Gospel Power

Romans 1:16-17 is a clarion call for New Testament Christians:

So the Gospel — the life, death, resurrection, and ultimate return of Jesus — is in a real sense “the power of God.”

It’s a phrase I’ve been hearing in prayer recently: the Gospel has its own power. In other words, there is an irresistible strength to the simple, unadorned proclamation of the Gospel story and Gospel invitation. read more

Psalm 19 — Beauty At The Intersection Of Creation And Law

Psalm 19 is a glorious hymn that at first glance connects a theology of creation with a theology of worship:

The heavens declare the glory of God;     the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech;     night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words; read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Storm Songs

In the wake of last weekend’s encounter with Hurricane Florence, there is one subject that seems especially appropriate:  Top Five Storm Related songs.

Here they are:

5. Who’ll Stop The Rain, by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  At times this past weekend, it seemed like no one would.

4. Ridin’ The Storm Out, by REO Speedwagon.  Only an epic storm like Florence could get REO on a Top Five list of mine … unless it was Top Five Bands I Almost Never Listen To.  I have to admit that this one is catchy, though. read more

“After The Storm” — A Rewind Of A Sermon Rewind

No church yesterday, so no sermon rewind today.

Except I have an ideal one from the vault:  “After The Storm” from the 2013 series (and book) The Storm Before The Calm.

The message centers on one of the most embarrassing stories in the biblical library: drunk, naked Noah in the days immediately after the storm to end all storms. read more

When A District Superintendent AGREES With Our Policy On Fund Raisers

Several years ago, a District Superintendent in the United Methodist Church (if you are unfamiliar with that position, it is sort of an Executive Vice President who supervises the pastors and reports to the Bishop) shared these words:

If churches would advertise the worship of God half as much as they advertise their barbeques and chicken pie suppers, a lot more people would know about Jesus.   I have been amazed at how many churches don’t have signs up about when worship services are, but, when it is time for a fundraiser, they advertise to beat the band. read more

A Photo Of An Image On A Screen …

A Good Shepherd friend was unable to attend Sunday’s service in person and so watched it on Facebook Live, took this photo, and then posted it on her Facebook timeline.

While I always prefer the in person variety, it’s encouraging to know our reach expands beyond Moss and Zoar Roads.

On This Anniversary … The Supremacy Of Christ

On this somber anniversary, I find it meaningful to acknowledge the supremacy of Christ.

My favorite verses in Scripture are those that describe the reality of the incarnation of God in Christ.

The concept is such that human language is frankly inadequate to describe its power and beauty.

Nevertheless, the New Testament authors do a remarkable job of scaling some literary and theological mountaintops. Here goes: read more

ForCLT Launch — The “For The Gospel” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message ….

  • Joined with about 75 other Charlotte area churches in focusing on Galatians 2:11-21 as a way to become For The Gospel.
  • Saw how St. Paul turned a personal confrontation into Gospel proclamation.
  • Made a passing reference to Dr. Seuss that everyone seemed to get.
  • Landed at this bottom line, one I revised, updated, and tinkered with most of the week:  Heaven’s not a reward for those who are better.  It’s a gift for those who’ve been bought.

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Today is going to be so great.  It’s going to be great because it starts with an mano a mano  SMACKDOWN between two giants of the early church & that leads to the greatest truth of the Christians gospel.  What could be better? And  we get to do all this alongside 100 other churches in CLT who are also talking about For The Gospel as a way to start a series For Charlotte.  Just. Cool. read more

ForCLT Launch: For The Gospel

For CLT

What would it look like if the churches in a city all preached the same messages at the same time?

We’re about to find out.

Good Shepherd is joining with more than seventy-five other churches in the metro Charlotte area throughout the month of September, preaching and teaching about ForCLT.

  read more

Counseling & Preaching

I probably spend 15-20 hours a week preparing messages. And 8-10 in pastoral counseling and visitation.

Sometimes I wish I could counsel less so I could prepare more; other times I wish I could prepare less so I could visit more.

But as I have thought about that dynamic in recent weeks, I have come to realize that the two activities are in fact inseparable. Pastoral counseling shows me the kinds of issues with which people in the church and community struggle. That in turn shapes the content and direction of my preaching. read more