Showing posts from October, 2015

What Do You Want Me To Do For You?

Note: if you attended Lectioworship at Custer Road last weekend, some of this material was shared in the sermon so it will be familiar.
I spent last week at the annual North Texas Conference clergy retreat at Lake Texoma. We focused on building a sustainable ministry for the long haul. Our presenters challenged and inspired us to combat burnout, be leaders in a biblical, as opposed to a worldly, way, and remember that we are called of God to this work. It was very good stuff for clergy, but I also think there were helpful tips for layfolk.
George Mason, senior pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, shared some ministry lessons he has learned in his nearly 30 years in that church. He started by remembering his calling to the ministry. He was a quarterback at the University of Miami—as he said, back when they were no good—he was the last poor quarterback to play there. While he was in school he was very active in his church, and his pastor often wondered if George was called to min…

Sicario and the Fear We Must Endure

Last weekend the boys and I went to Bay City for a few days. The visit included a band competition for one of my nephews, lunch and memories shared with my grandparents, worship in a different tradition than the United Methodist Church, two trips to the famed donut shop, and several pounds of shrimp fried in my dad's shack in the backyard.

And I saw Sicario with Dad.

This, along with The Martian, which I reviewed last week, is one of the best movies of 2015. Unlike The Martian, this movie has no humor and offers no optimism for the future. Set in the middle of the War on Drugs, Sicario grabs each of us and opens our eyes to the cruelty and brutality at work in many of our communities-- north and south of the US/Mexico border. The performances, the direction, even the look of the movie are all A+. This does not mean it is an enjoyable experience. Sicario is heart-wrenching.

Emily Blunt is the star of the movie, but really she is a sideline character. The movie is presented through …

The Ministry of Parenting

This post was created for a blog for Custer Road youth parents.

I had the privilege of speaking to the youth at Sunday night worship recently. We discussed what “true greatness” is, and how it compares to how greatness is measured and celebrated in the world (Mark 10:35-45). The Gospel of Matthew offers its own version of the same story, but it has an interesting detail missing from Mark. It’s found in Matthew 20:20-28. Check it out and I’ll wait until you come back. … …
Got it? Yeah—James and John’s mother is in the story! She is the one who initiates the conversation about her boys sitting at Jesus’ right and left when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus doesn’t fall for it—he immediately turns to the brothers and says, “You don’t know what you are asking!” The mom just sort of disappears from the story. Why is she included in the first place? Nobody knows—maybe Matthew was trying to protect the disciples’ naiveté a little. But let’s not be so quick to dismiss her. What is she trying t…

To Mars and Back

Last year I was very unkind to director Ridley Scott after seeing his utterly dumb and pointless Exodus: Gods and Kings. After this past weekend however, I am glad to say he can still roll out good films. The Martian, starring Matt Damon in an Oscar-worthy performance, is a great movie. In the opening scenes of the movie, a small crew of NASA astronauts is working on Mars, collecting soil samples, etc., when a major sandstorm hits. The team determines that the storm is too strong and will overpower their camp and equipment, so they decide to abandon Mars. In the scramble to the aircraft, Matt Damon's character is struck by flying debris, he is lost in the storm, and presumed dead. The crew takes off.

But of course Astronaut Watley is not dead (you can tell that from the poster above, so I am not giving anything away). Initially he calculates that he has only enough food to survive for a couple of months, but after considering his situation, he says, "I'm not going to die …