Your 2016 Church Goals Should Start Here

The most powerful reason the church is struggling in North America right now is that the church’s way of being in the world does not represent a genuine alternative to the norms of the culture. Nearly every pastor or ministry leader I’ve ever met operates with the assumption that their job is to make their ministry [Read More…]

The Prophet Mary: A Sermon for Advent

If you would rather, you can listen to the talk here. It’s kind of hard to imagine Christmas without the Christmas music, isn’t it? Just a quick show of hands: Who gets really into the Christmas songs, It’s one of your favorite parts of the season? Who gets really tired of the songs? It’s interesting [Read More…]

6 Tips for a Peaceful Family Get Together

What’s the famous line? If you can’t spot the sucker at the table in the first five minutes, then you are the sucker. It’s easy to head home to see the family dreading that interaction with the family member who drives you crazy… or you might be the person who drives everyone crazy. Whatever the [Read More…]

Prayers Going Out to Jimmie Carter Today

I love the fact that after being president of the United States, starting Habitat for Humanity, a life of active international diplomacy, and a battle with cancer earlier this year, Jimmie Carter still teaches Sunday School and takes it seriously. I was sad to hear today that his grandson went down for a nap and [Read More…]

Sabermetrics and John the Baptist: A Sermon for Advent

In 1971 a Lawrence man named Bill James was the last person from the state of Kansas to be sent to fight in Vietnam. He spent 2 years overseas then came back to Lawrence to finish college at KU. By 1975 he had degrees in English, Economics, Education, but his passion was baseball, & he [Read More…]

There’s Something About Mary: Advent Offers us a Chance to Learn From Jesus’ Mother & We Should Take It

It’s become a tradition at my church to spend one Sunday talking about Mary each year during advent. For protestants in general, and evangelicals in particular, Mary has been avoided like the plague. If we talk about Mary at all our tendency is to either sentimentalize her, thereby taking away her toughness, or we confine her to [Read More…]

Ten Gift Ideas for Book Lovers – 2015

Book lovers are a picky bunch. Trust me, pajamas with books on them will be more likely to appeal to those who don’t read books. We don’t want bookmarks. We don’t want Dr. Seuss bedsheets. We want, well, books mostly. We want cool ways to organize and display our books. We want ways to play with [Read More…]

The Refiner’s Fire & Fuller’s Soap: A Sermon for Advent

Remember Jim Ryan? The famous Kansan? First high school student to run a sub 4 minute mile? Well, in 1968 summer Olympics in Mexico City, Jim Ryan was the world record holder in the 1500m. He was the favorite to win the gold. Mexico City’s altitude is over 7k feet (almost as high as Vail [Read More…]

Falwell’s Fearful Conceal-Carry Response is Not Worthy of the Gospel.

In the wake of yet another active shooter incident, evangelical leaders have been rattling the sabers, and touting the wisdom of concealed carry. In a speech made at the recent Liberty University convocation, Jerry Falwell Jr. bragged that he had a gun in his “back pocket right now.” Liberty is offering a free concealed carry [Read More…]

Here’s Why J.J. Abrams Won’t Blow It With The New Star Wars Film: Joseph Campbell

Almost all religion is concerned with two problems: the meaning of life, and the reality of death. Most of the answers will line up into two big categories. Either life has no meaning and is absurd (nihilism, the postmodern answer), or life has meaning and we can or cannot know it depending on where you end up. [Read More…]