Welcome to my blog. I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and – join the conversation.

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Quick Bio
I’m a businessman, elder in one of the more conservative mega churches in Grand Rapids, Michigan and for over 25 years a full time spiritual mentor of men. I love introducing people to Jesus and truth from God’s perspective. I’m also an NPR listener and student of our culture because I want to understand how the world and a younger generation think, so I’m prepared to engage in conversations which are true to the Bible, intellectually honest and gracious.

Following Jesus is the only hope I have of living this life with purpose, energy and expectation. I hope to end my days on earth still meeting young men at Starbucks who have no interest in God, being the patriarch of my family, cheering them on to godliness, making sad people smile and the lonely – laugh, giving the poor hope, pointing wayward men back to their families, teaching the whole counsel of God and keeping myself unstained – God’s reputation and mine intact.

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Welcome to my blog.
I spend half my life in coffee shops having honest conversations about how following Jesus works in real life. So, let’s learn together, grab a cup and join the conversation.

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1

Is There Really a “Deep State?”
Posted by Clare

There’s been a lot of talk for years by the President and some Republicans about dangers posed by the “Deep State.” The Deep State supposedly is a semi-secret, powerful group within the government, determined to undermine the Republican agenda. No one knows exactly who these people are because, of course, they are so deeply embedded into our government. In any case, these “enemies” are either really good at keeping their meetings secret, or they are the boogie man. I’ll leave that up to you. Nevertheless, all Christians ought to believe in a Deep State.

Well then, just what is this other Deep State that Christians should believe in and understand much better? Satan, his demons and the incredible influence they have in the world – our world.

I’m shocked at how little most younger Christians actually know about Satan and his methods. To many he’s just a metaphor for evil. Please don’t make the mistake of assuming your children, grandchildren, or the people you mentor have a healthy fear of Satan and his demons. So, gather them around and read and discuss this blog.

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3

Confirmation Bias on Steroids!
Posted by Clare

We’re all guilty of “confirmation bias.” No matter how open minded and thoughtful we think we are, we all look for evidence that supports what we already believe, and tend to discount information that might put a “stick in the spokes” of our beliefs.

With the Covid shutdown, and too much time on our hands, I can’t tell you how many videos or articles from Christians I otherwise respect are being sent to me weekly to prove their particular viewpoint. Face masks, hydroxychloroquine, the Deep State, protestors in Oregon, Covid misinformation, stay-at-home orders. Does everyone really expect us to watch a 45 minute video, every other day?

And because I’m a Christian and have voted Republican, 98% of these videos and articles are sent from “like-minded” friends. I don’t use the term “like-minded” because I always agree with them, but apparently they believe I do, or should.

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4

Some Surprising Truths About Teaching
Posted by Clare

Every Christian has his/her favorite teacher; Tim Keller, the late Ravi Zacharias, Chip Ingram or perhaps your own pastor or BSF teaching leader.  While I’m grateful for these amazing teachers, that’s just the problem.  They set the mental bar for teaching so high and without any intention of doing so, the rest of us feel inadequate to teach.

While Paul was instructing Timothy in Titus, Chapter Two is applicable  for any reasonably, spiritually mature Christian.  Please take the time to read that chapter now, or when you’ve finished this blog.  The following are some valuable observations my pastor, Jim Samra made recently on teaching.

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2

A Permanent Enemy
Posted by Clare

This is a guest blog by Fred Smith. Fred is a trusted friend who runs a wonderful ministry which encourages generosity. His blog calls us to be “generous in spirit,” and the cost to our country if we are not.

In his documentary film, “Korengal,“ author and director Sebastian Junger recounts the stories of a platoon of American soldiers deployed to a tiny and dangerous outpost in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The “grinding boredom gives way to bowel-emptying fear, followed sometimes by episodes of nearly psychedelic blood lust and the frankly sexual pleasure of unleashing a .50-caliber machine gun on enemies who are doing the same to you.”

While the film is horrifying to watch, Junger’s book, ”The Tribe” makes the case that coming home from war is often harder than risking your life: “There is something to be said for using risk to forge social bonds…Having something to fight for, and fight through, is a good and important thing.” It is re-entry into a divisive country that proves more difficult.

Coming home from such a “band of brothers” experience to enter what Junger describes as “the conflict of a society at war with itself” is painful and confusing: “People speak with incredible contempt about, depending on their views: the rich, the poor, the educated, the foreign born, the President, or the entire US government. It is a level of contempt that is usually reserved for enemies in wartime except that it is now applied to our fellow citizens. Unlike criticism, contempt is particularly toxic because it assumes a moral superiority in the speaker…You don’t speak with contempt about someone who may be saving your life tomorrow or who you may need to risk your life for tomorrow. One of the amazing things about the current political season is to watch very powerful people in politics and in the media speak with contempt about their fellow citizens. Contempt is poison to democracy…People who speak with contempt for one another will probably not remain united for long.”

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