Hey pastor, calm down

As I’m preparing for Easter weekend, I was thinking about my fellow pastors who are doing the same all across the country and around the world. It caused me to want to send them a note, but since I don’t know all of them personally, I thought I’d just put it out there and let anyone willing to read listen.

So, here we go… pastor or not, here I come.

For my personal devotional time, I’ve been cycling through the book of Romans. Many of you in the theological “know” will recognize that portions of this book are a battleground for certain theological camps regarding issues of predestination, free will, determinism, free agency of man, Calvinism, Arminianism, reformed… if there’s a title to make you pick a side, it can be applied somewhere here in the book of Romans.

I’ve also thought about all the strained friendships I have over these issues. I tried to recount the endless hours lost in friendly (?) debates. And I remembered numerous side conversations where invisible lines were drawn around people and groups saying so-and-so belongs to ‘that’ school of thought and so-and-so was lost to ‘this’ way of thinking.

Honestly, I was praying through that study and taking a walk around a pond thinking about these things when the Lord put in my mind an image from the not-too-distant past. It was a couple of school-age children at camp who didn’t realize I was overhearing (because eavesdropping sounds too creepy).

They were arguing with one another about God, one struggling to believe and the other confident in his faith. The childhood skeptic had weak arguments that you could tell were repetitious banter heard from some adult that he admired. And, the childhood believer offered unsubstantiated proofs that offered no philosophical underpinnings as to why he believed what he believed.

I wanted to jump in and correct them both, show them the error of their ways… but, I controlled myself since they were children… and it was Rec time at summer camp.

Again, as I’m walking around the pond, this was the image that popped into my mind. I didn’t have to wonder why very long.

The foolishness of their arguments and the silliness of their debate seemed so obvious to me. And, to an infinitely greater degree so must our tiny theological squabbles appear before the enormity of God.

We argue, brood and fight over a 6-inch gap on a theological spectrum that’s a football field long. In no way shape or form can I ever think that the God of the universe is pleased with us. In fact, we probably looked like small children arguing about something they know relatively little about sitting on a wall looking at a pond eating grape snow cones.

This weekend pastors, as we think about what we’re going to share with those crowds who come filing in for the annual remembrance of Easter Sunday, let me remind you of one small verse from Romans that should keep us all in check:

“So do not become proud, but fear.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Ro 11:20.

Paul was speaking of Gentiles grafted into the vine that is the kingdom of God. He warned that instead of thinking much of themselves they should remember that broken off branches don’t do anything on their own.

Only the Gardener can save them from the brush pile. So, instead of arrogance… tremble .

I would offer us the same advice.

Don’t worry about astounding the crowds with our theological prowess. Don’t determine that this is the weekend we should establish our doctrinal purity. And, whatever we do, let us not think that we have to impress the crowds this weekend. It’s just like every other weekend when we only have an audience of One.

Instead, drop the pride and come to the podium with some fear and trembling working out your own salvation. Share the message of broken humanity rescued from itself by a loving and amazing God.

Reject the urge to “pull off” a service to make them think that you have the best church since the apostle Paul retired, your worship band is the most gifted crew this side of heaven, and that you are the best preacher they’ve ever heard.

Instead, remind them God is great, even if we must play the fool to make sure they see it.

May this Easter we be the blessing that God wants us to be for those who have yet to hear.

May He increase. May we decrease.

Happy Easter.

The Power of Mentoring

I have a nearly indescribable feeling that I would like to, well… describe to you.

I am refreshed, energized, challenged and at peace. If you don’t know much about we preacher types, that’s unusual for a Monday morning. In fact, I have preacher friends who have a ritual of writing their resignation letters every Monday, praying over them and then throwing them away.

I thank God I don’t get that kind of grief every weekend, or at least that I’m too thick in the head to notice it… please don’t point it out if I am. I’d like to stay blissfully unaware.

The reason for my Monday morning glee is that I just spent two plus hours with one of the two men I consider to be my mentors in life and ministry. In the course of that time we talked about what we have been reading, what we have been experiencing and what has us dumbfounded.

Funny, I talked the most during that last part…

Over the years I have established a relationship with these men that allows them to be honest with me, even when I am both ignorant and stupid. There is a difference between those two you know?

Ignorance is when you do something stupid, but didn’t know you were doing something stupid. Stupid, is doing something when you’re already pretty sure whatever you’re doing might be stupid.

Continue reading “The Power of Mentoring”

There’s no losing, just not winning

I’m not the kind of guy who is willing to settle. In fact, when I hear someone announce victoriously, “Well, at least it’s a wash,” it literally makes my skin crawl.

Maybe its an overabundance of testosterone. Maybe I have an over developed sense of confidence. Maybe I am unapologetically competitive and can’t stand the thought of not winning (you see, there is no losing, just not winning).

In some circles I’m sure they would call it pride and arrogance, yet in others they would call it perseverance and determination. Whatever you might label it, I simply know me, and I know that unless we are moving forward I feel like we’re moving backward.  And, that is not acceptable.

I’m that way in all my relationships, work projects and hobbies. Maybe that’s why the enthusiastic tone I felt whilel reading an article on church growth kind of left me queasy. Continue reading “There’s no losing, just not winning”

A little risky business

I have a confession to make.

Many think that because I am a public speaker and a leader that that I am a bold individual. They assume the stage persona that delivers the weekly message is the same guy wandering around my house.

Well, I hope I am the same kind of man with the same kind of character both in and out of the spotlight. But, truthfully, my persona on stage is not the same as it is when “the switch is off.”

That’s why it always cracks me up to have people say to my wife, “Wow, it must be a real blessing to be married to him. You’re probably laughing all the time!”

Her response is usually a very dry, “Yeah… he’s a real riot.”

In fact, one of the secrets to my message/sermon preparation is that 90% of the lessons I teach, I am delivering to myself. I feel them because I need them.

So, what about this confession I need to make? Continue reading “A little risky business”

He Touched Me…

Had a great opportunity this week. I was invited to sit down at a small roundtable discussion with Ed Young Jr. He’s the Pastor of the uber huge Fellowship Church based out of the Metroplex of North Dallas.

Kathy and I attended there often while we went to school and pastored in Fort Worth. And, I have taken our current staff to their C3 conference every year since I have been here.

We have stolen… er borrowed… several ideas from Ed and his staff over the years. But, we shouldn’t feel bad about it. In Ed’s own words, “God gave you eyes, plagiarize! Copy it and make it better!”

It was one of the most awesome days in recent history for me personally and professionally because of what I learned, the other pastors I got to fellowship with and… I hugged Ed.

Yes, yes, yes… for those of you who know, invading my bubble means it must have been a special moment. It was actually caught on tape and I am Giddy to share it with you.

You’ll notice that in classic Ed style he kept asking me questions even though he was the far more interesting guy in the room. I’d love to get the opportunity to turn the tables and throw the questions his way! Continue reading “He Touched Me…”

Lessons from the Little Piggy gone to market

One Body, Many Parts

 12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized bya one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

a Or with; or in
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (1 Co 12:12-27). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.



I am learning a lot from my body lately. Not by choice, probably because I was never a willing student in the first place. Nonetheless, I have some valuable lessons being heaped upon me.

Suffering from these chronic chiari headaches, I have learned how to try and cope and push through the day to day stuff even when you’d rather just lay down. It’s helped me cinch up a couple of notches on my baby belt and quit pegging out my wuss-o-meter.


That is, unless Kathy’s around and then I lay it on thick because she is awesome with the neck rubs. No one forward her this article… don’t ruin this for me!

Continue reading “Lessons from the Little Piggy gone to market”

So, maybe I was wrong…

 So, have you had a chance to percolate on the previous article for a couple of days?

I’ve never written a ‘to be continued’  before but I thought I would give it a shot. If you haven’t read “I knew I was right” from a day or two ago please take a minute, or none of this will make any sense.

Honestly, the way I write, it might not make any sense if you read it anyway, but it’s worth a shot.

I decided to continue the article, or at least make it a two-parter when I saw that Acts 16 (the continuation of the passage we were looking at) appeared to be a contradiction of Acts 15. Continue reading “So, maybe I was wrong…”

Bucket Theology

So what are you afraid of?

Financial issues, health concerns, family matters, ending opening sentences with prepositions…

The only people who really have anything to worry about as it relates to their fears are the ones who say they aren’t afraid of anything. Take it from me, I’m an expert in fear as one who is afraid of a multitude of things (not a positive, of course, just a statement of fact)… everyone is afraid of something.

The problem is our fears tend to camouflage themselves. We see the obvious ones:

· “I’m afraid of dogs” – Well, you were probably bitten as a child

· “I’m afraid of getting pulled over by the police” – Well, slow down genius

· “I’m afraid of tornados” – Well, you’re not an idiot

· “I’m afraid of those creepy sounds downstairs in my house at night” – Well… Well, actually, I agree. Do you mind going down to check? Thanks.

The obvious fears we get. They are easy to spot, label and either accept or deny. The problem is many leaders are leaders because they have learned to wrestle these obvious fears to the ground and knock’em out with the classic sleeper hold! Continue reading “Bucket Theology”

I Feel So Left Out

Please imagine that really cool TV network “Now Announcing” music beginning here followed by this more than pertinent information:

Today, the CrossEyedLife announces a new category for it’s teaching/blog articles called Leadership Journals. I’ve noticed that many of the comments and the emails received are from people in leadership positions whether in small business or in ministry, so, I’m creating a new line of thoughts for our readers specifically for them.

Hopefully these articles will have principles that translate to all readers, as I really enjoy communicating directly with fellow leaders from time to time. So, whether you’re a CEO who crunches numbers and meanders through the marketplace maze, or maybe you’re a fellow under-shepherd smacking a few sheep back into the flock, or maybe your captain MOM of the good ship “OBEY ME NOW OR THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES”… I hope Leadership Journals has something for you!


Have you ever missed out on a good thing because you haven’t been willing to do the hard thing?

The obvious answers lie before us like broken toys on a toddler’s bedroom floor (man, I have to get some non-parental metaphors):

· The better body we always wanted, but never produced because sit ups cost more than Ding Dongs

· The training and education we were always going to pursue later when we had more time (you can stop laughing now)

· The career or life goal that was actually achievable, but never achieved because it required a change that you still haven’t found the words to share with “you know who”

· The savings account that never was because the flat panel, the ipod, the boat, the new car, the… oh, you get it!

When we get honest, this list of good things gone undone can get sickeningly long real quick, and what makes it even worse is we can add another page of how we are planning on starting them all tomorrow.

Yeah, right. Continue reading “I Feel So Left Out”