It finally happened… today is my official first day as the Student Ministries Pastor @ Hillside Bible Church! WHOA!
I know, I know. You’re all thinking, “Lord help them, they don’t know what they’ve done!” Ha ha ha. Let’s get the jokes out of the way… anyone have a bald joke they’d like to crack at this time? #Icantakeit ūüėČ
It’s been a long journey. God first called me to vocational ministry when I was a teen. I had a sense of it even before then, but things got real in my teen years.
As a kid I argued theology and studied the Bible, as a teen I proclaimed my dedication to pursue a vocational ministry position, as a college student I began volunteering in various leadership roles in my local churches, and as a seminary student I studied to become a pastor.
And now I’m here! And there’s one quote that keeps bouncing around in my head: John 3:30, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
In my mind, being a pastor is all about serving. It’s not about being known or liked, it’s about serving God by serving his people. And after 6 years at Starbucks I know all about serving… well, serving customers at least! But it was something that always attracted me to the barista world. I lasted there so long because, in a way, I felt it fulfilled part of my calling- but definitely not the whole.
As I enter this new position and role, the following passage from Mark 9 frames perfectly what I’m thinking and feeling.
“(Jesus and the disciples) came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, ‘What were you arguing about on the road?’ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’
He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.'”
“A servant of all, with a spirit of welcoming.” Sounds like a great (cheesy) ministry by-line for my business cards, but I love it all the same because for me, it’s true!
I’m surrounded by wonderfully supportive believers here at Hillside, thank God! But¬†to any of my fellow Christians back in GR reading this, please take a second to prayer for me entering into this new role. I’ve had many friends and family tell me they are praying, and it means the world to me! Keep it coming!
-For His Kingdom-

If I were to describe the gospel of Jesus Christ in two words I’d go with ‘enemy love.’ Boiled down into these words are the essential concepts of sin and falleness- we are enemies of God- and yet John 3:16 is also true,¬†God’s disposition toward us is that of love and salvation.

Jesus both teaches and embodies this concept of ‘enemy love.’ His Sermon on the Mount is rich with it, and his death/resurrection from the cross prove God’s heart toward his enemies (mankind).

So this then is the default mode of the Christian faith: enemy love. This should be characterized in Christian ethics and moral behavior. It should be perpetually evident as we live out the Great Commission to the world and as we grow together as the Church.

I offer to you three passages to help demonstrate this idea of ‘enemy love.’ There is a progressing line of reasoning through them. It’s fairly obvious, I hope you’ll see it and that it changes how you view the Christian faith.

Luke 23:33-34 “When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals‚ÄĒone on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'”

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still¬†sinners, Christ died for us.”

Colossians 3:13 “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

That’s enemy love. That’s what¬†Christians are supposed to embody at all times, to all peoples. Individually and corporately.


What implications does this have for how we treat fellow Christians? Unbelievers? How does this change our attitudes toward killing and self defense?

What is more important in the kingdom of God: Protecting our lives¬†by killing our enemies? Or doing as much as we can as Christ’s ambassadors to love our enemies,¬†in the gospel fashion?

I don’t see enemy love as much as I’d like in the American church. We love the American way much more than Christ’s way of enemy love. But I’m totally on board with changing that, it’s time to flip some tables in the temple.