Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Can Every Sermon Be Delivered with Passion?

Some texts are more exciting than others. Some themes resonate more deeply than others. But every biblical sermon must be about God and about human need. If the preacher’s passion is not stirred in delivery, it is because the sermon has failed at one or both of those objectives.

Truth about Christ and truth about the human condition are subjects that cut to the heart of what life is all about. Addressing both through the lens of Scripture is the heart of preaching.

My lack of passion signals a lack of understanding about where theological truth intersects with real life.

When I Take Credit

I always take credit for anything bad when a member of my team was responsible. Ultimately the blame is mine anyway. Why not accept it right up front instead of pointing fingers? The team member needs grace. I can address the situation one-on-one without the help of an angry mob.

The only time I take credit for anything good is if the only one involved was me. It’s not that I duck credit. As the leader I don’t need to claim the glory. Glory filters upward, so if credit is deserved, I eventually get some anyway.

All credit is God’s. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Why I Hate Golf

Too many pastors play it. And I am a pastor.

Golf is a game of excesses. Excessive time, money, space, rules, and humiliation.

Golf shouldn’t make you bleed. I have been the bleeder and the cause of others bleeding.

I am funny enough already. Props are not necessary.

You meet few poor and disenfranchised people while golfing, and I already know my share of wealthy white guys with poor sense of fashion.

I always need more balls…in every sense of the word.

I do not curse.

After 9 years of golf abstinence, I’m being forced to play on Thursday.


Ten Reasons Why I Read Anonymous Notes

1. Curiosity. Those who say they never read them lie, or aren’t able to spot a learning opportunity.

2. Didn’t know it was anonymous until I got to the end.

3. Sensitizes me to stuff I’ve been blind to.

4. Some unsigned notes are compliments.

5. Only half of them are actually about me.

6. Identifies what needs more clarity. If one person misunderstood, someone else did too.

7. A few have contained money.

8. This may be the only truly honest reaction I hear.

9. They may be right.

10. It came from a real person, who is loved by God.

Why Conference Giveaways Make Me Queasy

Go to a conference, and get some swag. Register, and you might win an iPad, golf clubs, flat screen TV.

Most of those kinds of prizes probably come from sponsors happy to promote their company or product. I guess that’s okay. But there are gifts that probably don’t. Thousands of footballs to keep the crowd entertained. Shirts shot out of a cannon. Bicycles as door prizes.

What portion of a conference registration goes to the freebies? Is there a big moral difference between that and a lottery ticket?

I ponder this, and then sign up anyway. Maybe I’ll get lucky!

When the Flag Obscures the Cross

Deep down, most Christians admit nation worship is wrong. Yet many don’t realize they do it. Patriotism gets equated with faith. Freedom’s refreshing breeze gets mistaken for the wind of the Spirit.

As a result, America receives glory belonging to God. “My native country, thee…Thy name I love.” Other commands get ignored, such as “honor the king.” Instead, some who are passionate about their Christian country seem bent on praying abuse upon the king currently in office.

When the state of our nation is condemned with more vigor than the name of Jesus is exalted, we have lost our way. 

How I Failed as a Dad

We have two daughters. One is married and a mom. The other daughter is a senior in High School.

I failed as a dad. I gave far more attention to the church than to my family. I sacrificed for everyone but them, time and again. My “yeses” to others meant “nos” to them.

Still, by God’s grace and with a wonderful wife, I managed to be the best dad ever. Both girls love Jesus, love being PKs, love the church, love me, and are beautiful inside and out.

That doesn’t make my failures right. It just makes God great. 

Why Our Bastardized Version of Church Is Still Amazing

We’ve all bastardized the church. 

Every church and denomination holds on to stuff that isn't rooted in Scripture. Whether it is policy or doctrine or tradition or just the way we do things, we all have practices that fall short of perfection.

Despite that, the church is still amazing: when the gospel breaks the power of drug and porn addiction; relationships reconcile; the weak become strong; racist attitudes change; the proud are humbled; and the dead in sin are raised to new life.

Unless of course, none of that ever happens in your church…then only part of the word fits.