The Curse Of Knowledge

In Made To Stick, Chip and Dan Heath talk about the “Curse Of Knowledge.”

It goes like this:

Once you know something, you forget what it’s like not to know that thing. That’s so true. And especially applicable to the world of faith and church. Once you know the bible stories, you forget what it’s like not to know them. Once you know the passion and the logic of the gospel, you forget what it’s like not to know it. Once you know the church’s music, rituals, and customs, you forget what it’s like not to know them. Once you know the rhythms and quirks of a specific congregation, you forget what it’s like not to know them. As pastors, one of our jobs is to step outside the curse of knowledge so that we can explain the gospel, the bible, and the church to people who don’t know what we know. As leaders, we need to step outside the curse of knowledge as we orient people to the unique culture of our work places and our congregations.

Transformation Through Life Groups & Bible Studies

Podcast CliffsNotes? Really?

Yes, it’s true. Sometimes you’re in an office without access to earbuds; other times you just prefer to read. If you don’t have time to listen to my entire podcast with Jim Cowart, this post is for you.

Jim and I are graduates of Asbury Seminary and we’re both Abingdon Authors. I read Jim’s book, Grab, Gather, Grow, and implemented some of his teachings at Good Shepherd Church. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Memories Of Working At The USTA

With the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament starting this week, it’s time to wax nostalgic about my time working for the organization that puts on the event.


From 1985 – 1987, I worked in the New Jersey office of the United States Tennis Association, the not-for-profit body that puts on the final of the tennis year’s four major events, currently underway in Flushing, NY. read more

Fresh Start, Week 3 — The “Fresh Water” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message was to set the table for this:

Planned baptisms followed by the spontaneous variety, all leading to a morning where, as Shane Bishop says, the church feels more like a movement than an organization.

And in what is perhaps the least coincidental coincidence of them all, after preaching this message involving the Ethiopian from Acts 8 and towards the end of the baptismal celebration at the 11:30 service, who came forward for baptism? read more

Fresh Start, Week 3 — Fresh Water Sunday

We’ve had The Freshest Start.

And then Fresh StartS.

Then, this Sunday, it’s Fresh Water Sunday.

I believe we’re going to see a whole lot of this:

Will you prepare for this celebration by reading Acts 8:26-40?  And then prepare even more by praying it will not be merely a worship service but a genuine movement of God? read more

The World’s Worst Question To Ask In #BibleStudy

Something about this image strangely warms the heart of those of us involved in leading, attending, or even supplying curricula for bible study:

With bibles open, group members sit in circles & not rows, and share their lives together through encounters with Scripture.

Yet there is one question that can ruin even the spiritual serenity of that scene: read more

That Time I Got Prayed For By A Roomful Of Students …

This is one of my new favorite photos of all time:

Where?  When? Why?

In the Living Room at Good Shepherd.

Last Sunday night, at the conclusion of an “Ask Talbot Any Question You Want About Life, Faith, Scripture, and Culture” event.

Because we have an anointed collection of teenagers at Good Shepherd. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Breakup Songs

Late last week, as the song that’s going to finish #1 on this list came on the radio, I thought, “Now THERE’S a Top Five Subject! Best Breakup Songs!”

Blessedly, I don’t have a lot of personal experience, having not dated a whole lot in high school and then staying married for thirty-four years now.  Nevertheless, some songs give a window into the relational trauma associated with bad breakups. read more

#FreshStart, Week 2 — The “Fresh StartS” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Came from Lamentations.   Yes!  Lamentations!
  • Was inspired by my many recovery friends;
  • Led to a bottom line with a — non-sexual — double entendre:  Mercy beats you up.


So we’re talking about Fresh Starts in this series and this one is called “Fresh StartS” & I originally wanted to call it “Over & Over & Again & Again” because here’s the question that haunts me.  How do you get a fresh start when you’ve already had ten of them and the moment you make the promise of the new/next one you’re greeted with the eye rolls of your family and friends because nobody believes you anymore?  And to be honest, you don’t really believe yourself anymore, either.  There are fresh starts over and over & again and again and whatever credibility you had left a long time ago. read more

Talkin’ Bout My Generation

At a recent Young Adult LifeGroup, a newleywed-ish couple shared an insightful answer to the question:

“When, if ever, have you felt the power of ‘fellowship’ and what it means to be part of the Body of Christ.”

And the young couple answered, “When Ron & Eleanor (a couple in their 70s) tells us on Sundays that they’re praying for our marriage every day.  It lets us know that it wasn’t just about a nice wedding day.  It’s that our marriage is surrounded by people who love and pray.”  read more