Blog (Page 3)

Blog (Page 3)

2 Books on Prayer & Writing

In his two highly readable books “The Contemplative Writer: loving God through Christian spirituality, meditation, daily prayer and writing” and “Eat, Write, Grow: Cultivating prayer and writing together” writer Ed Cyzewski offers loads of advice, is very pastoral and encouraging, and delves into intersections of life that many Christians will find familiar. I recently…

Applesauce and the #s of Ministry

Yesterday I was making some apple sauce. I mean I was making it good and plenty. I was peeling and coring and boiling and trying not to spill as I poured it into jars. I was so engaged in it. A kid was there helping me, counting apples, moving apples around. I was excited. There might as well have been two kids making apple sauce (except, of course, we actually succeeded…

You Should Read this Book Monthly?!?

While being on paternity leave I managed to sneak in the reading of a few books. I will share about several of them in the next few weeks and months, but the first one I want to write about is Timothy Keller’s little 46 pager The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness (kindle version is only $1.99). I want to start with it because I am literally going to read it once a month until…

Parental Leave: a Time to Serve

My office is all packed up, the bookcase is bare, I am not leaving the church but while I am away on a 10 week parental leave a new office is being built and our new music director is taking over my current space. Things are changing rapidly around St. Andrew’s Duncan and around my house. 10 weeks with four little boys (and summer vacation in full swing no less!) and a…

Mass Shootings and an Old Promise

You may or may not know that I have two boys 6 and 3 and another due in a month, and a foster child (age 6) in my house. What sort of world are we making for the children, we being us, the adults? I am as biased and confused and frustrated as anyone about the goings on in the world today, the number of news stories I struggle to explain to the boys makes me feel small,…

4 Keys to a Vital Congregation

People seem to dig the list when it comes to blogs and ministers and lay folks alike seem concerned about the decline of the church and wary of the future. More important all of us are trying to figure out how not only to lead the church but also how to be the church. Many people have pointed out that these days feel a lot more like the church of the Book of Acts than…

3 Reasons Pastors Struggle With Comments

No one really likes criticism, especially if it’s not constructive, not given in a manner meant to help. We have all received feedback that was meant to demonstrate the intelligence of the one offering the criticism, or meant to tell us about what they value, that contains nothing on which we can build. I want to do my job well, and so do you, whatever you do. I…

I Used to like Writing Sermons

I used to love writing sermons. It was one of my favorite aspects of ministry and one that I very much looked forward to as I traveled my way through seminary. I suppose that’s because I have always loved books—loved ‘em so much I bought a whole bookstore and ran it for a few years—loved ‘em so much I even had a few poems published in some places—this lead me to think I…

Fire Up Your Faith Life

“You may not know how badly you needed silence and solitude until you get to know them.” Quiet time has been among the most important keys to my health in ministry thus far. I begin my day either first thing in the morning, or first thing in the office, with bible reading, reflection, journaling and prayer. I use the SOAP method I wrote about it here. I am always looking…

We Labor Not in Vain

In my currently preferred sport, running, one of the really nice things is the culture of acceptance. If you go to a running event the absolute elites can be there, and you and I can be there too. A recent running magazine issue was dedicated entirely to what it takes to finish last…but to finish. To be in the running community is to receive grace and acceptance,…

Too Many Christian Books

This morning I attended what I imagine is only the first of many school concerts I will attend as my boys grow up and work their way through the schooling system. I was as proud as any parent in the room (every seat was taken) as I sat beside my wife and younger boy Thomas and watched Oliver sing and try to do the actions on time (especially proud that he wasn’t the kid…

Michael Wittmer

Michael Wittmer’s 2015 book asks a question that is dear to my heart as a millennial pastor who grew up middle class with plenty of accouterments: Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life?  I may be a Calvinist but even I still think the answer not only needs to be but is YES. Here’s the thing, I spent a time outside the faith, a time when I snidely looked down on…

A Funny Book on Prayer

I struggle with prayer. I pray a lot, but never as much I would like to. I’m over the concept of guilt at not praying but I haven’t managed the art of prayerfully doing everything I do in a day. It’s something I would really like to learn over the years. And I think it takes years to learn much about prayer and I like to read books, old and new, about prayer. Jared…