Showing posts from September, 2013

Why Hasn’t Shark Wrestling Killed Elliot Sudal?

Elliot Sudal’s favorite thing to do is wrestle wild sharks. As of a couple months ago, the 24-year-old claims to have caught and released over one hundred of the deadly fish. The first encounter lasted 45 minutes in the water, finally ending when Sudal dragged the live shark onto the beach. He photographed the animal and then let it go. Each time, he says, the scariest moment comes when he first jumps in the water and grabs the shark with his hands. Because there’s a lot of thrashing about, it’s hard to tell what is what, and the shark’s mouth could easily find its way to his body. Why hasn’t he been bitten yet? Sure, Sudal is a strong guy, but there has to be more to it than that. Sudal has his own theory, but think of what your answer is first. What would be the most logical explanation for why a young man who has wrestled with over a hundred hungry sharks hasn’t been killed—or even bitten? Have your answer? Don’t keep reading until you do. Here’s Sudal’s summary, g

Treating Fellow Christians Like Enemies

Over the years, I’ve noticed one curious and nearly universal characteristic of movie villains: they have no qualms about turning on each other. Whenever it’s convenient or expedient, bad guys will treat their own friends like enemies. From Captain Barbossa to the Joker , they seem to have unswerving loyalty only to themselves. Villains don’t mind leaving a pile of dead bodies in their wake as long as they get what they want. Sadly, when it comes to the topic of confronting sin in the lives of others, we in the church can be nearly as hurtful. I’m painfully aware of the temptation to turn correction into an exercise in harsh, prideful berating—i.e., “do you see how bad/stupid/idiotic you are being?” When I see someone else sinning in a way I don’t (or sinning similarly but in a “worse” way than me), I often imagine a vast chasm between the two of us, as if I were somehow superior. My goal in pointing out the sins and weaknesses of others can easily be to prove someone wrong,

The Surprising Solution to Feeling Distant from God

We’ve all been there—at that place where we feel like God is far away. For whatever reason, our relationship with the Lord seems strained, cold, even severed. We know we need spiritual refreshment, but we’re blocked by a wall that seems too high to cross and too wide to get around. During a time when I was aware of my own distance from God, the Holy Spirit spoke to me through Hebrews 4:16: “ Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” I realized that there are two main reasons why Christians don’t approach God: guilt and apathy. Ironically, these are the two reasons why God says we should approach Him. Hebrews 4:16 speaks directly to both our sinfulness and our shortcomings. Problem #1: Guilt Nothing deadens our affection for God like lingering guilt. Because we’re sinners, we do—and should—sense the reality that we have missed the mark and failed to glorify God as we ought. The problem comes

When Is Public Indecency Acceptable?

During a recent plane ride across the country, I looked up from my seat and encountered two people pretending to have sex—right out in the open. They didn’t act in the least bit ashamed or embarrassed. They weren’t completely naked, but discarded pieces of clothing were clearly visible. A quick glance around the cabin revealed that some of the other passengers had seen the incident as well, but none of them were reacting to it. Some continued their business, while others seemed content to watch passively. No flight attendants intervened; no one protested. It was a surreal experience—one which provided me with an opportunity to apply God’s grace in fighting the temptation to lust in my own heart. What happened after that? Well, the bedroom episode ended and the movie went on to another scene. Yes, it was “only” a movie. But does that relieve you at all? If so, something is dreadfully wrong. There seems to be a huge disconnect between what is inappropriate in “real life” an