Something Different for Advent

Does the world really need another Advent devotion book? Maybe… But only if it’s something more…

A Jackpot with a Countdown Timer

Let’s imagine this situation: in a very posh casino, with a very unique promotion, and some crazy luck, not one but two people end up hitting an “Easy Money” jackpot at 11:00 pm exactly. The time stamp is important, because this never-before and never-to-be-repeated jackpot comes with $50,000 of the house’s money; but there’s a catch. (Of course there’s a catch.)

Seedbeds of Discipleship in Greenhouses of Grace

What if we imagined every congregation, every small group Bible study, every home and neighborhood where Jesus has planted his Word as a seedbed of discipleship? And several of those seedbeds together could then comprise an innovation greenhouse, a greenhouse of grace.

Orientation vs Performance: GPS or GPA?

Behavior matters, but because people are complex, attitude and trajectory over time matter even more.

Look, Lift Up Your Eyes, And See

Warfare, Containers, Harvest, Living Water, and the LCMS Constitution and Bylaws By Justin Rossow One of my favorite moments in the Gospels comes in John, chapter 4, right after the Samaritan woman at the well leaves her empty jug behind to share what she has seen about this Jesus guy: So the woman left her […]

A Tale of Two Easters

Preachers sometimes find themselves saying the same thing over and over again. Regardless of the text or day, they feel like they are running the proclamation of the Word through the same theological ringer week after week. Yearly celebrations of the same festival can magnify that feeling: I’ve preached Easter and Resurrection 15 years in […]

Biblical Studies

That I May Be His Own

That I May Be His Own

I love Reformation! I get all worked up and excited when I can say, in complete confidence, that on my own, in my sin, I deserve nothing but God’s wrath; but in Jesus, I receive nothing but God’s grace. That’s why I love Reformation: Grace Alone, baby! I even wore my red, “Hier stehe ich, ich kann […]

Cultural Studies

A Sign of the Times

A Sign of the Times

Don’t give up on the simple and the easy and the common, ordinary, daily expressions of faith. They are just as essential, and perhaps even more important, than the breakthrough, conversion, mountain top experiences.

Jesus is part of your ordinary, every day life. And that is the most important thing of all.

Discipleship

Team Advent

Team Advent

Do you have someone on your rope this Advent? Who will you invite to be on your Team Advent? Who will encourage you and support you and pray for you and process with you, even if you aren’t meeting in an official group at a regularly scheduled time?

We follow Jesus better when we follow him together.

Discipleship Tools

The Secret Code Prayer

The Secret Code Prayer

Have you ever run a discipleship experiment? When was the last time you tried something new related to following Jesus or being shaped by him? I think a spirit of adventure and discovery goes a long way in the life of a follower. Not everything you try will be right for you, or right for […]

Example Sermons

Test-Driving a New Sermon Structure

Test-Driving a New Sermon Structure

Trying something new for the first time is always a little uncomfortable. Sermon structures are no different. The first time you test-drive a shiny new sermon structure, it’s easy to feel like you are slightly out of control. Your natural cadence, your expectations, your anticipation of what your hearers will do next, your flow–all of […]

Hom Helps

6 Tips for Preaching a New Structure

6 Tips for Preaching a New Structure

I forgot how uncomfortable it can be to test-drive a sermon structure you’ve never used before. Before you buckle up and take a new design out for a spin, here are some tips to get you–and your hearers–home safely. 1. Keep Your Goal in Mind I find the best way to use sermon structures effectively […]

Image and Metaphor

The Whole Pie (X)

The Whole Pie (X)

I got to officiate at the wedding of a college friend this last weekend; what an honor! One of my favorite parts of the service was an image I stole from the groom. He told me the story as we met together to prepare not only for the wedding but for the marriage to follow. […]

Reviews

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

Reader’s Guide Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, The Arbinger Institute (2010) WHAT IT’S ABOUT Leadership and Self-Deception is about getting out of the box. The box, in this case, is our own patterns of making ourselves seem good in our own eyes, pretty much at the expense of everyone else around us. The basic premise […]

Triads

Relationship Triad: Session 7

Speaking the Truth in Love: How to Be an Assertive Christian, Ruth Koch and Kenneth Haugk Session 7 Before You Meet I. Meditate 3-5 times on Hebrews 12:1-14  this week. Start with prayer for yourself and for others reading the same verse, that the same Spirit that inspired these words would open your heart and mind to them […]