Staggered By Statistics

Jeff Church Life, Cultural Observations

So I spent some time this morning reading up on denominational divisions within the global Church: just sticking with Protestants, I found that research shows some 9,000 separate denominations. Nine thousand. Nine THOUSAND! My whole Christian life was lived out under the denominational banner of ‘Baptist’ for the first 22 years, but that word clearly means very little when we …

Thoughts On Racial Injustice

Jeff Cultural Observations

When the Sunday worship gatherings come to an end, somebody is assigned to turn off the lights and to lock the doors at the church. Those rooms where, just a few hours before, there echoed vibrancy, truth, life, celebration, joy and power…now sit in stillness, darkness and silence. More than once in my twenty-plus years of pastoring, I have intentionally …

3 Leanings

Jeff Cultural Observations, Love, Relationships, Service

Thinking deeply.  Working diligently.  Loving fervently. Chances are that you naturally lean more towards one of these three than the others.  We are all hardwired uniquely by God, and that wiring from Him suits His purposes for our lives. Some of you have been granted patient minds that often desire to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’.  Others of you …

What Should We Make Of The Chaos?

Jeff Cultural Observations, Prophecy

It has been a challenge lately for me to keep my best focus on tasks at hand.  For several weeks, in the periphery of my thought life has been this tugging, and it has been hard to suppress. Praying to the King about this, I told Him that I needed to hear from, Him because I was struggling with His command …

15 Years Later: Our Enemy Does Not Sleep

Jeff Cultural Observations

Today I take a moment to remind us that there is certainly such a thing as evil.  We would do well to also acknowledge that evil resides within people – people who are alive today.  Further still, we in America must acknowledge that some of these evil people have committed their lives unto the death for our own destruction.  We …

Racial Conflict: Willing To Say The Tough Stuff

Jeff Cultural Observations

It is interesting that, once the intense conflicts and cultural-heat subside, race-relations in America have a tendency to fall back into the entrenched patterns of existence that we have all grown accustomed to.  In the midst of the questions, the accusations, the violence, and the silence of the last couple of weeks, allow me to make an observation: Nothing has …

Hard Questions In Tragic Times

Jeff Cultural Observations

For those who are interested, here is my 60 minute sermon, preached on the Sunday after the week of outcry between the races. I may not have the answer which solves the national dilemma of racial strife, but I do believe that people can be helped mightily on an individual level if they will consider what I share in this …

Wanna Fight?

Jeff Cultural Observations, Uncategorized

The last couple of generations of American males have been taught that fighting is bad. My son got suspended from school in fourth grade for fighting back against a fifth grader who cornered him in a bathroom. The assistant principal actually told him that, instead of defending himself, he should have gone and gotten a teacher…while he was in a …

No More Generational Hostages

Jeff Church Life, Cultural Observations

For several years I have been observing how those who are older and those who are younger operate in the Kingdom of God.  I am no longer young (unless you happen to be older) nor am I old yet (unless you happen to be younger).  Being forty-five years old places me in between these two different groups of saints, and I …

Living Life In A Lower Gear

Jeff Cultural Observations, FAITH

Talking with a retired friend the other day, I was surprised when he confided in me that he found it extremely difficult to adjust the pace of his mind from making numerous, important daily decisions to the reality that nobody really needing anything from him anymore.  He had been programmed for decades to be part of a process wherein very important …

The Arrhythmia Of America’s Heart

Jeff Church Life, Cultural Observations

Today was a very heavy day for many of us in the United States of America. Another definitive step further out of the will of God has been taken by those appointed to render judgment in the highest human court we regard in this republic.  I am on a short ministry sabbatical and am trying not to think on any heavy …

Hungers

Jeff Cultural Observations

Driving into the office today I had a hypothetical question pop into my mind.  I was pondering what my answer would be if God approached me and asked me the question, “Jeff, if I could only impart one thing to you and the people you influence what would you want that one thing to be?”  Before I even had time …

New Thing

Jeff Cultural Observations, FAITH

What is God up to today? We rarely think this way and it could be that many of us miss what God is doing because we have not been encouraged to look for it. There is a danger for the followers of Jesus that is manifested when we assume that God is done with all of His creative work. He …

The Blog Where Jeff Got All Weird On Us

Jeff Cultural Observations, Humor

So I saw my first Christmas display of the season a few days ago.  In my opinion, that’s messed up.  I want my turkey and dressing to be digested before I smell pine needles in the local mall.  Call me old-fashioned (or reasonable) but I really think it is silly to see Yuletide décor prior to Halloween. To add to …

Remembering Those Who Gave It All

Jeff Cultural Observations

Everything I will enjoy today was, in one way or another, made possible through the sacrifices of others. I join you in humbled gratitude for their sacrifices. God blessed me to learn as a child from a father who served in the Air Force and a grandfather who was a career officer in the Army.  These two men impacted my …

Getting Up Under Today

Jeff Cultural Observations

What if your pressures, challenges and frustrations about this season in your life actually had little to do with this season in your life? What if today’s empty hand was preparation for what you will be entrusted to hold tomorrow? What is your singlehood was not a problem but a gift? What if it wasn’t just married people who said …

Amid The Chaos & Clamor…A Throne

Jeff Cultural Observations, Hope

Twelve years ago today some of our enemies did great harm to us.  Terror was introduced as reality and no longer could be pushed to the outer edges of our thinking.  The bad guys brought to the core of our national fabric the reality of our vulnerability.  Proud America would no more be allowed the illusion of invincibility.  Our national …

The Phone Call That I Could Not Shake

Jeff Cultural Observations, Love

When I hung up the phone I just sat there kind of numb for a few minutes.  A couple of tears rolled down my cheeks and my heart took on a heaviness that still had not left me a couple of days later.  I had just spoken for the second time with a man who, perhaps, had the worst childhood …

Such A Thing As Sacrifice

Jeff Cultural Observations

As long as there are evil and good there will be war.  As long as there are selfishness and sacrifice there will be conflict.   As long as there are rage and greed there will be the oppression of the defenseless.  As long as there are honor and valor there will be the defense of the weak by the strong. I …

Love Fangs

Jeff Cultural Observations, theology, Uncategorized

The pressure is not imaginary.  As a matter of fact it has been imposing its squeeze on us for so long now that you may no longer feel its discomfort.  It is likely that you have gotten used to it, perhaps yielded to it and, God forbid, maybe even started exerting it yourself.  To what do I refer?  There is …

Hush

Jeff Cultural Observations, Preaching

Riding home from church on Sunday night I found myself utterly exhausted.  Sundays are usually full of demanding activity but, for some unknown reason, this past Lord’s Day left me feeling tanked.  My mind was heavy and I couldn’t find anything on the radio in the truck that pleased me.  Advertisers, announcers and about 3 different stations playing music that …

What Happens When Mama Bear Exits The Cave

Jeff Cultural Observations, Guest Posts

It’s been said that it is often easier to receive forgiveness than to receive permission.  With that quotable quip in mind, I post for today’s blog something my wife recently placed on her Face Book account.  Amy is my favorite person in the world and one of the things that I admire so much about her is her simplicity.  She …