Unhappy Campers, Week 4 — Wildwood

One of my favorite of the classic Southern Gospel Camp Meetin’ Songs is The Church In The Wildwood.  Here ya go:

This Sunday, we won’t necessarily be that church in the wildwood, but we will explore a wild story from Numbers 17 that begins with wood and leads to resurrection.  Huh? read more

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The Social Solitude Of Preaching

Preaching is an intensely solitary activity.

Preaching is a thoroughly social exercise.

Which is it?  Solitary or social?

Yes.

My own process of preparation is wholly wrapped in solitude.  I study, I jot, I brainstorm, I fret, I pray, I get excited, I become depressed, I write . . . all on my own.  At my desk in the office or at my dining room table at my home.  The only input I get during that process is some occasional wordsmithing advice I receive from trusted friends. read more

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The Methodists Made A Video About US!

The Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church (that’s a mouthful, but that’s where I have spent my professional life and that’s the denominational entity of which Good Shepherd is a part) recently made and posted a video about our church.

The motivation behind their interviews and videography?  To give the people of our Annual Conference a window into what makes the church tick and what are the factors behind our sustained record of health and growth. read more

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TOP FIVE TUESDAY — Top Five Benefits Of Reading The Bible NOT AS A BOOK BUT AS A LIBRARY

If you’ve been to Good Shepherd more than once or twice, you have not doubt heard some form of this worship ritual:

I have heard myself say that a lot.  So I want to take a few moments today and discuss why we use that language and what are the benefits from that approach.

There are many . . . but here are my top five: read more

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Unhappy Campers, Week Three — The “Where The Wild Things Are” Sermon Rewind

A message with …

  • a title courtesy of Maurice Sendak;
  • a nod to my own fondness for nostalgia;
  • a time of appreciation for the ways Moses chooses God’s reputation over his own vindication;
  • a healthy dose of perspective from the recovery community;

… landed at this bottom line:  The sin of IF ONLY is always forgiveable; its consequences are rarely erasable. 

—————————————————————————– read more

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Unhappy Campers, Week 3 — Where The Wild Things Are

Many of you remember this book from childhood:

The place where all those “wild things are” is a place you want to leave; an uncertainty you want to escape, a freedom you’re willing to give up.

Of course, Maurice Sendak had nothing on the children of Israel.

They heard the “call of the wild,” entered it, and quicker than you can say “Ten Commandments,” wanted to return to slavery in Egypt. read more

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Simply The Best …

Here are some “bests” I’ve encountered in my time on earth.

Best tennis player I ever played with:  Rod Laver.  If you’re a tennis player, you know it’s virtually impossible to have a better answer than that one.  Laver, an Australian who won tennis’ calendar year Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969, was widely regarded as the Greatest Of All Time before Pete Sampras & Roger Federer came along.  In the winter of 1985, Laver was 47 and he and Ken Rosewall (another 60s-70s era Australian legend) played an exhibition match in Princeton, New Jersey, and as the tennis correspondent for The Trentonian, I covered the contest.  I was there early in the day and as the court was set up, Laver asked, “would you like to hit a few?”  I stifled a gleeful squeal and went out on the court, acting like I’d been there before, and helped the greatest player ever warm up.  Afterwards he said, “you play nicely.”  Well, so do you, Rod. read more

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Why Ambiguity Makes For Great Art And Terrible Leadership

Most critics will tell you that great novels and films involve more than a little ambiguity.  Characters are rounded, stories are open-ended, and the heroes and villains are indistinguishable, in large part because people are both at the same time.

It’s why in Flannery O’Connor’s The Violent Bear It Away, the drama unfolds around a simultaneous baptism & drowning.  Is it an act of murder?  Or salvation?  Judgment?  Or mercy? read more

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TOP FIVE TUESDAY — Top Five Wimbledon Moments

Some thoughts I shared about Wimbledon in the space before . . .

Top Five Tuesday: Top Five Wimbledon Moments

I have never been to Wimbledon. Something about sitting in a cold rain in early July doesn’t appeal to me.

And for the last 24 years, I haven’t been able to watch a men’s final as those matches are played when I’m working. Sunday morning. read more

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Guest Blogger Chris Thayer — The “Into The Wild” Sermon Rewind

Julie and I were away last week, returning to town on Sunday night, and so Chris Thayer delivered the second sermon in the Unhappy Campers series.

Chris is our Zoar Campus pastor and so on Sunday instead of hosting live at Zoar while I preached at Moss and was projected at Zoar, he preached live at Moss and was projected at Zoar.  Got that? read more

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