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are you unreachable by God This story's almost too over-the-top, completely ridiculous, "what are the odds it could happen?", to believe.   God time and again shows that no one is out of his reach.  No matter who you are or what you've done, God still pursues you.  Of course if you don't believe me, you can listen to Tom talk about his experiences with drugs, the occult, and God.

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chasing after lonely hearts Sometimes when I look at the world, I don't see it as busy or angry or bored or exciting.  I see it as lonely. That's what I think when I see a video like this.  People are so desperate to be loved, that they'll do and believe anything.   (And yes, I realize that some people believe Christians are the same way.  But that's a discussion for a different topic.)

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worshiping an idol I struggle with football because I love it so much.  There are few things (maybe nothing) that I get more excited about than football.  I’m so passionate that I physically feel the anguish with the Steelers lose.  Which they did this weekend.  I’ve wondered if loving football is a sin. And I think for me, at least, football is a sin.  Not because football itself is evil.  But because I...

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What to do when the world fights back If there’s a section in the Bible that I really struggle with, it’s the timeline that surrounds Jesus’ trial.  In those hours Jesus meets with pretty much the movers and shakers of the Jewish and Roman worlds.  We know that Jesus was a powerful speaker, we know that he performed miracles, we know that he had wisdom to surprise (and sometimes shame) his opponents. Yet in the most important...

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The Unfair Treatment of Ben Roethlisberger The following is a post I made on a Steelers football blog.  It seemed more appropriate there, than here.  However, it was deemed "too religious" to stay there, so they deleted it.  No hard feelings on my part.  But more on the experience next week. In the meantime, I thought it was too good to end up in the delete bin of some random server.  So here you go.... This is one of those posts that...

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God is my joy

By e. barrett | Posted on 12-09-2010

Sometimes I wonder if I really “get” it.  I was listening to David Crowder’s “you are my joy” and started wondering, do I really live as if God is my joy?  Do I even believe that?  Even just a little bit? There are days I think I come close.  But if I’m really honest, there are far more days where my joy is in football, video games, books, TV, relaxation, my wife, my family, or my house. How different would my life be if I really lived as if God was my joy.  I mean really lived that way. How different would your life be?

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is it okay to question God?

By e. barrett | Posted on 12-03-2010

If you follow football at all, you’ve already heard about the “drop heard around the world.”  During last week’s Steelers – Bills game, Stevie Johnson, dropped a sure touchdown for the Bills.  In fact, it would have dramatically won the game in over time.  In all my years of watching football, rarely have I seen a wide receiver drop such a sure catch. Immediately after the game, I heard both journalists and Steelers players give the usual it was a “miracle” talk.  And say things like, “God helped us”.  Maybe that’s true.  I have no idea.  I’m not really sure how often God gets involved in football.  (Although I certainly don’t mind if he’s a Steelers fan.) After the game the Bills receiver (Johnson) had a different reaction.  He tweeted, “I PRAISE YOU...

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2 Corinthians

something to be thankful for

By e. barrett | Posted on 11-24-2010

This is going to be my first thanksgiving with my own family meaning my wife and step-daughter.  Because of that we’ve been talking a lot about family traditions, what holiday’s should look like, etc…  In the midst of all of those conversations I find myself thinking a lot about “what do I have to be thankful for.” And let me tell you, God has been over-the-top generous with us this year.  After being unemployed for a year, I was able to buy a house, pay for a wedding, buy an engagement ring, and pay for a honeymoon.  And replenish all of my savings. How you ask? I have no idea.  The only thing I can say is that it’s a true “fish and loaves” miracle.  For me it’s easy to be thankful this year.  But for a lot of us, 2010 has been a brutal year.  Unemployment.  Foreclosure. ...

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God is not passive

By e. barrett | Posted on 11-19-2010

So far we’ve looked at several examples of people who thought it would be best to be passive.  In contrast, the Bible clearly paints God as an active God.  Even in rest, he’s making a conscious decision to “take a break.”  You never see God sitting back and saying, “I’m just going to see what happens.”  Instead he does everything imaginable to try and engage with us and change our actions.  Here’s just a quick list of what he did: he gave us a perfect garden to live, gave Adam a perfect wife, provided Moses with miracles to free the Israelites, provided them bread and meat in the desert, brought floods, protected them from enemies, sent Israel into captivity, In the end God decided to take the most proactive step of all: dying on the cross. The one person in history who...

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Repentance and Passivity (the Prodigal Son)

By e. barrett | Posted on 11-05-2010

Most of us have heard the story of the Prodigal Son.  We know that there are two brothers.  One brother is a major screw-up.  He’s lazy.  A partier.  A womanizer.  And he even wants his father dead.  (At that time if you asked for your inheritance while his father’s still alive, you were sending the not so subtle message of, “I want you dead!”)  He makes most politicians look good.  The other brother is upright.  He does what he’s supposed to.  Always finishes his chores.  And is loyal to his father.  He’s the ______ of brothers. The younger brother (the screw-up) goes off and does a lot of bad things.  He gets himself in trouble and realizes he has a choice: starve to death or go back to the father he said he wanted dead.  In the end he decides it’s better to go...

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David & Bathsheba

By e. barrett | Posted on 10-15-2010

David was a great and mighty ruler.  He had always passionately and actively followed God.  Even when it cost him a great deal (he had to hide in a cave for a long time because he refused to kill the man who was trying to kill him).  That desire to follow God, and the fact that David was a man of action is what led David to the throne of Israel. He ruled justly for a long time.  That is, until one day, when he decided to give up his kingly duties (going off to war with his soldiers) and instead stay behind in the comfort of the palace. It’s during that time when David met Bathsheba. Or more accurately watched her bathing on the roof, had an affair with her, got her pregnant, and then killed her husband to hide the whole thing. (It was a busy couple of days.) David risked everything including...

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Adam throws Eve under the bus

By e. barrett | Posted on 10-01-2010

Sadly, throughout much of history, Eve has been blamed for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and causing Adam & Eve to be kicked out of the garden.  This has been used to justify a lot of things against women.  Certainly Eve bears responsibility for eating the fruit.  She knew just as well as Adam that God had forbidden it. But who’s fault was the “fall” really? Look closer at Genesis 3: 6-12. Adam was standing right next to Eve.  At any point he could have stepped in and said, “you know Serpent, that’s not really what God said.”  He could have even said, “Eve, I have a bad feeling about this.  Let’s ask God next time we see him.” Almost anything Adam would have done would have been better than what he did.  Which was nothing. Adam stood...

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the dangers of passivity – Adam & Eve

By e. barrett | Posted on 09-24-2010

We live in a world where there’s a lot of choices.  Who should I marry?  Is this job right for me? Can I really eat a dozen donuts? In the midst of all of that, we can easily wonder what we should do.  We can become frozen by our fears, our doubts, and even the excitement of what’s to come.  Frankly we can wish for a “simpler time” or “clear choices.” But would that really help? Adam & Eve had it all.  They had an awesome place to live.  Probably some sweet beach front property.  They loved their jobs (naming animals and taking care of Eden).  And Eve was literally created for Adam.  (There was no need to rely on e-harmony to figure out that one).  Life was pretty good. But they still found themselves struggling with a choice: to eat the fruit or not.  Instead of...

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does the universe need God?

By e. barrett | Posted on 09-17-2010

The news last week was that Stephen Hawking now believes that you don’t need “a” god to create the universe.  Instead, it can be explained by physical forces such as gravity.  In his view, Big Bangs don’t need a “Big Banger” because gravity will cause universes to collapse and then explode. The overall argument, as I understand it is that natural forces cause the universe to expand, collapse, and be created.  Because it’s all natural, you don’t need anyone starting the whole process. I’m not a physicist or astronomer.  For all I know everything Hawking says is true. But what I don’t get is this: where does the stuff come from so that gravity can work?  Where was the first particle of matter that decided, “Hey I’m going to create multiple universes today!” Maybe...

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following Jesus means dying for those who hate us

By e. barrett | Posted on 09-10-2010

All the news for the last week has been about a church that says it’s going to burn the Koran in retaliation for the proposed Mosque near Ground Zero.  And as the weekend draws closer, a handful of other churches are saying that they will do the same. I hate writing about things like this.  I really do.  The whole purpose of R3 is to help people understand what it means to live out a life of faith.  The purpose of R3 is not to tell you who to vote for or what social policies you need to implement. Jesus was very clear about church / state issues.  Render unto Caesar what is his, and render unto God what is His. But there are times when I feel the need to talk about current events.  Like this church down in Florida.  We can disagree about whether a mosque should be built in NYC.  We...

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