Why Is This Guy So Happy?

Because he just signed a contract for a sixth book with Abingdon Press, that’s why.

Come again?

That’s right.  After a few months of dreaming, praying, proposing, writing, and praying some more, I got the word last week that Abingdon will turn my preaching workshop Simplify The Message & Multiply The Impact into a book called Simplify The Message: Preaching With Clarity In The Midst Of Cultural Clutter. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Things You Just Don’t See Anymore

As I progress through my 50s, I realize there are more and more things that I USED TO SEE but just don’t anymore.

Some of these absences fill me with longing.

While others fill with gratitude.

Here they are: top five things you just don’t see anymore.

1. A music delivery system that is … tangible.  Music is all invisible these days.  Downloaded.  Streamed. Ethereal.  Here’s on ode to several good ole days. read more

Fresh Start, Week 1 — The Freshest Start Sermon Rewind

We started the Fresh Start series with a series that focused on the signature New Testament verse about new beginnings, 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

The challenge, of course, was how to ensure that that verse — as great as it is — did not become a stand alone.  Context is everything, after all. read more

Fresh Start Launch: “The Freshest Start”

Fresh Start

 Sometimes you just want to start over.  Other times you want to begin again.  Still others you long for a re-set.

Whatever you call it, most of us go through seasons in life where we want … no, we need … a fresh start.

That’s what August is about at Good Shepherd.  A series of conversations on beginning again.  And again.  And even again.  It’s all going to build to a mighty celebration where together we’ll gaze in wonder as dozens of people get the freshest start possible. read more

#TBT — Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 1978

If it’s early August, that means that the best junior tennis players in the USA have converged on Kalamazoo, Michigan for the US National Boys’ 18 and Boys’ 16 and Under Championships.

Which takes me back forty years ago to when I was seeded 13th in the Boys’ 16 Championship.  Here’s a program highlighting that week, that tournament, and some of those players.  You may recognize the guy on the second row from the top, far right, in both a portrait and an action shot at the end of a backhand slice: read more

A Mission To Notice

In her memoir Priestdaddy, Patricia Lockwood has this moment of self-awareness:

I consider myself on an anthropological mission, much like Margaret Mead.  I have discovered that this makes almost anything bearable – it would have been such a salvation in my childhood to think I had been sent on a mission to notice. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Books On Sports

I love reading and I love sports.

So combine the two and VOILA! Sports books. I read them whenever I can.

So here are my Top Five Sports Books of all time:

5. Instant Replay by Jerry Kramer. One of the first “behind the scenes” look at modern pro sports, this one is well-written and incisive. Even though I have never been a fan of the Green Bay Packers — especially when they’d beat my Dallas Cowboys in the late 60s — Instant Replay is still a must read. read more

#BehindTheScenes, Week 5 — The “The Worst Laid Plans” Sermon Rewind

I honestly don’t know how you can preach on Esther without being an English major.

Now: I know it’s done and done well.

But I also know that I couldn’t preach on this enigmatic little book without dwelling on the ironies, reversals, coincidences, and perfect timing.  It’s truly one of those occasions where the literary skill of the author is an indispensable part of the theological point he is making. read more

#BehindTheScenes, Week 5 — The Worst Laid Plans

So we wind up #BehindTheScenes this Sunday with a message called “The Worst Laid Plans.”

Together we’ll see how our arranging God builds a series of reversal, coincidences, and “just happen to’s” into the narrative of Esther.

And we’ll see how Haman’s plans for genocide don’t turn out exactly as he drew them up. read more

There’s A Reason We Call It A LIBRARY …

Meaning, there’s a reason in addition to the simple truth that the bible is, in fact, a library.

But when you realize it is a library, you are better able to read and interpret it literarily.

I say that in contrast to the age-old and nonsensical question:

Do you interpret the bible literally or symbolically? read more