Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Soft Rock Songs

A couple of weeks ago, I dedicated this space to my five favorite hard rock songs of all time. You can read that post here.

But who am I to limit my musical exploration to power chords and incendiary riffs?

What about the easier, softer side of rock?  Soft rock?

Since this is my list, I am excluding power ballads — songs that starts unobtrusively but end in a cacophony.  So no Stairway To Heaven or Long Time on here. read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Love Handles, Week 6 — The “Knowing Me, Knowing You” Sermon Rewind

Yesterday’s sermon was . . . .

  • named after an ABBA song;
  • drawn from a vertical “aside” towards the end of a horizontal chapter;
  • centered on a real life “Bag O’ Secrets” that I filled midway through and emptied at the conclusion;
  • punctuated by this bottom line:  Only when you are fully known can you freely love.

———————————————————————————————————–

Maybe you have heard of that guy who after being married for 21 years went through a bitter divorce (isn’t that phrase a bit redundant?  Still listening for the first person to say, “Oh, I went through such a PLEASANT divorce!”).  This particular divorce was punctuated by a lengthy court battle involving kids, assets, you name it.  Some of you have been through the same thing and bear the same scars.  Well, the man then decided to do what a lot of you have also decided to do: engage the services of an online dating site.  And he put in all his info regarding temperament, likes, dislikes, and interests.  The website put in all his information, loaded up the algorithms, and spate out a few candidates as they do.  Including one they believed (these were the early days of the site) would be the ideal date.  Who was it?  His ex-wife, who OBVIOUSLY unknown to him, had signed up the same service.  Now I don’t know if precisely THAT has happened to you! read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

“… But I Know Better”

More and more I observe with great sadness that the fundamental posture of the human species is “but I know better.”

It’s true both in the larger culture and in the more intimate confines of the local church.

It’s true of those who have tried Christianity and found it wanting and it’s true of those who are still hanging on to the faith. read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Talking To Think, Pre-Marital Counseling, and The Truth

Not long ago, I was meeting with a very nice young couple and beginning the process of pre-marital counseling.

And during our initial conversation, the subject of the role faith would play in their marriage came up.  As you would expect it would, given that I am a pastor and all.

Anyway, the concept of the “role of faith in your marriage” quickly morphed into “how committed will we be to church attendance as a couple?” read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Times I’ve Wept In A Movie

Books, music, and sports find their way into these Tuesday lists more often than movies.

But I have to admit: every so often, a movie — or, more accurately, a scene within a movie — hits me in such a way that the floodgates open and the tears fall.  Sometimes the lips even quiver.

Here are my top five: read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Now THIS Is The 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

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

God’s Plan … Or God’s Design

Some of you know that I have been hosting a LifeGroup full of Under 25s this spring.  We’ve used Andy Stanley’s Starting Point as a launching pad to talk about life, faith, grief, and hope.

And a recurring question we’ve addressed is this:  what is God’s plan for my life?

Now: many of you know that I instinctively recoil against that question.  A better question, in my judgment, is this:  does God have my life for his plan?  In other words, God has a plan for life, period, and then it is our great honor to line our lives up with how he has already declared life works. read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

Top Five Tuesday — Top Five Hard Rock Songs

So what’s the difference between a hard rock song and a heavy metal song?

I’m not really sure what are the technical distinctions; I just know that I enjoy much hard rock and dismiss virtually all heavy metal.

So here are my five favorite almost head bangers … songs that are hard and heavy from the opening riff to the closing note. read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

How A New Believer Figured Out Romans 6 Before She Ever READ It

Not long ago, I was speaking with a young woman in our church who has been following Jesus for a little less than two years.  In that time her worship has flourished, her demeanor has brightened, and her contentment has become contagious.

In the course of our meeting, she shared some faux advice that a friend had given her — essentially, she should sin because it’s our job to sin and it’s God’s job to forgive. read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone

What Inviting All People Looks Like

I got this note from someone on our staff:

I just got a much-needed haircut at Great Clips. I enjoyed talking with (female name) as she worked on my hair. She moved here a week ago from Chicago. One thing led to another and I invited her to visit Good Shepherd this Sunday. She got so excited and said she had cut a man’s hair earlier today and he had told her about his church and that it was diverse and so welcoming. Two invites to the same church was all the confirmation she needed and she plans to come on Sunday. I don’t know who the mystery man was but loved hearing her tell about what he shared about Good Shepherd. read more

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on TumblrEmail this to someone