Training Pastors in Uganda

In 2013 I went to Uganda to serve with Watoto Childcare ministries. While I was there I had the high privilege of meeting local pastors that were striving to be faithful to God’s call in their lives as they sacrificially serve the local church in Uganda. Sadly, many of these pastors do not have access to educational materials or pastoral training.

In fact, for every 450,000 people outside the U.S. there is one formally trained church leader. Millions of pastors around the world are currently leading churches with little or no formal theological education. In Africa, 85% of the pastors have

Gerard Butler convinced me to go to Uganda (kinda)

I’ve heard a lot about the needs of the poor and marginalized across the globe. On a weekly basis, I read articles about millions of people dying of starvation, HIV/AIDs, war, malnutrition, and lack of water. The coffee shop I frequent displays ads about how I can help end world hunger.  Even Bono is telling me to be an agent of change.

For some reason, the message wasn’t sinking in.

I tuned it all out. Maybe because of the volume of messages or maybe it’s because there are so many needs. Or, perhaps, it was because I simply didn’t care enough to change my life and

Financial support for poor churches

The following is a portion of a research paper submitted to Phoenix Seminary in 2012.

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OBLIGATIONS OF THE LOCAL CHURCH TO THE IMPOVERISHED CHURCH ABROAD  

Today, millions of Christians have financial resources at their disposal. A substantial portion of these funds are given via tithes and offerings to the local church.  Given the relative economic prosperity of the American church, what are the moral obligations of a local church body to provide financial assistance to church bodies abroad?   Scripture teaches that affluent local churches are obliged to generously give to meet the life-sustaining needs of

Jonah’s not really a bad guy

Aside from finding infamy as an aquatic appetizer, Jonah has become somewhat of a whipping boy in modern thought. Generally, great attention is paid to his frustration against God and his anger against his mission field. I have often heard him portrayed as the archetypical “bad preacher” whose brief and ill-constructed message about God’s fury brought about repentance of an ancient pagan metropolis.

Perhaps because of the distance between Jonah’s time and ours we are tempted to scoff at Jonah’s attitude and think of him as a jerk that couldn’t to appreciate God’s amazing grace.  It is clear that Jonah hated

Obeying Jesus is like buying flowers

Upon hearing that salvation is by grace alone, one can often wonder why we should be obedient to Jesus if it doesn’t earn us salvation?

One of the primary reasons comes from Jesus’ own mouth. In John 14:15 he says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” 

Our king and creator tells us that obedience to Him should be out of love.  Because of the loving relationship we have with Jesus, we strive to do things that please him. This is perhaps illustrated in the common practice of buying flowers for a lady.

There are three reasons for buying flowers for

Longing for Heaven?

It is common to hear folks saying they long for heaven. Certain catch-phrases and verses (many times out of context) make it onto coffee mugs and bumper stickers.

“My citizenship is in Heaven”

“This (earth) is not my home”

“In case of rapture, this car will be unmanned”

While I value a desire for heaven, we must be wary what exactly we are longing for.

For some, our longing is simply to live in a place (eternally) where the ills of a fallen world like corruption, cancer and country music have ceased. Our heart aches for the day when we can finally live in peace

A Critical critique of my criticism

A while back, I had just been asked to lead the young adult ministry at our church family. Up until that point in time, I had little desire for it, mainly because what I thought about our church’s leadership was negative.  I thought they were misguided and out of touch. Decisions about programming, sermon series, musical styles, budgeting etc… were met with my skepticism and anger. I often thought “I could do better”.

Some of the books from “emerging ” church leaders reinforced my critical views that the church had become “too corporate” and that any pastor over 40 had probably

Dietrich Says Yes to the Earth

Though its size rivals the Death Star, Alex Metaxes’ Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy is one of the best biographies I have read in a while. His talent as a writer shines as the pages read more like a movie than an archaic archive of dates.  It has become one of my favorites (it even has pictures!) and I strongly recommend it to anyone who can read.

As for the content, I blew through two highlighters and found many fresh ideas to dwell on.  Aside from the obvious topics, such as how to live as a Christ-centered citizen

Unity in Worship Services

Recently, my local church family decided to merge our evening “hard rock” service (which I lead for 7 years) with our 10:45am service.   There were many reasons to do so, such as strategic use of resources, increasing the culture of creativity and vision among our leaders and broadening our worship and arts in the morning service to incorporate more styles and forms of expression.   However, one of the primary reasons was unity within the Church.

Over the past years, I’ve wrestled with the idea of segregating a church family into style-based worship services that exists primarily to appeal to cultural differences (i.e.

A Letter from Birmingham Jail

In honor of MLK, I uploaded this monologue of his Letter from Birmingham Jail.  Here is, in my opinion, one of the segments most important to the Church.

There was a time when the church was very powerful–in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately