“The Hooks On Which Paul Hangs His Argument”

As part of our ongoing series “The Fine Art Of Belly-Aching” we’re encouraging the people of Good Shepherd to begin their days in the Word and not in the world. I am devoting this space to reading prompts so that we can resource the same people we encourage.

This week’s readings reinforce last Sunday’s bottom line: God is too good to be fair. As a result, we will look at a number of different sections from the letters of Paul, all of which revolve around the idea of what we call “salvation by grace.” read more

More Pronouns! And More Grace.

As part of our ongoing series “The Fine Art Of Belly-Aching” we’re encouraging the people of @goodshepherd to begin their days in the Word and not in the world. I am devoting this space to reading prompts so that we can resource the same people we encourage.

This week’s readings reinforce last Sunday’s bottom line: God is too good to be fair. As a result, we will look at a number of different sections from the letters of Paul, all of which revolve around the idea of what we call “salvation by grace.” read more

The Pronouns Have It! Romans 1:1-17 Reading Prompts

During the “Fine Art Of Belly-Aching” series, we are inviting the people of Good Shepherd to begin their days in the Word and not in the world. I am devoting this space to reading prompts so that we can resource the same people we encourage.

This week’s readings reinforce last Sunday’s bottom line: God is too good to be fair. As a result, we will look at a number of different sections from the letters of Paul, all of which revolve around the idea of what we call “salvation by grace.” read more

All Together Now … James 4

For the people of Good Shepherd Church and in support of our current series “The Fine Art Of Belly-Aching,” we’re reading through the book of James this week. Each morning, I’m devoting this space to reading prompts.

Today, James 4

Whew! James 4! We could spend a week just on these verses. read more

What We’re Doing Every Day In This Series …

For the people of Good Shepherd Church and beyond we are beginning the day in the Word rather than in the world. In support of “The Fine Art Of Belly-Aching” series, we’re starting each day this week in the book of James.

As part of that project, I am giving daily reading prompts. Here is today’s: read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Movie Scenes That Make Me Cry

I cry at odd movies, at scenes most other people don’t find so traumatic. But anything having to do with fathers and sons or divorce or unexpected death . . . well, pass the kleenex, please.

5. Walk The Line. In this biopic of Johnny Cash there is a scene in which despite the level Johnny’s accomplishments and fame, his father responds with contempt and not approval. The ache in Joaquin Phoenix’s face turned on my tears, in large part because I never had to go through anything like that from my dad. read more

The Fine Art Of Belly-Aching, Week 1 — The “Mine Eyes Have Seen The Gory” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

Started a series based on a book many long-time church goers did not even know was in the biblical library — Habakkuk;

Explained that Habakkuk’s genre is that of complaint or lament;

Required some knowledge of the Babylonia siege and subsequent exile, as well as the internal moral compromises that made Israel so vulnerable; read more

“The Fine Art Of Belly-Aching” Launch — “Mine Eyes Have Seen The Gory”

Have you noticed that when you ask someone, “how are you doing?” and they answer, “can’t complain,” that they’re REALLY telling you that if they COULD complain they sure WOULD?

Complaining. Whining. Belly-Aching.

Whatever you call it, a lot of us are good at it. In fact, some of us have elevated it to an art form. read more

Believe It And Not

One of my favorite verses is Mark 9:24, where a father who has asked Jesus to heal his son has the honesty to say this:

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I love it! I have faith and no faith. I trust and I don’t. I’m with
Jesus and I’m not. All at the same time! I’m right handed and I’m left
handed. I’m a Democrat and an Republican. Red state and blue state. Tea
Party and progressive. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. Ambivalent, ambiguous,
real. Double minded and so very human. So very me. Love it, love it,
love it. read more

How To Kill A Sermon

I know a preacher is in trouble whenever he or she says, “Webster’s defines ___________ as __________________.” 

Why is a dictionary reference a sure-fire sermon killer?

Because in preaching you should never define a word with more words.

You define a word by painting a picture.  Or doing a demonstration.  Or performing an experiment.  read more