#TBT — May 29, 1966 (Inspired by RIP, Adam West)

I was saddened to hear of the death of Adam West late last week at the age of 88.

In the mid sixties, West had the TV role of Batman in the ironic, campy version of that superhero’s story.

Which leads me to this picture:

I was so captivated by the TV Batman (and at five years old, was of course too young to understand either the irony or the camp) that I had my mom make me a Batman cape & mask, and then completed the ensemble with Batman T-shirt, ring, and shoes. read more

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The Most Important Thing That Happened In Your Life . . .

The older I get, the more convinced I become that Christianity is not based on a philosophy; it’s built on history.

At the heart of our faith is not love thy neighbor or do unto others or even pray without ceasing.

No, the heart of our faith is a decisive invasion of God onto planet earth; of Divinity entering history; of the invisible taking on flesh.  And the invasion culminates, of course, in the rapid-fire events of Easter weekend — events that we miraculously get to re-enact in the sacrament of baptism. read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five 80s Songs

When it comes to music, the 80s seldom get much respect.

Due to the influx of hair bands and the advent of MTV, many experts contend that the decade was rather long on style and short on substance.  The 80s are why Nirvana was such a revelation as its raw sonic boom delivered us from the shimmering sounds of the era of Reagan. read more

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Chiseled, Week 3 — The “Tie A Yellow Ribbon . . . ” Sermon Rewind

I normally don’t like to mix metaphors, but this time I did.

In a series all about the metaphor of chiseling, sculpting, and stonework, I inserted a message revolving around acorns and oak trees.

It used a really glorious section of Scripture — Philippians 1:1-11 with a special focus on 1:6 — to land at this bottom line: read more

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Another Year; “Just” Another Vacation Bible School . . .

Ok, it’s in the books.

We had a three day Vacation Bible Experience this week.  I served as a crew leader.

Been there, done that.

Or is there more to it than that?

When kids have the freedom and feel the safety to ask “How do you know there’s really a God?” is it “just another VBS”? read more

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Ministry Toolbox

This is the season of the year when many United Methodist pastors begin new assignments.

I’ve only been through that kind of season twice — once in 1990 when I graduated from seminary and began serving Mt. Carmel & Midway Churches in Monroe and again in 1999 when I began pastoring here at Good Shepherd. read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Reflections From An Indiana Trip

I spent three days last week in Indianapolis for the 2017 meeting of the Indiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The Indiana chapter of the Confessing Movement invited me to give a couple of talks and then the good folks at Cokesbury arranged two different book signing sessions.  (Every Annual Conference meeting around the country has a mobile Cokesbury bookstore set up within it.) read more

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Chiseled, Week 2 — The “Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation” Sermon Rewind

As Chiseled moved into its second week, the message featured …

  • A bit of personal trivia involving the words “theocentric” and “anthrocentric”;
  • The results of a Facebook survey asking the question ‘how has God made your life better?’ (if he has at all);
  • A corporate reading of Psalm 145:1-8 before the message began;
  • Pictures of Riley at 4 and then again at 24;
  • This as the bottom line:  God makes your life better so you will make his name greater.

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STAND & READ PSALM 145:1-8 FIRST

Would you like to know a little bit of trivia?  Bout me?  That psalm we just read part of – Psalm 145 – was the Scripture for my very first sermon EVER in full-time ministry at Mt. Carmel Church in July of 1990.  Just before I graduated seminary in KY & moved down there to start, I asked a prof what he’d recommend I preach for my first sermon.  He said, “make sure to make it THEOCENTRIC rather than ANTHROCENTRIC.”  Huh?  Oh!  That’s a fancy, sort of pretentious way of saying, “making it more about God than ppl.”   So I did!  I have no real memory of the content, it was certainly NOT part of a series, 76 ppl came, and I do know I said something about Big Tex (AV) & the Texas State Fair.  So there’s that. read more

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Chiseled, Week 2 — “Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation”

Well, The Who may well have talked about their generation …

… but we’ll talk about yours.

And those you’re responsible for.  And the reasons God actually makes your life better (even if he has to make it harder to do so).

It’s all going to land us in a place where we will be increasingly chiseled — God is moving us from slabs of stone to works of art. read more

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#TBT — Monroe (NC) Enquirer-Journal, July 24, 1994

While looking at an old picture album, I came across this article from the July 24, 1994 edition of the Monroe (NC) Enquirer-Journal.

So much to look on with some nostalgia from this piece . . .

  • The Mt. Carmel sanctuary.  We used an overhead projector to display song lyrics right under the cross;
  • The suit;
  • The Rossignol FT580 tennis racket;  Wha-what?
  • The way the story sort of “oversells” my professional tennis potential;
  • A truthful list of some players I beat who subsequently went on to Top 30 pro careers;
  • An accurate description of how I approached ministry then and now.
  • And the reference to Julie and to Taylor (4) and Riley (1).  Now 27 and 24.
  • read more

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