret of living in a family: It’s hard and almost everyone gets it wrong to one degree or another.

The great paradox of the home is that the people we love the most are the hardest to get along with. We count on our homes to be a safe place in the middle of a comparatively dangerous world, but so often reality falls short of our expectations and our homes are where the bitterest arguments and deepest wounds are sustained. But that can change.

“I’m wrong” has to be the most unpleasant phrase in the English language to utter.

I was reading Richard Swenson’s book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. Swenson, a medical doctor, took a “diagnose and prescribe” approach throughout the book. The most bitter medicine in the whole book was a quotation from cardiologist Dr. Meyer Friedman. Friedman routinely prescribed that his “Type-A” patients, “Purposefully say, ‘I’m wrong’ at least twice today, even if you’re not sure you’re wrong.”

Immediately, I knew it was medicine I needed. So, I took it. I try everyday to say, “I’m wrong” out loud to someone else. At first, it was difficult and bitter.

A Beautiful Death: Dead people rest

Posted by Kyle on April 1, 2017

I must confess my own hypocrisy.

I’ve been exploring the idea of living the Christian life by personally associating with the death and resurrection of Jesus. “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God who loves me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Another foundational passage for this idea is Romans 6:5-14, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his … Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him … The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:5,8 and 10-11).

A Beautiful Death: Your stuff is not yours

Posted by Kyle on March 25, 2017

The man in my congregation, whom I have always respected deeply, asked me, “You’re getting into woodworking right? Do you have a chop saw?” I didn’t. He said, “Well, I’ve got an extra one. Come by my house later and I’ll give it to you.” As I admired his fully-tooled shop, he mentioned how the whole shop was full of the Lord’s tools. Then, when I needed a trailer, he lent me his. He told me to use it any time. “It’s the Lord’s trailer.” He constantly uses what he has to bless the people around him, and every time someone thanks him, he’s quick to point out, “It’s the Lord’s.”

Jesus commanded his followers to deny themselves and take up their crosses to follow him. His earliest followers considered themselves as dead men. Paul claimed that he had been “crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

This is a theme I have chosen to adopt and to embrace and emulate. My motto is, “I am a servant, and I am already dead.” Living this way will have consequences on the way we view our stuff. The simple fact is that dead men don’t own things.

A Beautiful Death: Death is separation. Die to sin.

Posted by Kyle on March 18, 2017

When I had kids, I found a new favorite hobby: defining words. You cannot tell a child to be patient if she does not know what patience is. “Waiting without complaining.” You cannot tell a child to be kind to her sister if she does not know what kindness is. “Treating someone like a real person with her own thoughts and likes and dislikes that might be different from yours.” You explain the cemetery to her if she does not know what death is.

It was that question that birthed the hobby. One day, on the way home from church, she pointed at Fairmount Cemetery and asked, “Daddy, what kind of park is that? What are those rocks for?” I explained that when people die, their family puts them in the cemetery. “Why won’t their family let them come home from the Sem-tary Park?”

Definitions are important.