This past week, I felt compelled to change my Sunday sermon and to talk about a serious concern I’ve had as I’ve watched our collective response to the intensifying events of 2020. Based on our congregation’s response to the message, I wanted to share it here as well. This message is not a response to … More A Time to Mourn: Learning to Grieve in 2020
Election Day is November 3. Many millions have already voted, and many more will soon. The church of Christ is an embassy of God’s kingdom, so we are not consumed by elections. But all believers should be faithful citizens of the countries we inhabit on earth, so all believers should care about elections. With that … More How to Vote as a Christian
Dear Church, We all know that over the past three weeks, the constant news about our global pandemic has given way to relentless dialogue about race. These impassioned conversations are happening almost exclusively in online spaces due to our homebound lives and our collective dependence on the endless town hall meeting we call social media. … More Part 2—Dear Church: Can We Talk about Race?
What is a reckoning? A reckoning is “a settling of accounts.” But sometimes, a reckoning is far more—the sudden and brutal arrival of consequences long coming. What we’ve been watching the past two weeks is a reckoning. In recent days, America has caught on fire. The agonizing eight-minute suffocation of George Floyd under the knee … More Part 1—The Reckoning: America, Race, and the Church
Today is Good Friday, the darkest day of Holy Week, a day Christians around the world remember the death of Jesus Christ. In the Christian calendar, the temporary thrill of Palm Sunday has passed and the crescendo of Easter is still to come. Today, only death and darkness. The Christian faith is clear about why … More Good Friday, the Virus, and the Curse
It’s now been several weeks since most churches have gathered in person. The last Sunday our church met was March 8, almost a full month ago. Like many states and cities around the country, our local “Stay Home” regulations distinguish between “essential” and “non-essential” services. In many places now, you can buy groceries and take … More Is the Church an “Essential Service”?
Our Father in heaven, We come to you this morning weighed down. Our hearts are so heavy and so full. We can’t begin to carry all that you’ve laid upon us. We have too much to be grateful for. We are too rich, too loved, too protected. You are too good, too kind, too near. … More A Prayer of Thanksgiving
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7). I’m thankful that I feel vulnerable, which is reality. I’m thankful that I … More 100 Things I’m Thankful For
Our Father in heaven, We do not come to you lightly today. Our world is on its knees before you. You are holy, and the nations are like a drop in a bucket. We recognize anew the frailty of our bodies, our lungs, our governments, our economies. We confess that we need you. Father, we … More Lord, Have Mercy: A Prayer for Our Time
Have you stopped and listened to a Christian hymn or worship song recently? Did it sound any different? Richer? Fuller? Sweeter? As we all look into an uncertain future together, wise Christians will keep turning to truth-filled music to vent our fears and strengthen our faith and renew our hearts with the faithfulness of God. … More The Sweetening of All Our Songs
I still remember when it caught me. Hurricane Harvey had devastated our city in August 2017, it was now October, and I’d been working around the clock for six weeks. Exhaustion just ran me down. I had sprinted into a marathon. Many leaders are doing the same thing right now as a worldwide disruption demands … More Sprinting into a Marathon: Leaders, Pace Yourselves
We’re all trying to make timely decisions and communicate clearly during the COVID-19 disruption. Here’s what our church is doing. … More Our Church's Coronavirus Decision
Yesterday our church’s worship service was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions. We’ve also cancelled all activities this week except our in-home small groups. We want to honor our leading authorities and join our society in minimizing health risks for the most vulnerable among us. If you know our church’s history, you know this isn’t our … More Christian Reflections on the COVID-19 Crisis
Sometimes a gift grows on you. Several years ago, after I completed a dissertation on the Psalms, a friend gave me a small hardback copy of the Psalter. It wasn’t fancy or expensive. But over the years, it’s become one of the best gifts I’ve ever received—a book for prayer more than reading—because now, more than … More 5 Reasons Pastors Need the Psalms
I offered this prayer on Sunday during our church’s annual Missions Week. Our Father in heaven, We come to you this morning in the name of Jesus. Our hearts are bowed because you are Lord. You rose from the dead, and even now, you reign over your church. So, we’re coming to ask you to … More A Prayer for the Nations
The church of Jesus Christ hosts the only repository of pure truth that exists in our world. God’s Word is ours, the Spirit of Christ resides in us, and the knowledge of God illumines our hearts and minds. We know the truth, and the truth has set us free. Why then is the church the … More Open Church