Preaching or Teaching?

“What is this babbler trying to say?”(Acts 17:18) “In public he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them” (Mark 4:34). “Let your house be a gathering place for sages; And wallow in the dust of their feet; and drink in their words with…

Jesus As LifeCoach

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and puts it into practice is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Matthew 7:24 Dallas Willard wrote relentlessly urging Christians to place real, rugged apprenticeship to Jesus back at the center of Christian faith and the church’s task.  The problem, Willard says, is that “The…

On Thanking Vets & Martyrs

This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King, when the church celebrates Christ’s universal lordship and anticipates the coming reign of the Prince of Peace. I share the following reflection as a gentle reminder of where our ultimate citizenship lies. -JB The tread on my tires had run low, so I was sitting at…

Political Discipleship in the Christian Colony

This is an excerpt from a much longer essay I wrote called “Royal Scribes in the King’s Court: Ancient Education & Christian Discipleship.” Enjoy! I hail from good Lutheran stock from the Midwest (Minnesota) where we shared potlucks (with an endless variety of “hot dishes”) in the church basement, and Bible studies in the Fireside…

When the Waters Stir

I love the story in the Gospel of John (chapter 5) where tired and sick people used to sit at the pool in the Temple, waiting for an angel to come down and “stir the waters” to bring healing qualities to the water. Sadly, in the story, a man who had been invalid for 38…

Discipleship Through the Seasons of Life

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven” (Eccl. 3:1). When we answer the call to follow Jesus and get swept up into the new life of the Kingdom, we should surrender all to God. Jesus wants all of us, not just a small, convenient corner of our life….

Everything IN the Lord

“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare…. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me….

It’s a Long Slow Process

“Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made” (Phil 3:16). Paul is first and foremost a pastor.  Every pastor must grasp one simple but crucial truth of…