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Three Ways to Be Light in the Darkness

It’s easy to get depressed these days.  Between meanspirited win/lose politics, the dismissal of fact-based debate, public shootings, brutal treatment of migrants and asylum seekers, extreme weather events, and destabilized foreign relations, the darkness around us...

Living Epiphany

The Season of Epiphany is framed by two key events in the life of Christ:  his baptism and his transfiguration.  In between these two major experiences, this liturgical season covers Jesus’ entire life and ministry.  It’s a season of deepening in spiritual growth....

Machetes, Guns and the Hidden Message of Epiphany

When a machete-bearing assailant broke into a private Hasidic home to “get” the Jews who were celebrating Chanukah there, his move was both horrific and ironic.  That the safety and merriment of a home could be violated by such hate is unthinkable. That it happened at...

Christmas and the Last-Minute Leader

If you are a last-minute leader, you’re not alone.  You’re not the only one putting finishing touches on a worship service, sermon, play, piece of music, bulletin or outreach effort.  In fact, you can be forgiven for thinking your timing is right in line with the...

Is Your Advent Prayer Missing the Point?

The Advent the liturgy instructs us to pray—solemnly, hopefully, deeply—is "Come, Lord Jesus, come.”  This hopeful prayer set against the backdrop of darkening days—both seasonally and politically —implies waiting with expectation.  Yet I can’t help but wonder if this...

Should Gender Matter in Christianity?

Gender and Christianity has been in the news the last couple of weeks.  Specifically the role of women in church leadership.  After telling wildly popular evangelical bible teacher Beth Moore to “go home,” influential fundamentalist preacher John MacArthur clarified...

How to Create a Culture Shift

At Shepherd of the Hills Church, it’s been a long time since the cries of children interrupted worship. That’s okay with this aging congregation. Although they miss younger people, they appreciate less commotion. If only they could get some responsible families,...

What’s the Difference between Discipleship and Apostleship?

What’s the difference between a “disciple” and an “apostle?” The word disciple comes from the Latin discipulus, meaning scholar. A disciple is a student of Jesus’ whose primary focus is on mastering his teachings so that he or she can live out Jesus’ way. An apostle,...

When Discipleship Isn’t Enough

Discipleship pathway systems are all the rage in the United Methodist Church these days. And with good reason. These systems are supposed to produce disciples, i.e. growth, and thus enable churches to fulfill the Great Commission, as well as the mission of the...

Women, Leadership and the B-Word

When a male leader is direct, confident, or decisive, he’s often known by a C-word:  Confident.  Competent.  Charismatic.  He’s prized as a strong leader, a natural leader.  A woman, however, is often stuck with a less desirable word. With less desirable...

Living Epiphany

The Season of Epiphany is framed by two key events in the life of Christ:  his baptism and his transfiguration.  In between these two major experiences, this liturgical season covers Jesus’ entire life and ministry.  It’s a season of deepening in spiritual growth....

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