My wife reads good stuff, too

My wife wanted me to read this chapter because it made her think of me because it’s about a preacher who decides to be a counselor.

One significant quote that most preachers can relate to:

“How many religious leaders go into ministry with the idea that they’re going to be really great administrators?” -Rick Rittmaster

He had gone through depression and burnout as a preacher.

After getting his Masters in Counseling, he became a chaplain the US Army. He says, “There’s great sadness in the world, and being a chaplain, my role, my journey, is no to deny it or to resist it, but to accept it and to mourn with those who mourn.”

I like that statement.


Taken from Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of your Life by Jane Pauley



The Heart of Deuteronomy

I have been preaching through Deuteronomy on Sunday nights lately and, even though it was already one of my favorite books of the Bible, I am continually amazed by it.

Hopefully, I can get some audio up this week but here are some thoughts from Deuteronomy:

God has always been concerned about the Heart and internals. It’s a lie and heresy to say that the Law was only about externals and ritual.  That’s what the people made of it, but it was not God’s intention:

  • Greatest Command. Deut 6:4 is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart…”.  It continues in vs 6–“These commands are to be upon your heart.”
  • Circumcise your hearts.  Paul wasn’t being original and he wasn’t changing things in Romans 2:25-29, God had already talked about it in Deut 10:16.
  • God always loved a cheerful giver.  Deut 15:10-“Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart…”  2 Cor 9:7 was not a new (covenant) concept.

That’s a taste. I plan to blog more about grace and love in Deuteronomy this week as time permits.  Read it!

More Tulsa Workshop Highlights

Of all the great lessons I heard while in Tulsa two stick out.

A lesson on the Prodigal Son and Luke 15 covered all the bases and was beautiful.  It really didn’t tell me new facts that I did not know.  I knew about the woman needing coins for her wedding.  I knew it was shameful for a Father/male to run, therefore exposing his legs.  I had preached the same things but this sermon was just wonderful from beginning to end and helped me to appreciate God’s love for sinners/us.

The other one was not a part of the Workshop program but a Sunday morning sermon. Edward Fudge, who recently finished a commentary on Hebrews, preached on Jesus from Hebrews.  He focused on 4 Psalms that are prominent in Hebrews, each one making a point about Jesus.  It was fantastic.

If Tulsa detractors could listen to these lectures without knowing who the speaker was (and therefore, all they have preached “wrong”, and what their church does or doesn’t do), I think they would be surprised and edified.  Too bad some have written many out of God’s story.

There were many other great lessons.  I enjoyed hearing friends Trey Morgan and John Dobbs speak.  Trey spoke on taking risks for God and John spoke on dealing with grief and helping others.  Both messages were encouraging and practical and solid.

And then there was the fellowship. The first day at lunch I laughed so hard my face hurt.  Amanda Sanders (one of the funniest humans I know) was stalking Randy Harris. Gallagher, Tucker, James Jones, and Trent Tanaro were cracking wise and telling stories about anything and everything.

The following day at lunch was when we had a neat God-moment after laughing and telling stories again.  Gallagher recounts the story well here if you haven’t heard it yet. Jennifer, we do continue to pray for you and your family (in case you read this).

Friday evening, about 40 bloggers and family and friends ate in the same room and got to visit and take pictures.  Maybe next year we will be better organized, but it was still fun.

It was great to see old friends and make new ones.  I was edified by the preaching and relaxed by the laughter.  I was encouraged by the fellowship.  I hope to be back next year.  I hope you can be there, too.

For those who attended, what were your favorite moments?

some blog banquet attendees

March Musings

March is really a great month.  It might sneak in under the radar, but there is a lot going on.

First, you have the brief glimpses of spring, warmer days and maybe some things even begin blooming.

You have the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney, aka March Madness, which in my opinion, is the greatest sporting event of the year, ahead of Super Bowl and the World Series.  Kentucky is good again.  I would love for a Final Four finish, but won’t get greedy enough to hope for a national championship.

Also sports related, Baseball is gearing up and March is time for Spring Training and fantasy drafts.  Yes, I am a nerd.  Yes, I play fantasy sports.  I enjoy the research and guessing and the fellowship with friends. I have the second overall pick in the Keeper League I joined last year and plan to take Braves super-rookie Jason Heyward.  I joined this league last year thanks to Bobby Ross and took over the last place team.  I am enjoying the challenge of building up my team.

But on to more important things.  My favorite boy in the world turns 6 this month, on the Ides of March!! I can’t believe it and can’t wait.  We will be celebrating in Transformer fashion on Saturday.  He has never seen the movie nor a cartoon, but has a couple of toys and that was his choice for the party theme.

And lastly for the month is the Tulsa Workshop.  I can’t wait to see old friends, my sister, many of you, and make new friends while enjoying great worship and great teaching.  It is a refreshing time that I long for.  Hope to see you there.

March is a great month.  What do you like about it?

Have a great month!!

Passing the Torch: Godly Influences

John Dobbs had the great idea to blog about ministers who have influenced us in our faith.  What a great way to give honor to whom honor is due and express gratitude to God and these godly men for their service in the Kingdom.

My sister wrote about our Dad HERE, so please read that, too.  There are many I could write about but chose one in particular.

Mike Tanaro (sorry, Trent, for stealing your preacher/dad) had been at the Lone Oak Church of Christ for a couple of years before we began attending. God was working on me, a 15 year old, and I had just been learning/beginning to pay better attention during the assembly and actually listen to the sermon.

Mike made it easier.

He was animated, loud at times, he paced all over, even standing among the youth group when they were talking and misbehaving.  We would occasionally have a “Preaching and Singing till Midnight” on a Friday night.  Those nights he would pace the entire auditorium as he taught.  I will always remember him preaching a series on the book of Romans that was easy to understand and fascinating. In fact, all his sermons were easy to follow and understand.  It was as if he was just talking to you about the Bible and Jesus.

I remember one time he was talking about Moses or someone lying prostrate on the ground, so he suddenly dropped down on his stomache, in the middle of a sentence!  That got everyone’s attention.  He had a lot of great catchphrases, some were probably learned at Sunset from Richard Rogers and others but I will always associate them with Mike Tanaro.

  • “We are saved to serve.  We serve to save.”
  • “You walk, He wipes”  comparing God’s grace to windshield wipers and sin as rain drops, talking about 1 John 1, as he walked across the stage and simulated wipers with his arms.
  • “Do what they did, get what they got”  teaching on the first Christians and salvation

Two more things someone reminded me of:  The regular “Bible checks.”  And when he asked a question during a sermon, he expected a response, and would shake his head up and and down, and side to side as he said, “This means yes, this means no.”

Even though I went through two Christian colleges and learned a lot as an associate minister in Italy, I picked up a few things subconsciously from Mike, although I will never be as good of a preacher.  I do pace occasionally and feel tied down when I don’t have a wireless microphone.  I don’t tell lots of stories or use long illustrations, trying to keep things simple and straightforward.  I wasn’t taught these things at Harding, but do them nonetheless.

God used Mike Tanaro at the right time in my life to create a love for the Word and preaching. Although most of his influence on me was from the pulpit, it certainly left a mark.