Life Lessons

"Stop and take a picture on the way to the top."

“Stop and take a picture on the way to the top.” That’s one of the things I’ve learned. This picture of me was taken by my friend James Kyle as we hiked Old Rag last fall.

I’m not old enough to be considered a wise old sage. In fact, even when I reach that age — whatever it is — I doubt I’ll be qualified. But these first six months of retirement have given me time to think about some of the big lessons I’ve learned so far in life. Here are 12 of them…

Don’t worry about the pigs

PigsJesus miraculously healed a demon-possessed man who posed such a treat to the town that the residents tried to keep him chained up. And how do the townsfolk respond? They’re afraid… and they’re upset about the pigs! Read more…

Just Because You’re You

Party!What if somebody threw a party for you, not to celebrate your birthday or retirement or any other significant milestone or achievement, but just because you’re you? Read more…

Talk doesn’t cook rice.

rice in wooden bowl on dining table.That Chinese proverb resonates with me because I’m an introvert and don’t especially enjoy chit-chat. I’m a get-it-done person who’s much more comfortable with checklists and action plans. When I’m “just talking” it feels like I’m not doing anything. I think I should be out there doing something and not just talking about it. Read more…

Establish the work of my hands

handsIn spite of all the good things that are happening around The Prodigal Project, doubt and fear grip my gut with predictable regularity. And that’s where I started this day. The words of Psalm 90 and the commentary of Charles Spurgeon gave me a new perspective and a launch for the day. Read more…

Hiking During Staff Meeting

James River

I spent the first Tuesday morning of retirement hiking the James River North Bank and Buttermilk Trails. You see, for the last 20 years, I’ve spent Tuesday mornings in a windowless room participating in staff meeting. I decided a long time ago this morning would be different. But the feelings that swept over me were not what I expected. Read more…

How to do a live webcast

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 3.07.09 PMLive video streaming is becoming more accessible with the introduction of new technologies, devices and hosts. At Richmond’s First Baptist Church, we’ve been doing a live stream of our Sunday morning worship services for years. In October 2011 we started a live, interactive Sunday school webcast. Since we appear to be on the “bleeding edge” with this concept, I’ve been getting a lot of calls about why and how we do it. Read on…

Let’s Run the Church Like a Business


I’ve heard it many times. And each time, it grates on my ears. I’ve done both. And I’m convinced there are very few similarities between running a business and, if you will pardon the phrase, “running a church.” Read more…

Why would a church group want to make a movie?

Why does the church need to be involved in producing movies? I hear that question often… especially when we talk about how much it is going to cost to produce “The Prodigal Project.” “Doesn’t Hollywood already do a good job of it? And aren’t there other churches producing Christian films?” Read more…

What I learned about life from hiking Old Rag

I’ve been looking at Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park for years. While hiking the many other trails in the park, I’ve often looked over at that rocky summit and promised myself that one day, I would climb up there. Well, that day came a couple of weeks ago. Read more…

The Sermon in the Oboe Solo

It was one of those situations where TV just can’t capture the experience. We try to overcome the medium’s limitations. Sometimes we succeed. Other times, we fail miserably. Mother’s Day was one of those other times.
Read more…

The Prodigal Project

A generation of people in their 20s & 30s see Christians and the church as hypocritical and judgmental.
On the other hand, many Christians in the United States are too comfortable with our religion. Our faith has become institutionalized.
It seems that both groups need to hear a word from Jesus.
Can Jesus’ story of the Prodigal be told in a way that speaks to our 21st Century culture with the same impact that it had when Jesus told it 2,000 years ago? Read more about “The Prodigal Project…

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