How A Surprising Gift Unleashes A Pleasant Memory

Earlier this week, a couple from Good Shepherd was cleaning out their attic, came across an ancient bible, and decided I might have a use for it.

And this time, I did.  I do.

See, the edition my friends gave is called the Douay-Rheims Bible, translated and published by our friends from the Roman Catholic tradition way back in 1582. read more

Delightful Consequence Of New Prayer Team

As a lot of you know, we’ve started a new “up front” prayer team for the conclusion of our Sunday worship gatherings at Good Shepherd.

We want to normalize what was previously remedialMeaning: we want our altar area to be a center of prayerful conversation each week, not just when people need to get saved, confess a sin, or receive healing. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five (Or More, A Lot More) Questions For Paul

A friend and I have been reading the book of Ephesians together.

For over a year.

We go down a lot of rabbit trails during our time together, but when we zero in on Ephesians, the rewards are rich indeed.

Spending that much time on that short a book, however, also raises some questions.

In fact, I have a whole lot of them that I would like to ask Paul himself. read more

Eye Rollers, Week 2 — The “Lustful Eyes & Adulterous Hearts” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s message …

  • Referenced both Marla Maples and Jimmy Carter within the first three minutes.  How’s that for name dropping & president referencing?!
  • Used Jesus’ words regarding gouging eyes & amputating hands to prove what most of us know but some of us are scared to admit: no one reads all the bible literally.  Especially those parts, like Matthew 5:27-30, that call out NOT to be read literally.  We instead read literarily.
  • Landed at this bottom line:  Sometimes you have to sacrifice what is precious to preserve what is sacred.

READ Matthew 5:27-30 out loud.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[a] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. read more

Yikes! The UNPARDONABLE Sin!

Here are words from the mouth of Jesus that we find in Mark 3:

28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”

So much energy has gone in to deciphering just what is this unforgivable.  What is the point of no return, sin-wise? read more

A Walk On The REAL Romans Road

Many of you are familiar with the Romans Road, a collection of verses from that signature New Testament book designed to lead people on the “road” to salvation.

It starts out with our Problem from Romans 3:23:

      For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. It then moves to our Peril in Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death . . . And to God’s Provision in Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. The Romans Road culminates in our Response in Romans 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. All very neat, tidy, and wrapped in a bow.  Problem diagnosed, problem solved, souls saved. And all alien to the purpose of the book of Romans. Now: for the most part I support the theology behind the Romans Road.  We are sinners in need of salvation and not, to paraphrase Andy Stanley, mistakers in need of correction. Yet to read Romans through the grid of its “road” is akin to appreciating a pearl necklace by removing four individual pearls from it and admiring them and them alone. No, when you read Romans as a whole, it is clear that there is in fact a road — a primary thrust that repeats again and again throughout the letter.  But that thrust is somewhat different from the “sin-provision-salvation” model so commonly held up. Instead the Real Romans Road starts in 1:16: I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believe: 

first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. read more

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Reflections On A Chester SC Revival

On Sunday night, I drove thirty-seven miles due south to preach at the Annual Chester, SC (pop. 5,607) Ministerial Association Revival.

Chester’s First Baptist Church hosted the event, and if my memory is working right, it marked the first time I have ever spoken publicly at a SBC church.

Here are some of the worshippers gathering together in the moments before the service began. read more

Eye Rollers, Week 1 — “Love Your Enemies And Pray For Those Who Persecute You”

Yesterday’s message ….

  • Connected John McEnroe and Jesus;
  • Poked at the so-called Red Letter Christians;
  • Brought Romans 5:10 to bear on Matthew 5:44-45;
  • Landed at this bottom line:  You can only love your enemies when you realize you’re the loved enemy.

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Well we are going to start Eye Rollers with the eye rolleriest of them all.  I’m sort of starting near the end of this little speech-ette, sermon-ette from Matthew 5 into which we are going to take a deep dive over the next month, but I just couldn’t wait.  Wanted to get this one over and done FIRST!  Because what we are fixin’ to look at really is one of those REALLY JESUS?! moments, one of those that make me want to go all John McEnroe on Jesus:  You CANNOT be serious clip, a there you go again moment that just is like the apex of Jesus’ absurdity.  Here is it:  Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. read more

Eye Rollers Launch — “Love Your Enemies And Pray For Those Who Persecute You”

In 2014, we had Head Scratchers, a series where you knew what Jesus said, you just couldn’t figure out what it means.  Happily, that series was the first one that Abingdon Press picked up and turn into a book.

In 2016, we had Jaw Droppers, a series where we knew what Jesus did, we just had a difficult time describing it according to the laws of nature as we know them. read more

Like Son, Like Father?

On Wednesday evening, I was able to support the ministry of my 25 year old son Riley and his wife Natalie.

What?

Yes, they are part of the Campus Crusade For Christ (these days called more simply “Cru”) at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  Riley asked me to speak to a group of his leaders as they wind down their school year. read more