Embracing God’s Disruptive Grace

As pastors and leaders, we often long for peaceful, calm waters with as little disruption as possible. It is disruptive to see the culture in chaos, the church in crisis, and challenges at every turn. But when we look at the Bible, we regularly see how God moves in that liminal space which we call […]

What Has Happened to the People of One Book?

We are less than five months from the 2019 General Conference of the United Methodist Church. The Conference will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, and has been especially called to “examine paragraphs in The Book of Discipline concerning human sexuality and exploring options to strengthen the unity of the church.” Since our last General Conference in […]

My 2018 Opening Convocation Address: A Spirit-filled and Sanctified Community

This is my tenth convocation address to the Asbury Theological Seminary community. Each Fall, I have sought to focus on different phrases in our mission statement, or, some aspect of our history or heritage which gave rise to our mission statement. This year, we look at the phrase “sanctified, spirit-filled.” This is surely one of […]

The “Second Half” of the Gospel

At Asbury Theological Seminary, one of the ways we try to frame the Wesleyan emphasis on sanctification is to refer to it as the “second half of the gospel.” As I recall, I first heard the phrase from my colleague and friend, J. D. Walt, who serves Asbury’s Seedbed publishing and New Room network. The […]

My Charge to the Asbury Theological Seminary Graduating Class of 2018: Three Gospel Phrases

Leslie Newbigin, in his classic book, Foolishness to the Greeks, speculated as to what would it mean if seminary students like you graduated and actually conceptualized the Western world as a mission field. He speculated what it would be like if the West was no longer the Christian center, but a culture in spiritual decline. […]

Seven Reasons Why the “One Church” Plan Should Be Rejected

For several years now United Methodists have been living in expectation that in 2019 we will finally resolve our long struggle over the issue of human sexuality.  A special General Conference has been set for February, 2019 to resolve the issue.  The Commission on a Way Forward has worked diligently since 2016 to provide various […]

Fire from Heaven: The Rededication of Estes Chapel

This sermon was delivered on May 8th, 2018 at the rededication of Estes Chapel of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. — We are gathered on this sacred day to re-dedicate this space of worship known as Estes Chapel. We say re-dedicate because Estes Chapel was first dedicated 64 years ago on January 27, 1954. […]

Communion as Spiritual Journey

Communion, or Eucharist, is one of the most ancient and defining practices of the Christian faith.  Yet, in talking with Christians around the world, it seems that we have not always provided an adequate explanation of Communion because historically we have focused our arguments on what may or may not happen with the elements of […]

Where Have the Three Million Gone?

It is rather odd that so many United Methodists leaders speak and blog about their fears of a split in the United Methodist church. Apparently, some cataclysmic split is in mind, rather than an acknowledgement that we have already been in schism for decades, and millions have already left the church. I read an article […]

Billy Graham: Three Lessons He Taught Me

Over the last few weeks we have witnessed thousands of tributes from around the world expressing admiration for Billy Graham and his evangelistic ministry which had such a profound impact on the world. I would like to share a few memories and how Billy Graham helped shape my life. 1) The “Boston Photograph” One of […]