Bringing The Tangible To An Increasingly Intangible World

I still buy books and CDs.  Books you can touch and CDs you place in a player.

My children (28 and 25) consider it almost inconceivable that I buy music in CD format and books in bound format.  To them, music & books are what you download, and I’m wasting time, money, and space by actually going to a store and buying something so . . . tangible.

We are quickly becoming people who no longer buy tangible goods; we buy binary codes. read more

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“I Felt Like A Pastor Today … “

Throughout the years, I have told a number of Good Shepherd staffers that as much as I love planning and preparing sermons as well as leading LifeGroup conversations, there come times when I simply have “to feel like a pastor today.”

By that I mean the urgency to visit in a hospital or nursing home or simply an impromptu, agenda-free visit with a congregant. read more

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Pastoring To Preach Or Preaching To Pastor?

Years ago, I heard a clergy-coaching-type ask a rather provocative question of a group of us:

Do you pastor so that you can preach or do you preach so that you can pastor?

Meaning:  as one who leads a local church, do you provide a ministry of presence in people’s most vulnerable times of life so that you build the kind of relational credibility that will make those same folks in turn listen to your sermons?  That’s pastoring to preach. read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or Six) Reasons I Love Being United Methodist

I am a Christian first of all.

But within that larger confession of faith, I have identified with the particular expression known as Methodism for the last 35 years.

Now: the denomination has its flaws.  Its future is far from certain.

So I continue to ask: why have I identified with this particular expression of the Christian faith? I could have located with the Baptists or the Presbyterians or, more likely, some version of the charismatics. read more

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Bouncebackers, Week 5 — The “Murder, Incorporated” Sermon Rewind

Bouncebackers wound up yesterday in a message that was a bit of a departure from the previous four.

We landed in the New Testament rather than the Old and we delved into a familiar figure rather than obscure.

Bottom line?  Your worst moment is no match for his great mercy.

—————————————————————— read more

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November 2 — Happy Birthday, Brad Stoffel (And Lessons From A 15 Match Losing Streak)

Here are some thoughts originally posted in 2010 but worthy of a revisit.

Ironically, after this post seven years ago, Brad heard about it through some internet friends, and we reconnected.  Teenage rivalries tend to lose their intensity in middle age …

I always remember that November 2 is Brad Stoffel’s birthday. read more

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Getting From Written Manuscript To Preached Sermon

Here is “Page 2” from last week’s “Shame Off You” sermon from the Bouncebackers series.

What?  And what is the deal with all that purple?

Well, here goes: each week, after about 12-15 hours of studying, scribbling, and outlining, I write out a nine page, 2,000 word sermon manuscript.  The manuscript that I write is usually intended for delivery about two months out (this week, for example, I’m working on something for January 14, 2018). read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Scriptures On Eternal Life

While it can be dangerous to attach too much importance to single verses of Scripture — thereby yanking them out of context — nevertheless there is something so powerful about certain sentences in the bible.

Especially those that speak of eternal life.

These are the words I read to terminally ill patients and their families as they reach the end of their days. read more

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Bouncebackers, Week 4 — The “Shame Off You” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message led to a mid-week course correction.

I realized on Tuesday that it simply had to be followed with an invitation to receive healing & cleansing prayer.  So we adjusted the final song (to, of course, “O Come To The Altar”), arranged some prayer ministers, and voila! course corrected. read more

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#TBT — Destin, Florida, 1995

In the summer of 1995, Julie and I took Taylor (then five) and Riley (then two) to a beach in Destin, Florida for vacation.

We (I) chose the particular vacation property because one of its attractions was grass tennis courts.  If I remember correctly, I found an opponent to play with one afternoon, was less than impressed with my own level of play, and spent the rest of the week at the beach and pool. read more

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