More Than Vanilla

Jeff Legalism, Spiritual Growth, Worship

The more I think on it (and I think on it constantly), the more I am convinced that we Christians have a tendency to find a singular flavor of Christianity that suits our spiritual taste buds, and we then choose to make that our perpetual one-course feast.  Once upon a time it was my belief that the angle I had …

The Bible Verse That Messes With Our Heads

Jeff Fear, Legalism, Spiritual Growth

With Springtime here and the Summer quickly approaching, the atmosphere is beginning to change in the Lyle household. While we typically enjoy all the seasons during a calendar year, the warm weather really seems to be a better friend to us than the darker, colder and rainy days of Fall and Winter.  We downsized from our former home last August …

Evicting Jesus

Jeff Church Life, Legalism, Ministry

We are ten days into the new year and I thought it was time to post a devotional blog, focusing on a passage of Scripture. Spending my morning in Matthew’s eighth chapter, I was struck at the difference between how this chapter begins and how it ends. Look at this with me:   Matthew 8:1 – “When He came down …

I Got Saved Twice

Jeff Legalism, Relationships

Set free from my bondage in a dramatic 1994 encounter with Jesus, and immediately thereafter immersed in religious fundamentalism, I considered myself saved, sanctified, separated and sincere. My Christianity was displayed in those early years through a commitment to remain steadfast to an ever-elongating list of Do’s & Don’t’s. I easily marked other believers with whom I differed as being …

Closing Down the Religious Spin Cycle

Jeff Church Life, Legalism

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”   – Proverbs 19:21 What a simple and empowering nugget of truth we have in this verse.  We humans make lots of plans of various types.  From those plans, systems proceed and we find something which works for us.  These …

Slaying Perfectionism

Jeff FAITH, Legalism

Are you one who desires and strives for excellence?  If so, you likely expect it in others also.  You give your very best nearly all of the time, and your default mindset is that we should all rise up to accomplish everything in life wholeheartedly, with maximum skill and efficiency.  In weaker moments you find yourself frustrated that things are …

I Am Plotting An Assassination

Jeff Legalism, Love

Yesterday morning, I spent some time unplugging from everything and welcoming the Holy Spirit to preach to me as I ingested some spiritual nourishment from Luke’s Gospel.  Repeatedly, I was seeing just how tender the Lord Jesus was with the outcasts and the broken people.  Conversely, I also noted how intentionally forceful He was with the religious power-brokers who misrepresented …

Considering An Important Change

Jeff Legalism, Relationships

There is a choice you can make which is assured to make your journey here below much more enjoyable.  Many people, if not most, rarely make this a priority for themselves and it is a shame because of the tremendous benefit it would bring to them.  By the way, this single facet of the walk of faith is also a …

Bowing To Those Who Bite

Jeff Legalism

I know the worst job you might have as a Christian.  It’s a full time job and the daily description changes but you can never keep up.  It’s a management gig, requires skills you will never have and promises you a huge paycheck but actually depletes your resources in the end.  You have to build your own office, polish your …

Assassinating That Prosecutor

Jeff Legalism

I don’t think a lot about overt legalism among Christians anymore.  Once upon a time, the topic nearly consumed me because I saw it all around me.  As a pastor I worked feverishly to rid my own heart of legalism as I simultaneously sought to lead our church family out from its deep legalistic roots.  I made many mistakes in …

Finding Truth In The Bog Of Religious Error

Jeff FAITH, Legalism, peace, Psychology

Somewhere, deep inside of me, all I really wanted to know is if anything was really true.  I was in my early twenties and had lived in such a skeptical, pessimistic reality that I had arrived at a place where I could have said in harmony with Pontius Pilate, “Truth? What is truth?” By that time in my life I …

Shepherd Bites

Jeff Church Life, General, Leadership, Legalism

Looking into the eyes of the young man across the lunch table from me, I saw what I’ve had the unfortunate experience of seeing too many times before.  He’d just completed a year at a Christian College which I know to be legalistic, manipulative and saddled with a history of compromised leadership.  This disillusioned young man is not even fully …

Good Book or Rule Book? Time To Decide

Jeff grace, Legalism

One of the most intimidating things you are called to do as a follower of Christ is to make a stand.  Christians are sometimes negatively portrayed as we stand against the unbiblical aspects of our modern culture.  We are not exactly applauded as we protest cultural immorality so that our beliefs and convictions are not eventually silenced in America.  Let …