#TBT — Before Blog, Before Books, The Was “The Trentonian”

Before I ever had a blog, before Abingdon Press ever started turning sermons into books, before even seminary … there was The Trentonian.

Huh?

Between 1985 and 1987, I was the tennis correspondent for The Trentonian, a tabloid-style daily serving Trenton, NJ and its surrounding towns, villages, and suburbs. read more

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Bible Lifting At Good Shepherd

Here’s a great shot taken as I was beginning my sermon this past Sunday at the Zoar Road Campus of Good Shepherd:

We’re one church in two locations.  Yet the mission, strategy, and values are identical at both locations and in both Spanish & English.

So we lift the bible (which includes bibles people bring, bibles on phones, and Scripture placed in the bulletin) on Moss Road and we lift the bible on Zoar Road … even when my preaching is via hologram as opposed to live. read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Tom Petty Songs

I had another Top Five Tuesday planned.

But then Monday happened and Tom Petty died.

So here’s a reprise of a post from 2011:  my Top Five Tom Petty Songs.

I admit that early on Tom Petty took some getting used to.

First, there’s the voice. Unique. Sometimes he makes Bob Dylan sound downright melodic. read more

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Where Apples Fall, Week 5 — The “Falling Well” Sermon Rewind

You could have called it Switcheroo Sunday.

Yesterday, we became one church on two campuses with THREE preachers.

I preached live at our Zoar Road Campus (normally a video venue) while Chris Thayer preached live on our Moss Road Campus and Sammy Gonzalez held it steady en espanol.

We shared the same bottom line while personalizing the route taken to get there: read more

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Where Apples Fall, Week 5 — “Falling Well”

You knew we’d get here, didn’t you?

We’ve fallen apart, fallen alone, and even fallen hard, so it makes sense we’d take a look at what it means to fall well.

To do so, we’re changing Testaments, changing strategies, and even changing perspectives.

I think it’s going to be really good. read more

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Product Placement

Last night concluded a three-night Revival Series at the Morris Chapel United Methodist Church in Walkertown, NC, a bucolic town on the outskirts of Winston-Salem.

I preached a two-night revival there in 2016 and was grateful for the return invitation and expanded schedule.  My long-time friend and colleague Dan Lyons is the pastor at Morris Chapel and has been instrumental in these speaking opportunities. read more

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Preaching Without Notes

A lot of you have asked how it is that I give messages on Sunday mornings without using any notes.

Actually, it’s not just Sundays … this week I’ve been preaching a revival up in Kernersville and those, too, I give without notes.

Getting up and giving a message without notes involves the following: read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Reflections About Being A Princeton Graduate

I went to Princeton for college.

There.  I said it.  I don’t ever preach it out of fear that people will think “he’s a snob,” or “he’s an elitist,” or “he is an egghead” and I’ll lose whatever common ground I had developed with them.

For those and other reasons, I generally keep it on the downlow (unlike my wife Julie, Princeton class of ’83, who will bring it up at the drop of a hat … actually, she brings it up BEFORE the hat drops). read more

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Where Apples Fall, Week 4 — The “Falling Alone” Sermon Rewind

Sunday’s message …

  • Marveled at Jacob’s resume of wrecked relationships;
  • Actually included some “write these down” applications;
  • Landed at a bottom line I like very much:  “What you stand for is never as important as who you stand with.”

—————————————————————–

I know you all well enough from conversation and from social media and from some of your bumper stickers to know that you stand for things. You have causes & issues that set your blood to racing, your feet to marching and your hands to building. It goes from the relatively insignificant – like I ALWAYS stand for Roger Federer the way some of you ALWAYS stand & cheer for the Panthers – to the much more important. A lot of you stand for victims of human trafficking. Others stand for this church. Some of you have stood for your candidate, others stand for the rights of an embryo to grow into birth, and then some of you stand for a sustainable planet with breathable air. I recently joined a group working on more schools for SW Mecklenburg even though my own kids are grown and gone & won’t benefit from what gets built.
Now: for a few of you that thing you stand for, that cause you have to do with your career, your reputation, even your next acquisition. But all in all, what I am saying is normal, it’s fine, and it’s a much better option than living a life of apathy. In a lot of ways for a lot of us, what you stand for defines you. read more

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Where Apples Fall, Week 4 — “Falling Alone”

Is it possible to have the people you love the most pay a steep price for your pursuit of good things?

Huh?

You saw that right.  Do the people you love the most have to pay a price for the time you spend pursuing things which are good, noble, and right.

That’s one of the areas we’ll explore as we dig deep into Where Apples Fall. read more

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