“Help! I Need Somebody!” Week 1 — The “From Bad To Worse To Worser” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Started my favorite kind of series: based on a biblical book seen through a cultural hook.  In this case, the book is Ruth and the hook is the Beatles;
  • Hinged on the exegetical & historical work of doing what Sandy Richter calls “bridging the cultural divide” … in particular the concept of the “bet ov” and why is it you’d marry your dead husband’s brother anyway?
  • Addressed both Ruth Needers and Ruth Becomers;
  • Landed at this bottom line:  Logic leaves but love clings.

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Have you ever felt like this? (AV / GIF of car over side of road)

When things go from bad to worse? You’ve had those days; you know what I’m talking about. That day you lost the tennis match AND the girl said she didn’t want to go with you to the movie? Bad to worse. Or that time you got laid off from your job and then that evening that guy breaks up with you. Bad to worse. Or you got thrown out of the game at SCAA for being too vocal (profane?) and on the way home you get a traffic tickets? Bad to worse. Or you find out someone is leaving the church for a more sedate one around the corner on the same day the hip cool church gets a big magazine spread and ain’t nobody in the world paying attention to you. Bad to worse. I’ve been there, you’ve been there, some of you are there today and it’s actually why you showed up to church this time. read more

“Help! I Need Somebody!” Starts With “From Bad To Worse To Worser”

Help! I Need Somebody!

And not just anybody, right?

We all have a longing for connection, for relationship, for the ability to need people and to be needed by people.

So: how do we live into that reality during this unique season of our lives? And what do the answers to that question have to do with how we do church at Good Shepherd? read more

#TBT — I Found A Forehand! Summer, 1980

On Throwback Thursdays, I often dig up old tennis photos, and those photos usually feature my backhand or my serve.  Those were my two best shots.

And then I found this one.  A forehand at last:

The photo was taken during a practice session on the day before the 1980 Texas Sectional in San Antonio. read more

When Church Enables

I’ve had a sense through the years that churches in general and this church in particular need to take more care to avoid enabling unhealthy behaviors.

With the best of intentions, we can reinforce behaviors and patterns in people that do much more harm than good.

For example . . .

When a church allows people to “over-volunteer” — you know, the ones who are there before the church doors are even open — it enables them to avoid life at home.  Some people wrap themselves up in church activities so they don’t have to deal with unpleasant situations or relationships in the family. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five “Advice Cliches” That Really Aren’t Very Helpful

Many times, WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS, we offer advice that is actually counter-productive.  We lean on tried and true cliches to encourage people facing life’s dilemmas, and if they follow OUR ADVICE / THE WORLD’S CLICHES disaster is likely to be the result.

Here are five to eliminate from your vocabulary … whether you’re in the helping profession or simply providing a shoulder for a friend to lean on: read more

“It Runs In The Family, Week 4” — The “Deep Pockets” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Was delivered TWICE — once to our live outdoor service at 8:30 and then via livestream at 10 a.m.;
  • Speaking of the “live” service, during the preaching of it the connection of “genealogy” and “generosity” came to me, spur of the moment, so I included it with some frequency in both iterations;
  • Encouraged households to have holy conversations regarding money, possessions, and generosity;
  • Landed at this bottom line:  I’d rather become His possession than count up mine.

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Some of you know that I have a love/hate – mostly hate – relationship with those Storage Unit places you see all around. And so I loved this headline on a recent piece so much that I hated it: read more

“It Runs In The Family,” Week 4 — “Deep Pockets”

God has been very good to us during the “It Runs In The Family” series.  I have sensed that many of you have begun to live its truths and principles inside your homes.

This Sunday the series winds up with “Deep Pockets,” a look at what we want to run in our families in terms of possessions, resources, money, faith, and the intersection of all those. read more

Preaching & The Sacred Act Of Noticing

I am moved by the self-awareness of poet and memoirist Patricia Lockwood. Here’s how she words it in the best-selling Priestdaddy:

I consider myself on an anthropological mission, much like Margaret Mead. I have discovered that this makes almost anything bearable – it would have been such a salvation in my childhood to think I had been sent on a mission to notice. (p. 224) read more

A Bit Of Creekside Reading

Last week, one of Julie’s friends took a hike in the North Carolina mountains and decided to bring some reading material with her.

I approve of the choice.

In fact, she told Julie that this reading in this locale clarified faith for her in a way nothing had before.

There’s no greater word an author can receive that that. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Things To Know About Our Upcoming Outdoor Service

This Sunday, August 16, 2020, we start a new chapter in the middle of this surreal season at Good Shepherd:  a simplified outdoor worship service at the Moss Campus at 8:30 a.m.

Wha-what?

Yep.  We are committing to the next seven Sundays at least — August 16 through September 27 — weather permitting each time. read more