One-Trick-Pony People

One-Trick-Pony People

Martin Luther was a 16th century German cowboy with a one-trick pony called "Gospel." Utterly obsessed with the subject, this firebrand monk once wrote that “the truth of the Gospel is the principal article of all Christian doctrine . . . Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” If you went to dinner with this guy, you could depend on coming away with a greater sense of why Jesus matters.

Ten Reasons I Love CrossWalk

Ten Reasons I Love CrossWalk

Greetings from the campus of Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where my husband and I, along with a staff team of about 25 young (and some old) adults, have moved into the dorm apartments that will be our home for the next week. We’re here for CrossWalk, and we must really love it, because many of us have been coming back year after year for almost twenty years now.

Absolute Certainty

Absolute Certainty

Being a Christian in today’s cultural context takes courage and commitment. When we are talking with friends, relatives and neighbors about something as personal as what will happen to them after they die, it can sound strange and offensive to them that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

But it will help us hold firm to our convictions if we remember that each of us frequently trusts other people to have absolute certainty about life-or-death situations.

Staging Life

Staging Life

I have loved photography since I was a teenager. I’ve enjoyed taking photos of nature, quirky items, events, friends and ministry.

There was a time when taking a group photo mean everyone would line up by height or standing next to their friends. It wasn’t unusual for someone to have their eyes closed or be looking the other way. And there were plenty of people who didn’t want their photo taken, so they would hide or cover their face.

Why Children's Music Matters

Why Children's Music Matters

The words of a song can influence you. Lyrics can shape you and mold the way you look at the world. They can also teach. The message gets buried deep down inside of us, and I think God purposefully designed music to be that way. And like everything in this word that teaches, music will either teach something that brings glory to God or it will teach something that doesn’t.

Avoiding Pastoral Burnout

Avoiding Pastoral Burnout

Ministry is difficult. Those of us who are pastors understand this. We have the responsibility of shepherding God’s people and live with the burden that one day we will stand before God and give an account of how we have stewarded this blessing (Heb. 13:17).

Consider this statistic provided by Pastoral Care, Inc. They reported that only one out of ten pastors will actually retire as a pastor. Now, this may not describe you, your network of friends or your context, but one thing is true: pastoral ministry is difficult and, if we’re not careful, we can burn out.

Saul's Lament, John's Delight

Saul's Lament, John's Delight

The king groaned and closed his window to shut out the jubilant roars. Responsibility weighed heavy on his shoulders, and now heaps of ingratitude from those people – God's people! – nearly drove him to his knees. Nearly. Here he had been faithfully serving (for the most part) a nation of unruly souls with no one to lean on but the God who seemed bent on taking away his crown.

My "Ethiopian" Experience

My "Ethiopian" Experience

My forehead was hot and a little scratchy. But, that's what normally happens when I wear a Santa Claus hat. I took it off and threw it on the dash of the church minivan as I motioned for two of the teenage guys that I disciple to hop in. We were just leaving our church's Christmas party; it was dark, and they both needed a ride home. As we headed down Cranston Street, the guys talked about the food we’d eaten and the games we’d played. We came to a stoplight. That's when I saw them and knew what I had to do.

Hospital Visits 101

Hospital Visits 101

Last December, while away on a marriage retreat with twelve or so other couples from church we discovered that a new family in our congregation had to call an ambulance to take their three-year-old to the hospital due to breathing difficulty. We knew they had no friends or family in the area, since they had recently moved from another state. It was late, the evening session was about to start, and the hospital was an hour and a half away.