Preparing for Worship – Sunday, June 28, 2015

Today, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide. Conservative Evangelicals have looked forward to this seemingly inevitable day with much trepidation, understandably. When the highest court in the land grants as a fundamental human right a ceremonious act which is a violation of a Christian’s […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, June 1

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, June 1

“Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.”  – Donna Tartt, The Secret History Michaelangelo’s “David” is arresting when viewed in person. It is far taller than one would expect, and the tall dome of the Galleria dell’Accademia di Firenze seems to extend that statue even further. The statue of […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 25

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 25

“But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.”  Luke 19:27 There are times when I read the words of Jesus and I have a little mental jolt. It is almost as if my mind leans back in a chair a little too […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 18

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 18

“Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate.” – The Fault in Our […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 11

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 11

My grandfather passed away before I was born. Though I never met him, I know through the testimony of those who knew him that he was kind, generous, and devoted to family and friends. I see his influence in my mother, my grandmother, my aunt and uncle, and others in my family that knew him well. […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 4

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, May 4

The current cultural climate in the United States has an uneasy fascination with war. In some sense, many Americans are very tired of war. The specter of nine years of military intervention in Iraq and the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan haunt even the most ardent warhawk. More than a decade of sending troops to the Middle […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 27

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 27

The Christian faith is a religion that, on the face of it, seems to be quite paradoxical. We believe that to live we must die and that true leaders are actually servants. We serve the God of all comfort and yet find him most intimately in suffering. We find in scripture that we must be […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 20, Easter Sunday

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, April 20, Easter Sunday

“(About the resurrection of Christ…) First, it proved that Jesus was indeed the divine Son of God. Paul wrote that “[He] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). Actually it was impossible for Jesus’ body to remain in […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, March 30

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, March 30

Sometimes a phrase gets stuck in your head and you return to it throughout your life. As a teenager, my mother would often say to me, “Remember who you are…” before I would walk out the door to hop in the car with my friends. As my friends would participate in all manner of debased […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, February 9

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, February 9

Throughout ancient history, economies ran on an intricate system of weights and measures. Before coinage and the development of paper currency systems of payment and trade were carried out through the exchange of goods such as foodstuffs, livestock, and metals like gold, copper, and iron.  For many of these items, value was established upon weight […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 26

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 26

Once a year, the campus ministry I attended played a massive week-long game of “Assassin.” The object of the game was to eliminate the players assigned to you by spraying them with a water gun (or, for the McGuyvers in our group, an improvised water bottle).  Therefore, if you were playing the game, you were […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 17

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 17

The term “semantic satiation” refers to the process in which a word or phrase temporarily loses its meaning after numerous repetition.  There is an unfortunate tendency for this to happen within the Christian life. Because of sin, our hearts can harden to the beauty of often used phrases and words such as the “love of […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 12

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 12

The history of the church is replete with theologians debating who Christ really is.  Is he man? Is he god? If he is both, is he more of one than the other? A brief survey of early church history would turn up numerous councils which took on these questions in what seems to our minds […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, January 5

Reza Aslan’s book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” rode high on the New York Time’s best-seller list for parts of 2013. In this book, Aslan, a professor at the University of California-Riverside, attempts to make the case that Jesus of Nazareth was one of many failed Jewish nationalists in first-century Palestine. […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 8

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 8

My wife and I are in the process of mortgaging our home and selling all of our belongings on Craigslist in order to purchase flights home for Christmas. Despite having to fork over a small fortune to Delta Airlines, we are ecstatic at the thought of being home for the holidays. It is always great […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 1

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, December 1

Merry Christmas(ish)! As I write this, I have plunged headfirst into the ocean of Christmas music that is on Spotify and am loving every second of it, even Sir Paul McCartney’s wrongfully maligned “Wonderful Christmas Time.”  Frankly, if the synthesizer in that song is wrong, I’m not sure I want to be right. I apologize […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 24

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 24

The Bible speaks of Christ’s return in certain terms; popular culture does not.  In this week’s text, we are exhorted to remain on our guard against that which would poison our surety of Christ’s second coming. It can be relatively easy to believe in this during a Sunday morning worship service, but it gets far […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 17

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 17

I have a hard time sleeping on airplanes.  This was always problematic when I lived in Romania and would fly home to see my family in Mississippi. The trip from Bucharest to London to Dallas to Jackson and the drive home always equalled up to about a 24-hour day in airplanes and airport.  This meant […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 10

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, November 10

 Prior to his election as President of the United States in 2008, Barack Obama gained national fame for his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, during which he asked Americans, “Do we participate in a politics of cynicism, or do we participate in a politics of hope?”  A politics of hope eventually became […]

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, October 27

Getting Ready For Sunday: How to Prepare for Worship at Uptown, October 27

There are few passages in the Bible more excruciating than Genesis’ account of the near-sacrifice of Isaac. For one chapter, we walk in the agonized footsteps of Abraham as he treks into the mountains to immolate his beloved, only son. God commanded this, and Abraham obeyed. Despite this obedience, it would be inhuman to imagine […]