Worthwhile: May 24, 2019

Long weekend ahead. Which means either you will have more time for delighting in great reading or you will be busy with burgers and hotdogs on the grill. Either way, breathe deep, find some people you like, and enjoy the gifts we have been given.

Four nuggets of good if you missed them earlier in the week. Grace, devices, discipleship and a place for all of us. Cheers!


First up, Sam Storms in a surprisingly short post for him, helps us think through ways we don’t fully embrace or understand the grace of God. It is a helpful list to think through and not meant as a guilt trip but an invitation into the true grace of Jesus.

I even found myself on the list, needing more embrace and understanding of grace. Help Lord!

Check the list for yourself, find grace and be free!


Are you reading this on your phone? Well, don’t put it down just yet… John Thomas has a review of Competing Spectacles on Christianity Today. Tony Reinke wrote the book encouraging discipline in our media age and seeing Christ as our treasure.

If you are hesitant to tackle the whole thing perhaps the review is a good place to start and be stirred to something less screen driven.

When we seek out glory in the passing spectacles of this world rather than in Christ, the culprit isn’t an ever-expanding buffet of shallow entertainments; our own sinful hearts are to blame. Adam and Eve didn’t have an endless selection of forbidden fruits tempting them to reject their Maker; they only needed one. And our spectacle-craving eyes have been looking elsewhere ever since.

Read the review, think it through, look to Jesus.


Next up, how should we approach the church, as consumers or as disciples? Matt Chandler punches our expectations in the face and calls for an end of consumeristic Christianity. Don’t go to church to be entertained or coddled, go to be equipped for ministry!

This is an important perspective from a large church pastor and it is helpful for all believers as we envision the future of the church in increasingly more hostile environments. The gimmicks won’t work, mission will.

Faithwire essentially unpacks Chandler’s sermon, which you can also watch. It is worth hearing and strategizing through. Check it for yourself.


Coming in last this week, among the least… is an encounter with neighbors we don’t always expect. Earlier this week I tweeted that I wanted to be a pastor for those that eat at McDonald’s and drink cheap coffee wherever they find it. Mostly because I want to pastor myself!

We live in a far too stylized world and the mess of artisan hipness has a stranglehold on the church. But it is the church that is the remedy to the mess.

David Zahl shares stories from Chris Arnade’s upcoming book chronicling his journey to highlight the back bench and back roads of America.

But he went further than mere surprise. “Soon I saw my atheism for what it is: an intellectual belief most accessible to those who have done well.” Woah! I couldn’t believe his guts then, and I can’t believe them now. In a world in which ‘de-conversion’ narratives seem to grow sexier with each passing day (just peruse latest issue of the New Yorker if you don’t, er, believe me), no one wants to surface the privilege component—to say nothing of social class. But it’s getting harder and harder to ignore.

How can we be more accepting and welcoming of the least? How can we recognize the effort to keep up the facade isn’t worth it? Take up and read. Be encouraged.


That’s it folks. Have a splendid weekend.

Worthwhile: May 17, 2019

Friyay! The weekend is upon us and the season we enjoy called summer is quickly approaching. School graduations, last days, and Memorial Day are near… but we press on.

This week a worldly perspective of masculinity, mid-life crisis, and the family feel of a small church. Get some.


From the New York Times magazine last week is this story of a cultural perspective of masculinity. While the conclusions, or rather assumptions, the author presents are probably off, the storytelling is engaging.

We have a long way to go in gaining healthy views on masculinity but a refusal of ownership for one’s life is not a starting point. Be a man of your word, love those around you, care for your children.


Next up, I am forty-one and a half at this very moment. That is the same age as John Piper as he suffered what we might call a mid-life crisis. I don’t have any crisis, I won’t buy a motorcycle, quit my job, or leave my wife, but I did resonate with some of the feelings Pastor John shares.

Unfulfilled dreams, missed opportunities. There is some good perspective here. And there is much the Lord will use in this season of life if you find yourself in it. Read on.


Lastly some good news for small churches, if people are engaged. Smaller organizations usually mean a higher percentage of engagement. For a church that means the smaller we are the more likely everyone will have a role and be part of the ministry.

It is true and as my pastoral progression has gone from large church to small church I have seen the personal discipleship fruit of such a situation. The key is, engage. Wherever you are plug in and serve. Open your life to others and walk this Christian journey together. Read more from Karl Vaters.

And if you live in San Diego and are looking for a small church to do that with, I know one!

The Smile of the Father

My son, a six-year-old with more energy than I ever remember having, did something pretty normal today. But I noticed keenly the way it made me feel. It brought a smile to my face and I wonder if that is how it is as we stand before God and try to squeeze out a life.

He had finished his lunch and was immersed in one of his favorite shows, “Brick by brick” which is a series where you simply watch a guy build lego sets. But then his watching turned into creating. He asked his mom to video him, or at least set it up, and the next thing I heard was “I am Ewen and today we are going to build a lego 100…”

On his own, desiring to bring to life his set of legos and somehow inspire others by filming it. Now, I doubt anyone will ever see the video. But his effort brought a smile to my face. There is something about witnessing your child come into his own, to recreate and create from scratch that stirs your affections, warms your heart, makes you feel human.

This, as meaningful as it is to me as a father, is just a glimpse in the joy the ultimate Father has when those he created live for what he has called us. In fact, in Christ, the smile of the Father is always on you. The smile of an unexplainable joy. The smile of assurance. The smile of correction and care. Always meant to comfort, spur on and draw home his children.

From my smile to his. What a life it is we get to live… Let’s keep going.

Worthwhile: May 10, 2019

What’s up. We have arrived at another Friday. There has been another school shooting in Colorado. Too many. Too often.

Before you escape to the weekend why not check out some worthwhile bits. A Second Mountain, Assessing and obsessing, and cleaning up some sermons by broadening them.

Just ahead of launching into these, did you guess the correct name of prince Archie? Me neither. I thought it would be Darius. Onto what is worthwhile.


David Brooks is a great writer and wrestler with our current culture on the edge of faith. he has a new book that is on my Kindle and receiving accolades from all quarters. The Second Mountain is a struggle against self-actualization and seeking spiritual health.

The author spoke with Collin Hansen at the Gospel Coalition and you might gain something from the 29 minute conversation on finding something deeper. Reconnecting. For those in the valley, finding the mountain. Check it out.


Maybe we can be broken open…

Toward the opening goal, have you heard about enneagram? A way of self understanding that gives you warning signs for unhealthy perspectives. Why not know more about yourself and give it all over to Jesus?!

You can take an assessment here.


Finally comes an article that I saved and which was forwarded by a friend. Maybe I need to pay attention! 4 Ways Bad Biblical Theology Warps Sermons by Sam Emadi.

He warns against a removal of moral lessons in Scripture in pursuit of a gospel-centric biblical theology.

You don’t have to be hesitant, it is a careful and worthwhile article especially for those that preach.

Preaching that only employs biblical characters as moral exemplars is unbiblical. But preaching that fails to draw any moral implications from the lives of biblical characters is equally unbiblical.

Give it a read.


Have a great weekend. Hug the people you love and learn to love those you don’t.