Our God Is An Emotionally Secure God (It Doesn’t Have QUITE The Ring Of “Awesome God” But Hey …)

Many of you have heard of Gideon because his name is on the cover of every hotel room bible you’ve ever seen.

But the Gideon inside the pages of the bible is more interesting than the one on the cover.

And the inside Gideon found himself bargaining with God in Judges 6.  His nation is overrun by the invading Midianites and he hears a summons to action.  To say that he balked is an understatement.  Here’s what happened: read more

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How God Answers The Worst Prayer In The Bible

In I Kings 19:4-5, in the aftermath of a roller coaster season of spectacular success and stunning betrayal, the prophet Elijah prays this prayer:

‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.”

It’s the worst prayer in the bible.  It’s a suicide prayer. read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five “Rules” Of Funeral Ministry

I don’t hear many pastors of churches our size and style talk about funeral ministry.

Sometimes I get the impression that if your church is somehow “contemporary” or “large” or even “mega,” then people in the congregation don’t die, so pastors don’t have to devote much time or attention to funerals and memorials services. read more

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Hell Or High Water, Week One — The “What The?” Sermon Rewind

Last Sunday night (July 30), I couldn’t wait to get up the next morning.

Why?

Because I knew I could start going over my first Hell Or High Water sermon, and I knew that I really liked it.

The message led to an invitation to say YES to Jesus — an invitation that we altered for the 11:30 gathering, leading to an overwhelming response. read more

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HELL OR HIGH WATER LAUNCH — “What The”

Hell.

There.  We said it.

So … is it a swear word?  A place?  An idea?  A threat? A relic? A metaphor? A destination?

And if it is in any sense real, who goes there?  Why do they go there?  And how do we make sure its number never includes any of us?

Hell Or High Water. A series that will start out on fire but end up in the refreshing waters of baptism. read more

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Creating A LifeGroup Culture

We’re more than a church “with some LifeGroups.”

We’re less than a church “of LifeGroups”  (a claim I’ve usually taken as somewhat hyperbolic anyway).

I guess you could say we are a church whose culture revolves around LifeGroups.

(By the way, the term “LifeGroups,” also known as “small groups” or “cell groups,” are intentional gatherings of 8-15 people who meet together weekly or bi-weekly for bible study, conversation, and prayer.) read more

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Guest Blogger Diana Setter: Though A Staffer Departs, Phrases Remain . . .

Diana Setter has served on our staff in the Student & Family Ministry Department since 2014.  Her final day on the job was July 31, as she is moving back home to family and community in Wisconsin.  We will miss her greatly.

And, unknown to me, Diana punctuated her final day at work with this Facebook post listing some Good Shepherd phrases that will stick with her.  She could not have penned a better epilogue and tribute to what this place and its people are about. read more

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Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or Six) Reflections On A Week In New Jersey

As you know if you follow this blog, I spent last week as the guest teacher for the Daily Bible Hour at the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.  This video gives you a sense of that place, its people, its purposes, and its hymnic history:

Having lived in New Jersey for seven years (four as an undergraduate and then three as a newlywed), this trip was something of a homecoming for me.  Here are five reflections on Ocean Grove, the Garden State as a whole, and the role I realized it played in the life of my family. read more

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Unhappy Campers, Week 4 — The “Wildwood” Sermon Rewind

Below you will find my sermon from July 23, the final message in the Unhappy Campers series called “Wildwood.”

Due to Sunday travel, unfamiliarity with a new laptop, and lack of time, I did not post this last week.  So, with Ron Dozier preaching at Good Shepherd yesterday (July 30), this gives me a chance to do what I didn’t do previously. Got that? read more

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Talks & The Talking Talkers Who Give Them

I spent both Monday and Wednesday afternoons in Ocean Grove, NJ with this group of student ministry interns.

In between their programming, counseling, and shepherding of the teenagers who are part of this Jersey Shore based camp meeting, they gave several hours of continuing education time to me, their continuing educator. read more

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