Lessons from Travis: The Marriage game

rWho wants to play a game? The group of students paused in anticipation.

“What’s the game?” a student asked excitedly.

“Well it’s simple” Travis went on “You are going to flip a coin. If you get a heads you get a candy bar.” Travis revealed a selection of candy bars like Vanna White showing a prize. The boy with glasses eyes the Snickers ready to fend off a resolution rarely see outside of fights to the death and Black Friday shoppers (although to be fair that might be redundant).“Ok I will play.” The boy said as he reached to his pocket for a quarter.

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Misunderstanding Faith

faithIf you have faith, you can marry.” “If you have faith in God, you can raise 12 disciples.”

Did I miscommunicate biblical faith? I used to make such statements 100s of times to countless Bible students for over a quarter of a century….especially to those who are single and in (restrained desire and) need of a spouse! I am so sorry for all those I did this too… I realize that inherent in such seemingly “innocent” and “cute” statements is that it could be provocative and possibly misleading and miscommunicating biblical faith. Continue reading →

This is your Church

graveSo for anyone at UBF, here is what your leaders think. This is your church in a nutshell. Why do you put up with such things?

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How do other people react to you?

iOk so today’s article comes right from Brian’s beer church. For about two years now, I have not attended a church service, apart from visiting my friends at WestLoop Church and worshiping with Ben and their wonderful community a couple times. Instead I’ve been participating in a plethora of online discussions and writing books on Sunday (and no not every Sunday is beer Sunday, today is coffee day!) One of the online groups I’ve come to love is called the Progressive Christian Alliance. I feel compelled to share an experience I had this week with the alliance.

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Lessons from Travis: The good Christian

nIt was a day late in late summer. The light streamed through the window into a room with several high school students. Two Chinese girls sat on a couch and next to then two African American students, next two them two girls who looked to be sisters and near the door a boy with glasses. The Roots played quietly in the background. A man in his early 20′s asked everyone the topic of the night.

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What I Am Not Ashamed Of

I Am Not Ashamed Of JesusMy sermon for tomorrow is Gospel Power based on Rom 1:16. These are my rambling thoughts as to what I might preach extemporaneously tomorrow, which may change by tomorrow!

Paul says emphatically, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” This is the explicit reason why he had Gospel Enthusiasm and excitement and energy and eagerness to preach the gospel to the Romans (Rom 1:15).

I wondered to myself, “What am I NOT ashamed of?”

Two things immediately come to mind: my wife and my cats! I simply love to talk about them at every opportunity. I can hardly get through any sermon, or Bible study, or a casual conversation, or even a UBFriends post or comment, without talking about either my wife or my cats or both! Continue reading →

An Introduction to Lessons from Travis

wOne of the problems that comes with teaching is knowing what was previously taught to your students. If you assume they know too much then you will expect too much, if you assume they know too little you will waste your time reteaching things. It is important as a teacher to determine the level of the student upon becoming his teacher.

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John 10 Testimony

fIn the 10th chapter of John, Jesus explains he is the good shepherd. He uses a metaphor calling his elect sheep, and calling himself their shepherd. He says metaphorically that although the world and Satan will attempt to steal them away, they will not follow. He says “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” In the next passage Jesus foresees his death, resurrection, and the gospel’s revelation to the Gentiles- “I have other sheep that are not of this pen. I must bring them also… I lay down my life- only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
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Your food sucks!

cHow do you help a group of people whose lives are intertwined with a failing organization? How do you get through to owners who are in denial about the state of their organization? Robert Irvine’s TV show does just that, over and over again. Recently, in May 2014, the show “Restaurant Impossible” aired its 100th episode. I’ve watched all of the shows up to Season 7, so I still have some catching up to do. To put it mildly, I have been enthralled by this show and by the TV personality, Robert Irvine. The premise of the show is that restaurant owners contact the Food Network and apply to get help from Robert for their restaurant in danger of closing. Robert goes into the restaurant and has a total of 36 hours and $10,000 dollars to save the restaurant. I was stunned by the process and how Irvine goes about this restaurant-saving work. Could there be implications here for the church? I think so.

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My Gospel Story of God’s Grace

gForgiveness. I extemporaneously shared my story of God’s grace in my sermon last Sun: Gospel of Grace. I have previously shared parts of this before. I first understood the gospel in 1980 through my magical mysterious mystical conversion. At age 25 I realized for the first time with great awe and wonder and with many tears of gratitude that God forgave all my sins completely through Christ, despite myself. I experienced a peace and a wholesomeness (shalom) that I had never ever previously known (Phil 4:7). My life has never been the same for the last 34 years since that great, gracious and glorious day of my conversion. Continue reading →