Worthwhile: June 7, 2019

Did you know that today is national donut day? Go get one!

Travel last week and summer in swing this week. There are still a few worthwhile bits of the internet for you to check out.

Post-Christian cities, praying for your food and graduating with gratitude.


Barna has released its look at the most “post-Christian” cities in the U.S. As Barna says:

To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria (listed below), which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. These factors include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week. 

What is surprising is not that there are post-Christian cities ranking with 45% or higher, but where they are. San Diego is ranked 38th most post-Christian but my hometown of Omaha jumps off the list at 34. The town I did grad school, Toledo, OH is 35…

Check the list and see where your city ranks. Then get to work and tell someone about Jesus!


Also funny to me last week the remark from someone that because a comedian told them they didn’t need to say grace before a meal, they discontinued the practice. Ha.

First, if a comedian is your life coach or source of Christian teaching, go to church (and I realize most pastors try to be comedians). Next, praying before meals, or other adventures for that matter, are about expressing gratitude to God for his gifts, his provision in our lives. If anything we should be praying more, not less.

Jeremy Writebol gives us a good model, “Prayer at the regular intervals of normal, ordinary life fuel our dependence on God.”

“Praying at a meal is a part of pursuing Jesus in all of life. When eating a meal, give thanks for it. The pattern to implement is this: First, pause before the meal. Second, pray aloud, expressing gratitude for God’s provision of the food. Third, if so desired or needed at the moment, express others’ petitions. Then, eat.”

Read the rest here and get to praying… and eating.


And finally, it is graduation season. Don’t let it get you down. While seasons of transition can at times leave us grieving we can look forward with hope and thankfulness. In fact it is good to grieve, the right way.

Melissa Kruger shares more and it might just be what you need to get through the graduations! Read it, live it.


That’s it faithful friends. Have a great weekend. I will be preaching a wedding and partying with the best of them. Onward with grace and peace.

Worthwhile: April 26, 2019

The week after Easter can be something special. Coming off of Spring Break for the kiddos and ministry movement back to normal after special services and feasts. So here we are with warmer temps and an eye for summer, which will come faster than we know.

Before the weekend hits with its refreshing and rest, read up. A journal worth checking out and a prayer for those graduating from seminary.


Themelios is the Gospel Coalition’s “international, evangelical, peer-reviewed theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith.”

And this month’s issue deals with some of the conversation around the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit. With pieces from Andrew Wilson and Tom Schreiner it should be a helpful look at the issue.

It is on my reading list and I thought it should be on yours as well. Download it here.


Five years ago today I graduated from Western Seminary with a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies. It was quite the journey and the time in seminary was tremendously valuable.

The most meaningful portion of the ceremony was the prayer by Todd Miles for the graduates. Later he published the same prayer as a blog post and it is worth praying again.

So Father, we ask for them that they would always remember the gospel, for it is the gospel that actually dedicates, it is the gospel that consecrates them to service, it is the gospel that has called them, it is the gospel that has saved them, it is the gospel that continues to empower them. Father, may they never, ever forget that.


We ask that you would give them wisdom — wisdom to follow you, discerning hearts to understand the difference between those thoughts that go contrary to the Word of God, and those that have been taken captive in obedience to your Son. We pray, Father, that you would give each of them an attentiveness to your Spirit, that they would depend upon His enablement, His empowerment every day and in every way.

Todd Miles

Read the whole prayer here.


Have a great weekend and remember that Jesus loves you and has carried all your burdens. Give them to him.

Transitions

This weekend I will graduate from Western Seminary. It has been a four-year, thirty plus thousand dollar experience. I have been a full-time student on campus and have been a full-time pastor doing classes part-time off campus. I have made great friendships. I have learned to read the Bible rightly. I have dreaded tests and felt the relief of the end of a semester. And it all has been enriching and worthwhile.

Graduation brings a season to an end. That is life, isn’t it. Transitions. The close of one adventure and the anticipation of the next one. I love how God uses transitions to draw us closer to him and to trust him. Because while many transitions are fun or beneficial from our perspective, not all of them are. At times it can feel quite chaotic and we feel like a boat tossed about on rough water. But we have an anchor for our souls, an anchor for life. We know the One that holds the chaos in his hand.

Who knows what the next adventure will be. I know that without paper deadlines and required reading I will spend more time wrestling my kids and challenging my wife to sprint races (she thinks she is so fast…) I know that I will keep preaching Jesus and nothing else in our young adult ministry. I know I will pray for and help equip other pastors and leaders. And I will trust in the maker of transitions.