May 15, 2017

I once asked Frank, a friend and successful financial planner, for the best advice he gave to his client. I was shocked by his response: “Eric, I tell all my clients to calculate how much they earn during the first two work days of the month. Then I tell them to give that amount to...Continue Reading

April 3, 2017

This week, a mega-church in my hometown played an April Fools prank on the community. They announced the launching of their own craft beer brand as a way for them to connect with beer drinkers who don’t go to church. The video directed viewers to a website, which, if the investigated deep enough, one would… Continue Reading

March 21, 2017

In my last post, I wrote that we are called not to choose family OR mission, nor are we to try to balance family AND mission, but that Christ calls us to be families ON mission. The obvious question is this: “How do I do this?” In the ministry of Jesus, before He sent His disciples… Continue Reading

March 14, 2017

As a pastor, it can be easy to focus entirely on mission through the church I lead while completely ignoring mission through the family of which I am a part.  However, no matter how great of a preacher, discipler, and spiritual leader I am in the church, my impact as a pastor pales in comparison… Continue Reading

March 10, 2017

I recently came across a video of a presentation done by Dr. Charles Arn, a professor at Wesley Seminary. In it, he described the results of a research study that had asked those who had come to faith in Christ through church why they showed up in the first place. You can watch the video by... Continue Reading

March 10, 2017

As a Lutheran pastor who did not grow up paying attention to the church year, there are powerful benefits to the liturgical calendar. At different times of the year, we are offered an opportunity for "disproportionate focus" on certain aspects of the faith. During Advent, we reject consumerism and lean into our hope for the Messiah who... Continue Reading

October 31, 2016

Will you create margin or just experience the marginal? This morning, Laura and I worshipped at a church plant in the Toledo area called Soma City Church. We were blessed by a great sermon by their pastor, whose central message was that followers of Jesus are called to engage relationally with those who might otherwise make… Continue reading

October 17, 2016

Scripture: Genesis 15:1-6 Did you know that the word "BELIEVE" doesn't mean what you think it means? The English language is the only one of the European-based languages where "believing" something is primarily an intellectual matter. In every other language, belief involves the connection of head and heart. It is not possible to say that one... Continue reading

October 6, 2017

Scripture: Exodus 19:16-19 There is a commercial running right now for State Farm in which a married couple is shown facing two entirely different circumstances, yet uttering the same phrases. In the first, they are watching peacefully as a herd of wild mustangs grazes gently nearby. In the other, the same wild mustangs stampede past them... Continue Reading

October 5, 2017

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:10-15 I am not what most people would call a "morning person." Most mornings, when I first wake up, I am downright cranky. My natural inclination is to lay in bed and forgo the excercise, family breakfast, and personal devotional time that have become my morning routine. It is not until an admonishment... Continue Reading

October 3, 2016

Scripture: Exodus 3:1-4:17 For some reason, we think words alone are enough to convince deeply entrenched interests in surrendering their positions. If we are just persuasive enough, the other will agree with us. Too often, unfortunately, true persuasion is not what wins the battle of ideas. It is the one who can create calm, ease the... Continue Reading

September 30, 2016

Scripture: Romans 10:1-4 One of the prevailing ideas in our culture is that God's primary desire for each of us is to "be a good person." If we treat others with dignity, help someone else in need, and show a little love every now and then, God is pleased and we are assured a place in... Continue Reading

September 29,2016

Scripture: John 3:1-8 I have a confession to make. While I was never a very big video game player, I have enjoyed playing sports games. I am not too ashamed to say that if I find myself losing a game to the computer, I sometimes just hit the "reset" button so that I can start over fresh... Continue Reading

September 28, 2016

Scripture: Acts 2:36-41 Years ago, I found myself engaged in an extended debate with a friend of mine. This friend was a devout atheist and philosophy student who would regularly goad me about my faith and question how I could believe in the fantasy of a God who created everything and who sent a Son to... Continue Reading

September 26, 2016

Scripture: Genesis 3:1-7 It's known on used car lots as the "old bait 'n switch." The salesman promises you one thing, but after the purchase, you realize what you received was something else entirely different. Why do we fall for this? We are enticed by the promise of a better experience of life. The problem is... Continue Reading

September 23, 2016

Scripture: James 1:16-17 How would you approach your life if you viewed EVERYTHING good you possess as a gift? Tell me if you have had this experience: In your childhood, you are playing with a toy (perhaps not according to its intended use), and your mom or dad says, "Be careful! Grandma bought you that!" Or... Continue Reading

Sept 23, 2016

Scripture: Romans 8:26-28 How certain are you that you know what you need? As the assignment and first call process draw closer for me, I have been asked several times the kind of congregation I would want to serve and lead. In one sense, I have felt able to answer, but the more I reflect... Continue Reading

September 21, 2016

Scripture: Jeremiah 1:1-8 Have you ever heard the phrase: "God won't give you more than you can handle"? Maybe you have repeated this phrase. Maybe you believe truly believe this phrase. It's attractive because it says something about our capacity to withstand difficult circumstances. It sounds like encouragement to those experiencing trial to say to them... Continue Reading

September 21, 2016

Scripture: Psalm 139:7-12 Think about this for a second: there is nowhere you can go that God cannot find you. There is nothing you can do that God does not see. This sounds a bit terrifying, right? It is passages like this that bring to mind our many sins, the things we do when we... Continue Reading

September 19, 2016

Scripture: Genesis 21:14-19 Have you ever felt like you messed up something so badly that there is no hope of it being fixed? In Genesis, God promises Abraham and Sarah a son, but He was not coming through in the timeframe they wanted. Sarah possessed a slave girl whom she gave to Abraham to get pregnant, and... Continue Reading

September 15, 2016

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on... Continue Reading