I recently got ripped for a blog post. I didn't mind (this time), but when someone goes off on us it raises many questions: Why does he or she feel the need to say this? What is he feeling? What is she thinking? What is the problem they are trying to ...


How To Handle Online Criticism: Getting Ripped and more...

How To Handle Online Criticism: Getting Ripped

I recently got ripped for a blog post. I didn't mind (this time), but when someone goes off on us it raises many questions:

Why does he or she feel the need to say this? What is he feeling? What is she thinking? What is the problem they are trying to solve?

Is their critique fair? Or is it negative? Or fair but too much of a pile on? And is it fair to criticize a single blog or Facebook post in isolation without considering everything else you have said in context? And then there are the differences in personality and temperament. For example, is it fair for someone who wants a mathematical answer to criticize a poet’s approach because he is not also a mathematician?

Frankly, I could probably crush this and other criticisms with a sharp retort. I could adroitly impale my critics with their own pens. I could coherently point out how this person has criticized me not for what I "did" write, but because I didn’t write the article they "wish" I would’ve written. I could handily explain that it's not fair to evaluate a post without considering the intentions of the poster.

However, I can also meditate on how Jesus was criticized, falsely accused, persecuted, even laughed at, and yet he did not respond in kind. And I can wonder how he would respond. 

Has a judgment of charity been extended to me? No. Is this person treating me the way that he would want to be treated? No.

But the more important question is, will I respond by treating him the way that I want to be treated?

So by faith I choose to love this person not in spite of who they are, but because of whose I am. 

And I’m praying I will still feel the same way in 10 minutes.


Which Is Harder (Or Easier) To Believe?

Which is more believable? That from nothing a microscopic piece of inert matter “appeared” that contained within itself the power to suddenly detonate and expand its mass into a cosmos of hundreds of billions of galaxies which developed its own intelligence, gave itself life, reproduced into millions of life forms that feel and express love toward others, hunger, thirst, suffer pain and share the sufferings of others in pain, yearn for a sense of meaning and purpose, and crave to make a difference and leave the world a better place.

Or, that this wonderful world is the work of a pre-existing self-existent being of unimaginable and incomprehensible size, intelligence, and power. 

Even apart from the Christianity in which I do believe, it’s hard to imagine conceiving any belief system in which I would ever be less than a deist. If all we see did start with a Big Bang, how did it go bang?


What's The Best Way To Get Men Excited To Tell Other Men About Jesus?

All men want to tell other men about what excites them—from how great their favorite football team is doing this year to a new restaurant they just discovered. 

So what’s the best way to get men excited to tell other men about Jesus?

One approach is to explain—perhaps with great enthusiasm—just how important it is to tell people about Jesus. That would be the “because it is our sacred  duty, obligation, and privilege” approach. Or for short, the “beg” approach. 

But on the rare occasion when this approach does work, whatever got the man all “worked up” inevitably wear off, and usually within a few hours or, at most, a few days.

A better approach is to simply, repeatedly, and constantly help men more fully see just how wonderful Jesus is. The more a man knows about Jesus, the more excited he will become. 

Then, out of the overflow of his growing enthusiasm and love for Jesus, he will naturally be excited to tell other men about his new discoveries. “I can’t wait to tell Bryan about this.“

And he will share with Bryan without anyone having to beg—as though he would be doing God a favor.


There Will Never Be a Wall Against Spiritual Immigration

A man said to my Christian friend, “I could never become a Christian because I would have to give up beer and cigarettes.“ That’s what he had been led to believe. My friend answered to his surprise, “I smoke all the beer and cigarettes I want.“

We build many such “unsanctioned” walls that keep spiritual immigrants out of Christ’s kingdom. Humans have always been prone to over-protect the borders to the gospel of Jesus. Understandable.

But apparently Christ doesn’t want us to build a wall. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-27).

“Belief” is not a formula. It’s something that happens inside of us. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart“ (1 Samuel 16:7).

There is no “magic” combination of words. You don’t have to “repeat this (specific) prayer” or include (or avoid) certain “key words.” There is no pledge of allegiance to memorize. No salute.

You don’t have to behave in a particular way to “prepare yourself.” Or give up beer and cigarettes—or any other behavior. There is no “probation period” for eternal life—before or after our border crossing.

Instead, the moment when we realize, “What have I got to lose?” and believe in Jesus, we find ourselves “in country.” There is no wall to scale. The border into the kingdom of Jesus is completely porous.


The Power of Praying For Other Men

One day I met Doug Coe, the influential behind-the-scenes leader of The Fellowship, host of the annual National Prayer Breakfast. I had been a Christian for twenty years, was forty three years old, and was an emerging Christian leader. Coe astonished me when he said, “I’ve been praying for you, that you would have…

the vision of Paul,

the patience of Job,

the loving-kindness of Jonathan,

the faith of Abraham,

the boldness of Peter,

the temperance of Daniel,

the gentleness of Moses,

and the love of Jesus Christ.”

I was so moved that I asked him to repeat it slowly enough so I could write down what he said—I’m looking at that piece of paper as I write.

The impression has been enduring. Today I pray for other men all the time.