Archives For Hope

I sat at the oak desk answering questions that could take me to China. I breezed through the final query: Explain the gospel to me. Twenty years of Sunday school, church camps, and Christian college rushed to answer. After I finished, she said, “You explained forgiveness really well, but what about the resurrection and ascension?”

After my embarrassment drained off–I was the kid with the all right answer in Sunday School–I resolved to never forget the resurrection again. But when I thought about the gospel, it still seemed that all the action–forgiveness, substitution, promise of eternal life–really happened at the cross. 

Andrew preble 181949 unsplashPhoto by Andrew Preble on Unsplash

More than a decade passed before I realized how often Christians talk about eternal life without ever mentioning bodily resurrection. Or how we look to Good Friday as the day that changed history, rather than the following Sunday. Not that we ever stopped believing in the resurrection, we just sort of left it in the shadows. The cross took center stage in God’s solution to the problem of evil. 

But resurrection burns at the heart of the gospel. The metatarsal bones that Jesus stood on as he talked to Mary in the garden. The twitching biceps as he extended his wrists toward Thomas. The esophagus peristalsing fish down to his stomach by the Sea of Galilee. His brown skin rising into the clouds. All of these broadcast something new about God and his plans for creation. The resurrection expands the gospel beyond what the cross has to offer Continue Reading…

I tried to peel myself off the alley as the Spanish words got louder, men’s voices, but my Columbia pants stuck to the dirt. My bones ached and bowels churned. Montezuma was mounting his revenge and it was one of the worst hours of my life.  


It was also one of the best days of my life, but you have to widen the edges of the story to see it. Zooming out, you’d see the alley I lay plastered in, tucked high up on a jungle mountain. You might see that–by a miracle of nature–later that day I’d steady my limbs and force them up ancient steps until I could look back over the green and grey city of Machu Picchu.  


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Photo by on Unsplash


One day, but two different stories depending on how wide you set the frame. In a similar way, Christians can cut the edges off God’s story. Sometimes we zoom in so tight on the cross, sanctification, and getting to Heaven when we die, that we crop the storyline. The Great Commission looms so large in our minds, that we almost forget about the first commission, the one God gave us in the Garden of Eden.  

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For some reason, when people talk about God, they often start with sin. But, that’s not where anyone’s story begins—not that weekend you got wasted, or when your coworker had an affair, or even when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. 

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Photo courtesy of Kay Ter Harr via


Our story began in a garden with two humans and a God who set them loose in a brand new world. God commissioned Adam and Eve to represent him in the world—not as curators of as museum, but as mini-rulers and sub-creators. God wanted humans to develop and unfold his world in a way that would further infuse it with his creativity and care. The garden of Eden was just the starting point. From there, humanity would extend God’s order and beauty into the world Continue Reading…

Yesterday, two police men were assassinated in New York due to racial tension, ISIS continued to bleed its violence across Syria, and nearly 21 million people lived trafficked as sex slaves.


Right about now, I need to be reminded that God hasn’t forgotten Revelation 21:4—his promise to remove death and sadness and pain. I need proof that God is on the move, which means that I need Christmas.



Photo courtesy of Chris Vasquez via


About 2,000 years ago, two pregnant women embraced—a virgin teenager named Mary and her post-menopausal relative, Elizabeth. Two miraculous pregnancies. One God in utero. 

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