Rest

Fridays are my day off. Within Christian circles we might call it a Sabbath or day of rest. Mine is on Friday; I know, not Sunday. We pastors have an ironic relationship with Sundays—“the official day of rest” is perhaps our most tiring of the week. Though this is quickly changing, historically Sundays have been set aside for rest—inside and outside the church.

Haddon

It's difficult to express the influence Haddon Robinson has had on my life and preaching. In fact, I'm sure I don't even know the depth of it. After all his preached words and ministerial ways have been instrumental in the shaping of a great majority of the ministry leaders and preachers who have influenced me and my generation--whether we know it or not. Countless books on homiletics use his theories and "big idea" construct as their foundation. So it's nearly impossible to comprehend let alone describe how Dr. Robinson has impacted me. 

Fads

I’ve embraced my share of fads. Most notably sporting multiple WWJD bracelets in the 90s, shaving a Nike Swoosh in my hair in junior high, and currently buttoning the top button of my collard shirts (sans a tie). Generally speaking a fad is a widely shared enthusiasm—person, place, or thing—that is usually short-lived and has little consideration for quality. In other words few fads aim for endurance but are simply pleased to be popular. And as I hope you will tell from my own admission (and yours!) fads are not merely an issue with prevailing pop-culture but more alarmingly within religious Church culture. 

Shame

Kimberly is devastatingly sweet. Her likability may only be outdone by her fashion sensibility. Without fail she exemplifies her profession every time I see her—she is a stage designer. She became good friends with my wife, Laura and they regularly enjoyed conversations and walks down the street between our apartments.

Promises

Promises are powerful. Whether a parent promises to come their kid's baseball game or I promise my wife I will love her and be true to her "until death do us part” … promises are powerful. With words we regularly attempt to assure those around us of our character or behavior, particularly as it relates to the future. So making promises is a primary way our love and invisible qualities are revealed. But every promise involves risk.

Freedom

Menus are terrifying. To be sure they are little more than lists of available options—yet often in culinary languages difficult for me to understand; laced with unfamiliar insider foodie vocabulary. However the words are the least of my discomforts at a new restaurant. When perusing a new menu the sheer reality of choice is overwhelming.

Teaching

Before my wife and I put our children to sleep, we sing a song and pray. Recently, they started picking up our routine. My daughter sings along. My son mumbles noises shaped like the melody. They slightly bow their heads and say amen. I’m fully aware they are mostly unaware of the details and depth of the Christian faith woven through the song and prayer. But they are picking up on something.

Life

Life is hard. No matter who we are, we all experience difficulty. To be sure, the degree of life’s severity differs from person to person. As I write this, many around the world are experiencing heartbreaking realities (I am thinking most immediately of those affected by war in Aleppo and Mosul and the thousands of refugees seeking asylum around the world). 

Commitment

We had only known each other six months. But on the shore of Lake Michigan, I asked Laura to marry me and she said “yes.” Without a hitch, the popular passion of engagement hit me immediately. We called everyone and relived each moment with all of our friends and family from start to finish. However, something else hit me almost as quickly. As much as I was absolutely taken by this woman, within a few days I felt my feelings sink. That’s right, on the other side of proposing I was feeling my feelings change.