Learning my lines . . .
. . . discovering what it means to follow Jesus, seeing my story swept up into his . . .

Blog

Willow Creek. . . Be Soberly Reminded. . .

There are lessons to be learned here. This is not a time to simply shake our heads in disapproval. Disapproval is certainly warranted and necessary. But disapproval must be cloaked in a healthy and realistic understanding that, yes, there but for the grace of God go I. Nobody, I believe, sets out to pursue the... more »

Friday Fodder. . . An Old Word To The Young. . .

Someone once wisely told me that “leaders are readers and readers are leaders.” I believe it. The wisest and most effective leaders I know are women and men who read regularly, passionately, and widely. In this age filled with technological distraction, it’s especially important that parents, pastors, and youth workers are unplugging and reading. .... more »

Pornography And Kids. . .

One of the most difficult and humbling things I get to do is talk to kids about the cultural scourge of pornography. That’s what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning with a group of 300 kids at a camp in Massachusetts. For several days now I’ve been asking the Lord to give me knowledge, words, wisdom,... more »

Friday Fodder. . . I Love You Enough To Tell You The Truth. . .

One of the most difficult aspects of life in the Body of Christ. . . yet one of the most necessary for our flourishing. . . is loving confrontation. We all need it. When I am derailed or on a quick path to derailment, I need people who love me enough to call me out... more »

Friday Fodder. . . Something To Think About. . .

My head tends to be a jumble of stuff. It’s a changing mixture that combines things I’ve read, seen, and heard in a mix that I continually pray prompts thinking, being, and ministering in ways that bring glory to God and result in Kingdom advancement. In an effort to not only sort out what’s in... more »

Mike Trout, Youth Ministry, And The Marketing Of Self. . . .

Televised sports found its way onto my agenda last night, with me engaging in a flip-fest between the MLB All-Star Game, the Tour De France, and Cornhole (yes. . . Cornhole! . . . televised now as a sport on ESPN!). While tuned to the MLB All-Star Game I saw the Angels’ Mike Trout hit... more »

A Letter to Senior Pastors. . . .

Dear Pastor, I’ve asked your youthworker and your students’ parents to forward this letter on to you. It’s about the kids in your congregation and the powerful role that you play as their pastor in their spiritual nurture. I know that you’ve got teenagers sitting in your congregation every week. From your vantage point up... more »

Friday Fodder. . . Something To Think About. . .

My head tends to be a jumble of stuff. It’s a changing mixture that combines things I’ve read, seen, and heard in a mix that I continually pray prompts thinking, being, and ministering in ways that bring glory to God and result in Kingdom advancement. In an effort to not only sort out what’s in... more »

Teens and Anxiety. . . Some Helpful Words. . .

Ever feel like this? . . . Apparently anxiety was a problem way back when Time Magazine ran this cover in 1961. The covered featured the now-familiar Edvard Munch painting known as “The Scream.” Interestingly enough, Munch painted this way back in 1893. I guess that proves that paralyzing and scream-inducing anxiety has been around... more »

Friday Fodder. . . Something To Ponder. . .

My head tends to be a jumble of stuff. It’s a changing mixture that combines things I’ve read, seen, and heard in a mix that I continually pray prompts thinking, being, and ministering in ways that bring glory to God and result in Kingdom advancement. In an effort to not only sort out what’s in... more »

Why Youth Ministry Shouldn’t Be The Greatest Show On Earth. . .

The truth is that I was jealous. I was convinced that there was no way I could compete. Even worse, I believed there was a competition. I was a young youth worker doing ministry in a suburban church during the 1980s, a decade marked by excess and greed. I realize now that I had allowed... more »

Parenting: What Did You Expect?!?

It couldn’t have come fast enough. . . the birth of our first child, that is. Thirty-five years ago we learned that “we” were pregnant. As the anticipation built as fast as my wife’s belly grew, I spent countless nights laying awake and pondering the joy that was to be ours when our daughter would... more »

Chris Pratt. . . I See What You Did There. . .

I’ve watched it several times now. Several of my friends thought enough of it to message it to me. It’s Chris Pratt’s gone-viral acceptance speech upon receiving The Generation Award at the MTV Movie and TV Awards the other night. Pratt took the occasion to speak “Nine Rules From Chris Pratt” to the next generation.... more »

Marriage Matters. . .

In her book Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcey shares how one poll found that almost half of all millennials have given up the hope and perhaps even the desire for a monogamous relationship. Pearcey writes, “The hookup culture is unraveling the social fabric. It produces isolated, alienated adults who come together temporarily for physiological release.... more »

Grace, Truth, And Tensions. . .

How do we balance it out? How can we maintain that tender balance between grace and truth that marked the life and ministry of our Savior, and must mark His bride, the Church? I’ve been attempting to navigate that tender nexus over the last few days in the midst of making statements, receiving feedback (positive and... more »

Miss America. . . Finally. . . .

No more bathing suits for Miss America. That news broke yesterday as fourteen of us are in the midst of spending two weeks together talking about the intersection of faith and culture. Monday was the first day of this residency with our Doctor of Ministry in Ministry to the Emerging Generations students at Gordon-Conwell Seminary.... more »

“13 Reasons Why” . . . More Thoughts And Helps. . . .

I’m still thinking about what I saw and heard during my head-spin-inducing binge-watch of season 2 of “13 Reasons Why.” I had my handy notebook at my side and scribbled all over the place as the dialogue on the screen, both in conversation and narration, unfolded. Yesterday as we recorded an episode of our Youth... more »

Ireland, Abortion, and Talking With Our Kids. . .

It rattled me. It was a punch in the gut. When U2 voiced their opposition to Ireland’s ban on abortion and related support for the referendum to overturn the abortion ban, I was distressed. A band known for integrating their faith into matters of justice had done an about-face that was so discouraging. Their vocal... more »

“13 Reasons Why”. . . Season 2. . . Thoughts Post-Binge-Watch. . .

Watching news footage of kids filing out of the building after a school shooting is gut-wrenching. It leaves us broken, hurting, and realizing that things are not they way they are supposed to be. And then there are the all-too-often (sometimes daily) reports of racial injustice, mental health crises, and a host of other social... more »

School Violence. . . Some Thoughts. . .

This morning’s paper had this headline on the front page: “Many turn to Jesus for ‘hope, healing.’ Texas town worships en masse after 10 die at Santa Fe High School.” The article served up another couple of gut punches as I thought about the reality of parents burying children, friends waking up knowing they will... more »