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A World Divided

February 5, 2024
It has been said that the days in which we live are marked by one common distinctive: division. You don’t have to tune into any news channel very long before you have evidence of this. Whether republicans or democrats, liberals or conservatives, or the many divisions across the spectrum of sexual ethics, religious beliefs, or even technology and its use there are dividing lines, camps and a very clear “us versus you” mentality in almost every stream of life today. All of that division manif…

What happened when Jesus died?

January 30, 2024
We know the cause of death; it was the cross. It was not necessarily the injuries to which He succumbed, despite His lack of ability to breathe as His lungs filled with fluid, or His cries from the cross indicating His thirst. His death may not have come from His visible wounds, not just those received hanging there at Golgotha, or from the beating He took coming down the Via Dolorosa to that place, or the scourging received from the Roman soldiers before, or even beating with rods in King He…

A Christmas Short Story: An Ornament’s life

December 9, 2023
This may be an awkward introduction, probably more for you than for me. I’m a Christmas ornament.  I’ve been around for years, and I bet if you love the holidays, I love them even more. I can make the case that I live for them. A sweet couple brought me home from the store almost ten years ago. I don’t know what they wrote on my back, but if I understood the conversation, it was the date and something about their first Christmas. WHAT A PRIVILEGE! All ornaments want to be associated with a sp…

Your Nativity Is Missing Something

November 29, 2023
I am one of the most Christmassy people you will ever meet. I love everything about the holidays from the sacred to the hokey: I start Christmas music with the start of the NBA season I go to every Christmas party I am invited to, and some I am not I am a verified over-gifter and sin against my Dave Ramsey roots as an annual indulgence So, with all that being true, I have a surprisingly “ba humbug” thing to bring to the table. I have a problem with your nativity. No, I am not talking about …

For this I toil…

September 4, 2023
There is a lot of tension in being a follower of Christ. If you haven’t noticed, you haven’t been reading the manual very closely. We often call them a paradox: to be first, you must be last; to save your life, you must lose it; what good is it to gain the world and lose your soul? You know, little things like those. But, I recently have been pondering a grace and works tension. Not regarding salvation, no, no! There is nothing to add to or take from the work Christ did for us on the cross. I…

Learning To Be Grateful

August 5, 2023
I am not grateful enough for Jesus.  I am thankful I am aware of this, and I am crying out to God to help me become more tender to all Jesus has done for me and asking Him to increase my gratitude. Writing this to you is a way for me to do that. I always learn more when I teach than any learners do, so this is my hope. I know Jesus loves me and that He loves me more and better than anyone else can or would. But, the truth is that my wife loves me, there is no doubt. My kiddos love me; I know …

Leveling Up Leadership

June 22, 2023
Pastors are leaders, not a groundbreaking statement, but what kind of leaders are they? Very often, leadership is considered a binary issue. Either you are or you aren’t. You have the gift, or you don’t. You’re leading a crowd or taking a walk by yourself. But what if leadership had levels? That would help you know where to place people with the “gift “of leadership in your church. And it helps discern where you are as you face the challenges of leadership daily. This concept surfaces in Exod…

Good Friday?

April 7, 2023
Good Friday. I know we have all heard the sermons about Good Friday being misnamed, because it was anything but good.  Brutal, yes. Sad, absolutely Agonizing, without a doubt. So, we have been pointed in the direction of identifying the irony of calling such a vicious day a “good” day. I don’t disagree; I’m sure I have preached that message in the past. I know we’ve also been taught to view this as Good Friday because of what takes place later. In other words, it’s only Good Friday becau…

Why churches die: refusing pastoral leadership

March 23, 2023
This is the second of two articles I was asked to contribute to a series of seven articles about why some churches die. At the end of the article will be a link to this entry where you can also find the other articles in the series. The joke landed well in a room of 300-plus denominational leaders and pastors. The laughter sparked numerous spontaneous testimonies and anecdotes – that apparently needed to be shared immediately. It took a minute to get the room back to the speaker. What was th…

Why Churches Die: Not Applying God’s Word to Their Lives

February 13, 2023
This is the first of two articles I was asked to contribute to a series of seven articles about why some churches die. At the end of the article will be a link to this entry where you can also find the other articles in the series. The lights came on that day in eighth-grade Physical Science class. Our teacher/coach/driver’s ed instructor pushed a chalkboard eraser along the edge of his teaching desk. He was dangerously close to making it fall over the edge. “I know it’s hard to see, but the…