A Grief Observed

In late September my brother Jim, a Ruling Elder in a PCA church down in the Jacksonville, FL area, came home to discover that his wife, Allison, had passed away in her sleep, due to heart failure. She had no history of heart problem and was only fifty-eight, so it came as a cruel shock […]

Sermon Reflection Questions – 10.22.17

What Kingdom work are you neglecting because you don’t believe that God will actually work through it? What Kingdom work are you pursuing with your own strength, believing that you can advance God’s kingdom by your own power? How are you living as if you can hide your sin from God? What sins are you […]

Preparing for Worship // October 22, 2017

Preparing for Worship // October 22, 2017

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) There are two opposite tendencies in life. The first is to think that the success or failure of the things around us depends entirely on our own actions and effort. We burn ourselves out because we think that if we don’t do it, no one […]

Confess Your Complacency and Ask for Awe

Why is it so easy to become enamored with people from history like Jackie Kennedy? Why are people drawn to cultural explosions like “Hamilton”? Why is it so easy to talk about football? Last night Tom Ellis led our life group through a study of Colossians 1:15-23 which led to our asking ourselves some of […]

Sermon Reflection Questions – 10.15.17

What things from your past and from your present (both inward thoughts/desires and outward actions) make you feel as if God could never use you? In what specific ways is God calling you both to walk in holiness and keep your charge? In other words, what sins do you need to put to death and […]

Preparing for Worship // October 15, 2017

Preparing for Worship // October 15, 2017

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) When I was in high school I felt about Shakespeare the way that most high school boys feel about Shakespeare: I thought it was boring, confusing, and had no relevance to my life. But over time my feelings about Shakespeare have changed. I have since […]

Sermon Reflection Questions – 10.08.17

What images and ideas come to mind when you think of the church (both negative and positive)? Do you think of the church as a growing and secure city of worship? How can you live your life this week with a greater awareness of God’s presence with you and with His church? How have you […]

Preparing for Worship // October 8, 2017

Preparing for Worship // October 8, 2017

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) “Hell is other people.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre Other people make our lives difficult. They get in our way, keep us from getting what we want, and sometimes actively work against us. Sadly, this is true of the church as well. While I hope that you […]

Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 1)

Mark Twain once quipped, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Ah statistics.  They can be very helpful. Or very misleading.  And much of it depends on how the questions are asked. Last week it was announced that a new Pew foundation study demonstrated that modern Protestants are a lot less […]

Sermon Reflection Questions – 10.01.17

How are you tempted to think that life will be better without God? Where has your heart wandered from God? What occupies first place in your heart: work, comfort, family, or something else? When in your life have you felt as if God had abandoned you? What in your life and the world right now […]

Preparing for Worship // October 1, 2017

Preparing for Worship // October 1, 2017

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) There’s something special about coming back home after a trip. Whether it was for vacation or work, whether it was enjoyable or a headache, it’s always a special feeling when you see the Charlotte skyline and you know that you’re almost home. There’s even something […]

Adoption Resources

Following up from two Sunday’s ago sermon on adoption, I wanted to share some resources with you all. Resources mentioned in the sermon: Song: Richly Loved by Wright Family Music (Free download) This is the song written by a couple which powerfully displays trust in the love our heavenly father in spite of heartbreaking circumstances […]

Sermon Reflection Questions – 09.24.17

How can you see God at work in your life over the past year? (even in a small way) How are the roots of your heart growing deeper into the Gospel and Christ? How have you ignored Christ’s call to flee sin and pursue holiness? (be specific) Are you fighting sin in your own power […]

Preparing for Worship // September 24, 2017

Preparing for Worship // September 24, 2017

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) On July 18, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts regiment began its attack on Fort Wagner. Except for the 30 white officers, this regiment was composed entirely of African-American men, some of whom were former slaves. One of these former slaves was Sergeant William H. Carney. When the […]

Sermon Reflection Questions – 09.17.17

Consider this quote from J.I. Packer: “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on […]

Preparing for Worship // September 17, 2017

Preparing for Worship // September 17, 2017

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) Growing up, whenever I would go and stay at a friend’s house my dad would always say to me, “Remember who you are.” It was his way of telling me to behave. Basically, he was saying, “You’re an Overcast, so act like one whether you’re […]

Uptown Church’s Philosophy of Youth Discipleship

It’s a new school year and with that a new wave of rising sixth graders and new families to the youth group. At our recent Kick-Off Sunday Open House, we invited parents to join us downstairs in the cafe to experience first hand what Sunday school looks like, to encourage our families and to teach […]

Sermon Reflection Questions – 09.10.17

How have you experienced a gap between what you want to do in your Christian walk and what you do? Do you ever feel as if you lack the power for the Christian life? How is our union with Christ simultaneously both humbling and encouraging? Where are you living as if sin still has power […]

Preparing for Worship // September 10, 2017

Preparing for Worship // September 10, 2017

(Email subscribers: Click the title above to view the Spotify playlist) One of my favorite icebreaker questions is, “If you had to be handcuffed to someone for a week (it can’t be your spouse), who would you choose, and why?” In fact, take a moment right now and think about it for yourself (or answer it […]

Are Christians Intolerant Haters? Lessons from the Church of the Second Century

As you now know, my book on the second century has just been released in the UK: Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church (SPCK, 2017).  It will be released in the US with IVP Academic in the Spring. Since it has been released, folks have been asking […]