When A Sermon Series Become More Than A Series Of Semrons

Good Shepherd Church has been involved in the battle against human trafficking, and in particular what we called the rape-for-profit industry, since 2007.  Motivated by what we had heard at a recent conference, we organized a single, stand alone Sunday called Not For Sale, in which the entire Sunday offering (no, NOT a special offering; the kit and the caboodle) went to the International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org).  At that time the church’s typically Sunday offering was just under $40,000 a week.  The people of the church responded to Not For Sale with $84,000 of loving generosity – all of which went immediately to IJM. read more

Who Shot JR? And How That Relates To Preaching …

On November 21, 1980, more than 350 million people around the world to watch the season premiere of the prime time TV soap opera, Dallas. Why the extraordinary global audience?

People wanted to know who shot J.R.

The previous season of Dallas ended in March of 1980 with the show’s loveable villain, J.R. Ewing, shot by an unknown assailant. It was the ultimate television cliffhanger – viewers were used to waiting until next week now had to wait next season to find out whether J.R. would live or die (though, given his pivotal role in the show’s popularity, living seemed likely) as well as just who had pulled the trigger. During the intervening summer of 1980, the mystery took on a life of its own, as Who Shot JR? entered the American lexicon not only in speech but on T-shirts and bumper stickers and stand-up comedy routines. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Reflections On A Week In Texas

As some of you know, I spent Monday through Friday of last week in and around Austin, Texas. While there, I was able to spend a few days with my mother (more on that below) and lead a Simplify The Message workshop (more on that below as well).  All the while, I was able to realize yet again that while I may have left Texas a long time ago, a big part of it has never left me. read more

The Problem Of God, Week 2 — The Problem Of Evil & Suffering

Yesterday’s message …

  • Dealt with the oldest dilemma in the Christian faith (or any faith):  theodicy.  How can God be both all powreful and all good and yet evil still exist in the world?;
  • Drew from Genesis 50:20 and, in a brief detour, Job 2:13;
  • Concluded by explaining how the vast differences between how Jesus deals with suffering and how every other religion and philosophy deals with it — a conclusion that led naturally to Holy Communion;
  • Landed at this bottom line:  The pain of suffering PROVES the goodness of God and the greatness of his purpose. 

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Today is going to be a GREAT DAY! Why? We get to wrestle with the LONGEST RUNNING, MOST IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE Problem Of God of them all. It’s been going on since way before the time of Jesus. And when I say most impossible to solve, I mean IMPOSSIBLE. More impossible, even, than sneezing with your eyes open, than, if you’re not Gene Simmons, touching your nose OR your chin with your tongue, than standing in a checkout line at the grocery store and NOT checking what the people ahead of you have in their cart, than making a list of TOP TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT JUSTIN BIEBER. Impossible, all! read more

The Problem Of God, Week 2 — The Problem Of Evil & Suffering

Would you like to learn a $5 word?

Theodicy.

Which is a fancy word for the dilemma we’ll address this Sunday: how do you reconcile belief in a good God when evil exists?  How can there be a living God in the middle of deadly suffering.

Many have concluded that because ….

Evil exists, God doesn’t. read more

Loving Our Schools Well

Last night, the Olympic High School football team honored Good Shepherd as its “Biggest Supporter.”

According to coach Brandon Thompson, our church gave more money and volunteers to the program than any other area business or organization.  You did that!

Here are GS student volunteers Morgan & Taylor Carter, GS Student Ministry Pastor Mathew Hargett, Coach Thompson, and GS volunteer and OHS parent Tommy Anderson. read more

Guest Blogger Claude Kayler, Founding Pastor Of Good Shepherd: “A ‘Discovered’ Sermon From 1992 & The Art Of Seeing What’s Not Yet There”

In my new role as a coach and consultant, I no longer have a great big office (as I did when I was a pastor). Nowadays my office (well, really my desk) is in the room where our grandson sleeps when he spends the night.

Needless to say, I no longer have space for all the books, files, and knick-knacks that I’ve accumulated over 30 years of ministry. So, I’m having to downsize…de-clutter…let go of some things. read more

The “Bridge Over Troubled Water” Of Ministry

In reading David Browne’s Fire And Rain, a musical & cultural exploration of the pivotal-but-overlooked year of 1970, I learned some interesting factoids about Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic Bridge Over Troubled Water.

For example, did you know that Simon originally wanted a shorter, quieter song without the “Sail on silver girl . . .” verse which brings it to its anthemic conclusion? read more

The Problem Of God, Week One — “The Problem Of God’s Existence” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Started a series called “The Problem Of God,” inspired by Mark Clark’s book of the same name;
  • Included one of the few “pulpit” admissions that I went to college at, ahem, Princeton;
  • Talked about the rising influence of atheism;
  • Explored the issue from the perspective of humanity and astronomy;
  • Landed at a preliminary bottom line and an emphatic one as the end of the sermon had a “Keller-esque” turn toward Jesus:  Mind before matter (preliminary) … The mind who was before matter is the mind who became matter (final).

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Some of you are familiar with the phrase MIND OVER MATTER. It’s the understanding that if you train your brain in certain ways you can alter your body processes in such a way that you can do things that otherwise seem impossible. You can use your invisible mind to bend visible reality. It’s like Free Diving (AV), which is diving as far as you can beneath the surface of the ocean without any SCUBA gear. And with a combination of altered breathing techniques and muscle development, Herbert Nitsche of Austria (huh? No beachside property there!) set a world record by diving 702 feet deep. That’s 70 trips to the deep end! Mind over matter indeed! read more