Posts in the Messages from Our Community Category

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Being Human 101

We hear a lot about what it means to be a human, and hear a lot of competing voices. In church you sometimes hear the spiritualistic notion that we are at our most basic souls housed in bodies. In the academy you’ll sometimes hear a materialistic reduction of humanity that says all we are is our bodies, that the spiritual experiences we have are really just the chemical activities of in our brains...Read More

A Sheep In the Flock of the Good Shepherd

That scripture time and again refers to us as sheep should be some of the best therapy available to those of us raised in a culture that is hellbent on telling us that each of us is a beautiful and unique snowflake, and that each one of us can grow up to become president of the United States...Read More

Feeling Tired?

Are you feeling worn out? Does life seem like a never ending series of deadlines or a race with no finish line? Are you getting just a little bit weary of it all? I have to confess the last couple of years have felt that way for me. Balancing marriage, young kids, and work has left me more often than not waking up tired in the morning and going to sleep at night exhausted. I know I'm not alone in that...Read More

Christians Connecting with Muslims

This spring we have an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the similarities and fundamental differences between Christianity and Islam. Christians have responded to Muslims in many ways, but all too often, without the compassion that characterizes Jesus...Read More

Silent Saturday

It is the day slid between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Not much is said in the Scriptures about the time between the filling of the tomb and its emptying. Perhaps that is because, unlike us who wait with anticipation the arrival of Easter morning, no one was expecting anything...Read More

Congolese Company's Coming

We first met Pastor Atulu 30 years ago. He was on break from revising the Bible in Bangala (a regional language) and joined a group of us for a week to help establish the alphabet for Mayogo, his mother tongue...Read More

The Annunciation

It's easy to get lost in the Church calendar. We remember Christmas, of course, and Easter. In our Anglican tradition Ash Wednesday, Lent, Pentecost, and Advent all are given a fair bit of attention. Here at All Saints we make a point to remember All Saints' Day (which makes sense) and in the broader culture we mark St. Patrick's Day, but sadly not for the Holiest reasons....Read More

What is Lent?

Lent simply means “springtime.” It is the season in the Christian year when followers of Jesus walk with him to his death and burial, so that we can participate fully with him in his resurrection. Lent is the forty days (not including Sundays) leading up to Easter. It begins Ash Wednesday and ends Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday)...Read More

Art House Dallas Featured Artist

This post was written by a staff member of Art House Dallas to feature Ryan Flanigan on their website. All Saints and Art House have been in partnership over the past few years offering concerts, songwriters events, and other artist enriching events. AHD seeks to cultivate creativity for the common good by encouraging and equipping everyone to live imaginative and meaningful lives....Read More

Exodus: Movement of Jah People!

As defined by Bob Marley. I’m not here to poke heretical holes in his Rastafarian theology, but on this particular point he got it right, especially when you consider that Jah (or Yah), the short form of Yahweh, appears over fifty times in the text of the Hebrew bible...Read More

Glorifying God in Our Prayers

The next time you prepare to enter into prayer, I would just ask that you think for a minute about who it was that Jesus and Paul prayed for (others, not for themselves) and what they prayed for (spiritual strengthening that glorifies God, not material results). Consider the possibility that the most important prayer that one can pray is for others, and that the most important end result is that the answer to that prayer could be spiritual fortification of the recipient in a way that glorifies God and draws others to Him...Read More

Blessed are the Uninvited

Jesus wasn’t always a very good house guest. In Luke 14:12-14, while sharing a Sabbath meal with some Pharisees, he goes so far as to take the time to critique his host’s guest list. “Don’t invite the rich or influential to your parties; invite the poor, the lame, the blind--anyone who can’t return the favor”...Read More

You Be the Bridge

As Christians we have the duty to love our neighbors, regardless of whether or not they share our religious beliefs. As our own city of Dallas becomes home to ever increasing numbers of Muslims the church in Dallas has an obligation to show Christ’s love to them as neighbors. If that sounds like something that you’re interested in, something that you're not sure how to do, or even something that you’re not sure is even possible, then there is a great opportunity for you...Read More

Reflections and Previews

January is a time of fond reflection over the previous year and an exciting time to greet the new year at All Saints Dallas. At our annual parish meeting this past Sunday we provided the Board of Steward’s perspective of the past year and shared a preview of the year to come...Read More

The Purpose in a Cup of Coffee

We take coffee pretty seriously around here. We want the Sunday morning ritual of a cup of coffee before worship to be a time and place of friendship and welcome. We want the coffee to be good enough that people want to show up early and stay after, spending time with each other. That’s why we make coffee a line-item in the budget and buy our coffee beans from local coffee roasters...Read More

Who I Know and What I Don't

As the new year approaches, the newspaper (yes I still read a paper newspaper every day) begins to fill with 10 best (and worst) lists, lists of who died and what big events happened and when, and lots of advice about what you should and shouldn’t be doing to make the new year your best year ever! As I have gotten older and lived through more and more of these cycles of remembrance, I have begun to look for something...Read More

Faith Walk

My entire life has been a “faith walk” even before I was born. I say this because I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my grandfather’s faith. You see, my dad was born with a few rare diseases, including myasthenia gravis and retinitis pigmentosa, that made the doctor’s prognosis on his chances quite negative...Read More

Man-in-Waiting

In this las week of Advent, one of the ways we learn to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the arrival of our Savior is to see how others have done so. In Luke 2:25-32 we meet Simeon as he meets Jesus. But before the Messiah is revealed, Simeon is a man-in-waiting...Read More

Tuning in to Advent

Advent, for me, is a season of wonder and expectancy in anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth. It is a time for me of deep reflection and renewal of my faith as I prayerfully gaze upon the Perfect One, Jesus, our Savior...Read More

Needs of the Forgotten

We are reminded often as we join in the “prayers of the people” that Christ calls us to be his hands in caring for those whom he called “the least of these.” Likewise, in his sermons, Phillip regularly keeps before us “the least, the lost, the lonely, the left behind.” Who are they...Read More

Thursday Night Life

Once a week The Well Community doors swing open wide and members eagerly start trickling in for Thursday Night Life. They come from all across Oak Cliff for fellowship, Bible teaching and the opportunity to worship God. Each faces daily challenges with mental health difficulties...Read More

Loving the Least of These

The definition of refugee is clear. These are people who have fled. They did not leave because they wanted a change. They fled because they were not safe. But the result is the same. They had to leave everything they knew, everything that was ‘home’...Read More

Knowing God Well

A few years ago, an author named Tim Keller wrote a book called The Prodigal God, a lesson on the prodigal son parable (Luke 15). You’ll remember that there are two sons and a father; the younger son asks for his inheritance early, squanders it, returns home in disgrace and receives his father’s love and forgiveness instead of an “I told you so"...Read More

Sonship

We work at our desks. We work in our gardens. We work out at the gym. We do relational work around our tables and in our homes. We work for our good and the good of the world around us. While they may be intrinsically connected, there is an important difference between who we are and what we do...Read More

Lepers in My World

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” The man's name is unknown. He is just "leper" to us...Read More

A Comforting Weight

Fall is one of my favorite times of year, for reasons big and small. One small reason is that I prefer to sleep in a cold room with a heavy blanket. If I had my way I’d sleep with the windows open all winter and the bed piled high with comforters and quilts. It is a sad day for me in the spring when the comforter goes back into the linen closet for the summer...Read More

The Faithfulness of Pagans

There is a comfort in establishing clear divisions between “us” and “them”. All of us do this on any number of levels, many of which are wholly benign. We all develop affinities for various things such that when we meet someone else with a shared affinity there is an immediate point of connection. But what happens when these differences turn sour?...Read More

A Slow Thought

The natural world doesn’t hand over it’s pleasures in convenient to-go cups. It cannot be DVR’ed for later viewing once the kids are in bed and the dishes are done. And between fighting traffic on I-35 and getting the kids to soccer practice who has time to take the natural world as it? After all what is the ROI on considering a flower, or a bird? Being a nature lover is of course not spiritually necessary (though it certainly doesn’t hurt), but this problem of busy-ness is...Read More

Liturgical Folk: Music for Liturgical Folk

Music is a vital part of our worship at All Saints Dallas. Our music is accessible, artistic, and rooted in the inherently joyful sounds of the American folk tradition. From soulful gospel tunes to country hymn arrangements to childlike prayer settings; this music is in our bones and speaks to our humanity. With that, I am thrilled to announce the beginning of a very exciting project...Read More

Report from the Congo

We have been immensely blessed by the ministry of our mission partners around the world. This past week we've been honored to send +Philip to the Congo to attend the enthronement of one of our mission partners, Masimango Katanda, as the new Archbishop of the Congo. We hope you enjoy the following photos that +Philip has sent home from his time in the Congo...Read More

What Sort of Belief is Enough?

As we started our series on the Creed this past Sunday in our Youth Pastorate, we began by asking the fairly simple question, “What is belief?” In preparing for our time together the Lord laid two scriptures on my heart, James 2:18-19 and Mark 9:14-29. The first seemed to me to be a hammer, unsubtly bashing through my thickness of my sinfulness, the second was more comforting...Read More

Doing and Believing

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is getting to teach and (let’s be honest) just hang out with the youth of All Saints. It’s been so wonderful over the last few months to watch us grow as a group from a handful to now well over a dozen regulars. As the new ministry year kicks off the Youth of All Saints are also launching into two new series...Read More

A Prayer Before Studying

The single hardest course I had in college was a two-semester long class called History of Philosophy. The mainstay of the class was writing outlines. What Aristotle or Hume spent tens of thousands of words articulating very precisely we had to beat and butcher into 800 words. It was the single best and hardest academic discipline I’ve every put myself through...Read More

Blessings Within Our Community

It's a regular Sunday morning, no special services, and our volunteer teams start arriving by 8:20 to pray for the services, set the altar, greet people, and confirm that the technical crew, ushers, and readers are ready. The staff has already arrived to set up music, nursery, coffee, scripture, announcements, final sermon notes...Read More

Back to School Again

School will begin at Sam Houston Elementary very soon with teachers returning August 15 and students August 22. Many of these children will arrive without adequate supplies and will need replacement supplies during the 2016-17 school year. Traditionally, All Saints members generously contribute these items at the start of the school year...Read More

Getting Political

Don’t panic. This isn’t a screed against a candidate or candidates. This isn’t another argument how not voting for candidate X is really just a vote for candidate Y. Nor is it an argument against that argument. This is going to be something a little different. I am not going to tell you who to vote for. I am only going to tell you how I think you should go about voting...Read More

The Feast of John Keble

As Anglicans we see ourselves as a part of an unbroken line of faithful Christians stretching back through the ages to the early church, the Apostles, and Christ himself. We look to this great and varied tradition to guide us as we try to live faithful lives in our current age. One way we do that is by remembering the lives of faithful Christians who have gone before us...Read More

A Ministry of Justice

West Dallas was once called “the devil’s back yard” by our local sheriff and has long been synonymous with hopelessness. Today, roughly one third of the adults living there have neither a high school diploma nor a GED. Reports indicate that a meager 10%, perhaps even as low as 3%, of the neighborhood high school graduates are deemed “college ready.” So in a very simple sense you can say that West Dallas Community School is a ministry of justice. Our founders refused to accept the narrative that a child’s zip code determines their future...Read More

Fulfilling Our Common Humanity

This sermon series on living in God's presence and living out His love in Dallas is particularly timely for us. In +Philip’s first message on June 5th he talked about a Collect which asks God to “…Enable us to eliminate poverty, prejudice, and oppression, and that men and women from different cultures and with differing talents may find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord"...Read More

Eucharistic Art Creates Kingdom Culture

Art creates culture. Art forms and expresses the values and institutions of a culture. It directs hearts toward the object or cultural text on display. So art is not neutral. It either gives us a glimpse of something beautiful, good and true or it reinforces a base system that does no good for the human heart...Read More

The Orphan Crisis

Orphan. I am an actual orphan. My parents divorced, and my dad moved out. Then five years later, my already disabled mother died suddenly of heart failure. I was thrust into the orphan demographic. It took some time to stomach that thought. Thank God I didn’t have to enter foster care. In terms of orphanhood, I had it very, very easy...Read More

Extraordinary Times

Anyone who has worshipped in a liturgical tradition for more than a couple of years has probably picked up on the fact that a good portion of the year is taken up with feasts and season that commemorate the life of Christ. For many Holy Week is a real high point of the calendar with so many important events happening in such a short time. But that’s not the end of Christ’s ministry, nor is it the end of the drama of the Church year...Read More

A Second Triduum

A couple months ago now, we marked the end of Holy Week with what is called the Triduum, or “Three Days”. That rich and intense period of 72 hours wherein we remember Christ’s passion, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. It can be a lot to take in. But as we draw near to the end of Eastertide there is now another set of three days...Read More

I, Onesimus

Paul’s letter to Philemon is an odd little book all about a particularly thorny issue as it was faced by a single Christian man and his recently converted run-away slave. The most striking thing about Paul’s letter is that he identifies himself with Onesimus. Saying that by sending him back is sending back to Philemon his own heart...Read More

"For Such a Time as This"

"For such a time as this..." We are all familiar with these words from the book of Esther. While preparing for the 10th Dialogue for Peace, one of our presenters lead us through the Old and New Testaments focusing on the phrase “In those days…”. Both Luke and Matthew introduce Jesus and John the Baptist with these words. God is at work stirring up the Islamic world...Read More

A Funeral and a Wedding

The Bible doesn’t always fit nicely into polite society. Thomas Jefferson famously took scissors to his New Testament in order to make it more palatable to his refined sensibilities. While we might not go that far, we too often want our religion to serve a merely therapeutic role. To only ever tell us that everything is alright...Read More

The Centrality of Delight

I am not very gifted in mathematics, so in High School I never looked forward to math class. I was fortunate enough that I always seemed to get along well with my math teachers. It wasn’t that at all, it was just that the subject matter didn’t capture my imagination. But that all changed my junior year when I had pre-calculus ...Read More

A Different Citizenship

As I was getting ready to live in the Ivory Coast for an extended season, the question of how I could minister to people when I am separated from them by such a large gap of opportunity and wealth was incredibly pressing. One of the most tangible symbols of that opportunity gap was the fact that as an American citizen, I carry an American passport...Read More

Open Your Mouth Wide

After the fasting of Lent comes the feast of Easter. After spending weeks in contemplation of our poverty, renunciation of our flesh, and repentance from our sins, we are confronted with the overwhelming reality of God’s great love for us in Jesus Christ, who has absorbed our sin, raised our flesh back to life, and by the Holy Spirit gives us the fullness of God...Read More

The Father's Folly

Reading Mark 12:1-11 I found myself struck by what seemed at first like a wholly irreverent thought: the owner of the vineyard seems pretty stupid. And his son is either equally stupid or else a patsy who doesn’t know what he’s walking into. That’s only irreverent because the father is a pretty obvious representation of God the Father, and the son is of course representative of Christ...Read More

All Creation Groans

As Lent draws to a close, allow me to suggest one final act of discipline to prepare your heart for Easter: Go out to a nature preserve or a park. Some place relatively quiet, or at least, some place that seems quiet in contrast to the bustle of our urban or suburban life. Go out and listen. Listen until you are bored (it usually doesn’t take long). Then wait a little longer...Read More

Renunciation

Maslow's hierarchy of needs starts with physiological needs; if those needs are being met they will seek security, and then love and belonging, then esteem and respect, and last of all self-actualization. At a basic level this seems to be broadly true. But there is something deeply troubling about Maslow’s hierarchy...Read More

The Lenten Discipline of Poetry

On odd Lenten discipline I’ve taken on this year has been reading the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. If you’re not familiar with his work already, and are poetically inclined, I would highly recommend him. Hopkins was a 18th century British Jesuit, and he has a keen sense of God’s presence in creation, as well as his own (and our) desperate need for Him...Read More

Mourning Into Joyful Dancing

A blank page. Thirty years ago that’s what the Bible looked like in Mayogo, a language spoken by 100,000 people living on the edge of a rainforest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Thirty years ago, a Congolese church asked Wycliffe Bible Translators to help them change this. So Mike, I, and our month-old daughter moved into a Mayogo village...Read More

Three Questions

The devil is crafty, but he is not the most creative. Much of the time he doesn’t have to be. We are frail creatures and the same designs and devices work on us time and time again. So just as he sought to tempt Christ by drawing his identity as the Son of God into question. And it should come as no surprise, when we in our own lives experience similar questions...Read More

Dispatch From Winter Conference

I hope most of you have been able to take in at least some of Winter Conference. Last night we had a beautiful worship service to kick things off. It was a powerful time at communion as brothers and sisters from around the country and the world came together to share the body and blood of Christ and in singing and praying together...Read More

Living Out God's Love in Nicaragua

As a family, we feel very blessed and excited to be given the opportunity to lead an All Saints Dallas short-term mission trip to Nicaragua during the upcoming summer. Last year was our fourth year leading teams from our old congregation in El Paso to Nicaragua and we are still amazed at God’s grace and blessings from each and every trip...Read More

Being Catholic

One way of describing the Anglican identity is that it is Reformed Catholic. Or sometimes, if one has hang-ups about Reformed or Catholic theology (or both), you can just as easily downsize it “reformed catholic”. But however you want to capitalize it, Anglicanism, as an ecclesiastical movement, recognizes its deep connectedness to the Church throughout time and space...Read More

Setting the Table

One of the main features of our corporate Christian worship is that we celebrate Communion together every week. Moreover, as Anglicans, we like to make our celebration of the Lord’s Table a fittingly reverent and worshipful experience. Each week we proclaim the life, death, and resurrection of Christ as we celebrate Communion. And then we are mysteriously and graciously invited to partake of His life-giving presence that He so graciously offers to those who believe...Read More

The Grace of God to Pagans

One of my teachers once told me that all non-Jewish Christian culture is converted paganism. What is so interesting, and sometimes troubling, about that is that Paul seems to indicate that being a converted pagan is perfectly sufficient to be a faithful Christian, so much so that he adamantly opposed any attempts to make Christianity monolithically Jewish...Read More

The Feasts of Christmas

Advent is usually more my style than Christmas, but I've been finding myself struck this Christmas season with a deep sense of joy contemplating the wonderful and awesome mystery of the Nativity of our Lord. At the same time I’ve been paying closer attention to the liturgical calendar this year than I have in years past, and I’ve been struck by how the season of Christmas plays out....Read More

Advent Inversions

In the fourth and final week of Advent we focus on God’s love revealed to us in the coming of Jesus Christ. Last Sunday we read the Magnificat, or Mary’s Song. This poem has been a central text for how the Church has understood God’s nature and the shape that redemption takes in the world. How wonderful and strange, then, that it comes from the mouth of a teenage single mother...Read More

Home But Not Quite Home

Last week we lit the Joy candle. A reminder that in the midst of our waiting God meets us with His everlasting Joy. If there is one thing I have grown into in my understanding of life lived under the Gospel reality of the cross, it is that here and now can be a pretty mixed up state of affairs. As something of an underscore to this thought I recently a Christmas card from some dear friends...Read More

Every Mountain Made Low

Mt. Holy Cross is the tallest peak in Eagle County, Colorado, and in all of the Northern Sawatch Range. Its peak is 14,011 feet above sea level; and, for a climber of modest experience, it can be summited in a single day’s hike with no specialized gear. But even after successfully summiting a mountain one still hasn’t conquered it, not really. The best we can ever do is survive, because there will always be those times when the enormity of mountains and meteorology overwhelm us...Read More

The Call to Hope

The first week of Advent is traditionally taken to meditate on Christian Hope by looking back towards God’s fulfillment of the Messianic hope of Israel in the Incarnation of Jesus. A constant refrain of the Old Testament is for the people of Israel to hope in the Lord, and to wait for his salvation to come...Read More

Be Prepared!

As we wrap up the liturgical year this week and launch into the season of Advent I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be prepared. A thought that has been recurring in my prayers and meditations the last few weeks is that our life of worship is rehearsal. The church year is a cycle that replays the story of salvation in microcosm every year...Read More

Remembering Those Who Have Gone Before

G. K. Chesteron once quipped that democracy denies no man a vote on account of his death, and tradition denies no man a vote on account of his death. The continuity of our faith with those who have gone before is something precious, that time and again has been preserved. Throughout the year we take time to mark the various feast days of those great men and women of the faith whose lives or teaching have been a lasting blessing...Read More

Working Out My Salvation With "Fear and Trembling"

At its heart “Fear and Trembling” is about what it means to have an authentic relationship with God. Taking the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac as a case study, Kierkegaard reimagines the tale in a variety of ways where each alteration in turn makes the story monstrous, or pitiful, or absurd. The burning question Kierkegaard is trying to answer is what about this event makes it so that Abraham’s faithfulness to God in offering up Isaac is counted to him as righteousness...Read More

A Life Line to Goodness and Love

A Wrinkle in Time may have saved my life. I pulled it at random from a library shelf when I was in the 8th grade. It was an intriguing mixture of speculative science, science fiction, early teen angst, and philosophy. As I escaped into the pages of that marvelous adventure I felt something in my soul unwind and find hope. Here was a story about an invisible but powerful world where things never looked like what they really were...Read More

Field Report: Seed Effect in South Sudan

In August, Denny Slaton, Mandie Peace, and I traveled to South Sudan on a mission trip with Seed Effect, a Christian microfinance nonprofit based in Dallas. From what you might hear on the news, South Sudan is the last place in the world three American women should go. Two tribes in the country’s oil-rich north are fighting. Despite all of this, each of us felt a call from God, a call to go, a call to serve...Read More

Fertile Fields of Creative Collaboration

I wouldn’t have sought out someone four decades older than me to co-write songs. But what Nelson and I stumbled into is a fertile field of creative collaboration. Nelson tossed in some seed by sending me a “request.” What has grown over the past several months, what would not exist otherwise, is the crop of two simpletons separated by two generations...Read More

How to Love Our Community

Our regular attendance is averaging around 450 on a Sunday, which means we have an increase in the need for volunteers to help serve during Sunday worship. What’s more, some of our most veteran and faithful volunteers will be leaving to help plant All Saints East Dallas this fall, so the need is even greater...Read More

Unity and Shalom

“How sweet it is, when brothers dwell in unity!” is the opening line of Psalm 133. Unity is an important theme throughout the scriptures. One of the most immediate consequences of the Fall and the introduction of sin into the world is disunity between brothers when Cain murders Abel. And throughout both Old and New Testaments a vision is cast as to how mankind might be brought back into unity...Read More

The Soothing Balm of Sound Theology

All too often theology is divorced from our daily lives and concerns, it can even be divorced from our piety. And even when it is taught it is sometimes presented in such a simplistic way that all nuance is lost, and it consequently does a poor job actually helping us make sense of the messiness of our lives...Read More

New School Year, New Opportunities to Serve

As part of our mission of living out God’s love in our neighborhood, we have been partnering with Sam Houston Elementary School, located just around the corner, over the past few years. But Sam Houston has been around for over 100 years, and is the oldest school in operation in the Dallas Independent School District...Read More

Stilling the Storm

When reading through the narrative passages of Scripture I often find it helpful to imaginatively engage with the story. This sort of exercise can pay huge dividends in helping us understand the message of the stories being told. The stilling of the storm is one such example. Imagine Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee in a small boat...Read More

Dress Right

We learn at a young age that there are different kinds of clothes we wear for different occasions. Some are specialty outfits for things like sporting activities or uniforms for work. Others are for "dress up". The point is, we take care to choose the right kind of clothes for the right occasion...Read More

Anglican Bishop Promoted to Glory

On Sunday, July 5th at sunrise, Bishop Terence Kelshaw of Albuquerque, NM died peacefully in his sleep at home. He was 78. Terence was born in Manchester, England into a wonderful, loving family and was the seventh of 10 children. His passion from a very early age was to serve the Lord, and he was called to be a preacher and teacher at the young age of 15...Read More

The Lord's Prayer

We sing 12-14 songs during a typical Sunday service. I know, right?! We sing hymns, worship choruses, praise songs, the occasional spiritual, and another kind of song that I have grown to love since coming to All Saints. I call them liturgical settings. Throughout the centuries composers have tuned and re-tuned these prayers over and over again. Bach himself wrote an entirely new musical mass every Sunday for three years...Read More

The High Calling of Unity in Christ

We would all do well to consider what a high calling it is to be a Christian. Far from merely entailing cognitive assent to a series of propositions, to be a Christian is to be identified with Christ, and by extension, to be identified with those He has redeemed to be a people of His own choosing. So it is that the tragic murder of nine believers gathered for worship in Charleston, South Carolina cannot go unmarked by us...Read More

Spirit Lead Mentoring

Last Saturday, the women of All Saints gathered for a kickoff-to-summer lunch where we explored what healthy mentoring looks like and how God uses it to draw us closer to Himself. Mentoring simply means coming alongside someone through a particular season of life. A healthy mentoring relationship can be a precarious balance...Read More

Building Bridges

Christians have responded to Muslims in many ways, but all too often, without the compassion that characterized Jesus. Bridges seeks to replace fear and intimidation with love and gentle boldness, reshaping the way Christians view and respond to their Muslim neighbors...Read More

Living Out God's Love at Sam Houston

A couple of weeks ago we received a request from Madel Mendez, the instructional coach that works with the Sam Houston faculty, about a particular and immediate need. This is a great opportunity for those here at All Saints who may have been thinking about tutoring but are unsure about whether or not it is a good fit for their particular gifts and skills. It is a short-term commitment with an opportunity to interact with the whole Sam Houston experience and give tutoring a try...Read More

Unplug and Connect

It is a sad irony of our contemporary society that we are more connected than ever, yet no better engaged in real community because of it. In two minutes time I could send a mass email full of pictures of my kids to my entire extended family. I could catch up with my high school or college buddies via Facebook. I could send a pithy remark or humorous observation to some of my favorite public figures via Twitter...Read More

Striving for Eden

Adam and Eve were gardeners. They performed the mundane and menial tasks of planting, tending, and harvesting. But this was their high calling, it was to care for God’s creation in such a way that order and beauty spread to the ends of the earth. In Ephesians 5:15-16 Paul exhorts us to do the following: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” The truth is that we only have so many days on this earth, and our time here, every hour of it, is a gift given to us from our loving Father...Read More

Practicing Temperance by Fasting and Feasting

Easter follows Lent as a season of feasting following a season of fasting. So why is it that it so often feels easier to ‘be holy’ in a season of fasting? In part this is because we have a deficient view of temperance. We often think of temperance in respect to what it denies. It avoids sin, it sacrifices, it does without; it is simple, ascetic, poor. But temperance affirms as much as it denies and thus the saints of God are meant practice temperance in both their fasting and feasting...Read More

Rethinking Slothfulness

Americans tend to be busy. We might think that because we're so busy we are not slothful. But we can be so busy that we don’t think we have time to worship the Lord. After all, there is so much to get done, what tangible benefit does worship bring us? The question belies a mindset that is antithetical to a Biblical view of human purpose. We exist not to do things for God but to live in relationship with him...Read More

The Most/Least Popular Sin

Gluttony is not a very popular sin. Or perhaps, more precisely, gluttony is an incredibly popular sin that is hardly ever recognized for what it is. We have probably all been guilty of it at one time or another, yet so often the only discomfort it causes us comes from the pangs of indigestion and not pangs of conscience...Read More

Faith: what's hope got to do with it? (Part 2 of 2)

In Spe salvi, Benedict 1) reasserts that the Christian hope is a realistic one in contrast to failed secular visions, and 2) reaffirms the importance of hope in the face of suffering. The Christian hope, that a loving God is present (even if seemingly in the shadows), and provides a secure and stable framework against which people can lean as they cope with suffering, which is unfortunately a large part of daily life for many people...Read More

Faith: what’s hope got to do with it? (Part 1 of 2)

Faith; to paraphrase the Grammy Hall of Fame inducted song written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, and recorded by Tina Turner in 1984 (her most successful single, 3rd Grammy Hall of Fame Award and 11th Grammy Award): “What's hope got to do with it?” As Christians, aren’t we expected to have faith? Isn’t a mustard seed’s worth supposed to be enough? If so, then what do we need hope for...Read More

Living With Renewed Resolve

Inertia is a powerful force, not just in physics, but in life as well. At the moment of conviction our potential for change seems limitless: I can lose 20 pounds, I can stop smoking cold turkey, I can break that habitual sin. But days pass, and the moment of conviction passes, and we find it is so much easier to not change...Read More

Christians Connecting with Muslims

Sometimes opportunities come along at just the right time. The news has been full of late with stories—both horrifying and tragic—of violence perpetrated in the name of Islam. In the aftermath we are confronted with seemingly conflicting narratives: Islam is a religion of peace; Islamic extremism seeks the destruction of Western civilization...Read More

Three Streams Converged

I was born Catholic, raised Pentecostal and educated Evangelical. As an Evangelical I frowned upon my Pentecostal upbringing. As a Pentecostal I frowned upon my Catholic birth. In my early thirties I began frowning upon all my frowning. Was it possible for one church to be fully evangelical, fully charismatic and fully catholic? Could I take the best of all of my church experiences and meld them into one cohesive worship life? One year later by God's grace I along with my wife and three kids have been adopted into the All Saints family...Read More

Epiphany

Typically I have my greatest epiphanies in the shower or while mowing the lawn. Problems I’ve been mulling over for days will suddenly snap into perfect clarity; simple and elegant solutions made apparent. I’ve heard that there are scientific studies that show I’m not alone in this; that there is something about a simple and mundane task that can activate our subconscious in ways that aid in making these sort of connections...Read More

The Holy Name

January 1st is the Feast of the Holy Name. Eight Days after birth, observant Jews would take their male children to the synagogue for circumcision and to formally name them. The act of naming, like the act of blessing, is an act of authority. The greater names and blesses the lesser. So it was, that when Adam was given authority to steward creation, part of that stewardship was to name the animals...Read More

A God Who Does the Unexpected

Even before I was an expectant father, I began to wonder how Mary and Joseph felt on the occasion of Jesus’ birth. The Annunciation to Mary indicated nothing about the humble circumstances in which he was to be born. It seems more likely to me, that while Mary wasn’t expecting a certain scented candle, or playlist of her favorite songs, she probably knew the local mid-wife in Nazareth...Read More

Man in Waiting

I have focused my Christmas meditations this year on those few verses in Luke 2:25-32 where we meet Simeon as he meets his Lord and Savior. Simeon is a man-in-waiting. He doesn't just pass time as he waits (like we do at the airport), but he "eagerly" waits for God to send the one who would deliver Israel...Read More

Leave It

Our world calls us to live on the edge, to go the distance, grab it all. But God's Word says, leave space, have left-overs, share. Our culture urges us to not only consume all we have, but to wander into fields we might have in the future and take more from there. But Scripture teaches us to use less than we have so we can participate with God in caring for others. I think this applies not only to food but to all of life...Read More

A Common Call

Life isn’t fair. Some are born into stable family situations, experience good role modeling, and are exposed to good opportunities. Some are born into broken homes, never know one or both of their parents, bounce around foster care, are never shown how to live. We all enter the world naked and crying, but some of us land in loving arms and warm blankets; others of us aren’t so fortunate...Read More

On Being a Saint

Back in the days of the Roman Imperial cult, the emperor Vespasian was said to remark on his deathbed, “Oh dear! I think I am becoming a god!” Clearly he wasn’t too enthusiastic at the thought of trading mortal life for the prospect of ascending to an exalted plane. I wonder if we sometimes share Vespasian’s confusing distaste for our own prospects—prospects which are, for us, not only realized after our deaths but in our lives as well...Read More

Life and Taxes

This week’s reading from Matthew contains one of the most brilliant rhetorical flourishes in literature. The simple turn of phrase, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” not only diffused an incredibly difficult situation, one whose nuance may be lost on many of us today...Read More

You Are Cordially Invited

I’m pretty sure that if I had received a hand-written invitation to Will and Kate’s wedding in London a few years back I would have found some way to make it; even if it meant taking the rest of my sick days at work and borrowing money for a plane ticket. I certainly wouldn’t have burned the invitation or shot the poor courier who delivered it...Read More

The Covenantal Householder

As you will recall if you heard him, Philip preached on this passage a couple of weeks ago. It is also sometimes referred to as the parable of The Eccentric Employer. Some translations refer to him as a landowner, but the NT Greek text uses a word which means the head of a family, a goodman (male head of a household), a householder, or the master of the house. However one refers to him, the actions of this man doing the hiring, the agreements he makes with the laborers, remind me of the covenants of the Old and New Testament...Read More

Change of Mind, Change of Heart

The parables of Jesus are studies in inverted expectations. This weeks Gospel reading (Matthew 21:28-32) tells the story of two brothers, both asked to go to work in their father’s vineyard. The first refuses to go, but then decides to go after all. The second agrees to his father’s request to his face, but never ends up going into the vineyard. Jesus asks his audience, comprised of religious leaders, which son did the will of his father...Read More

Being the Body

Do you know how many people it takes to run our service every Sunday? Have you ever stopped to think about that and count? Philip makes one. Ken, David, Chris, or whoever is assisting makes two. Jay makes three, the band makes four, five, six... you get the picture. It’s quite a few, and the people we see are only the tip of the iceberg...Read More

Serving Sam Houston

As many of you already know, All Saints Dallas, partners with Sam Houston Elementary school to provide after school tutoring and activities for the students. Here is a little more information about the school, and some testimonies from volunteers who have served the students and teachers over the past few years. My hope is that our prayers and volunteers would be multiplied as we seek to serve and minister to our neighbors here at All Saints Dallas...Read More

A Glimpse of the Ocean

As he was preaching through Romans 6-8, +Philip referred to these passages of scripture as the Himalayas, so, as we come to the close of Romans 8, permit me to suggest that this week we’re finally making it out of the mountains. It’s not that we’re dealing with anything less weighty or profound, on the contrary we’re dealing with something that is possibly even weightier...Read More

Confronting Apathy: the Transfiguration

“Casablanca” is, in my opinion, about as perfect a movie as has ever been made. So it was that when I heard a friend of mine say that it was “just a bunch of clichés”, I was perhaps a little too quick to point out that, on the contrary, far from being full of clichés it is instead where all the clichés come from. “The usual suspects”, “ here’s looking at you”, “play it again”, these weren’t clichés until after they were in “Casablanca”...Read More

Sons of God

Of all the ways of thinking about my salvation in Christ, one of the most consistently powerful for me is adoption. In Romans 8:15 Paul writes one of the most beautiful and radical truths in all of Scripture, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” What does it mean to be adopted as a son of God? Surely more than I could ever hope to do justice to in around 500 words...Read More

Deliverance from Disordered Desires

It can be immensely frustrating being a Christian. Having encountered the transforming love of God in Jesus Christ it can be disconcerting to find ourselves continually slipping into old ways of living. Whether our conversion was a dramatic experience or a slow growth in faithfulness, it is not uncommon to find that having come to Christ, we are now at odds with ourselves...Read More

What Is Man that You are Mindful of Him?

The grand things of God can overwhelm us so easily. It is tempting to leave these grand realities to the professionals, to say, “Let the theologians sort out the complicated and complex inner-workings of God, I’ll just love Jesus.” And certainly a simple faith is worth protecting and nurturing. But what if these grand things about God are difficult to comprehend for reasons other than complexity? What if it is their profound simplicity that makes them hard for us to fathom?...Read More

Christ's Ascension: Gospel Detonator

On Sunday, Dave+ said it another way: Jesus did not go into “early retirement” when He ascended to Heaven. Rather, He brought the flesh and bone of this world into the very throne-room of God, and He sent the life and power of His Spirit into the very flesh and bone of this world....Read More

The Enduring Grey

I’m a pretty happy person, and I always have been. I also suffer from depression. In the summer of 2008, I moved from Côte d’Ivoire to Vancouver, British Columbia. Starting that summer I experienced my most intense battle with depression to date. There were many possible causes: moving internationally for the second time in two years, starting grad school, the grey Vancouver weather...Read More

Who Sinned?

In the ninth chapter of John’s Gospel we find Jesus doing one of the things He does best. Healing. He heals blindness–two kinds of blindness. First and obvious, is the sight he gives to a blind man. But perhaps an even greater miracle happens as he exposes and begins to heal the blinding darkness of stigma woven by the man’s family and community...Read More

Easter In Real Time

Last night, I had the unique experience of getting to see a documentary about someone I know. It was a friend who, quite literally in a former life, started a nightclub that revolutionized music culture in Dallas and club culture across the country. The interviewees in the film described this club as "wild," "lecherous," and to some degree a drug haven...Read More

Blessings within our Community

What a joy-filled and blessed Holy Week and Easter Sunday! Our All Saints community welcomed and served well over 600 people on Easter with over 200 observing Maundy Thursday and Good Friday with special services. Many thanks go to our Sunday Service Leaders and their teams that prepare for and assist during these special services and every Sunday...Read More

Living and Dying in Hope of the Resurrection

It is a fitting end to a life lived in faith, to have one’s last action be the proclamation of the resurrection. And this indeed is borne out by the Book of Common Prayer. The liturgy for the Burial of the Dead begins, “I am Resurrection and I am Life, says the Lord.” This week, as we enter joyously into the season of Easter, take time to think about that...Read More

The Sting of Death

One of the most striking aspects of the story of Lazarus being raised is Jesus’ interactions with those who are in mourning beforehand. Here we have the favorite verse of those looking for an easy memory verse: John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” (ESV) And if we are not careful the brevity of this verse might mask an incredibly important aspect of Jesus’ relationship to us his people, and indeed God’s relationship with all of creation...Read More

Workers of Lawlessness

As one who is pursuing vocational ministry, it troubles me deeply to know that some of those who appear to have the most vibrant and powerful ministries (the very people I look up to and aspire to be like) will not enter into God’s kingdom, and that it would be possible for me to win the adulation of everyone in my church and yet be a complete stranger to Jesus....Read More

Letter vs. Spirit

God’s people, before He chose and revealed himself to them, were much like children. And though the rules He set down for them were at first probably seen as confining, they were a civilizing force, and living within them His people began to flourish. But so began the oft repeated cycle in the Old Testament of a people growing too big for their robes...Read More

Pass the Bread, Part 2

Last week, I wrote about how the generosity of a shared meal helped me to experience the gospel as a college student. The truth is, I only came to that realization because of the continued practice of a Shared Meal every week at our church...Read More

The Things Time Can't Mend

"There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep...that have taken hold." My husband and I are watching Lord of the Rings for about, oh, the seventh time since we've been married-- but that's beside the point. This quote from the end of the story has come to my mind a number of times in the last few months...Read More

Shine a Light

As a group of people, His disciples, the body He leaves on earth, His church, His bride, we are in effect a city and He is elevating us to an honored position on a hill, a position from which we cannot be hidden, and as light, from which we will necessarily illuminate the world and drive out darkness...Read More

Pass the Bread, Please

In college, I attended a church where the pastor and his wife really reached out to students on my campus. He would always greet students by name at church, even if he had only met them once before. She came and taught a Bible study in the student center every Tuesday night for students who had questions about Christianity...Read More

Disciples Together

Here at All Saints Dallas, we hear a lot of “Great Commission” language: being sent, being a Gospel presence, supporting (and being supported by) the nations. A couple of weeks ago we heard a message from Bishop McGregor from Madagascar. He explained a major emphasis of the Great Commission passage; we are called (commissioned!) as Christians to make disciples...Read More

A List of "Do's" and a Few "Thank You's"

As many of you know, my mother has been battling cancer this year. I just read something that summarizes-in a practical yet poignant way-some of the encounters that have shaped me this year...Read More

Baptism's Powerful Reminder

This past Sunday I had the privilege of standing with my family and watching my daughter Eleanor be baptized. It was a sacred moment, not only for her, and not only for me and my family, but for everyone there...Read More

Living with Paradox

Last week, Philip talked about some of the paradoxes at the heart of the Christian faithâ€"the nature of the Trinity, the divine and human nature of Christ, the tension between God’s sovereignty and human freedom. Thinking about such paradoxes can sometimes be intellectually stimulating, or they can leave our heads spinning...Read More

Asthmatic Sin

I try to avoid commercials like the plague; I am easily convinced by their arguments, like why I need 5 blades on my razor rather than my current 4. BUT one caught my eye this morning before the mute button was able to take effect...Read More

Confessions of a Food Hoarder

Philip talks a lot about generosity: God’s and ours. He encourages us to be a generous church because we belong to a generous God. Even from the very beginning of the story, this has been the case: God calls Abraham and says, I will bless you….that you may be a blessing...Read More

Whose Narrative is it Anyway?

The other day, Hannah and I went to one of the more eclectic mixings of culture this side of the Texas state border: The Texas State Veggie Fair. After sampling the fresh Kambucha, buying fair trade earrings, and taking an inadvertent whiff of second-hand marijuana smoke, I became strangely reflective about my day...Read More

Citizens of Heaven

This past Sunday +Philip read excerpts from Mathetes’ letter to Diogentus. The letter was written as an apologetic for Christians in a Roman world that was openly hostile and deeply suspicious of Christians...Read More

Fear, Interrupted

One theme that has proven to be a constant in my life is fear. Fear of the future, fear of failure, fear of what others think about me. In the past few months, I've sensed the Lord leading me to do a number of things that, er, aggravate this issue...Read More

Who We Were and Who We Are

This past week, Philip preached on the story of the ten lepers. All were cleansed by Jesus, and only one, a Samaritan, came back to thank Him. His response was, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner...Read More

Anglican Reading List

Lately, many people have asked me for some book recommendations about Anglican faith and practice. With Ron’s class on the Anglican way of following Jesus going on, I thought I’d use this blog post to throw out some suggestions of books that I’ve found particularly helpful in my own journey into Anglicanism...Read More

Confessions of a College “Rich Man”

In college, I was quite “religious.” I had yet to think I needed a savior, BUT I knew I was needy! My needs? -- success in school and performances as well as with the opposite sex, popularity, and financial income to name a few...Read More

Come Celebrate With Us!

Winter Conference is an opportunity to see ourselves (All Saints Dallas) as part of a whole (the Mission), as part of the world-wide Anglican Communion and as part of a community worshiping abundantly together...Read More

High Church or Low Church?

Growing up in Christian subculture, I attended lot of different churches. Attending a choir college, I sang in a lot of different churches. I've learned that there are lots of ways to "do" church, but that they generally fall into two categories: high and low...Read More

The Mission and All Saints Dallas

All Saints Dallas began as a seed in the 17 members of a Christ Church Plano Anglican Small Group. In the summer of 2010 God called +Philip Jones from St. Andrew’s in Little Rock to be the Senior Pastor of this growing group...Read More

Lost and Found

In the midst of three very earthy stories about lost things, about smelly sheep, dirty floors, and a prodigal son languishing in a pig pen, Jesus peels back the curtain and offers a glimpse at the angelic rejoicing over a repentant sinner...Read More

What We Truly Need

I was recently remembering my high school years in all their *ahem* glory. I rolled into school on the first day, large glasses, butt-cut hair, not having lost all of my, let’s say, baby-fat yet. As I took in my surroundings, I quickly realized I couldn’t cut it as I was â€" I needed to be re-made...Read More

Star Wars, Sin, and What it Means to be Human

A few months ago, I watched the Star Wars films as an adult for the first time. Han Solo was a bit less cute than I remembered, and Leia's hairstyles were a bit more fascinating. A lot of Yoda's advice made more sense, and Vader's mask was way less scary...Read More

The Narrow Door

When what Jesus says goes against the grain of our expectations, we find ourselves with a choice. We can say, “Jesus, you are wrong, and here’s why.” Or we can say, “Jesus, I am wrong; remake me.” Statements like the one above fall into this category...Read More

Do We Miss Our Messiah?

The Roman government did not take too kindly to a dissenting religion in their midst. Great pressure was regularly put on the Israelites to change, to give into Roman culture, including their religious sensibilities. By the time our reading from last Sunday (Luke 12:49-56) takes place, the Israelites had already begun responding to such oppression...Read More

Why Weekly Communion?

At All Saints Dallas, we celebrate the Eucharist every week. For some of our congregants, this is what they’ve always known. For others of us- who come from different church traditions- the weekly breaking of bread might feel foreign. There are many reasons the church throughout history has prioritized this important practice...Read More

Coveting and Contentment

In the satirical film The Joneses, a seemingly happy family of four moves into an affluent suburban neighborhood. But they aren’t really a family at all...Read More

Exactly Where I Should Be

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the gospel as an impossible command: to follow Christ, no matter what. This past week, I've been thinking about the aspects of following Jesus that feel "impossible" in my life. One particular struggle I've been aware of for about a year now is my seeming inability to relax...Read More

I am Mary AND Martha

Last week in his blog, Chris Myers suggested we “get inside” Jesus’ stories before jumping to whatever moral lesson we think they might contain. In doing so, we might find more than we expected...Read More

Bounded up by Christ

There are few stories as famous or familiar as “The Good Samaritan”, and the danger of a familiar story is that we can become convinced we already know what it is about. In fact, we may feel that we don’t even need the story itself any more because we have extracted the principle, in this case, be like the Samaritan and go be a neighbor...Read More

Rejoicing and Remembering

Our passage is from the last part of Isaiah, where Israel has recently been released from being a captive nation in Babylon. Along with their freedom, they have been given resources to rebuild their temple that had been destroyed! It seems natural to obey the command “REJOICE!” (v. 10) along with the original readers...Read More

An Impossible Command and the Power to Obey It

Having grown up in an age of democracy, it always surprises me that Jesus did not try to convince people to follow Him. In fact, Sunday's gospel reading shows us that His approach was almost the opposite: when people expressed their desire to follow Him, Jesus said things like, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the son of man has no place to lay his head.”...Read More

Mysterious Community

This past Sunday, we at the 11:00 a.m. service saw an adorable (and surprisingly compliant) baby baptized. Mary Miller Fontes was held by Philip and surrounded by her family as well as All Saints’ gaggle of children. After we the congregation re-affirmed beliefs and devotions, made promises, and prayed for Mary, we were introduced to the newly baptized...Read More

Hungry for Someone to Thank

This week Morgan and I will welcome our first child, a daughter, into the world. As we have approached her birth, both Morgan and I have been reflecting on our new vocations as parents and on the awesome responsibility of being entrusted with this new and beautiful life to love and care for...Read More

Resurrection People

In the readings this past week, we heard two different resurrection stories. Jay+ taught us that both miracles were performed by the power of God, and both displayed the truth of the message of God. He restored the widows’ sons, and the result was new life and faith...Read More

Kingdom Character

A bit unbelievable, isn’t it? How could it be to our advantage that Jesus leaves? Let’s face it, the Spirit’s seems obscure at times. It is hard to imagine how the Spirit is a better alternative to the living, breathing Jesus...Read More

Recent Tornado Victims Outreach Update

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has given money and supplies to our participation in the Moore, OK and Granbury, TX relief effort. Thus far $5,021 has been given, and approximately $2,600 has been spent on much needed supplies, which were delivered by our facilities manager, Mitch Dane, this week!...Read More

Forming the Formless, Filling the Void

At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out on the people of God so that he might empower us and might write the covenant of the Lord on our hearts. In terms of redemptive history, Pentecost stands as one of the most pivotal days in history....Read More

Not as the World Gives...Knowing Peace

Jesus offers us his peace, but he makes a point to say he doesn't give his peace as the world gives. It is a striking phrase, "Not as the world gives do I give to you." How does the world give?...Read More

Broken Images

Last Sunday, Phillip mentioned in his sermon the healing nature of an exercise the men participated in at the prayer retreat. One man would stand in the place of another’s father, and speak words of affirmation and love to him, especially “I love you!” Even the best of fathers fall short of the perfect “Fatherhood” of God, which is why this is such a healing exercise. It allows our experience of God the Father to heal our memories of “father.” Let me explain......Read More

Christ Our Shepherd

This past Sunday we glorified Christ for being our Good Shepherd. Since shepherding is not a common vocation in our culture, metaphors like this ask us to pause and reflect on what they mean. In doing so, we are given a powerful picture of Christ's character, how He feels about us, and what our relationship with Him is like. The week's reading from John 10 gives us a few hints of this....Read More

Cultivating Easter Faith

As Philip said this past Sunday, the resurrection is an act of new creation. Through Christ's resurrection God promises to make a new humanity. Just as he formed the first man, Adam, from the dust of the earth and breathed life into his nostrils, so he breathed life into the nostrils of the last man, Christ, and raised him from the dead. And so he will raise us too. As Paul puts it, "'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit" (I Cor 15:45)....Read More

Blessed Are the Feet Washers

You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. â€" John 13:13-17 In the ancient world sandals were the shoes of choice and roads and sidewalks were made of dirt so everybody’s feet were covered in dust all the time......Read More

A Journey into a Far Country

“Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need.” Luke 25:13, 14 The Gospel reading this past Sunday was from Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son. +Philip ended his sermon by inviting us to the communion table with the words, “Come home.” For nearly four years Stacey and I have been on a journey in a far country, but we are not “prodigals” per se. As far as I can tell we have not been living recklessly or squandering our lives. ...Read More

Declaration of our Dependence

"Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God, for ever and ever. Amen." --Collect for the Third Sunday in Lent...Read More

Following Christ through Lent

I did not grow up in a tradition that observed Lent. When I moved to NJ (where "liturgical" churches are more common), I was a little bit surprised by how many people I'd see walking around with black crosses on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday...Read More

The Catacomb of Lent

"Every human society has what is called in the theatres a third sub-stage. The social soil is mined everywhere, sometimes for good, sometimes for evil. The dark caverns, these gloomy protectors of primitive Christianity, were awaiting only an opportunity to explode beneath the Caesars, and to flood the human race with light. The catacombs, where the first mass was said, were not merely the cave of Rome; they were the cavern of the world." - Victor Hugo, Les Miserables...Read More

Beauty Transformed: The Transfiguration and Lent

"And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white." Luke 9:29 The Transfiguration is one of the richest and most deeply symbolic moments in the Gospels. On the mount of transfiguration, the disciples behold Christ in the fullness of his glory......Read More

Raising our Ebenezer

God is at work at All Saints Dallas. He is writing a story of faith and redemption. +Doc Loomis prophesied this past Sunday that we are a church of the testimony. All Saints is a testimony of God’s Spirit transforming lives......Read More

Mission: Burden or Joy?

"The mission of the Church in the pages of the New Testament is more like the fallout from a vast explosion, a radioactive fallout which is not lethal but life-giving." Leslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society When we hear Jesus say, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few," as we did this past week in service, it is easy sometimes to feel guilty, to feel as if we are not doing our part as the church. Mission becomes a burden in such moments, a weight to bear, something else to do in the midst of all the other things we have to do....Read More

Am I My Brother's Keeper?

I remember in junior high two boys getting into a fight. Like the rest of the students in the classroom I stood there watching and laughing as the boys went after each other. After the teacher broke up the fight she turned to the girl who had been sitting closest to the boys and asked her what had happened....Read More

Breathing Himalayan Air

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith"that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength...Read More

In Its Time

The story of wise men bringing gifts to Jesus is the central story of the Epiphany season. The significance of this story is rooted in a much larger story told by Israel’s poets, musicians, and prophets long before any wise men came to visit Jesus......Read More

Deep Down Things

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1 The depth of this single verse would reward a lifetime of meditation. But we've heard it so many times that its profundity has been veiled by familiarity. It is often the case that once mysterious and captivating things can become seemingly familiar, and this is especially true for those of us who have grown up in church and around Christianity....Read More

The Dark Side of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a time of celebration. It is a time of “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” It is a time of family and friends, of parties with coworkers, of gifts given and gifts received. However, the very things that make the holiday season a time of celebration can also make it a time of pain and sorrow. The holidays remind us not only of what has been given......Read More

Commissioned but Still Waiting

"And the child [John the Baptist] grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel." Luke 1:80. Advent is a season of waiting, longing, and expectation, and in this verse we see John the Baptist in a period of waiting and expectation. John is waiting in the wilderness for his "public appearance to Israel." Luke uses an interesting word here for "public appearance." In fact this is the only place this word occurs in the entire New Testament. The Greek word translated "public appearance" in the ESV means something like "commissioning, installation."...Read More

An Advent Prayer

Luke 1:69-78 (The Message Bible)...Read More

Longing for the Apocalypse?

Luke 21:25-28 My wife and I recently found out that we are going to have a baby. One of the most exciting parts of the early pregnancy has been sharing our good news with friends and family. When we told my family, I wanted everything to be perfect, but when the moment came I was so excited that I threw my carefully crafted script out the window and simply blurted out, "Morgan is pregnant!"...Read More

Bowing Before the King

This past Sunday we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. Pope Pius XI instituted the feast in 1925 amid the rise of nationalism, secularism, and fascism in Italy. Three years earlier Benito Mussolini had marched into Rome and taken control of the government....Read More

The Great (Thanksgiving) Day

Recently, New York City put a ban on large sugar-sweetened drinks. Starting spring of 2013 if you want a Diet Coke larger than 16oz. go to Boston. Why? According to mayor Michael Bloomberg, “The cost of treating obesity is out of control.” People thirst, but they thirst for drinks that not only hurt them but the whole city. A couple weeks ago a friend of mine traveled to Guatemala. He went to build wells. People thirst, but there is no clean water to drink....Read More

Playing it Shrewd

There is something deeply satisfying about watching a good caper movie. Seeing a master conman or thief put one over on the casino or bank or hapless businessmen brings a certain kind of pleasure, even if it is a little strange that we end up rooting for dishonest men. What is so interesting about movies like Ocean's 11 and The Italian Job is that we aren't necessarily commending the heroes' bad behavior.....Read More

Trees Walking

The past few weeks +Phillip and Jay+ have been preaching about generosity. Their sermons have reminded me of my mother. Not because they have sounded like motherly rebukes but because my mother is someone who has given generously throughout her life. She has launched multiple non-profits, catalyzed the exoneration of an innocent man from prison......Read More

Radical Generosity

Our first picture of God's generosity is creation itself. The world God creates is a world of abundance. God fills the oceans, the land, and the sky with teeming life, and then God generously gives his creation to us, so that we might steward the goodness...Read More

Generosity Unto Death

Last night we had an Apartment Life event for our residents. Some of the first residents to show up were a young couple with their six-month-old boy. As Stacey and I introduced ourselves, the six-month-old reached out his arms, as only a child can, and gestured as if desiring for me to hold him. His father laughed and handed him to me. As we all......Read More

Truly Human

If you've ever seen pictures from the Hubble telescope of the deepest reaches of space, of galaxies so far away we can only measure the distance in terms of the speed of light, you have probably asked a similar question to David's in this Psalm....Read More

Christian Practice Takes Practice

The past few Sundays we have heard readings from the Epistle of James. The Epistle of James is a letter about Christian practice. For years when I heard the words “Christian practice” I thought of a few standard things: reading my Bible, praying, and going to church. Those are of course good things, things every Christian should practice....Read More

The Cross Before the Crown (Mark 9:30-37)

Like Daniel, the disciples heads must have been full of similar visions every time Jesus called himself the Son of Man. For one, they would have known their Bibles and known this prophecy from Daniel. For another, they lived in a time thick with Messianic expectation. So when Jesus came along speaking of the kingdom and self-identifying as the Son of Man, the disciples couldn't have helped but entertained visions of personal power, prestige, and honor in the kingdom to come....Read More

Jesus and the Liturgy of the Psalms

Reading the Psalms (Responsively) with Jesus, The Psalter (the Psalms) is the original hymnbook of God’s people. At All Saints, when we sing (or read responsively) from the Psalter, we join with God’s people throughout the ages, who have sung these songs to God....Read More

Surprising Savior

As the reading from Isaiah this week illustrates, the faithful in Israel expected and believed that God would come in power to heal his people and to heal his creation. For them, this day of healing was also a day of judgment, the great day of the Lord....Read More

Lovers of Liturgy

Each morning as my wife and I are walking out the door for work and for school, one of us says, “I love you.” and the other responds, “I love you too.” When we talk with each other on the phone during the day, the conversation always ends with “I love you"......Read More

Our Beautiful Inheritance

Scripture is always in conversation with itself, and every Sunday, as we hear passages read from the word of the Lord, we are privileged to listen in on this conversation. Take two passages from this past Sunday--Psalm 16 and John 6:60-69. While there is no quotation or allusion that directly links them, these two passages nevertheless resonant with one another. When Peter says to Jesus, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life," he......Read More

The Mystery of Holy Communion

On Sunday +Philip explained to us that the sacrament of Holy Communion is a mystery. The bread and wine are actual bread and wine and yet at the same time they are the body and blood of Jesus. How is this possible? ...Read More

Paying Attention

"The Lord opened her heart to pay attention..." Acts 16:14 When Paul came to town, Acts 16 tells us, the Lord gave Lydia a heart to pay attention to what he was saying. Her hearing heart made all the difference, and it was the work of the Lord. Perhaps she had asked the Lord for a hearing heart, since the text tells us she was a worshipper of God. But the larger point is that her ability to her Paul was a gift from the Lord. We too need hearing hearts, hearts that pay attention. And we are completely dependent on the Lord for them. As Annie Dillard puts it, "I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam." We must therefore pray for hearts that pay attention....Read More

Sacramental Imagination Pt. 2

In our gospel reading this past Sunday, Jesus and a crowd of people conversed about bread, manna, and eternal life. The crowd was seeking Jesus because he had just fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus told the crowd,...Read More

The Sacramental Imagination

One phrase from the passage this week has always intrigued me. Mark tells us that the disciples are unable to recognize Jesus coming to them......Read More

Being a Gospel Presence

In the biblical story, no place is just a place....Read More

God delights in _______.

At the end of his sermon last week, Philip exhorted us to meditate on God's delight in us. He asked us to fill in the blank with our names and say "God delights in ____."...Read More