Reflections on My 21st Anniversary: How Wives Are Made

Upon reflection, marrying a beautiful woman isn’t that hard. I was an underemployed, college dropout when Brooke married me. We later found out that someone literally planned to interrupt the ceremony when the pastor asked: “If anyone has a reason for these two not to wed, speak now or forever hold your peace.” When I … Continued

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Why We Should Acknowledge Failure

Why We Should Acknowledge Failure

When I was in the fourth grade I wanted to ride a horse. So, I got my little brother Alan to lure one underneath a tree where I would hop on and take off bareback like in the movies. I remember being surprised by the width of his back beneath me and the violence of … Continued

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How a Bad Pastor Joke Can Make Your Parenting Worse

How a Bad Pastor Joke Can Make Your Parenting Worse

Pastors have a series of weak jokes they tell about how their views on parenting have changed as they’ve matured. The idea is that young ministers preach with certainty about parenting, but the older, wiser pastors who have actually raised kids preach with a much less certain tone. They are silly jokes that aren’t funny and … Continued

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Balancing the Roles of Parent and Spouse

Balancing the Roles of Parent and Spouse

If you really want to be the best parent you can be, make your marriage your priority. Soon, Brooke and I will be like those couples who’ve been together longer than they were apart. We were married at 22 and are thrilled to be in a thriving 21-year marriage. That means I was with Brooke … Continued

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God, Nietzsche, and Ben Folds

I’ve been jokingly called emotionally repressed, but I think that’s just because I’m not a fan of emotional manipulation in churches. Canned stories and situations designed to bring tears to your eyes tend to make me roll mine. If God Is Dead But at home, it all comes out. Watching this video of Ben Folds … Continued

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Bad Words Church Planters

A List of Bad Words for Church Planters

Sometimes, aspiring or new church planters will ask me for advice or critique. Here are two points concerning their use of language, including a list of bad words for church planters: Be intentional about language you use. You’ll find it more difficult to connect with people if you’re using words that they associate with being … Continued

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Better Leader

One Way to Become a Better Leader

I’ve learned something about growing as a leader, and I always enjoy sharing things that I have learned. When you want to get better at something—anything—force yourself to be around people that already are better. Struggling to be kind in your relationships? Spend time around very kind people. Aware that you’re not the kind of … Continued

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Parents Can Do

7 Things Parents Can and Should Do

There’s a lot of things parents shouldn’t do. In a recent sermon series we talked about how, as parents, we want to go beyond obedience and get to the heart of our kids. That means we don’t want to make decisions as parents that simply modify our children’s behavior, but instead we want to train them … Continued

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Staying on Mission

Don’t Stop Planting: How to Keep Your Church on Mission

Church planter: before you ask if something is good, you must ask what it’s for. You already know this. You have talked to people who view themselves as good without giving a second thought to what they are for. Colossians 1:16 tells them that they were made by God and for God, but they don’t … Continued

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losing-members

5 Benefits of Losing Members to a Church Plant

Planting churches—at least the way we do it—is costly. From its inception, Valley Life has planned to embrace the ups and downs of sending out our best givers, volunteers, and friends as missionaries in order to make disciples and plant churches in other parts of our city. Even our logo hints at the gains and … Continued

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