4 Reasons why goodness without God is not good enough

I was listening to William Lane Craig, professor at Talbot School of Theology debate Paul Kurtz, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The topic was, Is goodness without God good enough?

‘Interesting question,’ I thought. Where does good come from?

How or why would we be good if God didn’t exist? Would we be good? Could we be good? The question lingers in the air as I ponder the thought.

Among the many arguments apologists use for the existence of God, the moral argument intrigues me the most. Both Christians and atheists alike struggle with the problem of pain & suffering, and the problem of evil.

From human trafficking and the exploitation of children all the way down to Lions killing gazelles, the existence of pain and suffering doesn’t sit well with us. And the thought of God permitting evil is downright offensive.

So, what do we do with the moral argument? Let’s take a closer look.

I am very much a amateur apologist, however, there seem to be four themes that emerge from the moral argument.

1. All Morality and rules come from a higher authority

Morality is a biological adaptation no less than our hands and feet and teeth . . . . Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, and any deeper meaning is illusory . . .
~Michael Ruse, philosopher

My oldest daughter has her permit and is learning to drive. Teaching your kid to drive ranks right up there with potty training and explaining the birds and the bees! Let’s just say . . . . I don’t love it!

Sitting next to her in the passenger seat, I say things like . . . 

  • you don’t have the right of way, you must yield
  • slow down! you can’t go over the speed limit
  • use the left lane to pass someone on the freeway

Are the ‘rules of the road’ innate? Were we born knowing them? Or, can we just say that we do them because it is the right thing to do? Of course not! The government makes the laws, and we are expected to follow them.

All rules that we must follow come from a higher authority.

Why did we have to be home by 11 when we were teenagers?
Why did we finish our homework before we played with friends?

because of a higher authority –> our parents

Why do kids have to get a hall pass to go to the bathroom?
Why do kids have to do physical education testing?

because of a higher authority –> the school

Why do we have to take a class to become members at church?

because of a higher authority –> the church

Why do we have to be at work by 8:30?

because of a higher authority –> the boss

Why do we have to wait until we are 21 to drink alcohol, or until we are 18 to vote?

because of a higher authority –> the government

The rules that we follow are given to us by a higher authority. Whether they come from parents, schools, churches, the government, or a boss, they come from somewhere. And they come from something higher than us.

Does God have to exist for moral values to existWell, yes! All of the rules that we follow come from a higher authority.

Why can’t I sleep with someone that isn’t my spouse?
Why can’t I just ignore the neighbor that needs help?
Why do I have to live by the golden rule?
Why should I support a child in Africa?

because there is a higher authority –> God

And, much like the universe, moral values and duties must have a cause. Everything comes from something. Nothing can exist uncaused or uncreated, except God.

2. We take care of ‘the least of these’

A friend at a local ministry recently told me that in Ethiopia, in order to control the number of homeless kids that roam the streets, or “street kids” as they’re called, they drive through the city and shoot them. How horrific! How could anyone shoot children?!

Without the existence of God, without the existence of objective morals values, this action might be the best for the community or the species as a whole.

Yet we find the thought of it reprehensible. Why?

As part of the Darwinian Theory, the idea of survival of the fittest is widely accepted in the scientific world and beyond. In other words, those that are better equipped for survival will survive and those that aren’t, won’t.

Yet, we intervene in this process, and help the ‘least fit’ to survive. Why?

As a purely scientific description, disabled people are not ‘the fittest.’ So, why should we help them to survive if morals are merely a biological adaptation? If there is no God who tells us to love and care for ‘the least of these’, then why do we do it?

‘We just know it’s the right thing to do’ is a painfully insufficient answer. It doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

The reality is that we do feel compelled to take care of disabled people. Many government agencies and nonprofit organizations are dedicated to bettering the lives of those with disabilities. We spend a lot of time and resources helping the weakest of our species.

Thank God that we care for these precious people. They make life so much richer.

3. The necessity of pain, suffering and evil

I always wonder why people have such a problem with the existence of pain and suffering. And, why do we assume that evil should not exist?

According to William Lane Craig, evil may be necessary for a world with the greatest amount of good, and one in which there is the greatest number of people who know God. 

Take the 1998 movie Pleasantville. A brother and sister are thrust into the perfect world of a 1950’s sitcom. Like Leave It To Beaver, everything is just swell. Though there is no color in their world and every day is exactly like the one before, it is safe and perfect. There is no violence, pain, hunger or injustice.

However, there is also no adventure, no love, no romance and no passion.

Another movie that illustrates this is The Giver (yes, I’m a movie junkie!). After a tragedy destroys most of the earth, a self contained, isolated, utopian society is created. One in which there is no disease, hunger, or war. Citizens take daily injections of a substance that gets rid of emotions. And memories of how the world once was, have been taken away.

Once memories are returned to them, they see the triumphs of man; love, compassion, and cooperation. And, they see the darkness of man; war, terror, and injustice. Tears of joy are shed as memories of the real world flood their minds.

A real world is better than a perfect one. The world that God created is much richer then a perfect world ever could be. 

4. The existence of purpose and meaning

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, Does God matter? How important is a purpose driven life?, human beings are why creatures. We not only seek to know what, and how things work, but also, why we are here and why things happen. We want to know there is a reason. And whys lead to purpose and meaning.

And, if there were no God, and therefore, no meaning or purpose in life . . . .

Why would we want to better ourselves?
Why would we pursue happiness?
Why would we go on a mission trip to feed the poor?
Why would we write a novel or a song?
Why would we love?

None of these are necessary for health or survival.

Without meaning or purpose, human beings would simply be the most advanced primates; the top of the food chain. As humans we may have awareness, and advanced cognitive abilities, but beyond that, without God, we’re just animals outside of the zoo.

It is not merely a question of ‘Is goodness without God good enough?’ It is that there would be NO goodness without God.

There would be no morality. There would be no one assisting people in need. There would be no color, passion, or love. And, there would be no purpose or meaning to our lives.

Without God, goodness would simply not exist.

3 Of the greatest gifts young parents can give their kids

I was recently asked if I would write an article in a newsletter for a young moms group. As I started thinking back to the time when my girls were little, I was flooded with warm memories and deep regrets.

I have been very blessed, not only to have enjoyed that magical time when my kids were little, but also to have survived it.

If I could go back in time and talk to my younger self, what would I say?

Being a young mom is a thrill ride. There are new challenges and milestones every day. You learn as you go. And nothing can prepare you.

I remember when we were leaving the hospital with my oldest daughter, Emily. I was thinking, ‘How could they let ME walk out of here with a baby?! Were they crazy?

Day by day we learned, and the kids grew. My husband and I fumbled around going this way and that, doing the best that we could as young parents. We were tossed to and fro by well intentioned advice and made many mistakes.

Now our girls are in high school. Where did the time go?

Just when you think the teenage years are so far away, there they are, staring you right in the face!

Looking back, there are 3 pieces of advice that I would give to young moms (and dads!).

1. Show your kids that God comes first

My greatest regret in parenting is not being a Christ-centered family when my kids were little.

We were typical American parents. God wasn’t our number one for most of our marriage. If you would have asked us, we would have said that He was. But He wasn’t. We were very much living for the American Dream.

We were raising our girls to be good people because we were good people. Wasn’t that what we were supposed to be doing?! Wasn’t that enough?

We taught them to say please and thank you. We taught them to be nice and polite and do what they’re told. We took them to church on Sundays to learn about God. And we taught them the importance of a good education.

Purposefully or not, by mirroring things we observed from our parents, the media, the culture, the church and our community, we put our family first.

It saddens me to think about it. We were wrong.

*God Must Always Come First*

Not only should God come first, there shouldn’t be a close second. Nothing should come close to God in our lives.

It’s no wonder that most kids grow up to be young adults that care very little about God or their faith. Why would they put God first when their parents didn’t?

Our kids will do as we do.

We must put God over our families, the way He intended. Only then can our families and our kids be healthy and strong. If we put God first, then the family will be as it should be, UNDER His Lordship.

Read my blog post, 5 ways to put God above the American Dream

2. Give yourself grace

Someone once said to me, ‘If you were a perfect parent, your kids wouldn’t need a Savior!’ Amen to that!

As a young mom, sixteen years ago, I put a lot of pressure on myself; pressure to be the perfect mom and to have the perfect kids.

I felt pressure to . . . . .

  • raise geniuses
  • potty train by the time they are 2
  • have my kids reading before they can walk
  • have the perfect amount of activities; playdates, music classes, soccer, etc.

I remember people having opinions about everything; breastfeeding or formula, thumb sucking or the pacifier, potty training, putting the kids to bed, daycare, homeschool, etc. The list goes on and on.

Everybody seems to have opinions when you have kids. And, for some reason, they feel they have to right to share them with you.

Don’t let your kids use a pacifier or suck their thumb, they will need braces if you do.
Don’t give them a bottle too soon.
Don’t pick up your baby every time they cry.
Don’t let your kid have a tantrum or make noise at the grocery store.
You should start piano lessons early, it helps their brain develop.
You must give your kids the flu shot.
They shouldn’t ever watch television when they are little.

Pressure, pressure, pressure! There is so much pressure!

The advice that I give young moms is . . . . lower the bar.

The house doesn’t need to be clean all the time. Let it go. So what if the house is messy? Do you want your kids to remember that their mom spent time with them, or that the house was clean?

Kids don’t always need to be dressed, or wear matching clothes, or even wear clean clothes. Sometimes, they don’t need clothes at all! They don’t need to have perfect manners, a clean face and groomed hair.

Lower the bar.

If little bobby has a temper tantrum in the grocery store one day, and you give in. So what?! It’s one time. It’s not the end of the world! If you need to buy those groceries and book it out of there, than buy that Hershey bar this time!

Give yourself grace.

Other people will judge you. Count on it! But, so what?! Don’t worry about what other people will say or think. At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do for your kids is to take care of their mom!

3. Don’t put too much weight on ‘milestones’

Don’t worry about milestones. Your kid will eventually walk, she will eventually stop sucking her thumb and wearing pullups at night, she will learn to ride a bicycle, learn their A,B,C’s, and so on.

Some kids walk when they are 9 months old and some when they are 16 months. Some kids crawl first, some scoot, and some skip all that and go straight to walking! Some kids talk in full sentences from the womb, and some don’t say a word until much later. And some don’t stop wearing pullups at night until they are 10!

So what?! Let your kid be who he is. Let him have his own milestones, not be forced to have someone else’s.

The shoulds of life can imprison us. Let them go. Take the word should out of your vocabulary, especially when it comes to raising your kids.

The greatest success in parenting is raising kids who know and love God.

Our job is to raise kids to become adults who chase after holiness, not happiness, and seek God’s will more than the American Dream. Our job is to create adults who put God first.

If our kids grow up knowing and seeking God in their lives, not much else matters. In other words . . . . don’t sweat the small stuff! Cut yourself some slack, and enjoy the ride! It will be over before you know it!

What are your struggles as a young parent?

If you are a seasoned parent, what would you have done differently when your kids were young?

5 Reasons why Christians should learn apologetics

Several months ago, when my Sunday school class learned that we were going to study apologetics, there was an audible groan in the room. Most people were less than enthusiastic.

I just don’t understand it. Maybe I am a nerd, but I am excited about apologetics!

Can apologetics be boring? Sure. But so can anything else. Literature, politics, science, current events, even music or movies can be boring. Heck, this blog post is probably boring!

Often, it isn’t the subject that’s boring, it’s the delivery.

I’m not a big fan of history. However, I have watched some fascinating documentaries. And, lo and behold, I learn something! Also, historical movies that are true stories are some of my favorites. 

So, when it comes to apologetics, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Why do you believe in God? Why are you a Christian? How would you answer these questions if you were asked? Most of us would be stumped.

What if someone called you closed minded for believing that Christianity was true and all other religions were false? The exclusivity of Christianity is its greatest criticism today. How would you defend a faith that claims there is only one truth?

The majority of us would have difficulty addressing these subjects.

As followers of Christ, most of us tend to have an experiential and emotional relationship with God. We feel Him. He is in us.

However, feelings tend to be hard to articulate, and, they are less than convincing to an outsider. Answering skeptics questions based on feelings or an experience might not always be effective.

There are 5 reasons why Christians should study apologetics

1.  We are told to do so in scripture

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.  1 Peter 3:15

2. To defend Christianity & spread the Gospel

It is crucial for us to respond to attacks on our faith. We must be able to answer the skeptic’s questions. We must have a defense.

We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God.   2 Corinthians 10:5

The Great Commission commands us to go out and make disciples. But, what kind of witnesses will we be if we look like bumbling idiots when we are challenged?! Who would want to join a religion full of dummies?

We must explore fundamental questions.

  • What evidence is there that God exists?
  • What evidence is there that God created the universe?
  • How do you explain evolution or the big bang?
  • How can one address the problem of suffering?

Emotional and relational people may be won over by loving relationships with people they trust. However, most likely, intellectuals will need to hear arguments for the existence of God, Creation or the resurrection of Christ.

Arguments such as . . . . 

  • The Cosmological Argument
  • The Fine Tuning Argument
  • The Moral Argument
  • The Contingency Argument

And we must always remember to present arguments with gentleness and respect.

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.   Colossians 4:5-6

3. To have a strong foundation

Between 50 & 75% of young people raised in a Christian family leave the church after they leave their home. There is an abundance of research on this topic. The numbers may vary slightly from one study to the next. But they all come to the same conclusion. We are losing our kids.

The daunting reality is that a majority of youth group graduates lose their faith when they leave home. Why? Our kids aren’t developing a personal faith in Jesus Christ. They don’t leave home with a firm foundation.

Many of them don’t know why they believe in God or Jesus Christ.

We all need to know why we believe what we believe. That is our foundation. And, kids need to know why they believe, apart from their parents.

(there may be a book coming . . . . )

4. To love God with our minds

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind  Luke 10:27

Are you using your whole heart, soul, strength and mind to love God? I ask myself this question frequently. I know that I often fall short.

Loving God with all our minds means keeping our mind sharp. It means discovering all that God has for us. It means meditating on scripture, not just reading it. It means spending time pondering the things of God.

He gave us minds so we could love Him through our intellect. After all, all knowledge comes from God.

Here are some stimulating topics that may peak your curiousity.

  • What does the Second Law of Thermodynamics have to do with the existence of God?
  • How do Einstein’s general theory of relativity, the expansion of the universe, and the red shift point to a Creator?
  • Why does the existence of God explain intentional states of consiousness in the world?
  • What are some of the fundamental constants and quantities of the universe that seem to have been carefully dialed by a Creator to an astonishingly precise value that falls within an exceedingly narrow, life permitting range? (reasonablefaith.org)

Discovery is a gift that can enrich our faith, and cause us to fall more deeply in love with Elohim, the Creator God.

5. To see more of God’s character; to know Him more

While on the treadmill in the morning, I listen to William Lane Craig’s Sunday school class called Defenders. In the first class, he said that they would be exploring the attributes of God. I thought to myself, that sounds kind of elementary!

I know that God is good, gentle, merciful, compassionate, just, powerful, full of grace, and loving. He is the Mighty God, Prince of Peace, and Wonderful Counselor. I am aware of His omniscience, omnipotence, and that He is omnipresent.

However, I had never thought about His eternity, His aseity (self existence), His foreknowledge or middle knowledge (hypothetical knowledge), fore ordination, and immutability (changelessness), to name a few. The philosophical study of God is fascinating!

Have you heard of the Euthyphro dilemma? I hadn’t until recently. It basically asks the question, ‘Is something good because God wills it? Or, does God will something because it is good?’ Crazy stuff!

There is so much to learn about our God. We could spend a lifetime and only scratch the surface of the complex and multifaceted nature of God.

So, I challenge you as I challenge myself to think about and write down answers to the following questions.

Why do you believe in God?
Why are you a Christian?
Why is your faith important in your life?
What exactly do you believe?
What evidence is there for the existence of God?
What evidence is there for the resurrection of Christ?

The following are great resources for the study of apologetics:

I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist, Frank Turek & Norman Geisler
Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, William Lane Craig


7 Reasons why I am not jumping on the church growth bandwagon

It’s tiring being the weird one. Believe me . . . sometimes I wish that I could just go to church on Sundays, sit in the sanctuary, listen to a message, clap and sing praise songs, catch up with my friends, and go on my merry way.

  • Why can’t I just enjoy the new worship center that is twice as big as before?
  • Why can’t I be proud of the fact that droves of new people are coming in our doors on a regular basis?
  • Why can’t I be excited about a church that looks so good from the outside?
  • Why can’t I just get on board?

Lord knows that I have asked myself these questions many times. Why can’t I go back to the shallow end of the pool? Why do I have to dwell in the depths of the deep? Oh, I often contemplate it.

But, I know that I can’t go back. And, truth be told, I wouldn’t want to.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. John 6:68

According to one blog post, “Growth is ALWAYS the goal of the New Testament church.”

I disagree. I don’t believe church growth should be our gauge for success.


Because church growth with a big ‘C’ (Christ’s Church) does not always equal church growth with a little ‘c’ (1 specific church). And church growth with a little ‘c’ doesn’t necessarily translate into more disciples, which is the purpose of Christ’s Church.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:19

There are 7 reasons why I don’t believe in church growth.

1. Not everyone can use their spiritual gifts

When you have a church with thousands of people, it is nearly impossible for everyone to use their spiritual gifts within the church. Only a select group will be able to.

What if there are 250 people at a church of 4,000 with the gift of preaching or pastoring? No church of any size has 250 pastors! That means that there are at least 240 people unable to use their spiritual gift.

God gives us all spiritual gifts, and we should all be using them within the ‘body of Christ’, the Church.

Is everyone using their spiritual gifts at large churches? The answer is likely ‘no’. It is more likely that there will be way more gifted people at a large church than can be utilized.

2. Small groups are no substitute for Church

Large churches answer the criticism of their size by saying, ‘we encourage everyone to join a small group’.

My husband and I have been in small groups off an on for twenty years. We have seldom experienced (C)hurch in any of them. Most small groups do not focus on scripture. They do not focus on the Holy Spirit and how He is moving in their lives. The majority of small groups are not about encouraging each other in boldness; or holding one another accountable to scripture.

Small groups are a social gathering.

“In the search for answers I began to attend a large church in our local town, but instead of answers, all I found was a sort of spiritual country club where the dues were a dollar a week in the offering plate.”   ~Willaim Lane Craig

According to Randy White, “The (small) groups engage in fellowship time, then go on their way as biblically empty as when they arrived.”

Small groups are not a substitute for church.

3. The problem with the 25 year plan

About five years ago, our church went through a building campaign. This is when I learned that our church had a 25 year plan.

It is not just having a 25 year plan that bothers me, it is being bound to it that does.

How can a church be spirit-led if it is bound to a plan that we created? If God tells us to move, and it conflicts with our 25 year plan, then what? Are we open to a different plan that God may have for us at any moment?

Can having a 25 year plan breed arrogance and independence instead of DEPENDENCE on God?

I can’t help but think about the stories of God leading His people in the Old Testament. What faith Moses and Joshua had when God asked them to do some crazy things! Every move that they made came directly from God.

God was leading them daily with a cloud by day and fire by night.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.   Exodus 13:21

To my knowledge, God has never given anyone in scripture a 25 year plan. The closest thing to a ‘plan’ is prophecy. And, prophesy is not a plan; it is a hope; it is a promise of the grace and salvation to come through Jesus Christ.

We, as the church, must surrender our ‘plan’ to God and let HIM guide us.

4. Campaign strategies don’t belong at church

Many churches hire consultants or building campaign strategists to help with their church growth campaigns. Churches should never look to someone with the word ‘strategist’ in their title for guidance. The word strategist is code for ‘we’re going to use our plan, not God’s.’

The head of the church is Christ and Christ alone.

Is Jesus Christ not good enough to lead us? Is that really what we believe? 

During the campaign, my husband and I were invited to participate in a building campaign meeting. I thought, ‘Ok, this is good, they want to know what we think about this.’ It ended up being a sales pitch.

We quickly realized that we were not there because they valued our opinions as brothers and sisters in Christ. They were recruiting us to be on their ‘sales team’.

A salesman, or ‘Building Campaign Consultant’ or whatever his title was, got up and started selling. The purpose of the meeting was to get people to advertise the building campaign to the church and the community. Lay people were not wanted for their insight about the direction of the church. They simply wanted bodies to make sales calls, to raise money or help with mass mailings. 

I felt used. And rightly so, I was being used. Not cool at church.

5. Church growth causes us to be inward focused

During building campaigns, everything suddenly is about (fill in a church name). Pride, disguised as church growth, can sneak in.

We start innocently talking about our history and showing pictures. Then we pat ourselves on the back about how much we have grown. It’s a slippery slope to becoming all about ‘us’.

We have to remember that the (C)hurch is not just our (c)hurch. Christ’s church is so much bigger than this building or that address. It is the entire body of Christ.

6. A large church must be run like a business

Logistically speaking, any organization over a certain number of people must be run like a business or it will fall apart.

Church is not a business. Yet, we have cheapened it to this level.

The amount of staff that a church has is a good indication of this ‘business mentality’. A large church must run like a business to manage the staff, expenses/assets, programs & projects.

7. A large church requires a lot of staff

A large church often has a lot of staff.

If there is a lot of staff, then there are fewer opportunities for lay people to step up in ministry.

When this is the case, the church body and the staff become disconnected. Instead of the church being all of God’s people, the staff are seen as the church and the members are just patrons.

We are all the church . . . . every one of us!  Large churches with a lot of paid staff must remember that church goers are as much ‘the Church’ as the paid staff.

God has given me a love for the Church. I am passionate about keeping it pure and holy.

However, Church is a tough one. Christ set the bar pretty high!

As mere mortals, the concept of Church is one that we can never fully grasp. The Church is made up of us, disciples of Christ, yet it is the body of our Lord and Savior. Church is both human and divine at the same time. Hard to grasp?! It definitely is!

Church is supernatural. It is beyond our understanding. I believe that is why there is so much strife in churches today and why we can’t seem to get it right.

Church was never meant to be a building with thousands of people. It was probably never meant to be about a building at all.

You and I are the (C)hurch. And as the (C)hurch, we must hold our (c)hurches accountable and be continually turning them back to Christ. 

3 Things that will make you ‘the weird one’ at church

There are certain things in life that one just has to make peace with. Certain things that just are. Like death and taxes, there are some things that never change.

I’m the weird one. I always have been, and I always will be. And I have made peace with it. I know where I belong. And, it isn’t here.

I recently learned there is a name for people that tend to rock the boat and stir things up; people who tend to disrupt the regular flow of how things typically work. They are the ones that question everything; the ones that are not content with the status quo. They are called ‘disrupters’.

Oh yeah, I am definitely one of those! Disrupters are definitely the weird ones!

I have found that there are 3 things that will make you the ‘disrupter’ or ‘the weird one’ at church.

1. You don’t live by the mantra, ‘family first’

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘family first’? We see it on commercials and public service announcements almost everyday. We read about it in blog posts, and articles. It has become a popular mantra in our society.

Too often, though, I hear it in church as well.

“Do I spend more time focusing on being a good spouse and parent, or more time focusing on being a godly person?” – Lisa Chan, You and Me Forever

Most of the churches I have encountered, seem to believe that family comes first. it’s all about family. As I hear this being spoken at church, I have to wonder if the person speaking it realizes what he or she is saying.

The American church has made family an idol.

God must always come first. And, not only should He come first, there shouldn’t be a closefamily first second. Nothing should come close to God in our lives.  

Of course, family is important, but it should never come first in our lives. That spot should always belong to God. He won’t share His position with anyone or anything; not even our family.

When Christ said how we are to love God, He didn’t mean after we love our family first.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

And surprisingly, even though we put families on a pedestal, there are just as many divorces inside the church as there are outside. Maybe if we realized that family doesn’t come first, and put God back in His rightful place, this wouldn’t be the case.

We must put God over our families, the way He intended. Only then can our families be healthy and strong. If we put God first, then the family will be as it should be, UNDER His Lordship. 

2. You are not always happy

When someone at church asks me how I am, a million thoughts go through my mind, but I know that I am expected to be ‘fine’. If you say something other than ‘fine’, you will be the weird one. We are supposed to be fine, not real!

Recently my Sunday school class started a video series. The title of it was ‘What Makes You Happy?’ For some reason Christians seem to think that they should be happy. I am always perplexed by this. 

My husband and I are not big fans of doing a video series and I am not a fan of talks on happiness. So, I was doodling a barfing face on the handout (I know – real mature!). 

The word happiness rubs me the wrong way like the wrong string in a guitar chord. What is happiness? Dictionary.com defines it as good fortune; pleasure; contentment; or joy.

Should we strive for good fortune?
Should we strive for pleasure?
Should we strive for contentment?
Should we strive for joy?

One can argue either way for each of these. In and of themselves, none of these are bad things. God is good and wants good things for us.

Not always happyDoes God want us to have good fortune? Yes, but in eternity with Him, not in this life. We are not to be focused on our good fortune on earth. We need to strive to love and glorify God whether it brings us good fortune or bad.

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”   Luke 12:15

Does God want us to experience pleasure? Yes, I believe He does. However, He does not want us to strive for personal pleasure, it should flow from a close walk with Him.

He who loves pleasure will become a poor man.   Proverbs 21:17

Does God want us to be content? Well, content with what? Does God want us to be content with Him? Absolutely! However, He does not desire for us to be content with everything. Jesus was not content with everything.

“He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”   John 2:15-16

We shouldn’t be content with sin. We shouldn’t be content with the status quo, if that means a church that is lukewarm. We shouldn’t be content with a country that has turned its back on God. And, we shouldn’t be content with people not knowing Christ.

God wants us to be content with Him, while at the same time discontent with the things of this world; things that are not pleasing to Him.

Does God want us to experience joy? I can’t write a YES big enough for this one! He desires for us to have complete joy in Him. Joy is big. His joy is HUGE!

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.   John 15:11

However, joy is very different than happiness.

3. You seek depth

There are a lot of fun activities at churches; jam sessions, bingo night, worship night, Vacation Bible School, Wednesday night dinners, Zoomba, and small group ‘speed dating’, just to name a few. Social activities at church are fun.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fun. I love fun as much as the next person! However, fun can’t be all that is happening at church.

I used to be in a specific group at my church. It was a blast! We all loved to get together and do what we loved most. We had such a good time. But we weren’t challenging each other to grow in Christ, we were enabling each other to just have fun.

seeking-spiritual-truthAt a certain point, I started to notice things. Our conversations weren’t necessarily ‘holy’. We never talked about anything spiritual. And, it didn’t seem to me like most of the people were there to glorify God. They were there because they loved what we were doing, and they wanted to hang out with their friends.

God pulled me away from this group. As a result, I am now able to participate in another group where we do grow spiritually. And, where we do challenge each other.

Life with Christ isn’t meant to be lived on the surface. There if a whole ocean below if we are willing to dive in. Jesus challenges us to . . . . “put out into deep water” (Luke 5:4).

Truly following Christ can result in grief, sorrow, or depression, as well as extreme joy and rejoicing. With these intense emotions comes a necessary depth. And once you go down to the deep, you will never be satisfied with the shore again.

If you are ‘the weird one’ at your church, you’re not alone. There are millions of ‘weird ones’ all over the world. One could say that Jesus was ‘the weird one’ of His day. So, you are in good company! 

Follow Christ. Study His Word. Never compromise, even if it means being ‘the weird one’.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Are you the weird one?