Morgan and Carrie’s first date

Posted June 24th, 2014

Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot, but one thing we did have:

The Dollar Movie Theater.

Ah, yes, the glorious home of sticky floors, busted arm rests, and movie reels that would quit playing in the middle, forcing us to wait a half hour or more to finish what we started.

Three hours for a re-run of Bambi? Check!

As far as I was concerned, that theater was the only one that existed- for us, it was the first run theater.

I used to love to pay in spare change- dimes, nickels, and pennies loaded up on the counter for that teenager behind the window to count.

And snacks? Who wanted to pay $5 for 6-month old display M&Ms, when you could sneak in your mom’s cookies (and popcorn, if you had a jacket)?

It was a cheapskate’s dream come true-and I followed my passion for cheap movies past college and into my 20-something single days (One time two buddies of mine, on a whim, pulled into the dollar theater and caught three movies in one day, back-to-back-back: The Insider, the Bone Collector, and the Sixth Sense. By the end of the third one, I wasn’t just seeing dead people, I was seeing double of every kind of people!).

Over time, I came to fully and righteously believe that regular, everyday, down-to-earth, normal, and financially conscious Christian people would never dare pay full price for a movie ticket! Only shallow, let’s-throw-money-out-of-the-window kind of people would dare go to a first run theater, and anyone with a semblance of a conscience would avoid the candy counter like the plague.

So you can imagine my shock, horror, and even moral outrage, when, on my first date with she-whom-I-would-marry, she decided she wanted to go to the movies at a theatre in Westwood, California (where they hold all those movie premieres), where it cost $8.50 a ticket for a matinee in the year 2000! And then I honestly nearly passed out when, after getting our tickets, my head cleared long enough for me to see her, now moving in slow motion, making a beeline for the snack station in the back, and feeling very free to order up a large coke, popcorn, and giant candy. 

That’ll be 21.75 for the snacks, sir.

What! What was this girl doing? Was this some kind of test? Was she determined to find the bottom of my bank account on the first date?

And now, put that scene on repeat for 13 years, and you have our marriage.

Full of compromise, forgiveness, attempts at understanding, talking it out, and laughing about it later.

But one thing we haven’t done and won’t ever do- give up on each other. We stay together til death or inflated candy prices do us part.

And that’s pretty much how Carrie and I feel about the church.

Lots of working it out, lots of believing the best, lots of talking it through and hearing the other party out about the insanity of the behavior we have just witnessed or have just displayed.

When my cheapskate-ness and her don’t-crush-my-dream mantra collided, it wasn’t pretty at first, but over time, the close-quarter tension has produced something that staying to ourselves never could:


Are you in the middle of a challenging relationship in your church? Let me encourage you to stick it out. Work it out. Hug it out. Pray it out.

Love, we are told, is supposed to bear all things.

Even bank-busting trips to the candy counter at a real movie theatre.

The Word I Would Get Tattooed, If I Ever Got a Tattoo…

Posted June 18th, 2014

“He has also set eternity in their heart”

–Ecclesiastes 3:11

In November 1932 in Australia, a down on his luck, WW I veteran named Arthur Stace was homeless and hopelessly addicted to alcohol. He had been living a life of petty crime and gambling that drove him to the brink of suicide. Having tried everything else, he stumbled into a church one night. That night he heard a message preached on living a life of purpose, a life filled with the power of living for eternity.

The word “eternity” captured Stace’s mind and heart and that night, he met the God of the universe, surrendered his life to Jesus Christ, and walked out a different man. He spent the rest of his life doing what he could to help people find the God who had found him in his desert.

What did he do?

Well, every day for more than 35 years, Stace rose before the sun did, and after reading his Bible and drinking a cup of tea, he’d go out into the streets of Sydney with a piece of chalk and write the word “Eternity”. Over and over and over, thousands of times he wrote the word in the same beautiful script. As the town awoke, they would see the word everywhere: on a sidewalk outside a coffee shop, on the back of a street sign, on a building.

Eternity appeared all over the city. Instead of being irritated, the city took to it and reported feeling strangely encouraged. For the next 25 years, no one knew where it came from. But they finally found him, and when they did, they asked him to continue, and one of his original writings is inside a bell in a government building to this day.

The word eternity had so moved the hearts of the people of Sydney that when it came time to host the 2000 Summer Olympics, and the torch was lit to launch the games, the fireworks were lit, but behind the torch on a bridge, a massive sign flashed to life with the word that millions of people around the world now read: Eternity.

So, let me ask you:

How could you mark the world around you with eternity?

What could you, like Arthur Stace, do tomorrow that would contribute that much more to changing the world?

One of the ways my wife and I try to do this is through loving God’s church. We long for people to live for more than today, for more than just a paycheck or the next sporting event on TV.

Sometimes people aren’t easy- but sometimes we aren’t easy. Sometimes people do strange things, but sometimes we do strange things, too, I suppose. But again, this isn’t about today- it’s about eternity, because I know:

One thing will endure- Jesus’ bride.

One thing He loves- He loves His bride, which is us.

One thing is built for eternity- his church, because he has made us for himself, and He is eternal.

You know, come to think of it, if I were to get a tattoo, it would be this word, the word eternity. 

Not that I’m going to do it. I’m not that into that kind of pain. But, should you want to do so, just say you found some inspiration here.

See, we’ve been made for it, built for it. So go ahead, let it out. Let out a little eternity on the world around you. Let your work ring with it. Let your life, like that bridge in Australia that summer night 14 years ago, shine with it.

Heck, you could even… write it on something.

Just saying. :)

How Not to Swing and Miss at Life

Posted June 11th, 2014

I have four children, three boys, all elementary aged.

Probably the best part about being a Father (most days, anyway) is the moment I hit the door at the end of the day.

Most days, three monkey children climb me like a banana tree and beg me to do what is referred to as “Daddy’s House of Pain”:  all three of them on the ground in a boy-pile being alternately dug into by my elbows and tickled slobber-faced until this “sweet and sour” treatment leaves them exhausted. Then, when they absolutely can’t take it anymore, I make them tell me I’m the best dad in the whole world, and that’s how they’re allowed to leave “the House”. And then they get up, laugh at me and tell me I’m too slow and dare me to catch them and do it all over again.

Here’s the thing- they aren’t just having fun; there is a much more primal thing, a deeper need being met.

How? Why? What are they really doing?

What they are doing is what the child of God desperately needs to do in a similar way:  rejoicing in their status as their Father’s child.

Whether I hold my sons, kiss them, or wrestle with them- or do none of it- they are my sons. That’s the good news, that’s the fact of who they are. But the fact of who they are also comes with a kind of a status: their sonship, which they desperately need to experience.

And how do they experience their status? By coming to me, their Father, and rejoicing in it. They don’t call it that, of course- what I call “rejoicing in their status”, they call “Daddy’s House of Pain”: Elbows, hugs, kneecaps, and laughter.

And that status they rejoice in changes everything about how they feel about themselves and therefore produces one thing in their hearts: joy.

Which is precisely what the Bible calls the logical experiential outcome of your status. Let me show you how that works for you, right now, if you are a Christian.

Romans 14:17-18 says this:  the Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, for He who serves Christ in this way is acceptable to God and approved by men.

What’s the verse talking about? How you and I get approval. Is it from God, or others? Most of us, including myself, go after approval in reverse: we say, if other people approve me, if I do enough good things, and other people notice and applaud, then I’m acceptable to God.

Over the last 9 months or so, while the growth of the church where I serve has been growing and bearing fruit, I had been through a series of difficult-for-me-to-handle scenarios, and I felt a bit a bit resentful. Was it right? No. Was it real? Yes.

And God, mercifully, led me to this verse right here, and asked me a question.

He asked me, “Are you doing it for them, or for me?

And I broke.

And I realized I had been like the baseball player whose swing and fundamentals had been flawless, but who had taken his eye off the ball. Listen, you can go through the motions perfectly, but if you don’t keep your eye on the target, you can perform as perfectly as you like, but it will only serve to wear you down. You can even hurt yourself by swinging and not watching the target, not keeping your eye on the ball.

So, what does the Christian keep his eye on? His status as God’s child.

Paul says right here, the kingdom of God isn’t eating and drinking- it’s not primarily about what you do- but he says it’s first about this: righteousness, which is the Greek word dikaiosyne, and means this: the status of being approved.

The kingdom of God, the Gospel, is about God’s approval, and if I have that, if I go to Him and let Him pick me up and remind me about who I am- His child, His son, I am the child of the greatest Dad in the world, what does that do to me? Paul says this- God’s approval leads to peace, which gives me joy. Do you lack joy in your life today? May I suggest, then, that you aren’t rejoicing in your status?

If you were serving God in this way- not just laboring, serving, but like a pleasure addict, going after your approval, your acceptance by God- than Paul says, then other people can’t help but, in the end, also approve you. If you go after one, you’ll get both. If you go after the other, you’ll get neither.

Which one are you after? Which one are you keeping your eye on?

Which one are you rejoicing in?

When Your Wife Tells You Your Problem is… Your Face

Posted June 4th, 2014

Me: “Honey, I think I’d like to get some glasses. They look cool.”

My wife: “Hmm, I don’t know what could look cool on you. The problem is your face.”


Not my ears, not my nose, or my eyes, but just…my face.

Ah, yes, the glory of marriage.

Now, I had a choice at that point:

a. Get insecure (What is it about my face? Don’t you like it?)

b. Get mad (Where do you get off talking to me like that? I’m (with authority) your husband!

c. Get even (My face? Ha! You should see yours! You call your glasses cool?!?)

d. Laugh it off


Fortunately, in a rare moment of clear man thinking, I opted for option “d”.

I just laughed.

Did you hear what you just said, I asked? My face? The problem with me is my face? Too funny!

When my wife realized what she had said, unintentionally, the laughter started, the apologies flowed, and then we rehashed the humor in it to the point of tears.

Why don’t we always opt for option “d”, though? Why don’t we immediately go there? Why are we so prone to receiving offenses from people when what they say could just as easily be taken the other way and shrugged off?

Dr. John Gottman, of the Gottman Institute, has done some fascinating research into the anatomy of great relationships.

Great relationships, he noted, have a “magic ratio” of positive to negative interactions.

For example, when it comes to relationships in the workplace, there is a “magic ratio” of 3 positive interactions for every 1 negative interaction.

When it comes to marriage, however, instead of the ratio going down, it actually goes up- there is a magic ratio of 5 to 1.

What that means is this:

1. Negative emotions are more powerful than positive emotions. 

Think about it- it takes, with the person in the cubicle next to you or in the house next door, 3 times more positive interactions just to stay even in the relationship. To get ahead and build great relationships, in other words, try bringing cookies or paying for lunch at least once a week. And, one false word or bad conversation can set you back weeks.

2. The closer the relationship, the more positive deposits must be made.

As people, we end up needing one another just to make it in life. Those who always take, and rarely give- or even worse, those who don’t know they are always taking and never giving- in their closest relationships are burning through people faster than they realize. In other words, don’t take the people closest to you for granted. The people closest to you are the ones who need the best from you the most- just to survive you!

3. When a seemingly innocuous comment is received the wrong way, that’s a clue you are headed to the dreaded “1-1” ratio.

At 1-1, your friendships and even marriage, according to Gottman, are “cascading towards divorce”. If you are feeling shaky about a relationship, or are easily insulted or offended by a particular person, it isn’t likely that the person is doing you harm after harm (although that’s possible, too), it’s that you and that person haven’t experienced enough positive moments together. You may just be treading water in the relationship- and that’s a difficult place to stay, because no one can tread water indefinitely.

I have learned that the people I am the most sensitive around are not “worse” people or “the bad guy”, but people with whom I just don’t have enough positive experiences. I either haven’t invested enough myself or have genuinely experienced too many tough moments with them for whatever reason, with not enough good ones to push ahead.  I have come to recognize that when I can’t just “shrug it off”, that’s a signal I and that person need some investment into our relationship- before the account gets bled dry.

How about you? Who is one person you’re having a hard time with right now? Why not shoot them a text, pick up the phone and call, or, even better, yet, buy them an inexpensive gift on (the shipping is awesome)?

If you’ll do that, there’s no guarantee it will work- but there is a guarantee that doing nothing won’t. If you and that person have enough “in the bank”, you can make it through anything.

That’s the reason, in other words, I could laugh off from my wife what could really be insulting if someone else had said it to me – it was all the relational and emotional deposits my wife has made in my life.

Well, that and I know my face is kind of a problem.








Why I’m Unashamedly Hopeful About the Church

Posted May 28th, 2014


It’s the wishy-washiest word we have in English.

You: Will you be there tonight at my party?

Your friend: I hope so!

Yeah, right.

You: Will someone beat the Miami Heat this year in the NBA Finals?

Me: I hope so!

Not gonna happen.

When we say hope, we liken it to crossing our fingers and rolling the dice. There’s like, a 51% chance it might happen. But the Bible doesn’t mean that at all. Hope, in the Bible, is confident expectation in a victorious future.

Which is why, out of anything, the apostle Paul prays that you and I would see…this:

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling”

(Ephesians 1)

What’s he praying? That we would have Biblical hope.

What does that look like? Biblical hope, in a way, means knowing the final score before you watch the game.

What happens if you have recorded that big game you care about (ladies, stay with me) and you find out they win? How does that influence how you watch the game? I’ll tell you how: It changes everything.

Before, when they fumbled on the opening kickoff and went down by 21 at halftime, and time after time they couldn’t get a first down, what would happen to you? You would churn on the inside, fume on the inside, you start getting grumpy and fussing at others and maybe you start overeating and you yell at your wife or your buddy when they ask you a question, and if you’re not careful, you can even come to the point where you turn it off and give up on the whole thing.

And that is exactly what we do in our lives and with the church.

Things aren’t going well!

We’re losing!

There’s fighting on the sidelines!

We should probably just turn it off and find something else to do. Why? Because we don’t know how it ends.

Or do we?

Paul says I pray you never “turn off” church in the middle. He actually prays that God would give us something- the wisdom to be unashamedly hopeful. That’s right. Why would he say wisdom?

Because it’s always wise to bet on a winner.

And if you know what Paul is saying here in Ephesians 1- that no matter how bad it looks, God has predestined his church to triumph, that God will work out all things after the counsel of His will, that God will one day sum up all things in Jesus, than you know, in a sense, the final score, the outcome of the church- it wins, in the end.

That’s why, Martin Luther, the Great Reformer, in his darkest hour, when it seemed like the church in his day was doomed to sin and perversion and abuse of authority, could write:

            And though this world, with devils filled,

            should threaten to undo us,

            we will not fear, for God hath willed

            his truth to triumph through us

What did he know? He knew Ephesians 1, and therefore he could be unashamedly hopeful. He could have in his heart a confident expectation of a victorious future.

See, It’s the hope of His calling. It’s not your voice or mine on the other end of the phone line of history calling into the present, It’s His voice, His power, His calling. And if you will see that, you can be unashamedly hopeful about Jesus’ Church.

It’s fashionable, and quite honestly, easier, to be skeptical, judgmental, and whiny about the church in which God has placed us. As a matter of fact, if you really want reasons to complain about church, just go into ministry. You’ll find more squiggly things squirming out from under the rock of humanity’s heart than in just about any other profession.

And I’m not even talking about my life in ministry, but Paul’s- Paul had innumerable reasons to complain, whine, and quit. I mean, Good Lord, just read the Epistles as they come to you:

Adultery in the church? Check.

Getting drunk during communion? Weak leadership? Grieving the Spirit of God?

Check, check, and check.

Yet, he prays we would be unashamedly hopeful. How can he do this?

Because Paul knows:  the church isn’t my thing, your thing, a denomination’s thing, a committee’s thing, a pastor’s thing, a priest’s thing, or any other person’s thing.

It’s Jesus’ thing.

We, friends, are His church.

And He hath willed his truth to triumph through us.

Let hope rise.


Why Sometimes Man’s Rejection is Actually God’s Protection

Posted May 20th, 2014

Power structures can be difficult things to navigate.

In the church where I function in a leadership capacity, we do our best to be approachable, humble, and available for our members as best we can while training new leaders to do the same.

While we don’t always do it perfectly, one thing we are committed to is being committed to being touchable.

Why? Well, besides the many Biblical reasons that exist, we have personal ones as well.

Years ago, there was an untouchable hierarchy in our church. If you had money, you were in. If you had status, you were in. If you had good looks, you were in (did I mention we briefly had a Ralph Lauren Polo model for our youth pastor? He was actually a great guy- and really, really ridiculously good looking, as they say- but just sort of shoved into the position for reasons other than his wanting to do it).

Early on, I saw favors extended to others I believed I had earned, generosity freely given to others who had done a fraction of the work or accomplished a fraction of the results, and this stung, deeply.

The verbal humiliation in public I experienced from our pastor (He would call me to come to him by yelling out, “Hey, boy!”- and that in front of my wife), combined with his mostly ignoring me otherwise, did hurt. But-

In the end, I came to be unbelievably grateful for the rejection I experienced for a number of reasons, but one reason stood out in particular when the church began to go up in flames:

Those who were closest to the center of the dysfunction paid the deepest price. Multiple other leaders, primarily due to their exposure to toxic ministry culture were eventually divorced from their wives, and their families were shattered.

Those who were closest to the darkness were the ones most deeply affected by it. I don’t know God’s reasons for keeping us at arm’s length from harm’s way, nor his reasons for allowing those other men to be so close to the fallout, but I can see now that what felt like rejection was actually God’s protection for us.

I think of David, in the Bible, as a boy, and the sting he had to feel while his brothers were out at war with the Philistines. David, of course, was left home to take care of the sheep- a menial task at best- while the opportunity for honor and glory for his King, country, and family was reserved for his brothers.

Only, it became clear to him (and to us, the reader of the 1 Samuel narrative), when he was sent one day to the battle camp to bring his brothers food and supplies from home, that what felt like rejection was actually God’s protection. How so?

Look at what had happened to his brothers- they became like the man they followed! King Saul, once a great warrior in his own right, should have been the one answering Goliath’s challenge, but his fear and cowardice had infected the whole army, to the point that none of the men would go out and fight- his brothers included.

In other words, they internalized the spirit of the one they followed.

But David’s heart and life had been protected. How? Because of and through the rejection!

And of course, the ultimate example of the way in which we are delivered through rejection is in the life of our Savior, Jesus.

He was handed over to death- rejected- that we might now receive God’s mercy, rescue, and protection.

I feel an incredible sadness for our friends who were in the “inner circle”, so to speak, who absorbed the punishment given out and whose lives were permanently affected by it. There was a time, later, where my wife and I were called upon to do the same thing, to a certain extent. But I learned this: sometimes, if not most of the time, when we experience legitimate rejection by those who ought to be treating us differently- God is up to something. And in our case, we learned, that what feels like rejection from others can actually be a form of divine protection. If we had been closer to our pastor at that particular point in our lives, there’s no reason to think that we would have ended up any differently than our friends.

If you are experiencing rejection today, don’t quit! What if the pain you are experiencing were actually a shield from something worse, and a sign of something better to come?


Why I’m Permanently Disillusioned with the Church, Part 1

Posted May 14th, 2014

At the end of the first time the church I worked for imploded (but not the last) (more on that next time), I looked up and was amazed- God had kept Carrie and me through it, and we had come out better on the back end.

That being said…we were changed.

We were changed in a way that no one saw coming but that, in retrospect, we desperately needed.

Without knowing it, we had become permanently disillusioned with the Church.


Now, before you think anything else about that statement, let me define what it doesn’t mean.

To be permanently disillusioned does not mean we get to leave a church or any church for something someone has or hasn’t done to us.

To be permanently disillusioned doesn’t mean we rehash hurts over and over in our mind as a way of re-fueling bitterness.

To be permanently disillusioned doesn’t mean we don’t trust any leader, it doesn’t that we refuse to grow close to any more Christians, and it certainly doesn’t mean we don’t obey the Bible when it says we ought to “believe the best”.

So, what does it mean?

Above all others, Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated it best. I stumbled across his writings on Christian community in his book, Life Together, and he put it like this:


            “The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great  disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are  fortunate, with ourselves.”


When I read this, I almost fell over. This is it. This is the first key to surviving in the world of the Church, of Christian community: to become permanently disillusioned- to come to the end of thinking that just because we are Christians, everything is going to always work out the way we think it should or that everybody should act like they’re supposed to. In short, it won’t and they aren’t going to!

I, likely like you, have heard innumerable sermons on what the church “ought to be like” and how it “ought to look”, and no doubt these are good and right on and even necessary- after all, who wants to be a part of something that functions no differently than a country club or the United States government?

Some churches I have been a part of, and maybe the ones you have been a part of, have been amazing at casting vision for the dream of what church ought to be and ought to feel like. And dreams of church are wonderful things, without question. But, be careful which dream you love, and which dream you are more committed to!

Bonhoeffer elaborates brilliantly:


“He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest.”


When I read these words, I was confronted with the darkness of my own soul and my own failure to love the people in the church more than the dream of the church.

After all, what is the church, if not the people?

How can we love a dream more than reality?

How could a husband love a dream of what his wife was supposed to be more than he just loved her?

How could a wife look at her husband and cease to love him because he wasn’t exactly walking out Ephesians 5?

He couldn’t, she couldn’t, and we shouldn’t.

I saw that the only reason I had become disillusioned was because I had been believing in something that wasn’t real- the “perfect” church.

When I saw that much of the hurt in my heart was due to falling in love with a false vision and a mirage, I was actually freed- and you can be, too, if you will become permanently disillusioned with your illusion.

You can be free in your heart to love and forgive and grow if you will let go of the illusion that somewhere out there, the perfect church exists with the perfect pastor waiting to receive you and love you and nothing will ever, never go wrong, and no one will never, ever leave you or hurt you (by the way, that place does exist- it’s called heaven. And we’re not there yet).

It’s way easier to love the idea of church than it is to love the church itself.


Which one are you doing?


Which one does Jesus do?

Why Nobody Gets Away With Nothing

Posted May 9th, 2014

Once upon a time, I had a grandmother.

A Southern Baptist grandmother.

Actually, she was what they called a “Southern-by-God-Baptist” (say it out loud to catch the emphasis).

During the summers, I would go stay with her, and besides her pound cake, this is what I remember most about her:

She would say, over and over again:

Nobody gets away with nothing.

And it’s true, especially in the church world. Over the last 20 years, Carrie and I have learned, truly and deeply, what it meant to know that God sees everything.

I once worked for a pastor I thought was untouchable.

To me, he was the most powerful and most “anointed” person I had ever seen, and the thought that he could or would ever be removed from his secure position was beyond belief- but I was wrong.

We learned that God sees, God knows, and that God will bring every person to account- especially his leaders. God loves his leaders, but he also loves his people, and the justice side of God’s love, though many times apparently slow in forthcoming, will not be delayed forever. After all, it’s His church.

Every time money is used inappropriately, God sees.

Every time someone is treated poorly and made to feel it is their fault alone, God sees.

Every time someone is publicly dishonored or manipulated to keep prying eyes away from asking too many questions, God sees.

And God is able to bring any leader to justice, any church system to justice, and do it in a way that brings Himself glory.

So what can you do if you’re in the middle of a situation where it seems like people are “getting away with it?”

Well, I don’t know everything to do, but I do know what my wife and I did do:

We prayed.

So many nights, I would grab my wife’s hand, and we would begin to pray for our pastor and church. We would pray for God’s blessing on his ministry, on his marriage, on his children, on his finances. We prayed for God to use him and to speak through him, and to keep him from harm as he traveled. We prayed for our church to be made right and to honor God.

Over and over we prayed. We prayed hard-to-get-the-words-out kind of prayers. The kind of prayers that are only prayed because they have to be, because otherwise the bitterness would creep in and the hurt would overwhelm the hope.

I don’t know if you have had to pray prayers like that for years of your life, but it changes you. You learn how to let go, and stop being the judge. You learn that it is better to give grace than receive whatever else it is you think you want from someone. You realize that God, in his infinite wisdom, has given you to the key to freedom- forgiveness through prayer.

And you realize, that if we see something, God has long seen it, and He will put things to rights.

In other words, you will realize, nobody gets away with nothing.

And if you’re in a tough spot today, in your family, on the job, and especially in the church, if you will cling to my grandmother’s hard-earned wisdom (which is really just a colloquial affirmation of the sovereignty of God), what happened to us, just might happen to you:

We were changed in a way that no one saw coming but that we desperately needed.

You see, without knowing it, we had become permanently disillusioned with life, and specifically with the church.

What does that mean?

Well, in true TV-serial-drama-fashion, you’ll find out, next week. :)


How I Totally Failed on My First Sunday as a Pastor

Posted May 6th, 2014

I don’t know quite what a person’s first day as a pastor is supposed to be like, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

After a couple of years of living and working out of state, the church I had worked for as a college pastor for 9 years had asked me to come back as the lead pastor.

It had fallen on hard times (again) and was in a lot of pain (again).

But hey! I’m back! It’s me! What could go wrong, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Transparent Church

Posted May 4th, 2014

Why am I here?

Why begin a blog?

When my wife and I meet people, and we’re asked to to talk about who we are and what we do, the most frequent comment we hear is:

“How did you guys turn out the way you turned out?”

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Morgan Stephens

Morgan works as the lead pastor of a diverse church in Austin, Texas.
He and his wife Carrie (also a blogger) have four children.
He likes to read, run, and have his heart broken by the Texas Rangers on a regular basis.