No recording

We don’t always get knocks on the door during church finance meetings, but when we do I’m quick to answer.  I figure I’ll leave all the finance fun to everyone else.

Last night was one of those nights.  I answered the knock and the woman at the door said she lived behind our church.  Last night someone brazenly walked up to their back porch and stole their generator.  She and her husband, who stood at the foot of the steps, were glad to notice our church has security cameras.

Long story short, unfortunately, our cameras hadn’t been recording.


Yes, we looked like a place to find help, but it was superficial.

I’m hopeful our churches are filled with people who pray for others as much as they say they do.  You know what I mean.  Someone posts a situation they’re facing or something they’re going through.  Almost immediately someone else responds with, “Praying.”

At our church, we give people a time to voice their prayers during our time of worship, and tell the rest of the church to continue to pray for them.  Have you ever told someone, “I’ll pray for you”?

Lord, in your mercy, please help us be praying as much as we say we do.

If not, we’re an empty promise to people who have trusted us with the concerns of their life. We’re all security camera and no recording.  We say we’ll something, but never get around to doing it.  I wonder if the Bible has anything to say about that.

Stay blessed…john

Am I doing my job?

I try not to oversimplify complicated situations.  It’s typically a disingenuous and lazy thing to do.

So, to clarify, this post is a bit of an oversimplification of my perspective on church ministry.  But it happens to work for me this time.  Forgive my inconsistency.



Understand that tweet , and you understand part of what makes this pastor (me) tick.  You could easily push back on the simplicity of his tweet–pleasing an entire congregation can actually be extremely difficult–but that would be missing the point.

I’ve endured countless eye rolls, under-the-breath comments and complaints.  Maybe they’re signs I’m doing some of my job correctly.

Stay blessed…john


I want to write a devotional

When I first began to take my faith seriously, I used The UpperRoom a lot.  I would read the day’s devotional, and I had older copies that I would read through constantly.  The devotional helped me think about everyday life as being holy, and to look out for the sacred around me.

After a while, I had a goal–not quite a dream or an aspiration or a longing.

The goal was to write an UpperRoom devotional.  If it was good enough I might even get my picture printed in the month’s edition.

I wanted to because I noticed that my faith was deepening and God was teaching me things I was able to share with others.

Well, I never got a devotional published; I never submitted any, which is wrong because I had a nice bio pic.  No, those devotionals turned into Sunday school illustrations, youth talks, sermon points and testimonies.  Then I started blogging.  Then I became a pastor.

See?  God has the ability to take what you want to do and use it for what you need to be doing.

If it’s God’s goal or God’s dream, keep at it.  You’ll find direction as you keep seeking God’s will.

Stay blessed…john

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