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…

Sermon: Growing in Wisdom

They found him…sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions…And Jesus grew in wisdom.” (Luke 2:46, 52) Jesus was a middle schooler once. Can you imagine that? Popping pimples. Voice cracking. Surging hormones. Changing body. Our stained glass images of a stoic Jesus the Son of God and second person of the…

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…

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….

Disciples as Scribes in the Royal Court

Here’s a snapshot of my current research project I’m finishing up this week. I’m exploring ancient pedagogy and fresh angles on the task of discipleship in the church today.  POTLUCKS & POLITICS I hail from good Lutheran stock from the Midwest (Minnesota) where we shared potlucks (with an endless variety of “hot dishes”) in the…

American Disciples at the Cross – Part 2

“My husband was laid off work over a year ago and has not been able to find a job. I guess unemployment and its financial impact is our current cross to bear.” “Our marriage has been rocky for many years, and I don’t see signs of improvement at the moment. I guess this is our…

American Disciples at the Cross – Part 1

My sermon this past Sunday made a case that the church, by and large, has embraced one cross and avoided the other. The message of the cross must be two-fold: 1) Bowing in humble repentance at the foot of Jesus’ cross where Christ won the victory and where we receive forgiveness of our sins, and…