What is Theology?

Theology. It tends to have a negative connotation for many Christians. It conjures up images of stuffy old men spending hours studying scripture just so they can tell people when they are wrong about God. It’s often tied to those who are judgmental, hypocritical, and angry.

For many Christians, just the mention of the word makes their eyes gloss over. We simply don’t understand what theology means.

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Jesus is Here

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

Christ in you.
It truly is the hope of glory.

We don’t serve a God who lives somewhere out there — beyond the clouds in the depths of the universe so far away it seems as if He’s impossible to find. He isn’t lounging on a cloud somewhere while cherubim feed him grapes.

That’s what a lot of us picture when we think of God.

He’s in heaven.
We’re on earth.

He’s somewhere out there over the rainbow. Sure, we can come to Him with the big things of life. Troubles. Strife. Sickness. Direction.

But the little things? The every day, drag myself out of bed and go to work things? He’s far too distant, far too important for those things.

At least, that would be true if we served a distant god.

But our God isn’t distant. He isn’t over the rainbow. He isn’t lounging on a cloud and impossible to get to.

Our God, Jesus, is in us.

It’s the wondrous mystery only found in Christianity.

Jesus is close enough to know everything about you — your first thoughts when you wake up, your last thoughts before you go to sleep, the insecurities you have about yourself, the fears, doubts and worries you struggle with, your deepest desires, your darkest secrets, what you really wanted to say to that person who hurt you.

He knows everything about you.
And He cares about it all.

The beauty of serving a God so close is that He cares about everything in your life. Tweet this

You don’t have to reach Him. You don’t have to find Him. You don’t have to strive to achieve some level of perfection to get His attention.

Jesus is here. He is in you.
And He cares about everything in your life.

How would truly believing that Jesus is here change how you see yourself? Leave a comment below.

The Names of God

I was reading through the Old Testament this past week and I found a Scripture that caught my eye. I was gearing up for Christmas, so I had sought out some old favorite Scriptures in the Old Testament that, I believe, point forward to the coming of Christ. Isaiah has a lot to say about Christ, and so naturally that book was the first one that I turned to. In Isaiah 9:6, it reads:

“For to us a child is born,
To us a son is given,
And the government will be on His shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

This verse is usually used to connect the Old Testament to the New through Christ. I made a mental note of this and almost turned away when the names of God at the end of the verse caught my attention. These four names are given to Christ, and yet I had only ever acknowledged them – I had never consciously thought about what they meant.

As Wonderful Counselor, Christ offers guidance and direction to our lives. He is ready and willing to show us His plan and how to prosper, if we will only seek Him. His advice is extraordinary, it is astounding, and it is full of Him. When we need it, He simply listens to our cries. He is our Wonderful Counselor.

As Mighty God, Christ saves us from disaster and fends off our enemies. He is all-powerful and guards us on all sides. He will protect you from the things that seek to destroy you and He will lift you up when times are hard. He hears your crying during times of trouble and sweeps in like a mighty wave to save you. He is our Mighty god.

As Everlasting Father, Christ is always with us. Even when we cannot feel Him, He is still by our side. He never leaves, He never falters, He never fails. He is faithful, and is always ready for us. He existed before us and promises to take us into forever with Him. He is our Everlasting Father.

Finally, as Prince of Peace, Christ calms our hearts and minds. When our minds are tossed by the busy-ness of the world, He brings us rest. When our hearts are torn and mangled by the ones we love, He grants us healing. In the stormiest of days, He whispers peace into our souls. He is our Prince of Peace.

As Christmas approaches, remember who Christ is. Remember who He is to you now, and all that He can, and wants, to be. He came into this world to save you. And you can call Him Marvelous Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

With You

This past weekend as my girlfriend and I were leaving church for the 45 minute drive to Monmouth, a warning came over the radio. There were tornado watches in our county as well as all of the counties surrounding ours. She asked if we should turn back. Looking out the window, however, I noticed a rainbow in a blue sky. “Let’s keep going, but take a moment to remember God’s promise.” We continued.

Before long we heard another radio broadcast, this time informing us that there had been a tornado touchdown leaving massive destruction in its wake. After hearing this, we decided to pray for those affected by the damage. Yet before we could even finish our prayers the clouds opened and we found ourselves driving through blinding rain, hail, lightning, and winds. A semi was forced off the road. The car was only moving 20mph in a 65mph zone. We rounded a corner and found a truck completely engulfed in flames. My girlfriend started praying frantically for God to get us to Monmouth safely. The radio had no reception. We didn’t know what weather was still coming. We didn’t know how safe we were. The rainbow we had seen, the proof of God’s promise, seemed like the farthest thing away at that moment.

And then, for just a moment, the radio broke through. Love & the Outcome’s song “He Is With Us” come flowing through the speakers, but only long enough to get a few lines through. But for those few seconds the radio blasted the lyrics, “He is with us, He is with us – Always, Always, He is with us, He is with us, Our God is with us.” And then I started laughing.

I wasn’t laughing because I had finally snapped. The storm had not made me crack up in a fearful panic. I was laughing for joy – joy that our God was with us. He had heard our prayers. Though we were frightened and unsure about the future, God came down and whispered through the radio, “I Am with you.”

In the darkest, scariest moments of life, God is there. He does not leave when the road is tough or the path is hard to see. When the rain comes, and calamity strikes, God remains steadfast. Though the winds blow against you, and destruction looms on every side, God stands by your side. Do not get so caught up in the chaos of the moment that you forget about the peace that God offers.

It can be hard to find it. The wind and rain did not make it easy to hear past the radio static. The lightning and fire did not make it simple to stay calm. But when you put your hope in God’s hands and trust Him, He will rush in to deliver you. And, true to His promise, He will be with you until the end of the age.

Read it for yourself: Matthew 28:16-20, Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 139

Do Miracles Still Happen?

People have often asked me, “Why is it that God does not perform miracles like He did in the Old Testament and with the disciples?” They look at the world around them and see suffering and disbelief and wonder where the acts of God that left people awestruck are absent in a world that needs them so badly. They question whether God cares enough to step in for His people. If He does, they wonder if maybe He is not strong enough to do something. Why IS it that He will not step in to help us?

I struggled to find an answer myself. I struggled to find examples of God intervening from around the world in order to satisfy the desire for a miracle. Unfortunately, the only things I could find seemed sketchy and questionable. No matter how hard I looked, I could not find evidence of God stepping in to help the hurting like He did in the past.

I was looking for the wrong thing.

When God’s people asked for signs and miracles in the desert, they were asking God show them that He was still relevant. They needed to know that He was able to handle their problems. And so He brought water from the rocks and sent food from the heavens.

When Jesus was asked to demonstrate His power, He was being asked to prove that He was the Messiah. His followers needed to know that He WAS the Son of God and that He could actually deliver on what He offered. So He healed their sick and forgave their sins on the cross, but He did not call angels down to destroy the Romans.

Despite the years since the cross, people still need to know that God can handle their problems. The difference is that now, humans do not need God to bring water from stones or angelic deliverance from opposing armies. They are looking for a God that can help them cope with their lives. Why would someone care for a God that can rip open the sky if He cannot prove He can help with a break-up?

Instead of signs and wonders in the sky, God has focused His miracle-working power onto our hearts, transforming them and making them into something beautiful that showcases His glory. God is working miracles that prove He is still relevant and capable of handling the troubles of today, and these miracles are seen through people’s personal stories. Your walk with God is the miracle someone needs to see in order to believe God can help.

Miracles no longer happen in the sky. They happen within people.
So next time someone asks you for a miracle, tell them what God has done for you.


This past weekend, the students from Ignite Monmouth went out into the local community and served at the Jamieson Center. They were actively heeding the call of Christ to serve the needs of the hurting and needy in their local area, the surrounding community, and in all the world. They were the hands and feet of Jesus.

But why were they serving?

Some were there to rack up service hours – three hours on a Saturday morning will help with a semester’s required service hours. Others were there because they were hosting it; if they did not show up then they could not expect others to either. Some may even have been there just out of a desire to help others.

What all of the students may not have realized was that they were building God’s résumé in the local community. God brought each of those students to Monmouth College for various reasons, and over the weekend He chose to include them in His plan to reveal Himself to the city of Monmouth. Because these college students woke up early on a Saturday and served at the local community center, God has been glorified. People who ask will now know that the hands and feet of Jesus have worked at the Jamieson Center. The résumé of the Holy One has been updated.

To do so, the only thing these students did was reach out.

Where do you need to reach out?
Who in your city needs healing, food, or shelter today?
What are you doing to address that need?

Do not let another day go by. Step out and start helping the hurting in whatever capacity you can. You can talk about Jesus and prove God all you like, but people are looking for healing. People will believe in God when they feel His healing hand upon them, and they will trust in Christ when they feel His arms wrapped around them. Hearing, “God loves you” is hard to believe if He does not seem near.

So start serving. Enable God to work in your community through you. When employers look for a new hire, they do not look for someone who can talk a big game – they look for someone with the experience to do the job. In the same way, people are not looking for someone to tell them about God, they are looking for someone to SHOW them God.

And now the only question left unanswered falls on you.

Where will God work next?

Read it yourself: Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 1:8

Trusted by God

Serving God is hard.

Whether you pastor a small country church, lead a mega-church, travel for missions, play worship, or simply tell a friend about God, serving God is never easy. It might bring joy, but it always costs.

Often, the cost can dampen even the brightest fire for God. When someone complains about the message that was given or the way a song was sang, feelings get hurt. Low attendance can humble the greatest confidence, and rejection can make it easy for someone to stop sharing the Gospel. Even in the greatest ministries, one failure can be enough to make people lose hope.

We know what we are supposed to do when we get discouraged. Call on God! Put your trust in Him! Believe that He has a plan for you! These are all great things to do, and anyone in a situation of despair should do them – but they do not bring encouragement. Waiting for God to answer one’s call tries the patience. Believing that God has a plan for you grants a future hope, but does nothing to assuage the present anxiety. We are not worthy or able to complete the task, so we must wait nervously and impatiently for God to come and lift us up.

But God sees things differently.

You ARE able and worthy to fulfill the duties that God has given you. You are in the position that you are in now because for a reason. God did not elevate you to a position of leadership so that He could embarrass or discourage you – He placed you there so that you could excel and bring Him glory! God gave you this opportunity because no one else could do it like you can. He has made you with a purpose, and He has entrusted you with the reputation of His Church. God’s hope for the Church is in you. He considers you trustworthy.

So, next time you begin to feel worthless or lost in your service to God, remember:
God believes in you.

He has placed you according to your abilities.
He considers you worthy of His name.
God trusts you.

Read it yourself: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Why Me?

Back in January, I was at a retreat for my Seminary education, and I was in the valley. I had realized that my relationship with God, despite being six years in the making, had become superficial and stale. I had gone through the motion of being a Christian, including prayer, preaching, and learning about God, all without building up my relationship with Him. I felt hopeless and lost. For years I had thought that I was growing towards God, and suddenly I realized that I had missed the point all along. I was at a rock-bottom place spiritually.

So I did the only thing that I could think of to do. I prayed to God. I asked Him to show me where I had gone wrong, where I needed to be, and how I could get there. I asked Him for a sign that He had not abandoned me in my superficial faith. And then I waited.

For two days I waited without a single notice from God. I was desperate, and was looking for any kind of indication that God was still hearing me. I knew that I was loved by God – the Bible had told me so, and I had read about it countless times, but that was not enough anymore. God HAD to love me – after all, He was God. But why me? Why had God decided that I personally was valuable enough to send His Son to die? What about me had attracted God to me before I was ever created?

I had to know, so I asked. I asked God to tell me why He had been drawn to me. I knew why I had been drawn to God – Revelation and fear of judgment had evolved, at one point, into a love for my Creator. But I did not know what made me special to God. So again I waited.

Finally, I received my answer. God told me why He loved ME. Thus began my slow climb back out of the valley.

Have you ever asked God why He loves you in particular? Do you know what it is about you that makes you so special to God that He was willing to send His son? There is something, and God wants to tell you what it is. He loves you dearly – enough to come and die for you. Because He loves you, He is not going to stay silent forever. Just ask.

“Why me?”

He is just waiting for you to ask.

God Cheated

God and Satan have been playing a game against each other for a very long time. The game has been close, and every time one has tried to get ahead, the other has managed to frustrate the plan. Suddenly, Satan thinks he finally has what it takes to win. The last pieces of his game plan fall into place, and God plays right into his hands.

Satan has won the game

But God does not concede defeat. Instead, He declares that, in fact, Satan has NOT won, because it’s GOD’S game. God insists that because it is His game, all will play by His rules.

He. Wins.

If something like this happened to one of us, we would instantly accuse the other person of cheating. We would feel lied to, manipulated, and cheated. An argument would most certainly erupt.

And yet this exact scenario played out millennia ago when God sent His Son for our sins. God had made numerous promises to the Israelites, and Satan had tried relentlessly to ruin each one.

Abraham would become a great nation – but the Hebrew people were enslaved in Egypt.
Saul would be a king for God – but jealousy turned him into a tyrant.
Israel would be God’s chosen nation – but Assyria, Babylon, and Rome conquered them.

Then Jesus came.

This was Satan’s golden opportunity. He knew the Scriptures – if He could cause Jesus to sin or snuff out His mission, God would fail. e would successfully have corrupted The Almighty. None of his past failures to ruin God would matter, because if he could conquer Jesus, He would conquer God.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Satan put so much effort into killing Jesus.

He turned the Romans against Him.
He turned the Jews against Him.
He even turned one of His closest friends against Him.

Jesus was tortured, and Jesus died. Hell rejoiced. Satan had conquered God.

Imagine Satan’s surprise when three days later Heaven was rejoicing. In the ultimate show of His power and majesty, God raised Christ from the dead for the salvation of all humanity. In this one act, God both showed His infinite love for us while also showing to Satan and the entire world that no matter what, the plans of God will always prevail.

Satan probably walked away that day thinking one thing:
God cheated.

The world around us might seem like it is against us. We can’t seem to save money. Our relationships fall apart. Life just gets in the way. Yet God has a plan for each of us, and He wants nothing more than to fulfill that plan for us. He is strong enough to do it, and He is more than willing to do it. He broke the rules of a cosmic game for us once. He’s not going to let you fall apart.

Jesus Pooped

Fully divine. Fully human.
That’s how we describe Jesus.

It’s been the popular way of understanding our Savior for over 1,900 years, and for good reason: it fits. Jesus was both God AND man.

For most of that time, we humans have been struggling to understand what this statement about Jesus really means. Battles over orthodoxy and heresy were fought on this point, and the challenge remains today.

The difficulty is not in the first half. Jesus IS God. He could have turned stones to bread, overthrown the Romans, or called angels to take Him down from the cross. We know that he had this power. We call on Jesus to rescue us from our sins, from our temptations, and even death because we know that He has the power to overcome all of these things. He did it once, and He promised to do it for us. Jesus has the entirety of the divine power of God in Him.

But Jesus was also fully human. It is this half of the statement that gives us trouble. To say that Jesus was fully human means that Jesus had weaknesses. Even thinking something like this feels like we are cheating Jesus out of His divinity – it feels almost blasphemous!

Yet, Jesus DID take on the weaknesses of the human condition. Throughout His ministry Jesus experienced intense cravings, powerful emotions, and all of the weaknesses of the human body – all so that He could fully redeem us.

He grew tired and needed rest.
He felt happiness, grief, and anger.
He became hungry and thirsty.

And if Jesus ate food, then Jesus pooped.

These two facts have many implications: Jesus got indigestion, stomachaches, headaches, muscle cramps, and all of the “minor” pains we experience, purely out of love for us.

Jesus DID come to take our sins and redeem us on the cross, but He also came to experience what we experience so that He could feel our pains, and through that feeling redeem us as well.

It is for THAT reason why we are able to offer ALL of our troubles to God – because through Jesus, God has experienced them first hand. God sees and comforts us when our hearts are breaking and our faith is weak. When our world comes crashing down, He wants us to turn to Him and allow Him to heal us.

He also cares about our little problems. When your stomach hurts, God wants to send healing. When your body aches from a workout that was too intense, God wants to send comfort. If your teeth hurt because you ate too much candy, God wants to ease the pain. We just never seem to offer it to Him. But He DOES want to help.

So, next time your stomach hurts, just remember: Jesus knows what you’re going through. Jesus pooped.

Read it yourself: John 4:6, John 19:28, Matthew 4:2, Luke 23:26, John 11:33-35, Galatians 3:13