Our Collective Consciences are Seared

Over the last few weeks, I have forced myself to watch every single one of the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of fetal body parts to StemExpress. I was shocked by the cavalier conversations about “tissue” and “procurement.” The most recent video was the most horrifying of all: a fully intact male child, still clinging to his last moments of life on a metal dish, awaiting his final resting place in a bio-hazard bag. At this point, I’m sure many people will simply close this browser window and numb the pain of that mental image with a funny article at the theonion.com. But that says something about us. As much outrage that has registered over the past few weeks about this video, some might say that we should chill out for a moment. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post calls this “antiabortion extremism.” Some might be really bothered…

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Injustice Never Gets the Last Word

Cincinnati’s Racial Wound On July 19th, an old Cincinnati wound that has been slowing healing for the past 14 years was reopened when white University of Cincinnati campus police officer Ray Tensing shot and killed African American Samuel Dubose. Mr. Dubose was pulled over for not having OH state tags on the front of his car. Major news outlets from around the world have been covering this story (Cincinnati.com, MSNBC, BBC, Foxnews). Before the grand jury’s indictment was announced, the mood around town was tense. University classes were cancelled. Police were on high alert. Personally, this all hit home because the shooting occurred in my home neighborhood, Mt. Auburn. The church I planted 5 years ago is home to dozens of UC students who walk to church each week. On July 19th, while I was preaching a sermon about how Christians can faithfully navigate America’s cultural decline, Samuel Dubose was being shot…

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How to do a family devotion

The lost art of the family devotion One of the most important responsibilities for the Christian family is to pass on the faith to the children. But the thought of leading a family devotion sounds about as fun as a root canal. Schedules are busy, kids get antsy and hard to keep still, and  activities pull the family in a hundred different directions. Is it even possible? I believe it is, and its not as hard as you might think. I have four kids. One girl (10 years old), and three boys (ages 8, 6, and 4). Life is chaotic and busy, and yet we’ve been able to find a weekly rhythm where we do a family devotion. It doesn’t need to take a lot of time, the parents don’t need to be theology experts, and the kids will enjoy it more than you may expect. Three ingredients in a…

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Bible Reading Plans for 2015

I presented a simple Life Planning Tool in a previous post. As the calendar turns over to another year, this is a great opportunity to evaluate your life’s priorities and make some changes. Many decide to read through the Bible starting in January, and there are plenty of tools to help you do this. For many people, the thought of reading through the Bible is daunting and seems like it would take forever. But it can be much more easily done by breaking it up into readable chunks and reading for a few minutes per day. According to the graphic, it only takes about 70 hours and 40 minutes to read the Bible at “pulpit rate.” With a good plan, this can be done in a year. Here are my two favorite tools that I have used to help me keep track. 1. Discipleship Journal printable plans. If you’re old school…

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Life Planning Tool for 2015

A couple of years ago, my friend Brian Howard shared with me a life planning tool to help me prioritize and set goals for my personal life. Businesses and churches have many resources to help people be more productive and focused on the job, but most of us live our personal lives on autopilot. It is no less important for us to know what to prioritize in our personal lives and have a plan of action than our professional lives. Over the last couple of years, this life planning tool has been very helpful for me to intentionally think through what are some of the most important things in my life and develop a plan of action for them. When I first used this tool a few years ago, I discovered an unexpected priority that I spent a year working on: patience. I prayed about this almost daily and saw God do some…

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Black activists feel abused by the Democrats

Have you seen this? The Democrats have had a stranglehold on black voters for years, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since the Entitlement state has done so much damage to black families and communities. This result was inevitable. In 2008, Democrats controlled the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, with the most liberal president in a generation, who also happened to be black. If there was ever an opportunity to showcase a liberal Utopian vision, this was it. And this is the result.

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Power vs. Weakness

Jesus once said to the Apostle Paul that “my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). This principle is the central paradox of the Christian faith: God’s power works through human weakness. Paul goes on to say, “therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Yet at the same time, the Bible repeatedly asserts that human beings have real authority over all creation (Gen 1:28), in marriage (Eph 5:22-24), in parenting (Eph 6:1-4), in government (Rom 13:1-8), over demonic spirits (Luke 10:20), and in the church (Heb 13:17). Exercising authority is exercising power, yet we are simultaneously called to a life of weakness. How can this be? Definitions are important, and in this case we need to understand what weakness means. Weakness is not the same as being passive, a push-over, timid, indecisive, ignorant, or unprepared.…

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The Bible’s Instruction Manual for Parents

A few weeks ago at my church, I concluded a preaching series called Father Hunger. This series was about how God is the true Father and all Fatherhood is a reflection of his ultimate love and authority. The final sermon of the series (The Father’s Legacy) focused on how dads need to do more than merely protect and provide for their kids, but instill a biblical worldview in their hearts (Deut 6:4-9). In Ephesians 6:4, Paul says “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (ESV).” The word for “discipline” here is important. It means much more than merely keeping kids in line through various disciplinary methods. The Greek word here is “paideia,” which does not have direct English counterpart. It is also translated “training” in the NIV and “nurture” in the KJV. To bring up a child…

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Thoughts on my 40th birthday

I turn 40 today. That means, 40 years ago I was doing this. I’m the one in the diaper. My 30’s have evaporated in a fog and now they’re gone. I remember being a kid and having my parents’ friends over at my house for someone’s 40th birthday party. Black balloons. Over-the-hill hats. “That seems like a lifetime away,” I thought to myself. No, only about 30 years away, as it turns out. As I saw this day approaching, like watching a ominous clouds hovering in a dark sky, I thought I’d be curled up into a ball and spending the day binging on junk food, watching Meryl Streep movies, and crying myself to sleep. So far, that hasn’t happened, but I did enjoy watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure on Netflix yesterday. Strangely, I feel great. Better than I would have thought I would feel, now that I’ve been…

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Another voice

I started this blog about 8 years ago in 2006 while I was in seminary and working for CRU at the University of Louisville. When you’re in a ministry vortex like that, you’ve got a lot of thoughts and opinions that need to get worked out and this blog was my venue. But then, four children and a church plant happened. Life got crazy and blogging took a back burner for a long time. Since then, many other gifted writers, pastors, and theologians have started excellent blogs and I didn’t sense a burning need to add anything to the online discussions. There were simply too many other more pressing priorities that demanded my attention. Recently, however, I have sensed a desire to publish my thoughts on theology, church ministry, and current events from time to time because God has given me a platform as a pastor and ministry leader in Cincinnati.…

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