Criticizing Christian Contemporary Music Will Get Us Nowhere

Criticizing Christian Contemporary Music will get us nowhere. The only thing that is really going to improve worship music is for the church to make the investment in better music, and take responsibility for its proliferation. [Read more…]

How Drinking from Alien Spiritual Wells Has Enriched My Life

Someone might ask why a Christian would seek spiritual refreshment from “foreign” sources. The biblical passage that convicts me comes from John 4, the story of Jesus’s journey through Samaria, where he stopped to rest at the ancient well Jacob had built in Canaanite territory. It astonished his disciples that he would drink from a Samaritan well and talk with a woman, especially a non-Jew. But Jesus did not hesitate to stop beside that well, to quench his thirst from it, and to engage one who regularly drank its water. I believe this story provides a model for us as his disciples. [Read more…]

Waging War: A Simple, Two-Step Guide

Are you ready for a fight? Do you just want to punch something? Are you waiting to be provoked?

Before you make a fist and take off looking for your first victim, allow me to offer a simple, two-step guide to waging war. [Read more…]

A Pastoral Word To Our President

Dear President Trump: I occasionally write my parishioners a word of encouragement after having prayed for them. So I’d like to do the same for you. You are my duly-elected president, and I pray for you to succeed.

At the risk of seeming officious, I have experienced some of the same leadership challenges you are enduring. I pastor a church of 1,300 members, so my burdens are considerably smaller than yours, but the principles apply to both of us. [Read more…]

The Moral Obligation of Welcoming — CBF field personnel serves refugee families seeking freedom from fear

In the heart of Texas cattle country, families gather from around the world. They come from various backgrounds. Some were born in camps on the border of Bhutan and Nepal. Others grew up on family compounds in Iraq or lived in countries in East and Central Africa. Despite their diverging routes, everyone comes with a dream — a good life for their families.

What determines a good life? For most of these, it is freedom from fear. With the global refugee crisis reaching numbers not seen since World War II, millions of neighbors are on the move. They are settled in various border countries or resettled by governments in Australia, Canada and the United States, where California and Texas resettle the largest numbers.

For Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Karen Morrow who serves in Fort Worth, Texas, welcoming new neighbors is not just good hospitality, but a moral obligation. Although some state officials have expressed fear of new arrivals, Morrow warned against this type of thinking. [Read more…]

Sermon for Sunday: Those who live on the margins

Slavery exists in America. People are bought and sold, but at all costs we avoid calling them people. When slavery ends, Jim Crow laws begin. When they end, marginalization continues in the form of economic and housing discrimination, unjust school funding, and a biased criminal justice system. [Read more…]

The cost of unity

Last Thursday, February 2, was Groundhog’s Day! But, I’ve been seeing a different kind of shadow. And I don’t know how many more weeks of bad weather are heading our way.

Division has become more than a word in our vocabulary. It’s become a way of life, and making it increasingly difficult to keep people together literally and spiritually in the local church. [Read more…]

Embracing our Refugee Neighbor – English Not Required

There are 50 million refugees in the world today. Read the story of Marc and Kim Wyatt, Cooperative Baptist missionaries in North Carolina who have served more than 100 refugees in just a few short months. [Read more…]

Postponing Love in an Airport

I am not original here in my plea to the church, nor do I think I am asking anything less than what is required of us by God. We tell our children in Sunday School that it is important to love everyone, even when it costs us something to do so. We tell them to sit with the kids in the cafeteria who usually sit by themselves, to befriend them and make sure they do not feel alone, because they are loved by God and by us. To bring that story to adults in the church, we are called to sit with the people who are alone, people who are scared and hurting and in need. We are called to sit with refugees in the cafeteria, in the airport, in our homes, in our pews. [Read more…]

Jesus, terrorism and loving our neighbors

Setting aside the Son of God aspect, why doesn’t Jesus grow up to be a terrorist? We know Jesus experienced some formula of all the above. His parents, at least one time, left him in Jerusalem for goodness sake. This looks like a classic teenage mother and stepfather situation. Joking aside, it had to have been rough. Other kids he grows up with will become terrorists, or at least, Zealots. In fact, I’ve heard the disciple, Judas, called a terrorist by some scholars. [Read more…]