Sometimes we wonder how certain people are gifted with greater opportunities to showcase their talents or contribute to a cause or increase their influence. How did someone pick up their work? How did they get connected, recognized, and known? Why are they being asked to step forward and use their skills in growing ways? There’s … More Do Your Best Work in Private
American culture is obsessed with dropping the mic. YouTube is overrun with videos of Shapiro or Colbert or Peterson “destroying” or “embarrassing” or “shutting down” some allegedly outwitted opponent. We love the idea of leaving an adversary speechless, their intellectual sails in tatters, the foundations of their confidence shaken and (we like to think) irrecoverable. If … More Four Ways to Drop the Mic
Fifty years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Fifty years later, the church in America is still grappling with the systemic aftereffects of multigenerational racism. The things I’ve seen and heard and experienced as a husband and father in a multiracial … More A Time Such as This: MLK and the Future of the Church
I don’t know what day it will be for you. No one does. But there’s coming a day—it might even be today—when you’ll feel like giving up. I’m not talking about a momentary feeling, a hazy sense of discouragement, a wisp of doubt and trepidation. I’m talking about full-blown disillusion—the wholesale evaporation of hope. I … More Don’t Give Up
I grew up singing the best old hymns of the faith. We sang them so consistently that their lyrics and melodies carved deep ruts in my memory. I couldn’t appreciate their doctrinal strength or poetic beauty as a child or a teenager, but now they resonate at a far deeper level. Now I can understand … More Be Still, My Soul
Last night was Vision Night at BridgePoint Bible Church. After singing “Amazing Grace” a cappella and hearing a stirring introduction from our Community Life Pastor, I was up. About 250 people were there to seek God’s leading for the future of our church. Earlier in the day, at lunch, I had put my head in my hands … More Vision Impossible
Outrage. Fear. Confusion. Anger. Nostalgia. Withdrawal. Many of the ways we Christians respond to opposition are far from ideal. Peter knew what it was like to face opposition, to lash out in anger or draw back in fear, to be restored in love, and then to step out boldly with gospel courage. It took him years to learn, … More Look to the East: 10 Christian Responses to Opposition
Social media didn’t exist when the book of Proverbs was first published. But folly and wisdom did. Here are twelve proverbs, reformatted for our social media age. 1. Joining a stranger’s Facebook argument is like grabbing a stray dog by the ears (26:17). 2. Where there are many comments, sin is unavoidable, but he who restrains his … More 12 Proverbs about Social Media
In my former life as a professor, I once spent a week grading 68 undergraduate papers, each 8–10 pages long. In the process, I noticed enough trends that I decided to throw together a series of writing tips. The number came to 25. I was focused on academic writing, but most of the principles are … More 25 Tips on Writing
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