New Projects in the Works

IbJK5etSN6dH6jAF4U0U DSC 0280 1

In the coming weeks, months, and year, I have a variety of new projects that I have in the works that I want to update you on.  I’m super excited about the potential of these and want to make sure you’re in the loop. As we’ve transitioned houses, my regular writing routines have been thrown for a loop, but I’m glad to say that I’ve begun to re-enter into my regular writing routines and can shake off some of the rust as I get back into having weekly posts on my own site, some guest posts, and can dive into some writing projects.

So about the new projects that I’m working on…

[Read more…]

Theology is for Mondays

Photo 1417918045827 f574d241e2cc

Theology is primarily seen as the activity of professors and pastors, and occasionally a world that is entered into by normal people on Sunday mornings. But theology isn’t primarily an academic exercise and theology isn’t primarily about Sunday mornings. Good theology matters on Monday morning.

Your theology, whether you even realize it or not, shapes what happens in your daily life not just in your “spiritual” activities.  Theology shapes the way we live out our faith in our careers, in our families, and even in our communities.  The way we understand the grace of God shapes the identity we have which in turn also shapes the way we see and treat others.  The way we understand God’s calling shapes the way we do our work and the way we understand the roles we play in the various spheres of life.

[Read more…]

Saying the Same Thing

Photo 1422349829867 7587357f2b58

Our culture is enamored with the next big thing. And I know that I’m no exception. I’ve stood in my fair share of lines for the newest iPhone, have spent time reading blogs for rumors of the latest technological advances, and have contemplated how to upgrade an old device for a newer, slightly faster version.

We our always looking for newer, bigger, faster, better. And this is great if we are talking about theology. Trade-in your old iPhone and get a bigger one (or smaller, depending on the year). But this same motif that inundates our culture does not help us when it comes to our theology.

Good theology doesn’t come up with new things to say.  Good theology says old things in new ways.

[Read more…]

Does it Get Better than Jesus?

Photo 1417144413558 cf029e0c7a04

There’s this odd conversation that Jesus has in John 16 in which Jesus encourages the disciples as he talks about the work of the Holy Spirit. What makes this so odd, is what we understand about the life of the disciples for the past three years. They have spent the majority of the last three years hanging out with Jesus. They walked and talked with Jesus, they laughed with Jesus, they cried with Jesus, they partied with Jesus, and got bored with Jesus.

The disciples experience was life with Christ all the time.

[Read more…]

Leading on Empty

PK02sCLwT3Op7AZBbdz6 msp 0701 6004

What do you do when you’re a leader and you have nothing left to give?

What happens when you are the pastor, the parent, or the friend who has hit a season where you are frustrated, burnt out, and ready to give up? Because of the reality of the Christian life, as we serve others we break ourselves open and pour ourselves out day after day, week after week, and month after month.  And while we might certainly understand that in order to pour ourselves out to others we need to be poured into… some days it seems like everything gets drained out a lot quicker than it gets poured back in.

When we lead within our homes, we pour ourselves out for our spouses and our kids and when that happens day in and day out, we often find ourselves empty.  When we lead in our congregation, at times we will inevitably find ourselves empty. Life has a way of emptying us rather quickly.

A sudden death of a child.

A close friend gets served with divorce papers.

A coworker betrays you.

The job you love becomes more work than passion.

What happens then? The reality of serving, whether it be as someone who is paid or a volunteer, is that it is hard. Because relationships take work. Working on a team is difficult. Serving others is difficult. Belonging to a family is difficult. So when you’ve hit empty, exhausted by your inability to have anything to offer to the people around, what do you do?

In Matthew 14:13-21, there’s an incredible account of Jesus using the disciples:

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

What did the disciples have that equipped them for their mission of feeding over 5,000? What qualified the disciples to be the ones to help Jesus in this miracle? It wasn’t their devotion to Jesus, the qualifications, or the amount of bread they filled their baskets with.

The disciples had nothing.  And that’s exactly what Jesus needed.  One bible-teacher suggests, “Nothing is God’s favorite material to work with.”  The disciples are qualified to serve the people around them because they have nothing to offer to them. Some kid has bread and fish, not the disciples.  It’s only when the disciples have nothing to offer that Jesus can use them to do his work.

The disciples have nothing. They have empty baskets and Jesus starts handing out the goods and they simply take what Jesus gives to them and passes it around. They get a bite for themselves and share the goods.

In the moments when you have nothing left to give, God is ready to get to work. The God who created the world from nothing and created life from nothing, creates a missionary and a servant when you have nothing left to give.  When you find yourself exhausted by the work of ministry, Jesus puts the bread in your basket. The very thing that qualifies you to give and serve your neighbor is not the amount of time you’ve spent on yourself, it’s magnitude of the grace that’s been given to you when you had nothing to give.

Public Shaming, Monica Lewinsky, and the Gospel

Photo 1437182630182 32b2926da244

Referencing the great presidential scandal of 1998, Monica Lewinsky said, “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.”  It has taken her over a decade to speak publicly about what has happened and what she experienced. Before we really understood stories going viral on the Internet and before social media had really taken its root, public shaming ripped apart Monica Lewinsky given her a new identity.

Now, with the growth of social media, the Internet is possibly best known for the spread of these shaming stories. Almost weekly we hear news of another story that I cannot imagine does anything but rip apart the identity of the person. And one shaming gets replaced with the next one. One moment it’s the story of a pastor caught in the scandal, the next week a political figure, the next moment the latest hollywood divorce… shame, shame, shame. [Read more…]

Decorations Don’t Matter

Photo 1422189668989 08f214d6e419

Over the past month or so my family has been in the midst of a transition. About a month ago we got keys to our house and for the past several weeks, we have been doing project after project trying to prepare the house for us to live in.  Now, for those of you who don’t know me – I have very limited skills in construction projects.

Nonetheless, we have done project after project, painting and tearing down walls and putting new ones up, removing carpet, and moving boxes.  And moving more boxes.  One of the things that’s interesting in the midst of these never-ending house projects is that none of the work is actually determining whether or not our house is going to stand throughout the night. None of our projects are actually determining whether or not our house is a safe place to live.

In the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus concludes his sermon he uses a construction metaphor to describe the Christian faith. And Jesus speaks of the foundation. He speaks of the part of the house that we rarely see, yet is so incredibly important.

[Read more…]

Our Worst and His Best.

Photo 1432838765905 6881a8585474

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus has a loaded, profound statement when he says, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

In the Scriptures, the Pharisees often get a bad rep. But that’s not what’s happening here. Jesus often condemns the Pharisees and teachers of the law, highlighting their hypocrisy. In this Scripture, Jesus is holding them up as an example of good Christian behavior. Because when it comes to good behavior, the Pharisees do it right. They are always on their best behavior; they are the pinnacle of holiness. The Apostle Paul at one point refers to his own life as a Pharisee and suggests, “Based on my righteousness according to the law, I was faultless.”

How good of a Christian do you have to be to be able to call yourself faultless?

[Read more…]

The Original Formula


In 1985 the Coca-Cola Company introduced a new formula for their flagship soda. Perhaps this may not seem like a big deal, but keep in mind I’m not talking about adding a new product like Cherry Coke, Diet Coke, or Vanilla Coke. Coca-Cola did the unthinkable and decided that the original Coca-Cola needed a new formula.

Obviously, we can guess how America would react to such a decision.

I’m not old enough to remember such a suggestion, but based on my reaction when my soda at McDonalds doesn’t have the right carbonation, I have a feeling that I wouldn’t have been too fond of the changed formula.

In 1985 the problem that Coca-Cola was experiencing was that they suffered from a severe case of corporate amnesia. Coca-Cola forget what makes Coke, Coke.  The same thing happens in the Church all the time.

Read the rest of this post at

Photo Credit:

What’s In it For Me?

Whats in it

There is one question that has the potential to bring more harm to our relationships than any other.

“What’s in it for me?”  Without even thinking, our natural bent is so often apt to ask this question. We are constantly looking out for our own benefit.  Perhaps you’ve experienced a conflict in your home or with a coworker or classmate; how would that conflict be different if nobody asked, “What’s in it for me?”

[Read more…]