top3 for March 31, 2023

Before you head off into your weekend, here are three things that I have read and been thinking about this week. I hope they are as helpful to you as they have been for me. Have a great weekend!


Impersonal things that dominate our time and imagination offer extravagant promises of control and knowledge. But they also squeeze all sense of mystery and wonder and reverence out of our lives.

Living the Resurrection by Eugene Peterson

My need for control which includes having all the information before making any decision(s), could very well be limiting what God accomplishes in my life. That is what I wrestle with often. I, for the most part, am risk averse. I don’t like to be surprised. In fact that is the mantra that my co-workers learn early in their time with me! Also, I don’t like new situations where I am vulnerable. In my previous career life, cocktail parties where I needed to mingle were, in my mind, the seventh level of hades. Add to that my fear of looking silly and out of place and you get a sense of my inner chaos!

But, does my need for control and my desire to be seen competent, if not gifted, limit what God would like to do in my life? Probably…


The tighter we cling to the norm of effectiveness the smaller the tasks we’ll take on.

Parker Palmer

Effective or impactful. That is what Palmer is getting at here. The desire to be always be effective has the potential to limit what we are willing to take on. Much like the quote above, am I willing to look foolish, and even fail at something? If not, I am probably limiting what I am willing to consider as God’s will.


Without a resilient creative practice, supportive creative peers, a thriving community, and a powerful mindset, life just does not have the same vibrancy. Even a successful professional can flounder.

Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

Preaching is an honor, gift, and, for me, and a struggle at times. Remember from the quotes above that I don’t like to look incompetent or foolish!

That is why I am more than grateful; for the people around me that help me do what I’ve been called to do. I owe them a debt too large for repayment.

My wife, Susan, is a saint for putting up with the lonely Saturday evenings and the grumpiness that normally accompanies an approaching Sunday. She constantly reminds me that I am loved for not what I do but who I am.

My pastoral colleagues teach me, challenge me and encourage me. I am blessed to be on a team that loves and supports one another so well.

And of course the congregation that I am been blessed to serve who, without fail, encourage me through word and showing up each week regardless of how the past week went!

The bottom line is that preaching is a team game. One person may be in the spotlight but it is always a group effort. And without a team around them/us, the preacher(s), and the preaching, surely suffer. As that cliche goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” Thanking God for the team he has set around me.