Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Characteristics Of The Gospel Of Mark

By way of review: the bible is not a book.  It is a library.  Many different authors, multiple writing styles, written over a long span of time.

And like any good library, the bible has a biography section.  Four biographers (also known collectively as evangelists) — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — and one subject, Jesus. read more

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A King’s Ransom, Week 3 — The “King Of The Hill” Sermon Rewind

On almost every Sunday morning, I meet with two friends who pray with me at 7:45 and declare with confidence, “Hey guys, guess what?  It’s gonna be great!”  Part of that, I’m sure, is talking myself into that same conviction.

Yesterday, however, was different.  I met my friends and said, “Well, it’s either going to be pretty good or awful; I just haven’t been sure about this one all week long.” read more

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A King’s Ransom Week 3 — “King Of The Hill”

This looks like an unlikely place for a king’s coronation, doesn’t it?

And yet in the way Mark tells Jesus’ story, that hill far away is exactly where Jesus’ kingship was unveiled and unleashed.

He was made King Of The Hill … and declared King On The Hill.

What does it mean for you and for me?  How does it all relate to ransom? read more

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Confusing PREFERENCE For STRATEGY

In church leadership, it is quite tempting to confuse personal preference for effective church strategy.

For example, a few years ago, I could have come up with a different U2 song to go along with virtually every message I gave (these days it would trend more towards Jason Isbell, but you get my point).  In fact, I would love doing that. It would suit me and my preferences just fine. read more

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Unintended Consequences

When this tennis racket …

the Original Prince Pro (Green) … was released in the late 1970s, it was revolutionary.

Those of you who played back in that day remember thinking, “that’s it.  Tennis will always and forever be played ONLY AT THE NET.  With a big racket like that, EVERYONE can volley well and no one will ever be able to hit a passing shot again.” read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Reflections From A Weekend Just Past

In reflecting over the last several days, I realized that this past weekend was an unusual one.

Some of it filled with mirth, other parts of it loaded with majesty, all of it making a testimony to the goodness of God.  Here are the five highlights (and you must read to the end):

5. On Friday night, our Room In The Inn ServeTeam treated our neighbors who are homeless to a movie night — the premiere (at Ayrsley theater) of “I Can Only Imagine.”  One of our volunteers conceived of the plan — or received it from God — pitched it to us and we said yes.  Am I glad we did. The movie tells the story behind the MercyMe song of the same name … and does so in a way that put a lump in my throat ten minutes in and never let go. read more

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A King’s Ransom, Week 2 — The “Fit For A King” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Started right with the Scripture, pointing out that Mark 15:15-20 is an OLD story with a MODERN sensibility;
  • Noted that irony, sarcasm, and mockery dominate every moment of the scene;
  • Gave a quick shout out to mega church pastors who cause many other pastors to ridicule what they cannot attain;
  • Led to an invitation to acknowledge Jesus is King;
  • Had this bottom line:  We reserve our deepest mockery for our greatest need.

—————————————————————-

We are getting ready today to look at an OLD story with a very MODERN sensibility.  An ancient tale that’s dominated by a current attitude.  And best of, all, it’s a story that for all the times I’ve read Scripture and loved Mark’s contribution to it, I’ve never thought about much.  And WOAH, have I been missing a bunch. read more

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A King’s Ransom, Week 2 — “Fit For A King”

Scripture is a never-ending reservoir of truth, power, and beauty.

Here’s why I say that today.  I have been reading the bible regularly for 39 years now.  That includes the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

And of those four Gospels, I have both read and loved Mark the most. read more

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#TBT — San Antonio, June 16, 1979

Continuing a nostalgia theme for this week’s post, here is an article from a San Antonio newspaper (The Light?  The Express?  The Light-Express?) on June 16, 1979:

Oh the Jack Kramer racket.  The adidas clothes.  The slice backhand return of serve.  Those days are gone forever … I should just let them go … read more

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Half Of 56 Is 28

I realized something with a jolt the other day:  I have been a pastor for over half of my life.

I graduated from seminary and started work at Mt. Carmel & Midway United Methodist Churches in Monroe, NC, in 1990 at the age of 28.  I am now 56, so you do the math.

Here’s what we looked like back in that day: read more

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