• Bible,  Theology

    The Prophets Were Preachers Not Prognosticators

    Recently someone asked me if I thought there were still Old Testament prophecies that needed to be fulfilled. The question is a familiar one that I was asked many times when I served as an ordained minister and lead pastor for 10 years. It’s a sincere inquiry, revealing a desire to be discerning of the times, faithful to Scripture, and seeing how the Bible may be speaking to our world today. Unfortunately, the question also reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the biblical prophets and their prophecies. The biblical prophets were primarily preachers, not prognosticators. They were concerned about their immediate context — their time and place in history, not the…

  • Bible,  Faith,  Life,  Theology

    The Way of Jesus Is The Way of Love and Inclusivity

    I think love and inclusivity are the central virtues of Jesus’s kingdom vision. I’ve thought this for quite a while. And it’s a significant reason why I resigned from my post and surrendered my ministry credentials after 10 years as a lead pastor in a conservative evangelical denomination. I reached a point where I couldn’t be the pastor I believed that God called and gifted me to be, the pastor I wanted to be, and I couldn’t love people — all people — the way I believed Jesus’s central kingdom virtues demanded. The denomination was fond of saying that we welcomed all people. But we really didn’t. We welcomed them…

  • Church,  Life,  Spirituality

    How Christian-Year Spirituality Shapes Us In The Way of Jesus

    This past Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent. The Christian Year began again. The texts in the Revised Common Lectionary switched to Year A, starting with the texts for the First Sunday of Advent. At our church, the Advent candles were lit, Advent hymns were sung, and the message focused on living with active, hopeful expectation and anticipation at the coming of Christ when everything will be put right. This is the most counter-cultural of all the Christian seasons, our pastor suggested. Because while the rest of the world is busy shopping, decorating, preparing for Christmas, and making merry, Advent invites us to reflect on the end of the…

  • Work

    How a Book Discussion Shaped Our Business Culture

    And how it can transform yours

    Leaders are readers, the saying goes. I believe that. Reading books and articles, as well as listening to podcasts, are just a few of the vital ways we expand our horizons, cultivate empathy and compassion, gain competencies, and develop personally and professionally. Basically, these are formative ways that we become better humans.  It’s also the case that most of our reading, listening, and learning has to be done on our own time. Development and personal growth is good and all, but not on company time. At least that’s how some employers might view it.  I led countless book discussions and small groups when I was a lead pastor for 10…

  • Life,  Work

    Debunking the Myths that Keep us from Self-Care

    The lies we tell ourselves and how to overcome them

    Recently I shared a Forbes article about self-care on LinkedIn that blew up with views, likes, and comments. I’ve never shared anything on social media that got as much traffic as that post. The gist of the article was that self-care isn’t an indulgence, it’s a discipline. And perhaps this is why we sometimes struggle with self-care. It’s just really not very sexy. Instead, it’s about making intentional choices as seemingly banal and mundane as turning off the TV instead of watching another episode, going to bed at a decent time so we can get up early to greet the next day with gusto, and practicing moderation with our food…

  • Life,  Work

    Paralysis By Analysis

    Sometimes making decisions about my life is crippling. I think it stems from an idea instilled in me from early in my upbringing — but that I’ve since rejected, at least intellectually — that God has a perfect plan for our lives.  There’s God’s “perfect will” and there’s God’s “permissive will”, I was taught growing up. And all we have to do is discern God’s perfect will and plan so we can live happily ever after. No pressure. I don’t believe that anymore and I’m pretty sure that’s not how life works.  Nevertheless, it’s funny how things deeply ingrained throughout the formative years of our lives stay with us, even…

  • Faith,  Life

    Why I’ve Always Struggled with Life Verses

    I used to belong to a Christian subculture where it was popular and fairly common for people to say they had a “life verse.” And not just say they had one. But they also quoted it, shared it, talked about it, and asked others what their life verse was. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, the basic idea of a life verse is that it’s a verse of Scripture that really resonates with you and speaks to you. It might even be something you strive to live your life by. There are actually website articles to help you determine your life verse. No kidding. See here and here, for two…

  • Work

    The Golden Rule For Providing Exceptional CS and CX

    I work in customer service development for a global manufacturer. So CS (customer service) and CX (customer experience) are constantly on my mind. I read books about it. Think about it. Develop classes and teach training modules to equip our frontline team members to flourish at it. And I notice it — both the good and not so good — pretty much everywhere I go. Some data suggest that providing exceptional CS and CX is minimal in retaining customer loyalty and creating brand ambassadors. Maybe so. However — and much more interesting to me — the same data also suggests that the surest and fastest way for customers to walk…

  • Work

    What’s Your Reset Button?

    A few weeks ago I was walking the aisles of our customer service contact center where I work in customer service development. It’s a daily practice I have that helps me check in with people and keep a pulse on how things are going. “How are you doing?” or “What’s on your mind?” I’ll often ask our frontline team members who are in-between calls or live chats. Quick yet meaningful conversations ensue. Sometimes ideas for new training modules get sparked as I hear pain points and areas of frustration that inhibit performance. Sometimes I hear about difficult personal or family challenges they’re navigating. Other times the conversation is lite. Banter…

  • Faith

    The Faith to Doubt

    I still remember the panic welling up from somewhere deep inside me. I had lingered in the classroom after all the other students had left in hopes of getting some answers from my professor. No, “answers” is the wrong word. What I wanted was something more like assurance or even certainty. I wanted to be told that all the questions reverberating in my mind about the early chapters of the Bible and the comparative Ancient Near Eastern stories we had been studying were nothing to worry about. I had been raised to believe that the Bible was God’s inspired Word, after all. These other stories were fictional myths. My professor,…