Pastors, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized

Christmas through the Eyes of a Child- Wonder and Awe

Our 2011 Advent sermon series is entitled Christmas through the Eyes of a Child. We’re rereading the familiar Christmas story and rediscovering for ourselves the excitement and awe that children experience at Christmastime.

It might surprise you to know that what produced wonder and awe in the first persons to hear the Christmas story was not the virgin birth of Christ. It was something else.

To find out more, listen to my sermon from this past Sunday, “Wonder and Awe.”


At about minute 28 of my sermon, I show a video that went viral a couple of months ago…

Leadership, Pastors, Sermon Illustrations, Uncategorized

Paternity Leave

I’m blessed to have paternity leave as an option through the United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Church offers 8 weeks of paid paternity leave to pastors, but I worked from home for 4 weeks instead of taking all of the 8 weeks off.

I’m enjoying spending time with my son, I’m nearing the end of my grad program, and I’ve been playing guitar quite a bit. My son is growing and changing so quickly that I’m glad I have some additional time with him to watch it happen.

I appreciate being part of a forward-thinking denomination that really does support families instead of just talking about it moralistically, it as many church groups do. I’m hoping that in the near future paid paternity leave will be an option for every dad.

Church Planting, Leadership, Pastors

The Coming Death of Denominations?

George Bullard on the coming death of national denominations…

While its death has been forecasted for years, now, I don’t believe this will be true for the United Methodist Church, that I’m part of. I see signs of hope because there are people who get it, who are working to start new churches.

Don’t get me wrong, 30 years from now the United Methodist Church will look much different than it does currently, after a severe time of pruning. It will be much smaller but thriving again by that time.

So, I’m optimistic that there will be new life, but this is a good warning…

For more of my thoughts on the future church, visit

Leadership, Pastors

Women in Ministry

My grandmother was a “layspeaker” in the United Methodist Church. That meant that when the pastor was away, she gave the sermon. She was also an incredible example to me of an authentic follower of Christ. She was a leader both men and women respected.

An uncle of mine who served as a pastor in a different church told her more than once, beginning in the 1970’s, that she should stop preaching sermons because women were not called by God to preach.

She told me that she struggled with this for years. Sometimes, she would feel guilty for preaching. Other times, she knew that God was working through her. Finally, she came to the place where she accepted the call and didn’t question it anymore, but it was a tough journey.

Supporting women in ministry does not make a person a flaming liberal or radical feminist. My grandmother is now deceased, but I have a wife, a mother, several aunts, a sister, female friends, and maybe a future daughter. I want them to have the same opportunities I have in life.

I also know that the Bible is full of stories of women preaching and leading.

Check out, Christians for Biblical Equality. I’m proud that the seminary I attend, Ashland Theological Seminary, was the first seminary to join CBE.


Adam Hamilton

I’m proud of Adam Hamilton, pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrrection in suburban Kansas City, for speaking at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit this week. COR is now the largest United Methodist Church in America with over 7,000 people in worship attendance every weekend.

Adam will be able to represent the UMC in front of a worldwide audience of church leaders, most of whom probably believe that any denominational church is irrelevant. Adam will get to represent the renewal taking place in the UMC. 

I wrote most of the Wikipedia entry for Adam here:

You can watch excellent video sermons and check out COR at their website:

Pastors, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized

Deliver Us from Evil

I gave a sermon entitled “Deliver Us from Evil” at Stonybrook Church on March 14, 2010. We know that evil things happen all of the time in our world, and all of us face suffering caused by evil (the New Testament authors would call disease and death evil, as well).

The sermon audio was too distored to hear, so I can’t post it. I posted my manuscript and visuals, however, so you can read the sermon and follow along with the visuals. (I write my sermons to be spoken, not read, so my manuscript is not grammatically correct. I write real good-like when I wants too.)

Deliver Us from Evil Sermon Draft 5 Blog

Deliver Us from Evil Draft 5 [Compatibility Mode]

Video 1- Big Bang Theory:

Video 2- Bono speaking at the Presidential Prayer Breakfast (I showed a 2 minute clip of Bono talking about the number of times poverty is mentioned in the Bible about how he learned not to simply ask God to bless what he was doing):

Pastors, Sermons and Sermon Series Ideas, Uncategorized

Not Into Temptation

Listen to the new sermon “Not Into Temptation” at I gave this sermon at Stonybrook on 2.21.10.

I’ve been working on creating narrative sermons after re-reading Eugene Lowry’s The Homiletical Plot and Robert McKee’s guide for movie screenwriters, Story. This sermon, “Not Into Temptation”, is the first narrative sermon I have ever given after being intentional about writing a narrative sermon. I’m working on another one for March entitled “Deliver Us from Evil”, both from Matthew 6v13.