On the Ordination of My Wife

I first met Vanessa in October of 1993. A mutual friend introduced us, and I knew immediately that she was someone I had to know more. I asked her out on our first date the very next day.

We’ve been together – more or less – ever since.

10525982_1512185249040658_5676694391380674691_nI was there when she really began following Jesus. I was there when she found her voice with older men who weren’t used to having to take a young woman so seriously. I was there when she pledged her life and love to a boy whose heart was captivated by her. I was there when she threw herself completely into serving the church. I was there when she welcomed babies into a growing family. I was there when she bucked stuffy traditions. I was there when she risked everything on a crazy dream of doing church and life a whole new way. I was there when she became a businesswoman. I was there when she became an artist. I was there when she began seeing herself as the pastor she is called to be.

And I’ll be there when she is ordained today.

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On our 20th wedding anniversary, I told Vanessa that the defining thing about her is that she makes everything better.

I am a better man because of her.

Our family is a better family because of her.

Vintage Fellowship is a better church community because of her.

The world is and will be a better place because of her.

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People, I imagine, wonder what I really think about Vanessa getting ordained. Does it threaten me? Does it diminish me? Does it make my own pastoral ministry less important? The only truthful and clear answer is no.

In one sense, Vanessa’s ordination changes everything. And in another, it changes nothing.

We will still serve as a team. We will still wrestle together with big questions. We will still lose sleep over the things that concern us. We will still do everything in our power to make Vintage Fellowship the light in the darkness we’ve always believed it could be.

But now, everyone will know what I’ve always known – Vanessa is the kind of gracious and strong leader we all need.

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I could not be more proud to call her my wife, my friend, my partner, my pastor.

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Your Church Is Probably Lying to You

In a recent speech, Donald Trump was distracted by a baby crying somewhere in the crowd. As a pastor who has experienced firsthand what it’s like to have your train of thought jump the tracks because you hear a crying infant, I immediately sympathized with him.

I even appreciated how he handled the situation.

“Don’t worry about that baby; I love babies … I hear that baby crying; I like it.” Trump said. “What a baby, what a beautiful baby. Don’t worry … Don’t worry about it.”

Imagine the baby’s mother in the back of the room. She knows her child is being a distraction to people. She’s desperately trying to keep him quiet. She wants to make sure her child is comforted, and she wants to be considerate of others. Read More…

I Quit the Republican Party

Today, I quit the Republican party.

This decision had been brewing for a while, but after taking a week to absorb the reality that Donald Trump is going to be the GOP nominee for President this year, I decided it was time.

The roots of this decision go back to Election Day 2012. Vanessa and I got up that morning as undecided voters. This was very unusual for us. We are not usually undecided when it comes to politics, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to commit to either President Obama or Mitt Romney. Since we live in a solidly red state where our vote doesn’t really matter, we decided together to vote for the one candidate whom we actually agreed with on most issues. It was the first time I didn’t vote for the Republican nominee for President. I voted my conscious instead, which meant I voted for Gary Johnson. And there hasn’t been a day since that I’ve regretted it. Read More…

21 Tips for Being the Busiest Person You Know

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been asked several times how I do everything I do. My answer has been, I don’t know, I just get stuff done. The truth is, the more I’ve thought about it, I really love productivity hacks.

I’ve blogged about it at times. I think I talked to one of our ExCos once about the productivity hacks I use. Let me share a couple with you. First, I am a huge fan of Evernote. It’s this program that lets me keep everything in one place. It’s like my digital brain, synced to all of my devices. Second, I love Siri and Reminders. Siri sends me reminders all the time that keep me on track. Third, I love the idea of Inbox Zero. I work hard to keep my inbox empty as much as possible. I don’t like the digital clutter to build up. Fourth, I am careful about how I manage my To Do List. When I am prioritizing all the stuff on my list, I ask myself “When I get in bed tonight, what are the things that will let me sleep well if I’ve gotten them done?” Those are things I put at the top of my list every day. Read More…

A Challenge: Say Something Nice

This my column that appeared in Saturday’s Arkansas-Democrat Gazette:

I’ve conducted a little experiment over the past couple of weeks. On Facebook, I posted status updates that were unqualified compliments of all the major candidates for President.

I said Donald Trump is creative and innovative. Marco Rubio is a gifted speaker. Jeb Bush and John Kasich seem like genuinely good human beings. Bernie Sanders is principled. Ted Cruz is brilliant. I appreciate Hillary Clinton’s commitment to her family and Ben Carson’s gentleness in the midst of a raucous campaign.

I did not endorse any of the candidates or indicate for whom I would vote. I simply said something nice about each and everyone of them. Read More…

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