#TBT — Rivals, Nemeses, Friends: Me & Brad Stoffel, 1980

Here I am as a senior in high school, on the far left of the picture, with Brad Stoffel and his high school tennis coach, Bill Fleming.

I’m posting this today because tomorrow, November 2, is Brad’s 57th birthday.  (And also because I miss all that blond hair.)

Why do I know and remember Brad’s birthday every year? read more

The Quickest Way To Avoid Relational Pain

We’ve all had it: relational pain.

Angry words.  Intentional oversight.  Passive aggression.  Triumphant emails.  Ended friendships.

Whether you are naturally wired to pursue confrontation or avoid it, the end result is the same  — a relationship that had been at the core of your life now removed from it. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five College Football Games Of The Century”

I recently finished Michael Corcoran’s The Game Of The Century, a behind-the-scenes look at the Nebraska-Oklahoma game played on Thanksgiving Day, 1971.

(Side note: I was playing in a tennis tournament called the Oak Cliff Thanksgiving Classic on that day.  I remember finishing my match and then rushing to the TV to watch the game.) read more

How To Tell A Mountain From A Molehill, Week 4 — The “Finders Losers” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Was the first time in forever that I pulled out a message on Monday, began the process of rehearsing/internalizing it, realized that I did not like it one bit, and started over almost from scratch.  I can hardly tell you how unusual this was.  Plus, I was in Atlanta for a Methodist meeting for two days in the middle of the week;
  • In the revamped version, I used clear plastic “shoe boxes” to demonstrate the ways we compartmentalize our lives;
  • Made use of a written testimony from a staffer about how are contentment is not connected to our circumstances;
  • After all that, arrived at a bottom line of If Jesus isn’t Lord of everything, he’s not Lord of anything.

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Matthew 13:44-46  

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. read more

#TBT — Park Cities News, Fall, 1978

I saw this among some old photos recently:

Our local micro-newspaper, The Park Cities News, had a series of profiles on local athletes and, as a rising junior in high school, I qualified.

I love the accuracy of the hindsight:  the family information is correct, including the mention of Texas State Champion sister Nancy … who won it 20 years before I did. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Things That Strangely Warm My Heart

We Methodists have an odd phase: “a heart strangely warmed.”

It comes from a seminal moment in John Wesley’s personal journal when he recounts a spiritual experience on Aldersgate Street in London in May of 1738:

About a quarter before nine, while [a teacher on the book of Romans] was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.  read more

How To Tell A Mountain From A Molehill, Week 3 — The “Rock People & Sand People” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message led to this immediate response from a Good Shepherd friend:

I love how once again you were talking to me (because it’s about me lol) this morning and pulling be back in.  As if you are reaching out for my hand and saying “get back here”.  I heard you. 

I am the sand.  I have been the sand.  I want to be the rock.   read more

#TBT — Me, Davie Baird, Fall 1968

This is always been one of my favorite photos, and I brought it back home after my recent Austin trip:

I’m on the right, holding the football and not looking at the camera.  To my right (left on the photo) is my best friend at the time, Davie Baird.  He was also the youngest child in a large family, and lived down the street.  Although he was a year ahead of me in school, we were pretty inseparable from the time I was in Kindergarten through about second grade. read more

Guest Blogger, Brooke Presley — What Children’s Church Curricula Are NOT Teaching

During How To Tell A Mountain From A Molehill, the Children’s Ministry Team at Good Shepherd has created content for the K-Zone that mirrors what I have been teaching in the Worship Center.

That means that for the past Sunday, our team needed children’s material to supplement Self-absorption leads to soul destruction from the Parable Of The Rich Fool in Luke 12. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or Six) Reasons I’m Excited Missy Buchanan Is Coming To Good Shepherd

Later this week — for a Thursday Staff Seminary and then for a Friday Out & About Luncheon — Good Shepherd is bringing in speaker and author Missy Buchanan

There are five reasons why I am especially excited about this project.  Here they are.

  • Missy Writes Good.  She is a multi-published author, with a series of titles directed towards Christian ministry for and with senior adults.  Her books include Talking With God In Old Age, Living With Purpose In A Worn Out Body, and Don’t Write My Obituary Just Yet.  You can find more information about her books here.
  • She Talks GooderMissy is a sought after speaker.  So we sought after her about a year ago to reserve these dates.
  • She’s A TexanWe are bringing her in from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
  • We’re Sharing Ministry With The Aldersgate Retirement Community located on the east side of Charlotte.  After she trains our staff on Thursday regarding ministry with seniors, she will zip across town to inspire the residents of that Mega Methodist Retirement Care facility.
  • It Will Be Yet Another Example Of A Digital Friendship Gaining DimensionsMeaning, Missy and I have connected via #UMC Facebook over the years and seen much to admire in each other’s work and writing.  Now we will get to meet in person.  Yet another reason why social media can on occasion be a force for more good than evil.
  • We ALMOST NEVER Do Something Like ThisWe rarely bring guest speakers in.  When I don’t preach on Sunday, one of our staffers takes my place.  We are hesitant to schedule large scale events, since it’s hard enough to be a church without adding concert promoter to the mix.  However, this speaker for this population, reflecting the emphasis we place on ministry to and with our retirement age friends, is the ideal fit.
  • read more