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What the world needs now

9th March 2020

We have lived in the 20th and 21st centuries, and pretty much everyone agrees, we are living in difficult, troubled times. There is plenty of calamity and struggle to go around. It seems we’re always facing natural disasters, wars, refugees displaced, trafficking, famine in some part of the world, political upheaval, and the fall of […]

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MLK: Bothering Christians to the point of Change

20th January 2020

I am glad for MLK Jr. Day because I welcome the voice of God speaking to me on serious matters close to the heart of God. I believe God can use it to bother you. And God needs to bother us on this. Bothered  people take action they would not otherwise take. One place we […]

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Read this if you stink at confession

5th April 2019

We live in a culture that is really bad at confession.  If you admit any culpability someone might sue your pants off. Look the other way. Pretend you didn’t do it. Your insurance company warns, “Even if it’s your fault, don’t say anything!” Your lawyer cautions, “Don’t speak to anybody. I’ll do the talking.” Look […]

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Why St. Patrick’s Day fires me up.

16th March 2019

They used to serve green “shamrock shakes” at McDonalds on Broadway. That was about the best thing about St. Patrick’s Day as far as I was concerned. I don’t love parades, and Lucky Charms were never my thing. I don’t really like wearing green. It looks fine on Kermit and I do love it on […]

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GIVE UP GIVING UP STUFF for LENT

6th March 2019

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) where believers have for centuries focused on their relationship with God. Want to join me on an experiment this Lent? I’m cutting some stuff out – but it’s not dessert.   A key to drawing close to God is the idea […]

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Harness the Power of Faith-based Optimism!

29th January 2019

Faith-based Optimism When I came to Mountain 21 years ago, during the interview process I was asked for a philosophy of ministry.  I don’t remember everything I said, but I doubt it was ripe with earth-shattering brilliance. But I do remember trying to explain a conviction I felt deep inside, to put words to a […]

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MLK Day — Are We There Yet?

21st January 2019

Are we there yet? Kids have been asking this question since families pushed across the country in covered wagons. Every parent knows the answer: “No, we’re not there yet.” On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it’s important for us to come out and say it again. So much good has happened for racial equality, and […]

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What Do We Do about the Hybels and Willow Creek Thing

12th April 2018

You have likely heard about the resignation of Bill Hybels as Lead Pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. There are allegations of inappropriate behavior with women, including lingering hugs, suggestive comments and more, brought by former staff members, followed by investigations and much discussion. It has all played out on a public stage, […]

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Next Steps – Kilimanjaro Trip

7th April 2018

Big Announcement! Help me send some kids to College! I’m climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro this August to help bright students from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya take their next steps. A group of us from Mountain are training now. If you know someone who is going help then reach their goal. If you don’t know anyone […]

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Reading This Will Totally Change St. Patrick’s Day For You

16th March 2018

Saint Patrick’s Day is upon us.   Some think of three-leafed clovers or leprechauns dancing. I used to run the Shamrock 5K in downtown Baltimore. People wore green hats, green shorts, and green tutus. For most, it was an excuse to drink large amounts of green beer. But it’s good to remember there was a real guy […]

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You Asked for it: My List of Awesome Questions to Start Conversations

26th February 2018

We began a message series at Mountain this weekend called THE JESUS QUESTION. I used to think Jesus was the guy with all the answers. Turns out Jesus has lots of questions. Jesus is really good at asking questions. The right question at the right time has a way of making you think, engaging your […]

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You’re preggers! Mary isn’t the only one who’s expecting this Christmas

21st December 2017

At the heart of the Christmas Story, there is a birth. Every birth signals a new beginning. But this birth opened up new worlds not just for Mary or Israel, but for all people. God was about to do a new thing. This is what God does best. God is a Creator, always birthing some […]

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I Need a Thanksgiving Kick in the Shorts (Do you?)

23rd November 2017

May I confess something? I have not been very thankful lately.  In fact, I’ve been so focused on getting stuff done, mindful of various obstacles and setbacks before me, pushing and griping through self-pity and crankiness, there hasn’t been much chance for the seeds of gratitude to grow lately. So I’m writing this post as […]

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A Prayer for Wholeness in Preparation for Thanksgiving

17th November 2017

O Lord, penetrate those murky corners where we hide memories and tendencies we don’t care to look at, which we will not dig up and yield freely up to you, so that you may purify and transform them: the persistent buried grudge, the half-acknowledged anger toward someone which is still smoldering; the bitterness of that […]

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Church Security?

15th November 2017

Hi friends,  “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”   That quote by Frederick Buechner helps me imagine Jesus introducing us to life in this awkward period in which we live, before he is finished healing all that’s broken and making all things new. With yet another shooting to grieve […]

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Get Re-formed! Some history and why it matters

31st October 2017

In 1934, a pastor from Georgia made a trip to the Holy Land, and then on to Berlin, Germany to attend a ministry conference. While he was in Germany, this man, Michael King, became so impressed with what he learned about the life and legacy of the church reformer Martin Luther, that he decided to […]

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A Prayer for Vegas

8th October 2017

While our country is divided in many ways, after Vegas we find ourselves united in common shock and sadness.  God’s people are uniting all over the country, crying out to God in a united voice. The following was the basis for prayer we offered at Mountain Christian Church this weekend, and it is shared here […]

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After Vegas: Why Bother Praying?

7th October 2017

Our country has been deeply divided between red and blue, black and white, kneelers and standers.  The tragedy in Las Vegas has united us in common shock and sorrow. We can pray with one voice for healing and hope. There has been the usual flurry of those who responded with the words “Our thoughts and […]

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“What I Told My Daughter When we Dropped Her Off For College”

18th August 2017

Karla and I are among those who dropped off a kid at college this August. This one was our last. The proverbial nest is empty (once Andrew heads back to UMD). It’s a tough passage for many of us. But an important one. As parents we feel a swell of emotions, wondering if we taught […]

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Ash Wednesday and Lent? Why should I care? 

2nd March 2017

If you want to see your life with Jesus deepen and focus, you have a tremendous opportunity before you right now.  Ash Wednesday is an invitation to leave where you are spiritually, and venture into new territory with Jesus. Are you interested in that?  Today marks the first day of Lent, about 40 days leading […]

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Time for an Epiphany

6th January 2017

Today is a major Christian holiday that most of us know nothing about.   It’s called the Feast of the Epiphany. You maybe recognize that word epiphany. Think of an “aha” moment, an experience of discovery. The word epiphany literally means “manifestation.” It’s an awakening when something hidden comes into view. It’s made manifest – you […]

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How to Have a Spiritual Christmas: Shut up and sing

15th December 2016

We’re a couple weeks from Christmas, and in the thick of what most people feel is a hectic holiday maze. The parties and pace, anxiety from family and finances, along with a rise in stress level and body weight – it’s a strained time for many. But maybe you’re like me and you love this […]

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Waking up to God (Did you know its Advent already?)

29th November 2016

You know that sensation you get when you’re out and about right after Thanksgiving, and you realize the music you hear playing is Christmas music? You sort of think, “Really? Is it time for that already?” Or you may think, “I’m not ready for that quite yet. It’s still November and warm outside and I […]

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The answer to this question determines your happiness

23rd November 2016

The answer to this question will determine the depth of your joy and the intensity of your gratitude this Thanksgiving:  What more do you need to be thankful? Sitting in a dank prison cell, uncertain if he would eat or live another day, Paul said, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have…whether […]

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Five Things every church MUST do after the election

12th November 2016

By now nearly everyone should be sick and tired, weary and worn from the political slashing and bashing in the aftermath of the election. If you’re not, there  may be something wrong with you, or you’ve successfully avoided reality. Churches across this divided nation have a special responsibility and opportunity this weekend. Worship lifts our […]

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Orlando Shooting: Nothing Human is Alien

15th June 2016

Many Puerto Ricans have fled their home island because of its sinking economy and nasty crime rate. Almost half a million of them have come to the U.S., in search of refuge, and found a haven in Orlando. Twenty-three of them were dancing when they were shot to death. A staggering 90 percent of the […]

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It’s a New Year: Where is it Taking You?

3rd January 2016

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions there are several approaches. There are the out-of-touch-with-reality optimists who make hugely confident statements about what they really believe they will accomplish in the coming year: lose 70 pounds by Valentine’s Day, get up at 4 AM every day to study the Bible in Greek, climb Mt. Everest, […]

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Imagine…but not like John Lennon told us to

4th December 2015

The world was stuck like a clock at midnight.  Then Jesus came! But imagine what would the world would be like if Jesus never came. What if God had not ordered an intrusion whereby God himself came among us in person? Like lone hikers in the jungle, sinking helplessly in quicksand, we would know nothing […]

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What Should Church Look Like After Freddie Gray?

10th November 2015

When chaos broke out in the streets after Freddie Gray last March, it shined a light on ugly problems in our world, in our city and in our hearts. If you don’t believe me, scour the Facebook posts that flew out in those days. In the aftermath, it was more clear than ever that God […]

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What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

9th November 2015

My slightly older sister Cathy had a birthday recently. She turned old. But she went sea kayaking on the weekend in Palos Verdes off the coast of Southern California. She emailed to say she will probably get seasick and throw up. And she is pretty sure she might get eaten by a shark. But she is not […]

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Super Blood Moon! End Times! Eeek!

27th September 2015

Sunday, September 27 is a Super Blood Moon! And it’s creating quite a stir. Walk outside and you will see a total eclipse of the moon. In addition to the Lunar Eclipse, we will have a Supermoon, which of course results in a rare Super Blood Moon. And some prophecy-hungry folk are going nuts with it. […]

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WHY TRY JOURNALING?

2nd September 2015

If you want to strengthen your friendship with God, here’s an idea: Try journaling. Last weekend as part of our SCHOOLED series at Mountain I talked about the importance of nurturing a close connection with God. Jesus calls it “abiding” – remaining in him, knit together at a soul level (John 15). Here is a 15 […]

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This is harder than I thought it would be: dropping off my son for college

27th August 2015

I think it was Chuck Swindoll who said walking his daughter down the aisle and leaving her there is like holding your priceless Stradivarius violin and handing it to a gorilla.  That’s sort of how I feel as I get ready to drop my number 2 son off for his freshman year of college.  I […]

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My Plea to Christians in Baltimore and Everywhere

28th April 2015

Two lists.   List one: Hate. Anger. Violence. Fear. Distrust. Disgust. Harshness. Ignorance. Retaliation. List two: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Gentleness. Faithfulness. Self-control. Each of us lives our lives by one list or the other. As we do, we make the world what it is. If you are a Christ follower, it means you have […]

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Earth Day Makes Me Want To…

22nd April 2015

In 192 countries around the world people will celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Since 1970, it’s been a day to think about protecting the environment. Environmental concern has become one of those areas that almost got away from us. From Christian folk, I mean. Somewhere along the line a lot of God’s people started to […]

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An Invitation you should not refuse – ASH WEDNESDAY

18th February 2015

Today is Ash Wednesday. It has come abruptly it seems to me, inviting us all into a special season of spiritual awareness and growth. Before the amazing earthly ministry of Jesus, he found himself in the desert wilderness. He fasted from food. He navigated temptations. He clung to the Word of God. He drew close […]

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“What I want my daughter to know about Fifty Shades of Grey” Part 4 of 4

17th February 2015

In previous posts I talk about various aspects of the film (which you can access here and here and here) . Now I want to talk about women. There are plenty who are hopping mad because this film glamorizes the same kind of sexual addiction and pornographic sexual fantasy that has ruined many men’s lives. […]

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“Why Fifty Shades of Grey is so popular and why you don’t need to buy a mirror for your ceiling” Part 3 of 4

16th February 2015

In my first post on Fifty Shades of Grey I talked about several reasons why a lot of people hate this film. In my second post I talked about why I won’t see it and why I don’t think you should, either. But the truth remains, Shades of Grey will likely be a box office smashing […]

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“Why not go see Fifty Shades of Grey?” Part 2 of 4

16th February 2015

In my first post on the hugely popular book and film I mentioned a bunch of reasons why a lot of people hate this movie. But maybe you’re trying to figure out if you should see it. In a future post I’ll suggest some reasons I think that is probably not a great idea. But in the […]

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“So what do you think about Fifty Shades of Grey?” Part 1 of 4 

14th February 2015

When a friend asked that question today, I didn’t know quite what to say. Not because I don’t have some thoughts about the crazy popular film, but because I didn’t know quite where to start. I was pretty sure if I started talking it would come out something like a frenetic Robin Williams rant. Rather than […]

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Dinner with Jim Tune: Knock out Factors for Church Planters

15th January 2015

Jim Tune used to operate a stock brokerage firm. Then Jesus turned over his money tables and called him into ministry. For the last nineteen years Jim has been throwing his entrepreneurial spirit and sharp mind into God’s business, with a major part of his portfolio invested in starting and building churches. I’m from Minnesota […]

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My Trip to Ecuador last week is helping me be thankful this week

26th November 2014

Thanksgiving doesn’t spring naturally from every heart. It has to be coaxed. But with proper encouragement, it will poke out its head from where it hides behind the barriers of our busyness, entitlement, and self-absorbed whininess. I hope you lure it out into the open tomorrow. I love Thanksgiving holiday, because it calls up to […]

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Now THAT’S a Church I Could Be Part Of!

5th November 2014

“Hey Dad! They were just talking about Mountain on the radio!” My daughter Ellie told me. Jack Larkin, afternoon radio personality for Shine FM in Baltimore, is a part of our church at Mountain. On air he shared a cool experience he had over the weekend. It involves the Navy game, a friend who hadn’t […]

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October 31 Ain’t About Halloween For Me This Year

31st October 2014

October 31 is not so much about pumpkins and costume parties and overdosing on those annoyingly tiny candy bars (do they keep making them smaller every year or is that my imagination?). It’s the anniversary of an important event we today call the Reformation. Back in the day the Church had gotten way off the […]

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I visited London and all I got was all amped up about the church

9th October 2014

I visited London and all I got was all amped up about the church Come up the stairs and out onto the street from London’s Underground at the Kilburn Street stop, walk less than a block, and there, nestled amongst houses and businesses on an ordinary street, is a church. Actually, it’s a building where […]

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All that mission stuff – is it worth it?

6th October 2014

“Why do you do that?” The guy who asked me that question was a Brit. We were standing in “queue” together at the airport in Nairobi tonight. First he asked why I was in Kenya, which gave me opportunity to tell about the strategic planning session I’ve been a part of this week for Missions […]

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Addy’s Adoption Adventure

26th September 2014

About a year ago my brother and sister-in-law made a bold move. God nudged their hearts open wide, and into the opening he put a dream of adoption. Then God brought a little girl from China to fill up that dream. There have been risks, sacrifices, fears and tears along the way. But God has […]

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Thoughts on Play – Part V

19th June 2014

Here are two more gems that essentially stem from theologian Jurgen Moltmann’s Theology of Play:  Play relativizes our ‘over-seriousness’ toward life, filling us with a spirit of joy and delight that carries over into all aspects of life. Play lightens the load of worry, eases the burden of pain, and decreases the pressure of stress. One […]

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Thoughts on Play – Part IV

18th June 2014

Here are a couple more ideas which largely stem from Jurgen Moltmann’s Theology of Play: Play is a celebration of life lived to the fullest.  So many people seem stuck in life, waiting to begin living some day in the future. When was the last time you laughed until you cried? Can you remember? “Do […]

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Thoughts on Play – Part III

17th June 2014

The seminal theological work on play is Jurgen Moltmann’s A Theology of Play. It’s a dense tome. So with some help from Ben Witherington III, I’ve tried to distill a few of the gold nuggets for you, with some of my own ideas thrown in as well: Play is often thought of as a hankering […]

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Thoughts on Play – Part II

13th June 2014

Some people seem to think play needs some super special occasion to justify it. It doesn’t. Celebration is something that can certainly come because something big happened or things are going well. But it doesn’t need some huge hairy reason to exist. Celebration is to be a way of life for God’s people. Sure, some […]

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Thoughts on Play – Part I

12th June 2014

The words “play” and “important” don’t seem like they go together. But I think they do.  Playing is important. I know that sounds funny coming from a “grown up.”  That’s because we’re conditioned to think of play as childish, a frivolous waste of time that could be better spent on something more productive and useful […]

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Using Your Dog to Predict the Weather

2nd June 2014

I received this note on a half-shredded piece of paper, scrawled so as to be almost illegible: To tell the weather, go to your back door and look for the dog. If the dog is at the door and he is wet, it’s probably raining. But if the dog is standing there really soaking wet, […]

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Lil Wayne & “Rapping” up The Story

29th May 2014

Rapper Lil Wayne had some time on his hands when he was in prison a while ago. Rolling Stone magazine asked him what he found to occupy himself while locked up. Here’s what he said: “I also read the Bible for the first time. It was deep! I liked the parts where some character was […]

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The FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED

7th May 2014

This past weekend we were talking about being unashamed. Being BOLD is part of what you saw in Jesus, Paul, Peter, the early church. Are God’s people bold today? Are you bold? Seems like a lot of Christians think being bold means being abrasive, offensive, obnoxious, arrogant, or unkind. It’s true that sometimes folk will […]

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Don’t Give Up Something for Lent

7th March 2014

We’ve come to the season when we are reminded to ready our lives for Jesus. Resurrection is on its way, with the hope and joy it brings. But before Easter is the Passion of Jesus – that time when he suffered and let go of his will for the sake of the Father and the […]

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Help Me Shock My Momma

20th December 2013

A super highlight of 2013 was when my daughter Ellie and I visited her sponsored child.  Her name is Evelyn, she lives in Ecuador, and she is a precious, smiling, hug-filled gem. Ellie and Evelyn had been exchanging letters for a year, so when we visited her they hit it off like sisters – laughing, […]

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Jesus is King of Riff Raff Losers & Pagans

13th December 2013

  A guest post today by John Frye, from the Shepherd’s Nook: The Joyful King of Riffraff When Princess of Wales, Diana, gave birth to Prince Henry Charles Albert David (“Harry”), it is reported that a town crier, dressed in bright costume and plumes, rang a huge bell and declared, “Her Royal Highness the Princess Diana has […]

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Lessons Learned from Nelson Mandela

6th December 2013

Nelson Mandela has died.  He was 95. This is a man who stood up to say that the law of the land was just plain wrong.  In his remarkable autobiography called Long Walk to Freedom Mandela recounts how he stood at his own trial and said to the judge, “I submit that I am guilty […]

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If you’re not giving thanks you’re doing it wrong

22nd November 2013

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18 I love Thanksgiving. I cherish our traditions:  the kids and I will run the Turkey Trot 5K (I will waddle, they will run).  We will play flag football (and I will seek not to injure myself), & rustle […]

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Secret to Moses’ Success: How the Water Boy became a Superstar

20th October 2013

Moses was a big-time Bible guy, used by God for big-time things.  Based on what his mother did to him when he was a baby, you could say he was a “basket case.” From an obscure beginning as the original “water boy” (Moses means “I drew him out of the water”), little Hebrew Moses learned to […]

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Interview with Kirk Bolen, Songwriter for God

20th September 2013

I’ve written a few songs. You’ve never heard them on the radio. But I sang them for Karla a couple times. They were my attempts to tell her how amazing I thought she was and that I loved her. And they were not very good. But when Kirk Bolen writes a song, it’s good. God […]

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WRONG or LOST? How do we respond to the moral decline?

16th August 2013

Seven or eight years ago I stumbled into a circle of friends that God has used to change my life.  At a pastor’s conference we heard Bob Russell speak.  He was at  that time the Sr. Minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville (Dave Stone is now), a church that so many look up to […]

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George Zimmerman & Trayvon Martin verdict: what should i do?

15th July 2013

Before the verdict for the George Zimmerman trial was announced, we all knew that regardless of the outcome, many people would be upset. Angry. Hurt. When the man on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin was acquitted by a jury this week, both sides considered it a travesty – either because the system let […]

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Did God get bored and leave?

28th June 2013

Many in Turkana believe there is a God, but that he got bored and left. Now they wonder if they are left to fend for themselves against the harsh realities of life in the desert. A two hour flight north of Nairobi (24 hours by bus!) a vast stretch of dry wilderness sprawls. It is […]

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Time to Recharge Your Inner Phone: Give it a REST – part 3

21st June 2013

In the corner of the screen on my iPhone is a tiny indicator telling me what percentage of battery life remains. Last night as I was sitting in my recliner watching the basketball game, I noticed my phone had a meager 1% left.  Wow!  I must have used up more battery than I realized. I […]

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Rest isn’t stopping, it’s marching to a different Drummer Give it a REST – part 2

20th June 2013

This is probably the most important invitation you will receive this summer.  But first, here are some real quotes from real people. Do you relate to any of them? “My friendships and family pay dearly for my badly managed, overstuffed schedule.”  “I can’t seem to shut down. There is just too much to do.”   “I was […]

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Give it a REST

19th June 2013

Imagine a kind spiritual director you trust and respect looking you in the eye and gently inquiring, “How is it with your soul?” How would you answer that question today? I am saying “soul” meaning the part of you that is most real. Soul is the true you, the part of you God made you to […]

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Make it a Plebe Summer

7th June 2013

So what do you get someone who is graduating from High School? Hmmm, something they need, something they want, but would probably never ask for.  A microwave for the dorm?  An iTunes gift card? A Minnesota Vikings mouse pad? This week my friend Gabe graduated from High School.  His dad gave him a great gift. […]

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Tearin’ Down the House — Edgewood Campus Demo

19th April 2013

The lease is signed on the property in Edgewood which will soon be the home of the EPICENTER where Mountain’s newest campus will meet. Luke and I stopped by this week to meet with some community leaders, and were happy to see the demolition already underway.  The interior will be pretty much gutted and rebuilt […]

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What Hipsters (& the rest of us) Should Learn from this 104 year old

19th April 2013

As a kid, I barely took notice when the rich baritone voice of George Beverly Shea boomed through my Grandparents’ living room.  But that’s where I first heard him.  George died a couple of days ago at the age of 104 after singing for decades all over the world with Billy Graham, his voice likely […]

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I’m a Mess

16th April 2013

I’ve got a nasty case of tennis elbow that intermittently hurts like the dickens.  The last few days it has felt like an acetylene torch is aimed at my elbow. Meanwhile my nose has started to run like a faucet for some bizarre reason, probably because after 40-whatever years my body decided to be allergic […]

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Jackie Robinson Day – Guest Blogger Vince Antonucci

15th April 2013

How Jackie Robinson Saved My Life Guest Blogger: Vince Antonucci I grew up in a verbally abusive home. My father’s violent tirades were like heart-seeking missiles. And if my father, someone who was obligated to love me, couldn’t love me—if he couldn’t find anything special in me, I reasoned I must be defective. I needed […]

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I love worshiping with Eric Olson in a church that gets the “AND”

15th March 2013

One thing I love about Mountain Christian Church is that it is a church that totally gets the “AND.” The AND is a mature understanding of what it means to be the Body of Christ as we live out the mission of Jesus.  It refuses to be shortsighted and get jerked into either / or […]

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Time to Clean the Closet

12th February 2013

On the phone with my parents this week I learned they’ve been extra busy.   It’s been very cold there, like way below zero.  It’s so cold  you have to open the fridge to heat the house.  So, in addition to shoveling Minnesota snow, watching an old movie from Dad’s retirement party, and eating up the last of […]

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How to Have an Epiphany

11th February 2013

The word EPIPHANY comes from a verb that means “to appear.” When something is made manifest, comes into appearance, or shows up – it’s an epiphany. It comes from a Greek word (epiphaneia) if that makes it more impressive for you. There is a cycle through the Christian year that mirrors the life of Jesus, […]

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Ravens Blackout Bowl & Being a Blessing

8th February 2013

Well congrats, Ravensites.  A hard fought win.  A great year.  A storybook finish for Ray Lewis.  A real team effort. And only a little defensive holding at the end.  An exciting game and truly a good contest. The best news?  With the Ravens win I came out on top in our family pool.  No money […]

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What we can learn from the meat guy at Disney

21st January 2013

I was in Orlando last week for some meetings with Christian Standard magazine.  I serve as a contributing editor and we gather there to plan, propose, and pray. At dinner one night we passed through a buffet line and when it was my turn at the meat counter the guy cutting the roast beef and ham […]

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So what keeps YOU up at night?

4th January 2013

A beleaguered general called his troops together and announced, “We have good news and bad news.  The bad news is, we are completely surrounded.  The good news is, we can attack the enemy in any direction!” Sometimes it seems we are attacked on all sides by stress and struggle.  When you feel surrounded by things […]

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A New Year’s Prayer: “DISTURB ME”

1st January 2013

This prayer expresses well what we need to say to God as we embark on a new year. If you want the calendar flip to rock your status quo, these honest words invite God to work deeply in your life. I like to work slowly through this prayer, line by line, until my spirit catches […]

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Top Ten Scriptures for the New Year

31st December 2012

As we move into the New Year, before you set your resolutions, this is a great time to hear from God. We are all in transition, always. New Year’s is a strategic moment to ask God to speak to you – about your life, and what’s next for you. The Bible helps us get the […]

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The Days of Our Lives — Help for New Year’s Reflections

31st December 2012

On the one hand, the Mayans reminded us the end of the calendar year is no big deal. The page flips and a new year begins. If Jesus’ return is delayed time will keep rolling onward in an uninterrupted stream. The squirrels don’t care if it’s New Year’s Eve. On the other hand, the end […]

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The END of the WORLD IS COMING!!!

20th December 2012

Okay folks, if you’re one of those who is freaked out about a cataclysmic cosmos-ending event tomorrow, let me offer a not-very-pastor-like reality check. Despite what you can read on the internet… The world is not going to end tomorrow because the Mayan calendar has run out of pages. A giant planet named Nibiru is […]

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Resources to Help In SandyHook Aftermath

17th December 2012

At bedtime last night, I flopped down and snuggled up with my daughter on her bed. We talked about the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. She asked about some of the details, and I explained that 6 year olds were shot and killed by a boy who then killed himself. We lay there in the dark […]

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After the shootings…come Lord Jesus!

14th December 2012

My heart is sick.  The children and adults who were killed this morning in Connecticut are victims in the worst school shooting in American history.   Some will shout at the world, or shout at God, shout at rules about guns, or shout at school security.   But God’s people will pray.  Pray for the families, for […]

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So what’s YOUR problem?!

11th December 2012

In the message from December 1-2,  I tried to remind us that God has a habit of choosing and working through people we might typically consider unlikely candidates.  Just as he sent Jesus as the CHRIST, now Jesus sends US as little CHRIST’s. The idea resonated with many, so I’m circling back to throw it […]

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If you’re angry, what are you sad about?

8th December 2012

Last night Karla and I went with friends to experience an amazing concert by Andrew Peterson. If you’re not familiar with him, I highly encourage you to check him out. His Behold the Lamb Christmas album is amazing. Through his amazing ability as an artist and lyricist, Peterson taps into the deepest longings of the […]

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Burn those calories this Thanksgiving?

21st November 2012

Recently Karla and I were with some friends and someone asked, “What are your Thanksgiving traditions?”  Great question.  The most important thing we do is gather and talk about things we’re most thankful for.  We tell each other something we appreciate about each other.  Then we give thanks to God.  Everyone has a few minutes […]

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Happy Thanks, Hard Thanks

19th November 2012

The coolest people I know have gratitude in them. My mom is like that. You see it in the way she treats the paper boy and you can hear it in her prayers. She’s full of it and it spills out of her at random moments, like a person trying to run with a cup […]

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Let’s Fill that Semi — for Rockaways, NYC

16th November 2012

Hello friends, In the now-familiar story of the “Good Samaritan” we see that even those who are attempting to be faithful to God in their religious duties can miss a need nearby.  Like the Priest and Levite, it’s easy to “look straight ahead” and keep on going with our lives.   Jesus calls us to “look […]

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Post-election should we be Fist Pumping or Hand Wringing?

8th November 2012

About half the people in America are yelling “Four More Years!” – and the other half are just yelling.   Some are pumping their fists in victory, others are wringing their hands with worry. As you read through the history of the Old Testament, it’s amazing how things went back and forth for the people of […]

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SANDY RELIEF — Help NEEDED with NEXT STEPS

3rd November 2012

Hello Mountain and Friends! Just before 11 PM last night, a group huddled around our drivers to pray before they got in the trucks and headed for NYC. We prayed not just for their safety, but for our friends in New York and New Jersey who were spending the night in still very difficult places, […]

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Let’s stage a good protest — Reforming in the Spirit of Luther

31st October 2012

About 2 o’clock on the afternoon on the eve of All Saints Day 1517, a young monk hammered a stack of papers to the north door the Castle Church in the little university town of Wittenberg, Germany.  He was voicing the convictions and concerns of many when he nailed up his 95 theses on the […]

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The Old Kitchen Table

31st October 2012

When I was about a year old our family inherited a small wooden table and six chairs from Uncle Nord.  It became a gathering place for our family where countless meals were shared through the years.  It sat in the kitchen of our house in Minneapolis and made the move with us to Rochester, Minnesota […]

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If You’re Trying to Hide Your Weakness, Read This

16th October 2012

If you look at his resume, Mike Ullman is a powerful person. He’s been the CEO of five huge corporations, including some dramatic turn-arounds at places like Macy’s, Duty Free Shops, and most recently JC Penney. He’s been a White House Fellow. He serves on several important corporate boards, like Starbucks, and is the Chairman […]

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Are you a GRACIST?

15th October 2012

Spyware. Unibrow. Supersize. Do you know what these words mean? They are new listings in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. There are some other neologisms floating around as well. I’m not sure we really need these new words, but I love the idea of using fresh descriptors to picture a new reality. Check these out: Mouse potato (someone […]

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Certifiably Out of my Mind

1st October 2012

If you were at Mountain this past weekend you have certifiable confirmation that I am out of my mind. No, I haven’t begun cheering for the Ravens. If there was previously any doubt about this, it is now erased. Here’s why: recently I got into a plane, rode it to 10,000 feet, opened the door, […]

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YOM KIPPUR

26th September 2012

Public schools are out in deference to a special holy day of rest and fasting on the Jewish calendar.  Yom Kippur means Day of Atonement.  It falls ten days after Israel’s new year, and became a time to deal with the sins of the last year.   Imagine that!  Check out Leviticus 23:27-32 and Leviticus 16:20. […]

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