15
Aug

body life

Last week a client asked me watch videos of their “Body Life” series of classes, designed to introduce people to the church and its culture, and suggest ways to revamp the material into a shorter, more conversational video project. It was one of the best investments of time I made this month – and not just because I’ll get paid for the work.

Over the course of the five-week class, the teaching pastors and other leaders teach on Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17 and tie this prayer for “echad” or oneness back …

6
Jun

“social” event

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

Gather any group of people over age 40 and you’ll hear frustration about how much time younger people spend on their phones. “I’m at a restaurant watching a couple,” a friend told me recently. “They are obviously on a date, and yet they are both staring at their phones instead of talking to each other.”

The friend texted me this information from her own phone.

It’s true that smartphone use is out of control for many of us. One …

30
May

repost: follow the Leader

I’d read the back of a soup can if Joel Stein wrote it, so as I studiously scrolled through my blog reader this weekend, trawling through posts from the Harvard Business Review that I subscribe to out of some vague feeling that I should, the one he wrote caught my attention. (Surprisingly, “History Rhymes in the Greek Debt Crisis” did not.)

Titled “Boringness: The Secret to Great Leadership,” the article is typically hilarious Stein, this time talking about the research he …

3
May

becoming curious – an interview with Casey Tygrett

It happened again last month. I was in a Bible study and the leader was posing some challenging questions about how to apply the concepts presented in that week’s lesson – how to choose joy in our daily lives and how to face real struggles along the way. “Trust God,” one person said. “You have to pray,” said another. The conversation faltered and we went on to another topic.

Jesus didn’t require these pat answers. In fact, he discouraged them, challenging the skeptical and searching people he encountered with profound conversations …

18
Apr

sharing your stories

A few weeks ago, I was working on a sermon about the Holy Spirit and asked the Facebook hive mind for help with one of my points. My buddy Chris, a pastor in
Virginia
, offered to share both a completed sermon he’d recently written as well as his entire Evernote notebook of sermon illustrations. Although I didn’t use any of his sermon (mine ended up going another direction), I have used a few of his illustrations for a different sermon I co-preached with Matt as well as some small group curriculum I wrote.


Slow clap for my awesome friend Chris.

When he shared his …

11
Apr

coming near

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

One of the most commonly quoted verses from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” Bible is John 1:14: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” This metaphor for the incarnation is referenced so often because, like all good poetic language, it succinctly describes a profound truth: Jesus not only came to earth to be with us, he came to be one of us.

Following Jesus means following his example and “incarnating” the gospel in our own neighborhoods. Sometimes this means tutoring children …

22
Mar

basic training

My latest editorial in Christian Standard:

A few years ago I wrote a proposal for an online initiative that would provide customizable resources for churches wanting to develop their pastors, worship leaders, campus ministers, church planters, elders, and key volunteers. I suggested an online portal with everything from 101 to seminary-level books, articles, podcasts, and videos, as well as suggested “tracks” with curated lists of resources for specific groups. I referred to research from the Barna Group and Ed Stetzer as well as insights from the leaders of Orchard Group, Stadia, …

31
Jan

strategic solutions for significant stages

Writers of short think pieces like this one love to quote statistics about the hundreds or even thousands of pastors who are leaving the ministry each month. However, as Ed Stetzer pointed out on his blog last October, those provocative numbers have yet to be backed up with any solid data or reliable sources.

In fact, actual recent surveys, like the September 2015 study conducted by LifeWay Research, show that while the demands of pastoring a church can frequently feel “overwhelming” to more than 50 …

18
Jul

an unwatched interview

I’m doing something I’ve never done – I’m posting a video without watching it first.

As I type, I’m sitting on an air mattress on the floor of a classroom at Oscar Smith Middle School in Chesapeake, VA as part of a one-week youth mission trip that began 36 hours after I returned from California. I have one hour until the blessed lights-out at 11:30 pm, which will precede a fitful night of sleep which will end at 5:30 am and be followed by breakfast in the Oscar Smith Middle School cafeteria and a kickoff prayer circle at the Oscar Smith Middle School football field and a day of power washing and …

12
Jan

searching for a sign

109592767_47-300x200At dinner the other night, Nina asked, “If a deaf person never hears language spoken, does he still think in words?”

Interestingly, I had just talked to Chad Entinger earlier that week about these very concepts—which had blown my mind. I proceeded to blow hers, explaining that deaf people aren’t just signing everything we’re saying, the order of the ideas may be signed differently than we would say them, and there are many different sign languages just as there are many spoken ones.

“But wait—everybody has trees. Why don’t they all have the same sign for tree?” …