MainStreet Memories: Over Our Heads

On our anniversary this January, I’m sharing some favorite stories from the early days of planting MainStreet. Enjoy! Preachers make a living with words, and so we’re all too aware of the old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Equally as powerful as a picture is some dramatic participatory  theater or a…

MainStreet Memories: Crown Connection

On the occasion MainStreet’s anniversary this January, I’m sharing some favorite stories I’ve written down for a forthcoming book documenting the MainStreet journey. Enjoy!  In September of 2011 we were preparing for our first monthly preview worship service at the Gillespie Center. I remember that spring looking at our small, tired launch team and saying, “Well,…

Backroads, Buckets & Buffets 3

27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever…

Life Verses 4: Hebrews 4:12

This series is expounding some of the Bible passages that have been most significant in my own faith journey. –JB 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. From my point of view,…

Sages Then & Now: Philo

Most colleges and university programs have favorite professors who sometimes have long waiting lists to get into their most popular classes. When I was an undergrad at Bethel University, one of those classes was “The Life & Teachings of Paul” taught by Dr. Michael Holmes. (The only class in the Bible & Theology department that…

MainStreet Memories: Across the Lake

On the occasion of our 6th anniversary, I want to share some favorite memories from a book I’m working on documenting the MainStreet journey. Enjoy!  Church planting is not for the faint of heart. It is frontline missionary work with a high casualty rate. More church plants fail and than succeed. Many wide-eyed dreamers set…

Sages Then & Now: Ben Sira

I’m in Chicago all week in a classroom full of doctoral students with noses in ancient texts, studying the role of teachers and students, prophets and scribes, literacy and illiteracy in the ancient world. Our course has the somewhat laudatory title: Becoming Doctors of the Church.  I’m sharing some thoughts and insights from my studies for…

Backroads, Buckets & Buffets 2

“Now he had to go through Samaria” (John 4:4). The seriously engaged reader of John will ask many questions of the text. John’s Gospel is many-layered and rich in texture. So, what does he mean when he says Jesus “had to” go through Samaria? To get from Judea to Galilee the fastest, most direct route did indeed…