PEACEMAKING PERSPECTIVE AFTER 15 YEARS OF SHEPHERDING

Twelve Lessons for Cultivating a Culture of Peace in a Church Only minutes remain on my watch as lead pastor of Orlando Grace Church. One learns a lot over the course of fifteen years in the ministry trenches. It seemed fitting that my last blog post in this role would focus on some of the biggest takeaways I have gained about cultivating a culture of peace in the local church. Here are twelve. One, preserving unity must top the list of priorities for every member (Eph. 4:1-3). Two, how we think about God determines much of how eager we are to preserve the ...

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SWEET, SWEET SUCCESSION

Seven Tips for a Peaceful Pastoral Transition On Tuesday of this week our elders blessed Jan and me with a farewell dinner. After fifteen years of ministry, this Sunday will mark my final service as OGC's lead pastor . I can only describe our time with the elders and their wives as the sweetest of fellowship experiences. I love these folks and they love us. We started talking about a succession process over two years ago. Throughout this process to pass the baton to Jim Davis, OGC's fourth lead pastor, I have learned a lot. I determined at the outset of my ...

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OPERATION ROBOJAW COMPLETE

A Survey of My Unimaginable Journey I've waited a long time to log this post. It required an image of my nine-teeth-brand-new-bridge in place before writing. What a beauty! The sheer joy of biting down on a sandwich again. The exquisite pleasure of chewing on the right side of my mouth again for the first time in years. It has been three years to be precise. My jaw started to fail in May of 2015. An implant inserted to replace a failed root canal dislodged over breakfast one morning. Little did I know what dominoes would fall from there. My PCP, fearing a ...

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PRAYER & THE PEACEMAKER

Virtue #2 in the Ways of a Peacemaker Helping others resolving conflict requires a number of skills and responsibilities. None matters more than intercessory prayer. The bigger the conflict, the greater the need for intercession. Recently I introduced a series of posts called The Ways of a Peacemaker: Five Practices of Effective Peacemakers who Excel at Mending Relationships. In Paul's letter to Philemon, the apostle prepares to return run-away-slave-turned-Christian Onesimus to his owner. Here we see a biblical model of assisted peacemaking worthy of imitati...

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AFFIRMATION & THE PEACEMAKER

Virtue #1 in the Ways of a Peacemaker Based upon true events during the Cold War, the gripping film Bridge of Spies stars Tom Hanks as attorney James Donovan. The CIA hires Donovan to act as a mediator in a prisoner exchange between the US and Soviet Union in East Berlin. Hanks' character displays much of the relational wisdom skills necessary for effective assisted peacemaking between opposing parties. For an excellent post exploring these concepts click here. Recently I introduced a series of posts called The Ways of a Peacemaker: Five Practices of ...

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MY INTERVIEW WITH WTLN

A Nine Minute Audio Recording with a Local Christian Radio Station It was my privilege to be featured a final time recently on WTLN's Church of the Week program. Among other things, I got to share about my book The Peacemaking Church and the pastoral succession process nearing completion next month. If you would like to hear the conversation, click here.

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THE WAYS OF A PEACEMAKER

Five Practices of Effective Peacemakers Who Excel at Mending Relationships Alfred Poirier says this about pastoral ministry in his book The Peacemaking Pastor: Pastoring is peacemaking. . .. Pastors are waiters serving the Lamb to sworn enemies. Pastors are busboys washing the dirty dishes of our hatreds, anger, lusts, deceits, malice, and filthy words in the purifying stream of Christ’s blood. It is tiring work. It is battle work. It is Messiah work. But we are compelled to persevere, because serving this way is at the heart of our calling as pastors, as mediators ...

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THE JEWELRY OF GRACE & CHURCH UNITY

Three Jewels of Grace to Promote Peace in the Church Jewelry. I don’t wear much of it. My wedding ring, of course. Does a watch count? If so, that does it for me. Two pieces total. I lost my high school ring ages ago. Never bought a college ring. Had a fellow-elder poke fun at me once with jewelry. He gave me a shell necklace as a gift. Thought it would help me fit in better with the trendy Acts 29 crowd. I’ve worn it once or twice, but really, I feel way too old for that kind of thing, although I do have one button down pocket shirt in my wardrobe and I am ...

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A LIFE WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL (4)

How the Gospel Stuns Us into Lowliness In this latest series of posts, I've argued from Philippians 2:1-11 that a life worthy of the gospel treasures and fosters unity in Christ's church as a non-negotiable priority. So far we've considered the why and the how of such a life. Lastly, let's examine what unity takes (vv. 5-11). Likely an early hymn of the church, this section of Philippians 2 spans the humiliation and exaltation of our Lord Jesus. Zero in on v. 5. Have this mind (there’s that word again—the way we think matters so much in a church desiring ...

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A LIFE WORTHY OF THE GOSPEL (3)

Two Ways a Well-Lived Gospel Life Contributes to Church Unity The apostle Paul gets painfully practical in Philippians 2:3-4 in describing how we go hard after the having the same love being in full accord unity of Philippians 2:2. He comes at it from two directions. First, with respect to self, humility (v. 3). This was a tough sell in the day. No Greek viewed positively the word Paul uses in v. 3. It was only ever associated with slaves and lower-class citizens. It was never a compliment to say you were humble. But Christianity turns culture on its ...

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