You’ll also find this column over at Associated Baptist Press/Religious Herald.  where it first appeared earlier today.     I recently found myself asked to take a step back from leadership in worship. The pastor in charge was apologetic and very polite, but the public leadership of women in the church is not biblical, he explained, and as a pastor who believes in the Bible it was important to him to draw… Read More

As many of you know, my brother John died suddenly, and our family has been walking through a sad and unfamiliar path of difficult decisions and tearful goodbyes.  John leaves a wife, Susie, and four children: Cole (14), Julia (4), Sophia (4), and Grady (2). Yesterday we held a formal memorial service; today we took to the ocean, where John most loved spending time, to scatter his ashes. Who knows how you… Read More

Benediction John 21:15-19 Who knows how to plan a worship service like today’s worship service?  Turns out none of us in the church office do!  So, my amazing colleague Jason Smith did a bit of research, looking back over these past 11 years and specifically back to the first time I ever stood in this pulpit.  When he did, he found that the day I preached my candidacy sermon and this congregation… Read More

Calvary had the holy honor of affirming the ordination of Rev. Allyson Robinson this past Sunday.  As more LGBTQ brothers and sisters gather the courage and step into the opportunity of a fullness of life on every level, the church has the wondrous opportunity to be present in these beautiful moments, to name the work of God in a life and in the world, and to declare for the world the blessing of… Read More

A Curious Community Matthew 28:16-20 Genesis 1:27-28 A version of this sermon was preached at Calvary Baptist Church on Trinity Sunday in 2008.  Here’s a reprise! I just love today’s Gospel passage.  The disciples met Jesus up on a Galilean mountain and it was a joyful reunion.  Then Jesus gave them marching orders to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the… Read More

As many of you know, after many long months of prayerful discernment on my part and the part of The Riverside Church in New York, yesterday I accepted a call to become that church’s seventh Senior Minister. This decision represents a big transition in the life of our family, a transition full of sadness and excitement and fear and anticipation. We will now begin the process of saying goodbye to our dear… Read More

Delivered at The Riverside Church June 8, 2014.  Listen to the sermon here and watch video stream here. Unlocked Acts 2:1-21 Good morning, Riverside community.  It’s such an honor to be with you this morning, and after these weeks of getting to know each other in various expressions, it means even more to me to have the honor of standing here in your pulpit this morning. So, here we find ourselves, called together… Read More

Dear Calvary Family, I write to you as I’m making my way to New York City to preach this weekend at The Riverside Church. You have been in my thoughts and heart so often over the last several weeks as so much change has come suddenly to all our lives. And while I am not yet able to speak to you in person, I do have a few thoughts I’d like to… Read More

Believe (Tangible) John 14:1-14 We’ve been talking these past few weeks, since Easter, about what it means to believe.  There’s a reason we’ve been doing that, of course: following along behind Jesus and his disciples, we’ve lived through quite an unbelievable turn of events.  And with resurrection hanging in the air, we all—at some point—have asked ourselves whether or not we can really believe. We’d like to be able to be a… Read More

Accepting This Yes, it is true. I confess, I have thought great thoughts, and sung great songs—all of it rehearsal for the majesty of being held. The dream is awakened when thinking I love you and life begins when saying I love you and joy moves like blood when embracing others with love. My efforts now turn from trying to outrun suffering to accepting love wherever I can find it. Stripped of… Read More


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