How To Tell A Mountain From A Molehill, Week 4 — The “Finders Losers” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Was the first time in forever that I pulled out a message on Monday, began the process of rehearsing/internalizing it, realized that I did not like it one bit, and started over almost from scratch.  I can hardly tell you how unusual this was.  Plus, I was in Atlanta for a Methodist meeting for two days in the middle of the week;
  • In the revamped version, I used clear plastic “shoe boxes” to demonstrate the ways we compartmentalize our lives;
  • Made use of a written testimony from a staffer about how are contentment is not connected to our circumstances;
  • After all that, arrived at a bottom line of If Jesus isn’t Lord of everything, he’s not Lord of anything.


Matthew 13:44-46  

44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. read more

#TBT — Park Cities News, Fall, 1978

I saw this among some old photos recently:

Our local micro-newspaper, The Park Cities News, had a series of profiles on local athletes and, as a rising junior in high school, I qualified.

I love the accuracy of the hindsight:  the family information is correct, including the mention of Texas State Champion sister Nancy … who won it 20 years before I did. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Things That Strangely Warm My Heart

We Methodists have an odd phase: “a heart strangely warmed.”

It comes from a seminal moment in John Wesley’s personal journal when he recounts a spiritual experience on Aldersgate Street in London in May of 1738:

About a quarter before nine, while [a teacher on the book of Romans] was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.  read more

How To Tell A Mountain From A Molehill, Week 3 — The “Rock People & Sand People” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message led to this immediate response from a Good Shepherd friend:

I love how once again you were talking to me (because it’s about me lol) this morning and pulling be back in.  As if you are reaching out for my hand and saying “get back here”.  I heard you. 

I am the sand.  I have been the sand.  I want to be the rock.   read more

#TBT — Me, Davie Baird, Fall 1968

This is always been one of my favorite photos, and I brought it back home after my recent Austin trip:

I’m on the right, holding the football and not looking at the camera.  To my right (left on the photo) is my best friend at the time, Davie Baird.  He was also the youngest child in a large family, and lived down the street.  Although he was a year ahead of me in school, we were pretty inseparable from the time I was in Kindergarten through about second grade. read more

Guest Blogger, Brooke Presley — What Children’s Church Curricula Are NOT Teaching

During How To Tell A Mountain From A Molehill, the Children’s Ministry Team at Good Shepherd has created content for the K-Zone that mirrors what I have been teaching in the Worship Center.

That means that for the past Sunday, our team needed children’s material to supplement Self-absorption leads to soul destruction from the Parable Of The Rich Fool in Luke 12. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or Six) Reasons I’m Excited Missy Buchanan Is Coming To Good Shepherd

Later this week — for a Thursday Staff Seminary and then for a Friday Out & About Luncheon — Good Shepherd is bringing in speaker and author Missy Buchanan

There are five reasons why I am especially excited about this project.  Here they are.

  • Missy Writes Good.  She is a multi-published author, with a series of titles directed towards Christian ministry for and with senior adults.  Her books include Talking With God In Old Age, Living With Purpose In A Worn Out Body, and Don’t Write My Obituary Just Yet.  You can find more information about her books here.
  • She Talks GooderMissy is a sought after speaker.  So we sought after her about a year ago to reserve these dates.
  • She’s A TexanWe are bringing her in from the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
  • We’re Sharing Ministry With The Aldersgate Retirement Community located on the east side of Charlotte.  After she trains our staff on Thursday regarding ministry with seniors, she will zip across town to inspire the residents of that Mega Methodist Retirement Care facility.
  • It Will Be Yet Another Example Of A Digital Friendship Gaining DimensionsMeaning, Missy and I have connected via #UMC Facebook over the years and seen much to admire in each other’s work and writing.  Now we will get to meet in person.  Yet another reason why social media can on occasion be a force for more good than evil.
  • We ALMOST NEVER Do Something Like ThisWe rarely bring guest speakers in.  When I don’t preach on Sunday, one of our staffers takes my place.  We are hesitant to schedule large scale events, since it’s hard enough to be a church without adding concert promoter to the mix.  However, this speaker for this population, reflecting the emphasis we place on ministry to and with our retirement age friends, is the ideal fit.
  • read more

    #HowToTellAMountainFromAMolehill, Week 2 — The “When YOLO Met Selfie Stick” Sermon Rewind

    Yesterday’s message …

    • Featured some biblical context work that I felt really good about, and which suggested a possible identity for the parabolic character known as “The Rich Fool”;
    • Reminded people that Yoda would have phrased YOLO as OOYL;
    • Included an anecdote from Pastor Craig Barnes that, when I shared it at 8:30, realized that I needed to save it for LATER in the message at 10 and 11:30;
    • Landed at this bottom line:  Self-absorption leads to soul destruction but self awareness leads to soul salvation.


    So there was that time when YOLO (AV) met Selfie Stick.

                That notion that you grab it, grab it all, grab it all at once because, really, you only live once and then when you die, that’s it … came face to face with the preoccupation with the self best represented by the selfie stick, maybe the modern invention that best describes life in the 21st Century.  The invention that if people were coming to visit from an earlier era in human history & were wondering what people were like in the first couple of decades of the 21st, we’d pull it out and say, “Here.  Here’s what we were like.  Here’s the invention that at long last realized there’s not enough ME in the world and so we need multiple angles of ME all over the world.”  read more

    When A LifeGroup Revealed Deepest Motivations

    On a recent Thursday morning, I attended BUT DID NOT LEAD a Good Shepherd LifeGroup.

    The group is actually using a new Seedbed study on the book of Hebrews, authored by Ken Schenck, who was a classmate of mine at Asbury Seminary.

    Anyway, the group leader asked this question:  “What benefits of the Gospel did you find most appealing when you first came to faith?”  read more

    A New Look At An Old Sin

    In the study guide “Lord, Change My Attitude,” Pastor James McDonald offers this definition of covetousness:

    “Wanting something so much that you lose your satisfaction in God.”

    I like that.

    I like that because I live it.

    Things I want so badly it causes me to lose satisfaction in God: read more