Why, God, Why? Suffering & God’s Glory

When bad things happen in this world, and unjust suffering befalls the innocent, we often jump to the ‘Why’ question first.  The disciples lived in a world where it was popular to believe that disease, birth defects, and other forms of suffering were punishment for sin — either the person suffering or his parents. We…

The Emotionally Real Pastor

Here’s a portion of my latest doctoral essay exploring the power of “Embodied Wisdom.” This section looks at the role of emotional vulnerability in a pastor’s leadership and example. A popular phrase I’m hearing these days is “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I’m a guy who…

QUOTABLES: John Wooden on Integrity

“Being true to ourselves doesn’t make us people of integrity. Charles Manson was true to himself, and as a result, he rightly is spending the rest of his life in prison. Ultimately, being true to our Creator gives us the purest form of integrity.” -JOHN WOODEN  

Five Cultural Narratives

“Do not be conformed to the culture around you…” –Romans 12:2 In a recent sermon, we explored the way Paul’s poem in Colossians 1:15-20 served, in part at least, to subvert and reshape the imaginations of the believers in Colossae who were immersed in the cultural narrative(s) and values of the Roman Empire, i.e., the Pax Romana. …

QUOTABLES: View From The Pulpit

Eugene Peterson captures the thought of preachers as they look out on the congregation each Sunday: “Every Sunday I look across this congregation and wonder, prayerfully, what is going on. I know most of you pretty well. But there is a lot I don’t know. I am here every week with the conviction that this…

Early Christian Worship & Persecution

How did the first Christians gather and worship? We don’t need to guess, or piece a picture together from the sparse comments in the New Testament. We have descriptions from historical sources outside the Bible such as Pliny the Younger, Justin Martyr, Tacitus and Seutonius. Before we read their firsthand accounts, John Gooch gives some…

Lessons from the “Rule” of Benedict

by Pete Scazzero Benedict (480-547 AD) lived during a time when the Roman Empire was disintegrating and eventually founded twelve monasteries near Rome. To guide these monks to live a simple, orderly life around Christ, he wrote “a little rule for beginners” now famously known as the “Rule of Benedict” (RB). This “Rule” became one of the most…

Jonah & Pastoral Vocation (Eugene Peterson)

At least 2 or 3 times in the past several years of pastoring, the following 4 lectures by Eugene Peterson have helped save me from drowning in the sea of vocational ministry. I, like countless other pastors, consider Eugene Peterson to be the Dean of Pastors and a voice of sanity in a culture of…