top3 for January 6, 2023

Before you head off into this second weekend of 2023, here are three quick hitting things that I’ve read and been thinking about his week. Have a great weekend!


After wasting far too many years trying to do the spectacular, it has finally occurred to me that God loves routine. All of creation holds together by the same things happening again and again, whether those are great things, like planets revolving around stars, or very small things, like electrons going around and around their nucleus. And with each rotation, year after year, through winter, spring, summer, and fall, if you are paying attention, you can almost hear the doxology: “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.”

The Pastor as Minor Poet by M. Craig Barnes

Barnes’ book is one of my all-time favorites and a yearly read for me. I commend it to anyone but especially to any pastors who may be reading.

This is the time of year we start new routines…devotional, eating, workout, relational are just a few of my focuses for 2023. But rather than start something brand new this year, I recommitting to the routines that have paid huge dividends in my life. Rather than the heroic, I am focusing on the steady. Rather than being the one who surprises, I am focusing on being boringly predictable. Life has enough surprises…I don’t need anymore nor do I need to be one for others…what I do need is to embrace the routines of my life and not get distracted or bored in them and give up.


Our age tends to divorce spirituality from ecclesiology. We want God, but we don’t want church.” However, the great flaw of our search for spirituality and faith minus church is “the un-confronted life”. Without church, we have more private fantasy than real faith. … Real conversion demands that eventually its recipient be involved in both the muck and the grace of actual church life.

The Source of Life by Jurgen Moltmann

While Jesus alone saves. He has chosen to use the church to be a major means of offering grace, if not the primary. The sacraments are the obvious place to start and end quite frankly. For they are given to the church to offer. What often goes unnoticed, however, is what Moltmann identifies above. The churches role in helping us avoid the un-confronted life is vital to faith. Someone that conveniently keeps from challenge is headed down the path of a fantasy of faith instead of a foundation of faith.

While it can sound self-serving for the pastor to say “church is good for your soul!”, it is nevertheless true.


I do not believe it is of any value to push people into doing things unless this desire to live and to grow has begun to emerge. 

From Brokenness to Community by Jean Vanier

Fairly straightforward. Until people are ready to do something, no amount of pushing or talking or cajoling will work. And if it does, you’ve captured their hands but not their heart. Until the point of being ready, waiting and watching and inviting and persevering and not getting discouraged is the difficult work of the inviter.