The WorkFaith Connection is a ministry partner of ours at City Church. They exist to encourage disadvantaged job seekers in their hope for a better future and to equip them with the skills and beliefs to gain employment and lead healthy, productive and spiritually rich lives. Nowhere is their vision more powerfully experienced than during their graduation ceremonies on Friday afternoons, the culmination of their 8-Day Job Search Program, which runs continuously throughout the year. Occasionally, I have the opportunity to speak at these graduations - it’s always an honor and joy - but anyone can come and I encourage you to go! You can find the schedule at The WorkFaith Connection.Read More
Eleanor Stampfli is 96 years old. She joined City Church during our first year. Soon after that she had to move to an assisted living facility in League City to be closer to her daughter. She visits City Church whenever she’s able, which is not very often, so recently I visited her. I have since made a vow to visit her more often.Read More
All four Gospels record that Jesus was offered a drink of wine vinegar while he was on the cross (see Matthew 27:48-49, Mark 15:36 and Luke 23:36-37), but only John records that prior to this drink being offered to him, Jesus actually said, “I am thirsty.” And keep in mind that John was an eye witness to Jesus’ crucifixion. He was literally at the foot of cross, the only male disciple who did not run away, flanked by at least four women, three of whom, oddly enough were named Mary (see John 19:25 - “his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene”).Read More
No human being, no matter how relationally wired or connected, has ever experienced the kind of intimacy that Jesus shared with his Father, which is why no human being, no matter how relationally challenged or neglected, has ever experienced the kind of rejection that Jesus felt from his Father on the cross.Read More
Whenever I am hurting I do not think about the needs of other people. I just don’t, but Jesus does. His heart was full of others to the very end - “‘woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘here is your mother.’” This disciple, whom Jesus loved, who is standing nearby, is also the author of this story. John had been Jesus’ closest companion in life, an ear and eye witness to Jesus’ command to him to take care of his mother, Mary.Read More
Maya Angelou encourages us with this: “you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” Jesus does the strangest thing with all the power the Father had given him. He takes off his outer clothing, wraps a towel around his waist and symbolically models for his disciples what the apostle Paul will later say about him in Philippians 2:6-11.Read More
I am quickly and completely overwhelmed by problems I cannot solve. This is why I majored in math and chemical engineering in college; lots of problems to solve, and most of the time I was quite successful at solving them. Strangely, I’ve also come to see that this is likely one of the reasons God called me into ministry. As we like to say at City Church, the kingdom of God is upside down.Read More
Months ago I attended a meeting hosted by the Freedom Church Alliance. Their mission is to fight human trafficking through Jesus Christ by uniting and mobilizing churches to work alongside trusted anti-trafficking organizations. The modern day slavery of human trafficking has many faces, and sadly, Houston is a gateway city for this horrific injustice. It is a deep pocket of brokenness in our city, which is precisely why we believe Jesus is calling us to display a picture of his beauty.Read More
My friend, Marie, called me on my birthday this week. I haven’t seen her since I visited her in the hospital a while back. A couple of her grandchildren were in my youth group years ago and I officiated the marriage of another. She worked part-time at the church where I served in my first pastoral role. Most Sunday mornings, provided I arrived early, we would pray together before the service.
In a recent sermon I shared compelling evidence from a Washington Post article, curiously titled More and More Research Shows Friends Are Good for Your Health. A team of psychologists compiled data on more than three million people and discovered something quite incredible - “the absence of social connections carry the same health risk as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness leads to worse outcomes than obesity.” One psychologist interviewed in the article said, “a good friend is a wonderful anti-depressant.”
This week I experienced something tremendous, as did many of you who came out for Family Nights. The church I currently I serve, City Church, locked arms with the church I used to serve, Oaklawn. Together we joined another fabulous group of people from Cornerstone Ministries to help love the city to life in the 2nd Ward.
Woody Allen is credited with saying, “showing up is 80 percent of life.” I’ve heard (and used) similar logic countless times in relation to ministry. Personal presence is rather elastic… and compelling. “I’m here for you” means the world to us, both on the giving and receiving end.
All the believers were together and had everything in common... Acts 2:44. To what extent should this be true in the church today? In Romans 12, Paul says, “in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” When you belong to Jesus you belong to everyone else who belongs to Jesus. Nothing is yours to keep. All you have is yours to share.Read More
Moses had to do it (Exodus 18:13-27), the apostles had to do it (Acts 6:1-7), and we already need to do it. Throughout history when the Lord adds to the number of his people, leaders of God’s people are called “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:12). This looks a little different depending on the context of the church and the cultural moment in which the church is established.Read More
One evening last spring, in between dropping my youngest daughter off at softball practice, and returning to pick her up, I had enough time to workout. I brought my middle daughter with me. She’s a dancer and a gymnast. She’s the kind of workout partner that’ll humble a man.Read More
I rarely listen to an entire story on NPR, just bits and pieces while navigating Houston traffic. I heard an interview recently that peeked my interest so much I had to listen to the whole thing. Seymour Bernstein tells this story from when he was a little boy.Read More
One of our favorite phrases at City Church is “come and see”. One of Jesus’ first followers said this to a skeptical friend on their way to meet him. On Thursday, June 18, we will tweak this a bit to “taste and see.” I love craft beer so I am excited to personally invite you to our first “taste and see” event at Saint Arnold Brewery—June 18 at 7:00pm. Live music, free beer, good food and I promise, NO BAIT AND SWITCH!Read More