“Comeback,” Week 1 — “The Rules Of Re-Entry”

Down for the count.

Back against the wall.

Throw in the towel.

All over but the crying.

Left for dead.

However you phrase it, that’s how many of us have been feeling over the last few months.

We’ve been knocked down and sent out and now more than ever we need to know how to have a comeback. How do we come back to life as we knew it, to work as we need it, to church as we love it? read more

#TBT — Budding Artist, Aspiring Footballer, or Religious Clairvoyant?

I recently found this drawing of mine in some old photo albums.  I believe I was about six years old, making this in 1967 or 1968.

Notice I have my name on the FRONT side of the jersey (those of you who know me are like, “yep, he’s a THREE alright!”).  Notice also that I am a running back. read more

WHY We Do WHAT We Do

Some time ago, I received an email from a friend at Good Shepherd.  My friend is in recovery from alcoholism, so that is a frequent subject of our conversations together, and he knows how much joy I get from his journey to sobriety.

Here’s part of his email:

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Reasons I ALWAYS Root For SMU

This past weekend was a good weekend for SMU sports.  First, their football team beat the University of North Texas (um, formerly called North Texas State University) 65-35.

Second, their graduate Bryson DeChambeau won the U.S. Open golf tournament.

My delight with those results got me thinking: why am I such a fan?  I didn’t go there for college.  SMU even has a seminary called the Perkins School Of Theology, and I didn’t go there either.  So what explains my lifelong yet almost irrational fandom for the Mustangs?  Here are five reasons: read more

“Help! I Need Somebody!” Week 4 — The “Help! Somebody Needs You!” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Hinged on a subtle yet unmistakable pattern in Ruth 4;
  • Pointed out Ruth’s mic drop ending of 4:17 … the Moabitess is in the lineage of King David.  Really, Ruth begins in anarchy and ends in monarchy;
  • Suggested that “town gates” in ancient Israel served as both Shopping Mall and County Courthouse;
  • Landed at a bottom line inspired by Nathan Hill’s novel The Nix:  Some of us are so wrapped up in our own story that we don’t see that we are a supporting character in someone else’s. 

So we’ve spent the last three weeks in what is quite possibly the loveliest story in Scripture, the book of Ruth. A fact-based novella, a Netflix mini-documentary, a brilliantly told tale with a mic drop ending that has implications not just for Ruth but for the way the biblical library works. And throughout, it’s had three main characters: Boaz, Ruth, and Naomi. The rich insider (50), the sultry outsider (30), and the hollow matriarch (60). Those are the names in lights, the ones we remember (say them!), the main characters in the story. read more

Getting Carried Away With Paul

I have found myself wanting to get carried away like Paul recently.

What do I mean by that?

Scattered throughout his letters, there are times when Paul becomes so exuberant about the subject at hand that he simply gets carried away. It’s almost always when he is speaking of the authority, sovereignty, and mystery of the risen Christ. read more

When You Sow Some Massively Small Seeds

One day several years ago I was the Rivergate shopping center when a man approached me to strike up a conversation.

“You came to my house a couple of years ago to invite us to church,” he said. “And I just want you to know that we’ve been coming ever since.”

Now: that visit was part of what we call “Bless This House,” a high-touch, low-threat approach to sharing our faith in which we visit newcomers to the area and give them a refrigerator magnet, an invitation to church, and, when appropriate, a prayer over their new home. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Ooops They Did It AGAIN! MORE Great Dawes Songs

Late last week, while working on an upcoming social media post related the power of analogy in preaching, I stumbled across a stunning discovery: a Dawes album I didn’t know existed.

I have written at length here  and here  about my new-found Dawes love, but I thought I knew their entire oeuvre:  North Hills (2009), Nothing Is Wrong (2011), Stories Don’t End (2013), All Your Favorite Bands (2015), Passwords (2018), and even the forthcoming Good Luck With Whatever (2020).  The band combines intricate instrumentation with deft storytelling to craft songs that make me think and weep at the same time. read more

Help! I Need Somebody!” Week 3 — The “Reputation Defender” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Covered Naomi’s plan and Ruth’s brilliant execution of it from Ruth 3;
  • Trusting in the interpretation of Sandy Richter, treated that encounter as Ruth’s proposal to Boaz;
  • Recognized that a life in which “image is everything” is hollow indeed;
  • Landed at this bottom line:  When your motivation is the kingdom, your reputation will take care of itself.

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If you’re like me, you’ve seen those ads for Reputation Defender companies. They specialize in online defense – if your business, your organization, or even your person starts to get slammed on the internet (bad reviews on Yelp, that kind of thing), the Reputation Defender leaps to the rescue, scrubs the negative reviews, and preserves your reputational dignity. read more

#TBT — Six Degrees Of Stan Smith Separation

My friend and fellow Good Shepherd Staffer Shannon Schauber recently took a trip to Hilton Head Island, SC. While there, he took a tour of the lighthouse at Sea Pines Plantation, noticed this tennis-related display therein, decided I would probably know something about it, snapped the photo, and sent it to me.  Got all that? read more