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August 8, 2021

(This post is the first in a series of expositional posts on 1 Samuel. Though I am currently preaching through 1 Samuel at our church, these are not my sermon manuscripts. They are written specifically for the readers here at “One Degree to Another.”) The Bible is honest about the suffering and pain we encounter in life. I love this about the Bible. It doesn’t sugarcoat these questions–the Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and countless other biblical books wrestle with our… Read more

July 21, 2021

  Sometimes you just need to be reminded that Jesus loves you. As the stresses of life and opposition from others mount, we can forget this simple truth. We think that we need something more, something deeper to help us grow spiritually. Often, we just need to remember the heart of Christ towards us. This is what I loved about Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly. It is a long meditation on the love of Christ for us and the heart… Read more

July 12, 2021

Many Christians struggle to read their Bibles every day. If you bring this issue up around a group of Christians, they are likely to cite how busy they are as a reason that they don’t read the Bible as often as they should. However, if you were to check their screen time, you would likely find that the “too busy” trap is not as real as it may seem. We all have enough time to read our Bibles, we just… Read more

June 30, 2021

Mention prayer around most Christians and you are sure to see some people hang their heads in shame. We know that we ought to pray, but we often don’t, and this produces guilt and shame. Then, the guilt and shame that we feel over our lack of time in prayer keep us from praying. Then, when we finally do pray, we are confused about what to pray and give up because of the awkwardness. John Starke has given us an… Read more

June 27, 2021

After 18 years of pastoring full-time, I stepped away from leadership, got a  full-time job that was not in the church, and took time to heal and recuperate after extreme burnout. About a year later, a church called me as their bivocational pastor. For most of the year, like around half of SBC pastors, I work a full-time job and serve as pastor of a church. One of the biggest challenges in moving to bivocational ministry was in the area… Read more

June 23, 2021

Every once in a while, you read a book at the perfect time. When COVID lockdowns started last year, I thought about how much I was going to read and how much I was going to write. Instead, like many, I developed poor habits that made it more difficult for me to concentrate, read, write, and work. Coming out of this malaise, I was finally able to read Drew Dyck’s Your Future Self Will Thank You. Dyck speaks about the… Read more

June 21, 2021

When I was younger, after preaching a couple of family funerals and weddings, I asked my family if I could just mourn like everyone else at a funeral instead of speaking at them. I didn’t want to be the family chaplain. Then, my grandfather died. He wasn’t my biological grandfather, as he had died when my Dad was 5. However, my “Daddy Joe” had been married to my grandmother since two decades before I was born and loved me like… Read more

February 16, 2021

When I was a young pastor, one of my favorite sounds was to hear people turning the pages in their Bibles as they looked for that morning’s text. That sound has largely been replaced by the sound of silence, as many people use the Bible app on their phones or tablets. In fact, I still remember the first time someone used an iPad to read his Bible in one of our worship gatherings because I kept trying to figure out… Read more

December 28, 2020

I am writing this post from the front room of our home, which my wife graciously allows me to use as my library. Over 1,500 volumes of history, theology, literature, and other subjects surround me. Much of who I am today has been shaped by these books. They have challenged me to rethink deeply held positions, helped me see issues from other people’s point of view, deepened my understanding of the Bible, and provided me with hours of entertainment. The… Read more

November 24, 2020

I can still remember the ritual we went through every morning in my 2nd-grade class. Our teacher came in and told us that it was time to put on our “Golden Rule Gloves.” Then, we pretended to pull gloves over our fingers as we recited “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Then we went through the motions of fastening three buttons on each glove as we said, “God is love. Love one another.” It makes… Read more




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