Tie a tie

The professionalization of ministry will blind you to the fact that what happens in this video is part of the real, every day life ministry scripture describes.  It’s about taking time to care for someone else, even if that means something as small and quick as tying someone’s tie for them.

Question: Outside of church activities and events, what does your faith in Christ compel you to do for other people?  I can’t wait to hear the ways you put your faith into action.

Stay blessed…john


My Reading List

I’ve come a long way with reading.  Here’s how far: 0 books per year (unless it was required for a class) to an average of 2 books per month.

As a pastor, I offer a yearly report of my reading within my Continuing Education Report.  That usually means I keep track of the books I read from November to November.

Here’s what I’ve read this last year:

Launching a Leadership Revolution: Mastering the Five Levels of Influence
By Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward

Tattoos on the Heart
By Gregory Boyle

Ministry in the Digital Age
By David T. Bourgeois

The Presence Based Church
By Terry Teykl

A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation
By Naim Ateek

Mother Tongue
By Leonard Sweet

Judas: The Definitive Collection of Gospels and Legends About the Infamous Apostle of Jesus
By Marvin Meyer

The Bad Habits of Jesus
By Leonard Sweet

The Volunteer Revolution
By Bill Hybels

Sticky Church
By Larry Osborne

Finding Our Way Again
By Brian McClaren

Reading John For Dear Life
By Jaime Clark-Soles

Worship in the Early Church
By Ralph P. Martin

America’s Prophet
By Bruce Feiler

Leadership and Liberty
By Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward

Sabbatical Journey
By Henri J.M. Nouwen

The Preaching Life
By Barbara Brown Taylor

Never Split the Difference
By Chris Voss

Never Eat Alone
By Keith Ferrazi

Forgotten God
By Francis Chan

What to Expect When No One’s Expecting
By Jonathan V. Last

Growing Young
By Kara Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin

The Celtic Way of Evangelism
By George G. Hunter III

I spend a lot of time at Half Price Books and the public library, and I tend to read whatever someone asks me to read.

I’m already chipping away at three books to add to next year’s list.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about church history.  So, I think I’m going to spend a good amount of time reading up on that subject.

What are you reading?

Stay blessed…john

The scariest costume ever

My idea for the scariest Halloween costume came to me this morning. Yes, on Halloween day. Have I ever told you I’m a procrastinator?

It won’t cost you much money. You’ll be dressed in no time. In fact, where whatever you want. Dress up. Dress down. Wear your work clothes. Dress like a minion (There’s a joke in there somewhere). It doesn’t matter.

Next, crab a pile of index cards. Write the word “DARN” on each of them. DARN as opposed to D**N just in case the children are reading. Then give a card to anyone you meet.

“Who are you?” they’ll ask. And you’ll say, “I’m someone who gives a darn.”

That’s the scariest thing for a selfish world! Can you imagine if there were more people who walked the earth that did give a darn. Perhaps I should clarify. Give a darn about important things.

I often return to Galatians 6:2. It reads:

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

When I give a darn about you, I’ll bear your burdens with you. When I give a darn about abused children, I’ll bear that burden with them. Drug addicts? Homeless families? Dropouts? Criminals? Those thinking of suicide? Divorced families? When I give a darn, I’ll find ways to bear their burdens with them, and, thus, fulfill the law of Christ.

Hopefully, it won’t just be a costume.

Stay blessed…john

Playing church

Playing Church

When you play church
you stop playing

Then what happens
to the holy church
you were playing

Stay blessed…john

He better be joking

One of my comments in this weekend’s message, Interesting Places to Worship, was that we, as God’s people, should stop going to church.

We considered the story from Daniel 3 of Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego.  You may remember that the three young men were threatened by King Nebuchadnezzar because they did not bow down and worship his over-sized golden statue.  There defense was no defense at all.  They just weren’t going to worship anyone or anything other than God.

You’ve probably seen this before: Stop going to church. Start being the church.  I agree with that, but my take was a little different. 

Essentially, going to church has become the end all of ministry.  We’re so desperate just to get people to go to church.   We’re even comfortable just going to church ourselves.

And there you have it.

The 3 young men understood what their worship was, and we need to as well.  So, instead of going to church, let’s learn how to stand in awe of God.  Stop inviting people to go to church with you.  Invite them to experience the grace and love of God.

I didn’t mean to preach to you again, but I wanted to make sure you understood what I meant when I said we should stop going to church.

There was one young soul that may have needed a bit more time to think about what I meant.  When I first said we should stop going to church, a young girl in our congregation raised her head in disbelief.  She scowled and declared, “He better be joking.  We’re supposed to go to church.”


Thankfully, we’ll have more time to continue to train her in the way she should go.

Oh, and if a visual reminder of the story of Daniel 3 is helpful, how about this one:
++If you’re reading by email or news reader, click here to watch.++

Stay blessed…john