Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Did I Kill Jesus

This is one of the most creative things I have attempted in a sermon... building something while delivering. This is about salvation, but even more about the crucifixion itself and God's purposes behind it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Path of Discernment

Over the past month, I have had many conversations with friends and fellow youth ministers who are in a transition time. The questions they ask are often similar: What is the right choice? Is there another option? What does God want?

These are important questions, but sometimes they just aren't clear.  I was walking and praying about this earlier this week in the woods near our church.  For some reason, it is much easier for me to pray while walking outside than sitting still sometimes (imagine that).  As I was walking I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me through my surroundings.  Sometimes, the path of our life is about to turn, and though we cannot see exactly where it is going, we can see that it is turning ahead.  We want to know where it is headed, but cannot because we are simply too far from the turn to be able to see.  In these situations, we have to continue waling our path until the turn becomes clear.

But sometimes, the path opens up and puts us out in an open field.  It is in those times when I believe God is saying that any choice we make is good.  We can stay straight, make a turn, or pause and enjoy the openness.  So, I ask my friends, which is it for you?  Are you on a path that is taking a turn you are just beginning to see ahead?  If you stay straight will you run into a tree? Or, does it feel like all options are open... is it all good?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Revelation Sermon

I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about this sermon and wanted to share it with you guys.  It takes a very broad look at revelation and hopefully takes what we learn and applies it to life in general.  Let me know what you think!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Status and Citizenship

Who knew the Bible was so political?  The book of Phillipians gives intense input on status and citizenship.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

King, Manger and Palace

Did you know that the manger was probably not outside?  We explore the Archaeology of the manger scene and look at amazing structure called the Herodium that change the shepherd's journey and challenge us to radical discipleship!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shavuot and Acts 2

I accidentally prepared for the wrong reading when working on the last video for the New Testament Experience. I figured I'd do a brain dump here and share the wealth.

Pentecost (literally the fiftieth day) is the beginning of the Jewish festival of Shavuot. This is the religious festival that was all about celebrating God giving the law (torah) to the people of Israel (which coincidentally happened fifty days after the Exodus).

If you remember your flannelgraph correctly, you may remember seeing a fire at the top of the mountain. This passage (along with Ezekiel 1-2) is one of the theophanies (visible manifestation of God) that the Jewish people read during the feast of Shavuot. The other main reading for this Festival comes from the book of Ruth. That is interesting because the book of Ruth foreshadows the incorporation of the Gentiles into the people of God as she is not a Jew but a Moabite (who are forbidden in Deuteronomy 23:3 to be part of the Jewish people... they are to be totally separate).

What a beautiful setting for the giving of the Holy Spirit! The festival celebrates the moment when all the people saw a fire on top of the mountain and received the Law that was to help them cover their sin and live in right relation to God once again. Now, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the fire is no longer on the mountain, but separates and rests on them individually. It fills them and they cannot help but cry out! The law that is being celebrated in Shavuot is being fulfilled before their very eyes.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Binding, Losing, and the Presence of Jesus

Did you realize that "wherever two or three are gathered" is talking about far more than what happens in prayer?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Baptism of Jesus (Jewish/Cultural Background)

This is the first of several videos that will explore background information related to the readings for the New Testament Experience series that the Newsong service at my church is doing.  This is about Jesus Baptism found in Matthew 3.  So much information it was hard to decide!  Please email me questions: and subscribe to email updates at the right side!

A New Face for an Old Blog

I have been blogging on some version of unpretending for several years.  As my horizons have expanded, I have begun to contribute in many places.  I have decided to move to be a blog that contains most of all the content I create.  Unpretending (currently  soon to have a proper url) is going to have a very specific focus.

Over the last couple of months I have had several conversations with people (especially college students) who want some sort of place to receive deep conversation and teaching about scripture and the Christian faith.  Since we do not do a whole lot at our church for college ministry, I am hoping that this can be a place for our college students as well as other interested students and adults can recieve that sort of information on a semi-regular basis.  My commitment for this blog from hence forth will be to the following:
  1. Honest, academic information - Meaning you will not find a lot about the latest Christian inspirational book.  I will do the research required to provide depth rather than re-re-digested content.
  2. Short - I will not write dissertations here.  I am going to get to the point and leave out as much as possible so that it is easily digestable... think two-three double spaced pages.
  3. Questions - I am not here to provide answers.  I am much more interested in questions and difficult ideas that make us wrestle with God.
  4. Little Application - I will have some sort of bringing it back into the real world time, but will focus most of my energy on the content itself.
We start with background information for a study our church is doing where people are trying to read through the Bible in 9 weeks.  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Art and the Wailing Wall

The last several months have been great in our youth ministry. We have seen several new ministries started by our teens, and some great creative offerings. Becca has been similarly moved and expressed her thoughts far more eloquently than I on her blog; however, as I was walking through our youth facility today, I swelled with pride for the ministry that they are doing. Below are several pictures that alternate between honest cries to God and artistic expressions by our Photography team that delve into being filled up and poured out.

The wailing wall is something that was suggested in The Kingdom Experiment. We are using this amazing small group resource for some of our life groups, and mine decided to do this community option suggested in it. All we did was tape the words wailing wall to an existing wall along with a cup to hold pens and some post-its. We each posted a prayer request to the wall and allowed God to do the rest. The result is a place where students are crying out like the Israelites in the desert. My heart is broken every time I read the new notes, and I am forced to my knees by the weight of their concerns. I guess my prayer now is, "God hear the cries of your people." Stop by sometime and join your prayers with ours.