©November 27, 2022 Randall J. Greene. All rights reserved.
Proudly designed and built by RG Creative in KCMO.


  • Self Portrait

    A verse reflecting on myself and the things most important to me.
  • Foster Parenting and Being In, Not of, Relationship

    Shortly after our foster daughter came to live with us, one of my friends asked, “How should I refer to her? As your daughter, or as your foster daughter?” I'm learning that the answer isn’t quite that straightforward.
  • Love Like Christ

    Loving a person is different than not hating them. In my own life, I find that my indifference – or my activism solely from behind a computer – keeps me from truly loving like Christ.
  • I’m Not a Rockstar – I’m a Child of God

    When I see the incredible impact others have made for the kingdom of God – leading ministries that touch thousands, or eradicating homelessness in their cities, or drawing public attention to mass injustices – I feel like I am insignificant. But Scripture reminds me that my worth doesn't come from my accomplishments, but from my status as a child of God.
  • To Love Them Both

    A reflection on Matthew 6:24: "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other." (NLT)
  • Discerning Fear with the Help of Faith

    We live in a scary world. Every time we turn around, we discover something new that causes us to fear for ourselves, our families, or our friends. At the same time, there’s no shortage of cheesy Christian memes on Facebook reminding us to “Fear not, for I am with you always!” and chastising us any time we feel anxious. The idea that we don’t have to fear anything because we have God the Mighty Warrior on our side sounds great on paper, but it doesn’t feel real when we are face-to-face with the dark sides of life. For the single mother who has no job and a growing pile of debt... For the parents whose child is laying on a hospital bed awaiting surgery… For the driver gripping the wheel for the first time since the nearly-fatal accident… For the student whose ability to afford college hinges upon one exam... ...for them, in that moment, the understanding that God cares for them feels superficial. Fear is what feels real. I cannot sit here behind my computer and tell you that I have this fear/faith thing figured out. I don’t have any answers. But I think that as we grapple together with what fear is and how it relates to faith, we learn how to keep fear in its place and nurture faith instead. I’ll lay out some of my thoughts, but I hope that you join in the conversation via the comments section at the bottom of the page so we can work through these questions together. Fear is not the same as caution. This is an excuse we use all the time. “It’s not that I’m scared… I’m just being cautious.” Ninety percent of the time, that’s a load of bull. Caution, we all agree, is important. It’s the preparation that enables us to live full, confident lives. For example... We lock our doors at night. We buckle our seatbelts when we get in a car. We check our blind spots before we merge. We get vaccinated against deadly diseases. Living cautiously simply means that we’re able to actively engage with our community because we are using common sense to avoid unnecessary disaster. Fear is a natural emotion. A friend of mine described fear this way: “Fear is about my perceived lack of control. Life has messed with my circumstances. I feel out of control.“ Being afraid is an emotion that, at its foundation, is no different than happiness, sadness, or excitement. When we find ourselves in certain circumstances, our bodies and our minds respond by making us feel scared. When we are in situations in which we don’t feel we have control, it is entirely natural for us to be scared. I don’t want to gloss over that, because I think it’s vitally important for us to understand that it’s okay to feel fear. We should never be ashamed of it. In this crazy world that we live in, fear is real. A couple of months ago, Shannon…
  • A Life After Christ

    For me, the ultimate goal of my faith is to live the type of life that Jesus Christ modeled. I appreciate the deep theology of Paul, I love the practical wisdom of James, and I admire the firm convictions of Peter, but it is Christ that I pursue. Christ is the one I emulate - that’s why, despite the fact that the term “Christian” has become associated with judgmentalism and discrimination, I still call myself by that name. During his time on earth, Christ had a lot of attributes: He lived a holy, sinless life He was self-sacrificing, even to the point of giving up his life He promoted peace He loved his neighbors...and his enemies He fought for justice in the face of inequality But when I look at the grand narrative of Christ’s life, I am inescapably drawn to his mission. Why did God send him to earth? Certainly there were a lot of reasons, but the one that seems to be the most dominant to me is that he came to show the entire world the beautiful, life-giving grace of God. In my pursuit of becoming more and more like Christ, it’s easy for me to focus on becoming more “holy” - more pure, more sanctified. But sinlessness was simply a characteristic of him as God. I, on the other hand, am a sinful, messed up man. Sin is a characteristic of my humanity. That’s not to say that I should be content with my sinfulness - by no means! - but I acknowledge that it’s a reality. From time-to-time, I will fall short. But despite falling short in my own life, I can continue to live out his mission. I can always show grace. The greatest sin I can imagine would be for me to accept the grace that Christ extended to me, and to keep it bottled up inside myself. I want people to be able to look at my life and see the grace of God radiating through me. Like the jug of oil that did not run dry, Christ refills me with grace before I can ever run out. The more I pour into the people in my life, the more he fills me up. As I live, then, I try (and often fail, to be sure) to follow Christ’s example. His own words in Luke 6 perfectly demonstrate his life. But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For…
  • In Light of Love

    Even greater than truth is the command to love our neighbors, but how do we show love to the people around us?
  • In Defense of Truth

    In an age when reality is becoming gray, seeing the world in black-and-white is increasingly taboo. Stating your belief that something is necessarily wrong is a certain way to be labeled a hater, bigot, or worse. American society has become a place where we are almost unable to believe anything at all with conviction, but the gospel of Christ teaches us that we can — and should — rest in truth.
  • The Joy of Pride

    A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me, “What is the most important piece of advice you’ve ever received?” That’s a difficult question to answer because I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years. The first thing that came to mind, though, was a message about pride shared with me back in elementary school. On my first day of fourth grade I didn’t know anyone. It wasn’t the first time that I’d been the new kid in class. I was used to that by now. It was best to just blend in - experience had taught me that there would likely be a new school next year. Good grades came easy to me because it was really easy to remember facts and information. When the time came for the class to select its representative for the annual regional spelling bee. I would have been a natural pick based on my high marks in Spelling, but a student named Andrew had represented the class every year since kindergarten. Our teacher decided to do a mini-bee between the two of us to see who would go to regionals. I studied my butt off for weeks. The mini-bee took the form of a written test and the highest score would win. Although the list was comprised of hundreds of difficult words, I felt prepared and confident because of the work that I had invested. After grading the tests, the teacher announced that I had won the mini-bee and, what’s more, I had achieved a perfect score. As she told the class how impressed she was at my score, I fought to keep a smile off my face - I didn’t want to gloat in my accomplishments. My teacher saw my internal struggle and, a few moments later, pulled me into the hallway to share some wisdom that I’ll never forget: Randy, you worked really hard on this, and you should be proud of what you did today. God made you with some incredible gifts, and you should be excited about what he’s doing in your life. In high school a few years later, I was hanging out with my best friend, a guy from my youth group. As we were casually chatting, I could tell he had something heavy weighing on his mind and he was trying to decide how to confide in me. Finally he turned to me and said, At church they always talk about the sin of pride and how we should eliminate it from our lives because it’s evil. I’ve been trying to live like that, but it really sucks. I feel like everything I do has some bit of pride in it. I can’t respect myself this way. It makes me want to give up. It’s like I can’t have any hope unless I can have some pride. My friend and I went on to discuss pride and what it looks like in our lives. That conversation, like the one with my fourth grade teacher,…
  • A Call for Conservative Voices

    Conservative Christians, I believe in you. I love you. I admire your faith, your witness, your dedication to Scripture. I value your voice - let no one silence you! You are a crucial, effective part of the Christian faith. We need you to continue kindling our spiritual fervor for being in a personal relationship with Christ. We need your steady reminders about the importance that the Word of God holds for our daily lives. But my heart is breaking for you. When I survey the landscape of Christian writers, the conservative voices that I hear most clearly are not the voices that accurately represent you. The conservative conversation is being dominated by writers who are giving you an identity that is not your own. These writers have become so occupied with shouting the “defense of the Gospel against liberalism” that they’ve forgotten the greatest commandments. You are kind and loving and humble, but the most vocal of the conservative Christian voices that claim to speak for you proclaim judgment and hate and arrogance. I consider myself a political and theological moderate, but I was raised in a strictly conservative home. Even though my own views on some matters have changed with time, I have nothing but respect and appreciation for the way I was raised - the hearts and attitudes of the people in my life were pure and beautiful. My conservative community taught me discernment and trained me to challenge the ideological norms of the world. As I’ve grown, I’ve made it my mission to seek the middle ground, the place of reconciliation between polar extremes, the sanctuary of peace between the labels. I embrace the positives in both liberal ideals and conservative thoughts alike. But recently, based on the loud online conversations of conservative extremists, I am finding less and less of your position that I can defend. I want to stand with you in defense against the far left, but I need ground to defend. I need to hear you - the real you, not the ones that claim your name but don't share your values - so I can stand alongside you. We all know the Bible’s “Love Chapter” and what it says about loving our spouses. Try to read it with me today, though, as if you were reading it for the first time. Apply it to the way we treat those with different ideologies, whether that’s the liberals, the conservatives, the LGBT supporters, the traditional marriage advocates, the egalitarians, the complementarians, or any other “other” perspective. If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body,…
  • Those Who Most Need It Will Never Read It.

    We love to be told that we’re right, especially when that validation is coming from a source that we respect. Reading blogs and articles that affirm our beliefs gives us confidence in our own sense of right-ness and pats us on our proverbial backs. As a society, we have a natural tendency to take this to an extreme and predominantly seek out sources to confirm the perspectives that we already hold. For example, if we believe in the value of attending church services every week, we skip over headlines like “15 Reasons I Left the Church” in favor of articles like “15 Reasons I Returned to the Church.” Or if we are social conservatives, we read rants on why all liberals hate freedom of speech; whereas if we are social liberals, we read diatribes condemning all conservatives as ignorant rednecks. We even see this in the news channels that we watch - you can tell a lot about a person’s politics by asking whether they watch Fox or CNN. We feel strong and encouraged when people agree with us, but it is dangerous for us to live within a bubble of affirmation. Here are three reasons why. 1. It stagnates growth. Learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge or skills. We cannot learn things unless they are new to us; we cannot grow without being exposed to things that we don’t know or understand. When we skip over articles that present a different perspective than our own, we are depriving ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow as individuals. Even if we don’t agree with the article, the simple act of reading it with an intent to learn from it will enable us clarify our own beliefs and help us to better understand the beliefs of others. As Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” If we’ll look a little closer as we read these articles, we’ll often find that there are nuggets of truth in them that can be invaluable to our own systems of belief and thought. 2. It reinforces stereotypes. Because it is so natural for us to seek out stories that bolster our own ideas, we end up forming communities of people who all think the same way, and we all reinforce those common ideas in one another. There’s nothing wrong with being in community with like-minded people, but when those are the only places that we get information, we find ourselves becoming blissfully unaware of the world outside that circle. Soon we enter a self-perpetuating spiral of misunderstanding. Because we seldom have meaningful interactions with people outside our own worldview, we dismiss and objectify them. Rather than seeing our neighbor as a loving father and husband, we see him as a conservative bigot (or a part of the liberal agenda). Rather than seeing him as an intelligent contributor to society, we label him a troll or redneck. We end up…
  • We Need to Have a Healthy Conversation

    In the last few weeks, I have become acutely aware of the fact that we evangelicals are horrible participants in discussions, particularly on social media. I am fortunate to have friends from a wide variety of faiths and religious backgrounds, and recently I've seen several of them publicly wrestling with tough, real-life questions. Through the sincerity of their questions, they have made themselves vulnerable, opening their hearts to the world. And I have been appalled at the way many well-meaning evangelicals have completely derailed the conversations with pat, predictable answers that harm more than they help. Most of the time, these answers don’t even address the question and aren't relevant to the discussion. Why do we do this? Math has always come really easily for me. From the time I first learned how to add and subtract, I've had this innate ability to see the answer long before others. I never had to memorize multiplication tables because I could do the calculations immediately in my head. I could shout out the answer to a problem before anyone else could even begin working it out, and I was rarely wrong. The first couple of  times I did this, everyone was impressed. Quickly, though, my immediate answers started to annoy my classmates. I thought I was being helpful (and truth be told, I was having fun), but my casual responses made them feel like I was showing off. To my friends, I was showboating - even arrogant - with my solutions. Even worse, by discouraging them from working out the answers for themselves, I was preventing them from learning. Fractions and long division came as naturally to me as the multiplication tables, but as the problems became more complex, I started getting my answers wrong more frequently. At first, I could convince myself that I’d simply misread the problem, but eventually I had to admit that my easy answers were flat out incorrect. Then I’d have to go back and actually work out the math to see what I’d done wrong. When I started learning more advanced mathematics like algebra and trigonometry, the answers that I got in my head were more often wrong than they were right. I was forced to admit that I needed to work out every problem if I wanted to get the correct answer, but since I’d spent my entire life skipping steps and figuring the problems in my head, I was woefully unprepared to do the work. I struggled with math for the first time in my life as I had to relearn all of the processes that my fellow classmates had been doing for years. I think that, as evangelicals participating in cultural discussions, we tend to make a lot of those exact same mistakes in our conversations about sensitive issues. When we respond to our friends with trite, quick answers, we’re devaluing the very real struggle that they are working through. We’re telling them that the answer is easy - it’s right there in front of them, how could they be confused? And…
  • 7 Things the Church Is Doing Right

    For the past week or so, I've had a serious case of writer’s block. Well, not writer’s block exactly. I've been able to put pen-to-paper, but the things that I've been writing haven’t had the voice that I'm used to writing with. They've had a harsh, judgmental, preachy tone that I despise, and when I've gone back and read what I've written, I’m shocked at the way I’ve expressed myself. That kind of tone is not okay - it’s the exact opposite of everything that I (and this blog) stand for. In contrast to how I've been writing lately, I have a couple of friends that have been on Facebook intentionally sharing only #PositivePosts. They are sharing everything from videos of cuddly little kittens to words of praise for people in their lives who aren't often recognized - but each post is encouraging and uplifting. I've been sitting back and watching them do this all week, and it finally hit me that this was the answer to fixing my bad attitude. I needed to join the #PositivePosts party. So I present to you: 7 Things the Church is Doing Right. Obviously, I can’t speak for every individual local church in the world, but from what I can see of Christ’s followers today, we are doing some incredible things. 1. We’re Worshiping the Same God Whether we worship in a Lutheran church, Baptist church, Catholic church, or Nazarene church, we are drawing closer together as a body of believers. We are growing more and more aware that, even though our worship styles can vary and particular doctrines may be different, we’re all following the same Father. We are increasingly embracing our differences as a mark of beauty rather than seeing them as a blemish of the faith. Let’s continue to praise the one who made us all. 2. We’re Praying for One Another I love that when people are willing to share their struggles on Facebook, Christians are able to surround them in communal prayer in a way that was never possible before social media. Just this week, a relative of mine went through a battery of tests because doctors were worried she might have cancer. Through this emotional roller-coaster, it was amazing to see how many people were on their knees praying for her - often people she didn't even know! Let’s continue to join together in prayer. 3. We’re Using Our Diverse Talents Accountants, handymen, and other volunteers have long been the backbone of the local church, but we are seeing more and more people bringing their gifts to the altar of God. Artists, craftsmen, musicians, designers - people of all industries and walks of life are finding that God has a place for their talents at his table, and they are working to create a magnificent tapestry of praise to our Father. We, as a Church, are learning to embrace the gifts that he has given us and use them for his glory. It’s a beautiful picture. Let’s continue to be…
  • Love is Beautiful.

    I met my wife when I was 12 years old, and I started dating her when I was 17 years old. Yes, we were high school sweethearts. Shannon is the only girl that I've ever dated (unless you count that one awkward time when I went to a dance with a fan of my comedy... but that's another story for another time). Actually, Shannon is the only girl that I've ever even kissed. When I told her for the first time that I loved her - we'd been dating for a little over four months - I led with a grandiose speech about what the word "love" meant to me. I won't burden you with having to read the whole thing, but here's a quick synopsis: There are many degrees of love in the world. I love chocolate, but that's a very simple love. I love my friends, and that's a deeper love. I love my family, and that's a deeper love still. I love you, Shannon, and it puts all of those other loves to shame. "Aaawwww...," right? I thought I had love all figured out. I'd watched the movies and seen what real love was all about; I'd talked about the meaning of love with my friends and mentors; I'd even read the books about dating (or not dating). I knew what love was. This feeling that I had for Shannon went beyond a merely physical attraction - it was a real, emotional connection. And I knew that it wasn't just a temporary emotion, either (after all, I'd been feeling it for four months at this point!). As a senior in high school, I was seriously thinking that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this girl. I knew that I knew that I loved her. But I really didn't understand it yet. Even though I was (correctly, as history shows) confident that my feelings went beyond the physical desires awakening within my teenage body, my concept of love was still wrong because it was based on the feeling of love. As I've grown up, I've learned a lot more about what it means to love. Redefining Love I have yet to meet a single person in this world that I find inherently lovable. No one can be cute, nice, and affectionate all the time. Everyone, including myself (gasp!), has times when they are completely unlovable - even I get grouchy, obnoxious, and arrogant sometimes. I get obsessive, rude, even hateful. Love is choosing to care for someone in spite of their flaws. Love is a conscious, ongoing decision - it is not a feeling. Our culture latches onto stories of irrational, incurable attraction - two people that should never be together but fall hopelessly in love anyways. I tend to think, though, that those narratives are boring and un-romantic. If fate were responsible for pulling two people together, why would anyone consider that love? Where is the self-sacrifice, the nobility, the character? The Beauty of Love The stories that I find beautiful are the ones where two people choose to love each other and commit to doing…
  • A Day Passes

    I wake up each morning hoping and praying that you'll still be here.
  • Holding Hands, in the Garden

    There's a garden in Kansas City that is a special place for my wife and me, a haven that became a sort of sacred ground for us. This story is a quick, bright sketch of our time there and the reason it brought us so much joy.
  • Love is Enough

    Why do I always expect God to give me things? Why do I think that God must reward my faithfulness – even though my faithfulness is often lacking? I expect that he will bless me richly, that he will cause my business to prosper and my life to flourish. I expect that he will give me all of the desires of my heart because, after all, he wants me to be happy. And I praise him in faith, trusting in his providence. Trusting in his blessing. But then, I wonder, if I weren't happy – if I were penniless; if my life were to crumble before me; if all that I had and all that I knew were to disappear – would I still praise him? Could I still praise him? Could I praise a God who, though he created the harvest, wouldn't give me bread to eat? Could I praise a God who, though he planted the trees, wouldn't give me a roof over my head? If God, in his mighty power, wouldn't provide such simple commodity, why should I love him? But then I stop and I think – how weak is my love for the one who gave me breath! If my affection is dependent on the gifts that he bestows upon me, how can I even claim to love my Father? If I really loved him, it wouldn't matter whether I had food, or shelter, or family, or health. True love for my Father would exist independently of his blessings. True love for my Father would see the value of the simple, extravagant love that he has for me, and would know that it is enough. And yet the truth is that he does bless me. He has prospered my business, and he has given me many of my heart's desires, and yet still my heart betrays him. What possible excuse could I have for my moments of weakness, my moments of doubt? His love for me has never wavered, never stumbled, never failed. In this, I find hope – that, in spite of my failures, he loves me still. And his love is enough.