Some Time With A Benevolent Czar

On Tuesday night, I had dinner with David Benjamin, who was my tennis coach at Princeton University from 1980-1984.  Here we are at a local Princeton eatery:

As I shared in an earlier post, I am in the Garden State this week preaching and teaching at the Ocean Grove Campground.  So after I completed my teaching duties on Tuesday, I hopped in a car and drove a hour due west to re-visit my old college haunts and to see some old college-era friends. read more

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GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, NEW JERSEY (Well, Close Enough)

GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, NJ (well, close enough)

A small handful of you will get the rock reference in the post’s title. The rest of you will lament your lack of education.

I don’t normally post “on location” when I am out of town, but this is too much fun.

I am at the Jersey Shore … not on the show (is it still on?) but teaching the daily Bible Hour at the historic Ocean Grove Camp Meeting. read more

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Sovereignty & Money

John Piper said it this way:
“He (Jesus) said more about money than he did about heaven and hell because where your treasure is there will your heart be also. So why do we have money? Money is God’s idea, what’s it for? Here’s the reason we have money: we have money to use it in such a way that we show that money is not our God, but God is our God. That’s why we have money. Money is given to us to use it in such a way to show the world that money is not our treasure but Christ is our treasure. That’s why we have money.”
Brilliant. read more

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TOP FIVE TUESDAY — Top Five Reflections From A Carolina Cross Connection Trip

TOP FIVE TUESDAY — Top Five Reflections From A Carolina Cross Connection Inc. Student Mission Trip

I spent last week at Camp Loy White in rural Cleveland County, NC as part of a Good Shepherd Church Student Mission Team who in turn joined the larger Carolina Cross Connection Project.

The mission of CCC is to forge Christian community while empowering students to make a difference in the lives of under-resourced people through ministries of home repair, yard work, and spiritual comfort. This was my NINTH CCC week — seven while at Mt. Carmel Church in Monroe and now the last two years at Good Shepherd. read more

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Unhappy Campers, Week 4 — Wildwood

One of my favorite of the classic Southern Gospel Camp Meetin’ Songs is The Church In The Wildwood.  Here ya go:

This Sunday, we won’t necessarily be that church in the wildwood, but we will explore a wild story from Numbers 17 that begins with wood and leads to resurrection.  Huh? read more

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The Social Solitude Of Preaching

Preaching is an intensely solitary activity.

Preaching is a thoroughly social exercise.

Which is it?  Solitary or social?

Yes.

My own process of preparation is wholly wrapped in solitude.  I study, I jot, I brainstorm, I fret, I pray, I get excited, I become depressed, I write . . . all on my own.  At my desk in the office or at my dining room table at my home.  The only input I get during that process is some occasional wordsmithing advice I receive from trusted friends. read more

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The Methodists Made A Video About US!

The Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church (that’s a mouthful, but that’s where I have spent my professional life and that’s the denominational entity of which Good Shepherd is a part) recently made and posted a video about our church.

The motivation behind their interviews and videography?  To give the people of our Annual Conference a window into what makes the church tick and what are the factors behind our sustained record of health and growth. read more

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TOP FIVE TUESDAY — Top Five Benefits Of Reading The Bible NOT AS A BOOK BUT AS A LIBRARY

If you’ve been to Good Shepherd more than once or twice, you have not doubt heard some form of this worship ritual:

I have heard myself say that a lot.  So I want to take a few moments today and discuss why we use that language and what are the benefits from that approach.

There are many . . . but here are my top five: read more

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Unhappy Campers, Week Three — The “Where The Wild Things Are” Sermon Rewind

A message with …

  • a title courtesy of Maurice Sendak;
  • a nod to my own fondness for nostalgia;
  • a time of appreciation for the ways Moses chooses God’s reputation over his own vindication;
  • a healthy dose of perspective from the recovery community;

… landed at this bottom line:  The sin of IF ONLY is always forgiveable; its consequences are rarely erasable. 

—————————————————————————– read more

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Unhappy Campers, Week 3 — Where The Wild Things Are

Many of you remember this book from childhood:

The place where all those “wild things are” is a place you want to leave; an uncertainty you want to escape, a freedom you’re willing to give up.

Of course, Maurice Sendak had nothing on the children of Israel.

They heard the “call of the wild,” entered it, and quicker than you can say “Ten Commandments,” wanted to return to slavery in Egypt. read more

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