What Do You Do With A Small Group/Life Group Oversharer?

Whether it’s a Sunday School Class, a Bible study, a Life Group/Small Group, or even a recovery meeting, one group member poses a unique set of obstacles:  The Oversharer.

You know who I’m talking about.  People who, with good intentions and a genuine heart, share too much information too soon in a group setting.  Within ten minutes of entering a group, they’ve told both their life story and current crises.  It makes for awkward dynamics in the room and a collective wondering among most:  “who will address this?” read more

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How An OLD Photo Draws Yet ANOTHER Connection Between Preaching & Tennis

This photo comes from the 1980 Texas Sectional Junior Championship (the This-One’s-For-All-The-Marbles state tournament) in San Antonio.

It’s hardly an action shot, is it?  Either my mom took it or the mother of a friend took it; either way, it shows my typical tennis pile as I waited for a match:  water jug, wrist bands, extra shirts, towel and THREE Wilson Jack Kramer Autograph rackets.   Why three rackets? read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or More) Things You’ll NEVER Hear A #UMC Conservative Or A #UMC Traditionalist Say

So this post is pretty specific to my little world of the United Methodist Church (#UMC).

Because within that particular tribe, there are a couple (maybe more, according to this piece) of clearly defined camps:  Progressives and Traditionalists.  Liberals and Conservatives.  UMC blue and UMC red.  These distinctions are primarily in the realms of theology & Scripture, though they occasionally bleed over into politics as well. read more

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Chiseled, Week 4 — The “Waste Removal” Sermon Rewind

The concluding message for Chiseled could well have served as the series opener.

It was less about being chiseled for ministry and more about being chiseled for obedience.

And … it took a couple of detours involving violent video games, attachment to mobile devices, and . . . wait for it . . . the modern conversation around children & gender identity. read more

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#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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