“A Psalm for Boston?”

For a long time Psalm 121 has been one of my favorite psalms. I used to think the opening was lovely and inspiring “I lift up mine eyes unto the hills. Whence cometh my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.” I still think it’s inspiring, but in a more [Read More...]

Really? You’re Not Taking Any Notes??


I don’t give exams in my Introduction to Preaching classes. But maybe I should start. I don’t give exams, but, instead, students are evaluated on the basis of their sermons, the content based on a written manuscript, and the delivery in class. They also write several response papers to books I assign them to read. [Read More...]

My New Motto

Three occasions have arisen recently in which I have had to stand and deliver and, thank God, been able to do so. I am aware that the origins of “stand and deliver” are when English Highwaymen would stop carriages and demand that people deliver their jewels, pocket watches and valuables. It may be a dicey [Read More...]

How to Write a Pompous Letter

I get asked to write a lot of recommendation letters. Today I’m writing three of them. Perhaps because I have so many other things to do today, I’m wasting time staring at my computer screen, pondering the particulars of letter writing, with which, up until now, I have not unduly concerned myself. How should I [Read More...]

Harnessing the Darkness

As Easter approaches a lot of people are under the mistaken belief that being a Christian means living in a state of untroubled emotional bliss. They may feel that periods of anxiety and depression make one repellent to God. They may feel that they should not even attempt to scale the Kilimanjaro spiritual heights of [Read More...]

What Gives??

A pastor friend of mine told me the following story recently. About  ten years ago he was serving as a local pastor in Houston and owned a lake house on Lake Livingston in East Texas. The house was located in a wooded area with only two other dwellings nearby. His neighbor to the left was [Read More...]

Getting Our Story Straight

I am teaching a course on preaching and storytelling at Perkins School of Theology this spring. Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:30-4:20, 12 of us gather to hear stories, tell stories. and reflect on why they are such a powerhouse and how they function in our lives. We’re shaping an understanding of Christian preaching as placing [Read More...]

Condiments Don’t Make a Meal!

I heard a comedienne one time talking about the problem with her cooking.  She said she was all condiments and no entrées. Every night, as suppertime approached and she peered into her fridge, she asked herself the same question: “How do make an entrée from a fridge full of condiments?” I haven’t been cooking much [Read More...]

Have a Heart!

It’s Valentine’s Day and so my thoughts turn to hearts, understood as the inner impulses we offer to God and as the beating heart in each of our chests. I was talking with a friend of mine after church last week. Peggy is a vascular cardio sonographer. I always associate sonograms with pregnancy, but come [Read More...]

Appreciating our Gifts: Andrea Bocelli, the Barefoot Contessa and Dirk Nowitski

On a recent flight from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Dallas, I read the lead article in the January 2013 issue of American Way Magazine. It was about the Italian classical music singer Andrea Bocelli. Bocelli has tremendous natural talent, but he also has worked hard to hone and cultivate it. The result is 22 albums [Read More...]