Beneath, behind & beyond

Most people who have ever heard me preach can tell that I love to preach.  Most people don’t know, however, that I love to teach even more.

Yes, the two are related, but preaching is limited in its function.

There’s an interaction when you teach that you cannot have when you preach, at least the way our preaching has developed.  When most people listen to me preach, that’s what they do, listen.  Some people barely do that :)  There is little room to engage, ask questions and unpack ideas further.

When I’m teaching, I get a chance to do all that, and more.  In fact, I plan for that to happen every time I teach.

Teaching gives me a chance to do what this video does.

++If you’re reading by email or news reader, click here to watch The True Story Of Andy’s Dad & Woody’s Origin.++

Most Toy Story enthusiasts  have wondered about Andy’s family and where Woody came from.  What I hope you saw from the video is that there’s a story behind the story.

And that’s exactly what I love about teaching the Bible and faith.  I get to show people the story that lies beneath, behind and beyond the story they see.  That’s what I want people to experience from Bible study.  That’s what Bible study, Sunday school teachers and class leaders should prepare to do when they teach.

So, what parts of the Bible story do you have questions about?

Stay blessed…john

We’re missing one word

A shooting happened at a softball field yesterday.  This morning, between weather reports and nail polish reviews, there is a renewed call for unity.  Renewed?  Yes, because we’ve been down this road before.  Tragedy brings us together.  Even if superficially.

But I get tired of superficiality.  I know many of you do as well.

With all the news reports I’ve seen over the years about what we need to do to create unity and bring peace to the political smutch we  have created, I don’t know that I’ve heard the one word we need the most to move forward.

Unity?  We’re already hearing that…again.

New course?  Too easy.

Honesty? That would be nice.

Trust?  That’s important.

We’re still missing what might be the most important word yet.

I watched the news this morning and this was my first thought:

There’s a call for unity
that has made the news today.
This call isn’t new to many.

Pleading, preaching & praying,
they’ve told us what to expect
when we just want to be right.

i won’t believe we’re ready
to change the headlines each day
until we’re ready to ask

forgiveness from each other

Do you see the one word we’re missing?

Stay blessed…john


We found out this weekend that Adam West passed away.  Of course, he is Batman.  The Batman.

The fun, calm and original Batman.

My favorite part of the original Batman series was the fight scene.  I’m not sure if it was every week, but watching Batman take care of the goofy villains was fun to watch.  And I can’t explain why, but my favorite part of a fight scenes was the Bat-fight words.

And my favorite Bat-fight word was SOCK.

Again, I’m not sure why.  I suppose it just felt like a good shot from the hero.  SOCK wasn’t one of the regular Bat-words.  You had to watch for it, and I did.  It was always satisfying when Batman finally landed one!

FastCompany combined all the Bat-fight words in one GIF.

What does all that mean for ministry? For faith?

I don’t know.   Sometimes it’s okay just to enjoy things.  Enjoy life.  There’s something Ecclesiastes-like about that.


Stay blessed…john


Another Word Week of June 5, 2017

I was Annual Conference this week getting inspired and prepared for ministry.  Hopefully, some of our daily messages help you to do the same!

A New Day!

Too much time is given to blaming the past rather than learning from it (Isaiah 43:18). Today is a new day!
Real People of the Bible
See the real people of the Bible & you’ll see the Bible is for real people trying to live faithfully (Joshua 1:8). May God’s word bring life to you!

No Good Excuse

There is never a good excuse for not doing the right thing (James 4:17).

Give In or Live In

Don’t give in to your fears. Live into your hope (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Right Time or God’s Time?

Don’t worry if it’s the right time. Set your mind on whether it’s God’s time (Genesis 18:14). If it’s God’s time, it’ll be right!


Stay blessed…john

What’s new

By the way, sometimes it’s okay to start change small.

Doing something completely new can be daunting.  It can be scary.  Well, for most people.  There are those among us that love to blaze the trails; we call them trailblazers–we’re so creative.

For most of us, however, trying anything new is feels like feeding Gizmo after midnight.

But if you’re not willing to move to the new, you’re bound to get held back.  So, instead of fretting about having to do something new, sometimes it’s good to splash a little new into the old you’re already doing.  Yes, new wine in old wine skins is foolish.  But that’s not what we’re talking about.

Jesus knew that new mixed with an old mindset is useless, even destructive.

I’m willing to assume you want the best for your church, your family or for whatever you’re thinking about.  If that’s true, add a little new here then a little new there.  Pretty soon you’ll look back and realize you’ve done more than you realize.  As a reminder, you don’t always have to start completely new. It’s good to sprinkle in new into what you’re already doing.


Stay blessed…john