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 […]
God has to take these sketchy, ignorant, and incompetent outsiders by the hand to lead them into the presence of Jesus. But I like the story better that way… Read more.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Ever since our first parents left the Garden of Eden, we have carried with us a sad and quiet longing for home. The distance was too great for us to find our way back to God; being home, really Home for Christmas, was possible only in our dreams. So God did something about it… read […]
John the Baptist prepared the way. He preached with a fire and conviction that produced repentance. He pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God. And now, the Baptist wants to know, was I wrong? Is there maybe someone else who will bring God’s kingdom and God’s will, on earth as it is in heaven? read […]
Who knows how long it took for Zechariah’s name to be drawn in the Priest on Duty lottery? I’ve seen some research that suggests this might have been the only time Zechariah ever got to personally go into the Holy Place and perform the sacred rituals to lead God’s people in prayer. And then an […]
I kind of like all the preparations this season of the year brings: planning party menus, shopping for presents, making travel plans, deciding not to send out Christmas cards again this year because we started too late.… You know, all the normal hustle and bustle that go to make the season right… read more
Martin Luther once said, “Where the Church is, there is hospitality.” To be the people of God is to extend God’s acceptance and welcome not only to the people we know and like, but to the stranger and the exile. We have acceptance; we have eternal welcome; we, who were once foreigners and enemies, have […]
I remember, like I was there, the wind coming off the Red Sea, the smell of dust and fear in the air, the sound of Egypt’s infamous chariots getting louder, the grumbling of recent slaves, and the clear voice of Moses: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14, NIV)… read more
As part of their training for geriatric care, local nursing students have to put on special shoes that throw off their sense of balance and make walking across a mock apartment slow and dangerous work. I’ve been in that lab! While wearing those crazy shoes you have to carefully navigate rugs, clothes, pillows, or anything […]
Holidays often mean homecoming, and homecoming often involves home-going. Travel at Thanksgiving and Christmas always seems to rank among the busiest times of the year. Something like that is happening in Isaiah 2: the Greatest and Most Glorious Holiday, the Day of the Lord, will bring people from all nations back home to the God […]
Three months ago–no kidding, just three months ago!–my daughter was facing a difficult decision brought on by circumstances out of her control. (Yes; it was mostly my fault, but that’s a story for a different time.) Going into her Junior year, moving 43 miles away from the school where she had friends, and teammates, and […]
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.