“It Runs In The Family,” Week 3 — The “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Borrowed the phrase “lawn mowering” I recently learned from a friend;
  • Began with Proverbs 24:16 and included James 1:2-4;
  • Brought the bottom line home with “the dominant narrative of my adolescence”;
  • Led to this bottom line:  You can’t be a complete failure when you know failure completes you.


READ Proverbs 24:16 out loud & together to begin

for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. read more

“It Runs In The Family,” Week 3 — “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up!”

If you have ever watched the right channel at the right time of day you have no doubt seen this commercial.

And if you’ve cared for an elderly loved one, you’ve lived its reality.

But what about those “falls” that plague people regardless of age?  The falls that are more metaphoric than literal; the failures that are more emotional than physical?  Or do we “get up” as opposed to “give up” — and how do we raise kids that do the same? read more

#TBT — August, 1984, James Cryan Memorial, Hamilton, New Jersey

This photo appeared in the August 19, 1984 edition of The Trentonian newspaper.  The story accompanying the pictures describes the only pro tennis tournament I ever won: the James E. Cryan Memorial.

The prize for that professional tennis tournament?  $400.  Combined with a couple of other prize money tournaments I played that year where I won money for getting to the semi-finals, I think my career earnings are $550. read more

Ann Patchett & The Art Of Sermonating

If you’ve been following this blog at all, you know that I’m an enormous fan of the fiction of Ann PatchettState Of Wonder and Bel Canto are two of the most beautiful and most engaging novels I’ve read in years.

In The Getaway Car, a little e-reader memoir where she gives readers a window into her writing, Patchett says this: read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or More) GOAT Songs From Artists I Forgot Last Tuesday

Last Tuesday’s “Top Five” became more like a Top Twenty-Six, as I listed my person GOAT songs for a whole host of music artists.

But then, of course,  I realized I forgot to include quite a few bands and quite a few songs.  Even from some artists and tunes I like A LOT.

So, here goes: more personal GOAT songs and the people who done sung them. read more

It Runs In The Family, Week 2 — The “What You Can’t UNSEE” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Addressed the truth that when bitterness runs in families, it ruins them;
  • Dug into the generational forgiveness we see in Genesis 33 and Genesis 50;
  • Concluded in way that moved from exhortation to exaltation;
  • Led to this bottom line:  You can never UNSEE the freedom that forgiveness brings … so let the next generation see it a lot.


In a lead sentence that could ONLY COME FROM TEXAS, I read this: An argument between two brothers over $5 sent one of them to the hospital Sunday night with two gunshot wounds to the chest … read more

The Heart Of Pastoring

A Good Shepherd friend and I were emailing earlier this week, and our conversation drifted into the different personal styles of some of the pastors on our staff.

Specifically, we were talking about how easy or difficult it is for those of us in pastoral work to tell people not what they want to hear but what they need to know.  I put myself in the middle-ish rank on that list, as some of my colleagues are more adept at it and others find it more of a struggle. read more

Connecting During Covid

It’s HARD to stay connected with the congregation and the community during the various Covid shutdowns.  It is especially challenging for our Family Ministries Team, those who minister to parents, children, and volunteers alike.

That’s why I was pleased to get this message sent to our Family Ministries Department: read more

Top Five (Or WAY More) Tuesday — My GOAT Songs For A Bunch Of Artists

We all have them.  Our favorite songs for each band/artist. In modern terms, our GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) songs from the musicians who have influenced and enriched us.

Here’s a long list of mine:

Led Zeppelin:  Over The Hills & Far Away

The Eagles:  Take It To The Limit (Live)

Phil Collins: read more

It Runs In The Family, Week 1 — The “Talking The Walk” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Launched a series that was not in my original 2020 sermon planning: “It Runs In The Family.”  I figured that this would be a good series of messages to give while families are still in quarantine together;
  • Noted some personal ironies in me giving this particular message;
  • Came from Deuteronomy but NOT Deuteronomy 6!
  • Landed at this bottom line:  You can only have THE TALK when your first having THE CONVERSATION.


So we are starting a series called It Runs In The Family and just think of all the things that do just that: run in families. Lord, there’s Male Pattern Baldness, there’s acne, there’s the way we walk (show video of me and Riley walking), there’s high blood pressure, similar speaking voices, facial expressions, and on and on and on. You think of five or ten physical and even behavioral traits that you have and I guarantee you have them because they ran in your family. read more