Top Five Tuesday — Top Five New Phrases In Our Common Language

Have you noticed that over the last few weeks our world has changed?

Not only that, but our language has changed with it.

There are five words/phrases that barely existed three weeks ago, and now they govern our conversations.  They have their own hashtags.  Many of us regard ourselves as experts on them, even though we rarely know what we’re talking about. read more

The “House Arrest” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Was delivered to a “studio audience” of 10 but a digital one of many more than that;
  • Had a title inspired by something Ron Dozier mentioned during a quick video devotion last week;
  • Was propelled by a lingering question:  “what if you don’t get better when things do?”
  • Had a bottom line borrowed liberally from Luke Mitchell … a case of student becoming sensei!;
  • Concluded with digital congregants declaring the Apostles’ Creed;
  • Had this bottom line:  My circumstances can’t destroy me when my Savior defines me.

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So as I have been thinking about this emergency we’re in and then this livestream gathering we are having and this message I’m giving, there’s one question that has really been haunting me.

But you’ll have to wait for it for just a minute or two. read more

#TBT — March, 1996

Since there is no March Madness year, how’s this throwback for that time for those of us with an alma mater in New Jersey, March was the maddest of them all.  UCLA was the defending national champion, by the way.

How I Answered Five Questions About Preaching

As part of its ongoing Leadership Development process, the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church asked five of its preachers to answer five specific questions about the craft.

The column released late last week, but may have been overlooked just a tad by other news and graver concerns. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Reflections On The Passing Of A Charlotte Legend

Lost among the upheaval of All Corona All The Time was yesterday’s death of one our city’s most dignified characters, Ty Boyd.  He was 88.

Here are five things you should know about this Charlotte legend:

One. Boyd was the morning host on WBT radio from 1961 to 1973, later moved to television, and still later moved to the national speaking circuit.  For years, he was the kind of pro-Charlotte booster who helped attract new businesses and commercial development to this city. read more

Double Sermon Rewind

With the surreality of our current situation which led to Livestream worship only, here’s what we did:

We recorded two welcomes — one from April Portrais, our communications director, and one from me.

Then we pointed to a sermon originally preached in the summer of 2019 but with a title and a theme even more relevant to March of 2020: read more

Sermon Killers

Preachers: you don’t want to walk people through a sermon outline.

You want to take them on a sermon adventure.

Crafting such an adventure requires tension, uncertainty, and intimacy.  It also requires avoiding a couple of very common sermon killers.  Let’s make sure we don’t commit sermon suicide, shall we? read more

Pastor Preaching Workshops with Guest Luke Mitchell

Last year, I spent three days in Orlando, Florida, at a gathering for pastors. It was three days of worship, education, information, encouragement, and fellowship. I talked with quite a few pastors during that event, but my conversation with good friend (and new father) Luke Mitchell of Hillsdale UMC near Winston-Salem caught my attention:  read more

TOP FIVE TUESDAY — Top Five Things To Know About Why And How THESE PEOPLE Represented You In India

In the photo below you will see our just-returned India 2020 mission team.  From left are PR Misra (Indian host whose brother JR is a long time GSUMCer), James-Michael Smith, Brooke Presley, Linda Land, Anju Misra (PR’s wife), Doug Berryhill, and Chris Thayer.

Why did we send this motley crew cosisting of both GS staffers and volunteers? read more

The Problem Of God, Week 3 — The “The Problem Of Hypocrisy” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Began with an anecdote from my father’s early years in Akron, Ohio;
  • Depended on the building block of “when it’s your time at the judgment seat, no one will ask you what SOMEONE ELSE did with Jesus”;
  • Used “Checkpoint Charlie” at the former Berlin Wall as an example of what a world with ‘no religion, too’ gets you.  Unknown to me, a man from Romania was in the 10 a.m. service at Moss and he affirmed and emphasized my point of what a “godless” life was like behind the Iron Curtain;
  • Landed at an inquisitive bottom line:  Do you ACCUSE others of hypocrisy as a way of AVOIDING your own? 
  • Concluded with an opportunity for people to name, from their seats, those people in their lives whose Christian integrity made it so they “MUST believe” in Christ.

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Some of you know that my dad, who died 13 years ago when he was 95, was never a church person. It was sort of a miracle that he came here a couple of times and more of a miracle that he LIKED it. But his objection to church all stemmed from an incident when, as a young boy in Akron Ohio in the 20s (the 1920!) he wandered into church wearing sneaker. And the other kids told him that his shoes were completely inappropriate for church. They ridiculed him. And so he left that day and for all practical purposes never went back. “If they’re gonna act like THAT,” he thought, “I can’t believe.” read more