Author: Joe Bradley

Show the World What Love Is

Love is a term we use often in today’s society. Sometimes I think it’s a little over used. My son Jack, when he was about 2 or 3, had received a balloon for something. He played with that balloon incessantly, walking around the house and letting the balloon float lazily behind him. But the real fun came when the helium leaked out and it fell to the ground. He would run around outside pulling the balloon while screaming, “I WUV DIS BAWOON!” over, and over, and over, and over. Did he actually wuv dat bawoon? Depends on your definition of love. Many people have debated what love actually is and what it means. Oh, we could go into great detail about love, especially in biblical times as they had four different words for love. Agape – A divine love Eros – An intimate/physical love Philia – A brotherly love Storge – A familial love Love doesn’t have to be pigeon holed into one specific set of standards or definitions. Love can mean many things depending …

When Love Looks You in the Face

Growing up there was always a special bond between my mother and I.  There’s an unattributed quote that says “There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and a son.”  And that especially rings true with my life, because if my mother’s love wasn’t straight from God, I’d be dead. I found this on Facebook the other day: My friend asked me what is was like to live in a house full of boys. So I peed on her bathroom floor, ate everything in her fridge, told her 800 stories about Minecraft, farted 20 times, and when she was ready to kill me I gave her a hug and told her she was pretty. I used to ride the thin line of my mother’s nerves and when that line became a shadow I would step back, look my mom in the eyes and tell her “I love you.”  I never really understood why that worked, I just knew that it helped tremendously in keeping …

Are You Doing It For The Win?

If you’re not first, you’re last. – Ricky Bobby Who would have thought Will Ferrell could offer such poignant insight into our current culture?  In the movie Talladega Nights Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell’s character, is obsessed with winning his races.  So much so he routinely wrecks his car in the pursuit of first place.  Now, in the real world such a racer would be fired immediately for his reckless behavior, but in the context of this movie, he is adored by the fans. Ravi Zacharias coined this phrase from Fyodor Dostoevsky’s writing, “At first art would imitate life, then life would imitate art, and finally, that life would draw the very reason for its existence from arts.” The world we live in idealizes winners and those who win are the people with the most stuff, the best stuff, and the biggest stuff.  Winners have the corner offices, the most friends, and receive the highest accolades.  In the world we live in, those things matter.  But to Christians, those things are to mean nothing. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know …

Inconceivable! What Poison is Living in Your Heart?

Ah, the battle of wits between Westley and Vizzini.  If you don’t know what this is, stop reading and go watch “The Princess Bride” right now. At this point in the movie, the hero, Westley, challenges Vizzini to a battle of wits.  He presents Vizzini with some iocane powder which is supposed to be an odorless, tasteless, and extremely deadly poison.  Vizzini tries to figure out which goblet has the poison; would Westley put the poison in the glass next to him or the one in front of Vizzini?  After Vizzini makes his choice and picks one with poison in it, Westley reveals to Buttercup that Vizzini would have died either way because he put poison in both cups.  Westley had successfully built up immunity by slowly drinking a little poison at a time over several years. Now, from a medical perspective… that don’t work.  You can’t build up immunity to poison.  If he had really been taking small doses of poison for years he would have either already died or he would be frail and …

This Marriage of Mine

Mine! Me have it! Me like it.  I really do like it! We hear these phrases a lot in our house.  Our sweet little girl that we are fostering has a unique way of asking if she can have something.  She doesn’t understand the proper way of asking for something is to say “Can I have this?”  or “I would like to play with this.”  She has a much more direct way of stating exactly what her heart desires.  She doesn’t want the potential to acquire these things, she wants these things to be her’s and that reality comes out in her words. I go through life believing that I have a much more sensible way of living.  I delude myself into thinking that because I use better grammar and a larger vocabulary I strip away that selfish desire of me. I got married because I love my wife. My marriage is between me and my wife. Mine! I want my wife to respect and love me. I want everyone to know I love my …

The Good Samaritan Ain’t Got Nothing on You

The Good Samaritan is a good story, isn’t it?  A guy gets beat up, left for dead and eventually a good person comes by and helps him.  We hold this guy up on a pedestal, but I think we’ve all done something like this.  We see a random person in need and help them.  I remember once when I saw a guy’s car literally broken down in the middle of a four-way stop. While every other car would just honk, I pulled my car off to the side of the road and helped him push his through the intersection to safety. I’ll be honest, I felt good after doing that.  Looking back, though, I was just being a decent human being.  It’s actually very easy to help people that I’m pretty sure I’ll never see again.  I provide a random act of kindness and then send them on their way.  I may even offer extra help, going above and beyond what’s expected like the Good Samaritan did, but I send them on nonetheless.  It’s much …

What Are You Expecting From Your Savior?

When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  – Ryan Reynolds This quote was meant to be glib and humorous, but it really does ring true doesn’t it?  When I expect something from others, they usually disappoint me in some way.  I expect my kids to always adore me, follow my every word, behave the exact way I want them to when I want them to.  Any parent can attest to how that ends up. The easy thing would be to lower my expectations, and then I wouldn’t be disappointed.  Maybe if I expected my kids to do those things some of the time, I wouldn’t be disappointed but I would be doing a disservice to my children.  By expecting them to live up to a higher standard I am pushing them to be better and to expect more from themselves as well. When Jesus came to this world, His chosen people (the Jews) had very different expectations of Him. They expected Him to come as a glorious king ≠ He was born in a …

There is More to You Than Just You

Colossians is one of my favorite books of the New Testament.  I’m not just saying that because I was asked to write about it; I truly enjoy the theology that Paul uses here.  The problem with writing about this book is I don’t really feel up to the task.  I don’t know if I have the right words to get what’s in my head onto “paper.” But that’s what Paul is trying to teach in this letter isn’t it?  I don’t have the right words, my thoughts don’t always come out the best way possible.  That’s why he taught that our life isn’t really our own. This is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. – Colossians 1:27 It’s Christ in me that gives me the hope of glory, but Paul doesn’t stop there. We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. – Colossians 1:2 It’s not just Christ in me, but me in Christ.  Let’s take it even …

Is Your Heart Leading You Towards Destruction?

The heart wants what the heart wants – or else it does not care. – Emily Dickinson The heart is fickle as it seems to be able to rule our lives through our emotions.  Worry, anger, fear, jealousy, how did these things get such a foothold in our lives? Almost 6 years ago we just found out we were having another baby.  A few months into the pregnancy, we went to the doctor for a routine check-up. As the nurse checked the baby’s heart rate, “the look” came across her face. As a nurse myself, I knew what “the look” meant and my stomach sank.  She immediately left to go get the doctor and the doctor came to tell us that our son’s heart rate was extremely high and we needed to go see a specialist.  Then we went to the specialist and were told we needed to go to another specialist. Needless to say we saw a specialist every week for about 4 months, having different tests run every week.  And every week the doctor or nurse would …

Responding to The Call to Love Orphans

I look at my children and I can’t help but feel an amazing kind of love.  Look at these faces: Before they go to bed I always make sure to tell them “You’re my favorite Jack,” and “You’re my favorite Sam.” I’m their father.  I love to say that.  I’m amazed and truly humbled that God has let me be their father.  I look at them every day and thank God for the opportunity to love them more.  I don’t know how to put into words what I feel when I look at them.  Everything I write just seems trite and incomplete. This past Sunday we heard about being good neighbors, specifically to the tremendous amount of children in our own city that don’t have families to love them, whether that be biological, foster care, or families made through adoption.  Even writing those words, my eyes start to tear up (I almost feel like Shannon!).  My heart aches to think of children with no one that can or will love them. God says in Psalms 68:5-6 that He is Father …