In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. — Psalm 31:20 Ministry, sadly, can be filled with strife. The thorns of criticism and slander and disunity seem to mark the path of servant leadership. Painful disagreements, thoughtless comments, and … More Shelter from the Strife
I’m 36 years old, and I’m a new pastor. Our congregation has a lot of senior saints who’ve been faithful to Christ and to our church for decades. I want to maximize their wisdom, honor their legacy, and build on the foundation of all who’ve gone before me. But I also want our church to … More Grey Hair on the Front Lines
That thing you just said… would you say that to my face? Would you just drop that link, that GIF, that meme into a personal discussion, like all you need to persuade a fellow adult is a sarcastic five-word comment overlaying a Vin Diesel pic? Would you ever pass by a perfect stranger, overhear their … More Would You Say That to My Face?
Do you still know how to read? Not just clickbait headlines. Not just sensationalist twenty-click articles. Not just the punchy all-caps lines in GIFs and memes. Not just a slew of video titles in the sidebar. Not just piecemeal Facebook arguments. Not just cable listings and Netflix titles. Not just one-line iPhoned emails. Not just … More Do You Still Know How to Read?
There’s a problem that follows on the heels of repeated evil behavior, and that problem is almost as evil as the evil itself: its normalization. As citizens, our ability to restrain or recompense evil is painfully limited. But we can always restrain, or at least slow, its normalization. How? At the very least, we speak. … More Trump, Immigrants, and the Image of God
To all who’ve said goodbye to family, friends, and those they hold most dear… To all who’ve left grandmothers and grandfathers growing old, and nieces and nephews growing up… To all who’ve left churches, and ministries, and small groups, and meaningful roles in the kingdom of God… To all who’ve left jobs and salaries, stable … More To All Who’ve Said Goodbye
On Sunday night at The Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Her rousing speech referenced her mother and Sidney Poitier, Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks, and culminated in a house-raising promise to little girls everywhere that the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements are the dawn of a new world. Thrilled followers immediately called … More What Oprah Told Us About Ourselves
“Average leaders have quotes. Good leaders have a plan. Exceptional leaders have a system.” Thus says coach Urban Meyer in Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life from a Championship Season. Building systems is a vital aspect of leadership. Any team can keep themselves busy banging out individual tasks, but effective processes and systems often separate the … More Three Qualities of an Effective System
I remember the last time I taught Introduction to Biblical Counseling in Rankin 101 on Wednesday, April 26, 2017. I finished the 1-hour 15-minute class, and about a third of the students lined up to say their goodbyes. They knew our family was moving to Houston. Near the end of the line was a senior … More No Small Moments
The person you want to read is the person who’s starving to write. Anyone can string a handful of easy words into a recognizable sentence, like a Scrabble player with no patience. But the sentences you want to read are written by the guy who writes like he always has the impossible Scrabble hand: seven … More Starving to Write
Every day, we’re crawling toward Sunday. Because every Sunday, the Christian church the world over gathers to celebrate the life, death, resurrection, and soon return of Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Scripture and prayer, songs and sermons, confession and supplication, joy and lament, we haul our broken bodies and our heavy souls back to the place … More Crawling to Sunday
There are ways to speak where each subsequent word means less. And there are ways to speak where each subsequent word means more. Society is filled with the former. God would have his people filled with the latter. Which is to say that God would have his people filled with the word of Christ, and … More Each Subsequent Word
The end of November marks six months we’ve been in Houston. Our kids haven’t completed a grade yet, we’re still looking for a house, and I’m laboring to match names and faces at church. But sometimes it feels like we’ve been here ten years. No one could’ve predicted the well-known events that have unfolded in … More Thankful in Houston
He was “all in,” they said. “Larger than life,” they said. “Big Daddy,” his grandkids called him. He leaves behind a loving family and an outsized legacy. His name was Ralph Watts. He was a member of our church, and his funeral was Monday. Ralph Watts graduated to glory at 96 years of age. He … More All In: The Legacy of Ralph Lee Watts (1921-2017)
The safest place to be is at the center of God’s calling, no matter how difficult or dangerous. The most dangerous place to be? Anywhere else. When God calls a man to a vocation, God is not primarily concerned with the things the man himself was concerned about before receiving that call. God is concerned with … More The Calling
Carry us, O sabbath Lord, when sabbath days are awful few. O help us rest, and rest assured, in sabbath’s story, long and true. That seventh day, from heaven’s throne, you looked upon a world made. Your restful satisfaction shone o’er heav’n and earth, in joy surveyed. From Sinai’s thundering mount you gave a law … More Carry Us to Sabbath