Blog Archives

Top 5 Blog Posts in 2013

These are the highest viewed blog posts from Doctrine On Tap this year. It’s always interesting for me to see lists like these, because they’re usually not the blog posts I would have chosen to be popular! Sometimes posts you work hard on and have high hopes for bomb, while the more impulsive posts strike a nerve. I can probably guess why some resonated with people more–the last two have to do with my pastor’s daughter, Daisy Love. A lot of us were blogging then. The first two deal with calling and purpose, which I imagine hits a felt need in us all. But who knows? Sometimes a post shows up in someone’s reader at the right moment. But without further ado, here are my top five most viewed blog posts of 2013.

Starting the list at #5, this post is about God’s calling. More specifically his timing, which is like a two-dollar bill: hard to find.

Impulsive Callings: The what may not include the when

#4 is for those of you who dream.

3 biblical ways to dream big

I was surprised that this one made the list. People must be very interested in the ins and outs of Bible translation! Or maybe they were frustrated because I wasn’t using the ESV in sermons. Anyhow, this clocked in at #3

Why I use HCSB for preaching and devotion

I wrote #2 on the list after Daisy Love’s memorial. It was about my last interaction with her–one I’ll never forget.

Daisy Love and the magic eraser

I wrote this blog after seeing my pastor grieve over his daughter through three rounds of cancer, and again when she passed away. In the midst of that, there were thousands around the world who grieved with him, and prayed for him. But not everyone was sensitive or compassionate. I wrote this blog after observing some of the worst responses to cancer. Apparently it struck a nerve with a few people, because it is not only the most viewed blog post of 2013, but the most viewed post of all time

5 wrong ways to comfort hurting people

Do you blog? What are some of your top posts? Or if you don’t blog, what are some of the best that you’ve read this year?

What cities and social networks have in common

I recently spent seven days in New York City with my wife. We went through an entire week without having a real conversation with anyone, though we often tried. The subways of an urban sprawl are always particularly humorous to me—you are literally shoulder-to-shoulder, but no one looks up, no one speaks, and there is even an unspoken rule that making prolonged eye contact with anyone on a train is creepy. Even the social constructs keep us in isolation! The irony of a metropolitan city, it’s been said, is that you can be surrounded by millions of people, and still feel lonely. 

The same is true with social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and even blogs like this. The noticeable difference with social media, however, is the lack of face time. Your 600+ “friends” can fool you into feeling well connected, but without any real human contact, aren’t you just walking into the subway with your head down?

What do you think… does social media help our generation connect or further isolate us?

Using hashtags to bring Scripture into community

I posted three reasons Christians should use Twitter, as well as a litany of resources and links for how to tweet better.

Today I want to talk about how we can use Twitter hashtags as a way of fulfilling Paul’s command to let the “word of Christ richly dwell within” us as a community.

Many of us are reading through the Bible together in one year (You can get all relevant information, including the one year pamphlet PDF here, and we’re excited about it! What may seem disconnected is the “together” aspect of reading through the Bible. Obviously, we’re in different parts of California, and, well…I’m not coming over to your living room every morning to go through a minor prophet.

But in an age where technology allows people all over the world to be unified on current events as diverse as the Occupy Wall Street movement to the downfall of a regime, why not use (redeem?) the same technology to unify each other in the living word of God? What if I didn’t have to come over to your living room for a Bible study, yet we had access to each others devotional insights and well as theological quandaries?

Twitter hashtags allow scattered people to converse with one another.

Try it for yourself. Do a Twitter search on a niche hashtag like #Millennials.

What popped up? An endless list of content regarding Millennials! People all over the world are pumping out blog posts, articles, and Retweets about 18-30 year olds, and they “brand” their content with the hashtag #Millennials. That means anyone who searches for that hashtag will pull up a stream of that content.

Imagine reading through the Bible together while creating a collaborative environment for it on Twitter.

This would mean that a continual stream of Scriptural content would be produced by THIS community of people for THIS community of people! (depending on how many people chose to give it a shot)

How do we start?

Very easy.

All of us begin to tweet questions, insights, or quotes about our daily readings, while include the hashtag #1YearBible” at the end of the tweet. Check out what it already looks like by clicking on the stream here.

What do you think? Want to experience the Word together? Absolutely I do.

Age of Accountability

We live in an era that demands just decision-making. We’re in an age where the weak can speak up on occasion. And the world is asking a lot of questions about…well, stuff that never used to get questioned.

Look at some of the biggest events on the web this year.

  • Cairo, Egypt. In January 2011, an uprising begins to form which results in the ousting of a President (Hosni Mubarak), an unprecedented outcome in thousands of years of Egyptian civilization.
  • Occupy Wall Street. People get inspired by what happens in Egypt and begin to protest the richest in the nation, arguing that the rest of the American population must have a voice in the direction of the country.
  • Penn State. No one saw this coming…well, except for a few whose careers are now over, as well as the lives ruined.

In each of these recent implosions, a person, corporation, or company is being made accountable, after being fueled by a firestorm of social media.

For example…

Without arguing whether the results or methods of these outbursts are right, I do want to call attention to the organizational power of social media to bring people to a new level of accountability.

I’ve already remarked on ways social media can aid a Christian being on mission.

Are there any ways we can redeem the powerful influence of social media? Should we even try?

Christians using Twitter #2

In July, I blogged why I think Christians should use Twitter.

A few weeks later, I blogged ways I use Twitter to get information that pertains to my niche.

Now I’ve compiled a list of short articles showing how we can use Twitter to relate to others in the Tweet culture. In other words, how NOT to be annoying (one of the first steps of being missional, right?).

It should take you less than 30 minutes to read through them, they’re that short.

Twitter basics

How to stand out

How to be interesting

How to be an utter failure

General tips and hints

Thanks to @Tweetsmarter for helping me find much of this content.

4 ways I use Twitter to do my research

I am a college pastor, worship pastor, and husband. Yet, I also blog and tweet my face off. As some of you may have experienced, it can be hard to find the time, let alone the content to broadcast when you sit behind your computer on a Saturday night. Here are four social media functions I have found to be invaluable when researching content to tweet or blog. In fact, when I use these regularly, I almost always end up with too much content on a Sunday night.


You know when you see a word, or a one-word phrase with a “#” right before it? That’s a hashtag. A hashtag is just simple metadata; a quick way of categorizing a topic so that it is easy to track. For example, if you want to follow everything that can be said about the upcoming explosion of shark festivities next week, just do a search of #SharkWeek. It’s an easy way to sift through all the information and uncover the content you’re after. In fact, it was by using Twitter hashtags that I learned about the earthquake in Chile and Haiti, and the death of Osama and MJ before any major news station. Information travels in a millisecond, and hashtags instantly funnel them to your device.


You ever get lost in all the informational noise? After you follow a certain amount of people, your timeline will be overwhelmed by many people’s tweets. You can unfollow them, or you can assign them to different lists. For example, I have lists for missiologists, lists for worship leaders, and lists for college students at Adorn. There are some Twitter clients that emphasize lists, making it functional, and readily accessible (TweetList and TweetBot come to mind). Instead of trying to look for gold in the middle of hundreds of tweets about bowel movements and Justin Bieber, you can just focus on the Tweeps you know will send good content your way.


This is easily one of the most neglected functions on Twitter. Those who do click on it use it as a way to pat someone else on the back. I suggest favoriting articles and resources that you plan on coming back to later. It’s like having Instapaper in your Twitter client. You’ll slowly begin to archive useful information.

Google reeder.

I know this isn’t a Twitter function, but I would be remiss to ignore it. As a pastor, I find blogs as vital as books. They are a constant flow of daily information, and when you follow blogs that are within your interest, e.g. college ministry, college life, short-term missions, etc., you will always have good information at you fingertips. If you want to get crazy, download a reeder app on your phone, tablet, or computer.

I have to share one last thing. You have to have a niche. Meaning, you have to focus your blog on something that matters to you. If your blog is about “theological ramblings” or “my random thoughts” it will be so broad that hashtags, lists, favorites, and reeders will simply add to the noise, causing you to be more overwhelmed with how much is out there that you don’t care about. Further, you will fail to get the short attention span of internet junkies who are looking for something focused.

For example, instead of focusing my blog on “Theology, Worship, and Saving the Whole World for Jesus” I decided to go with something more focused, like “dispersing communities of Christ-like millennials back into the city.” Now anyone who has the same niche can count on my blog to meet that standard, and vice-versa. It becomes reliable. Then in order to post content that meets that standard, I start saving blog posts in my Reeder, and researching hashtags like #missional, #millennial, etc in order to focus the stream. I focus on other Tweeps who have an interest in college ministry, by looking through my missional-ministry list. I archive everything I may find useful, by favoriting them all for later use. Then I start blogging in my niche.

At the end of the week I end up flooding your timeline. And that’s what separates me from the Lazo of two years ago who just “doesn’t get twitter.”

Do you have any Twitter tips that have helped you study, research, or learn?

Christians using Twitter #1

There are a variety of reasons why people use Twitter.

  • To talk about their food habits
  • To incessantly narrate their day
  • To stalk celebrities
  • To post an occasional, random quote
  • To talk about or promote themselves, etc.

The list of reasons to dislike Twitter is endless. But I’ve found that it’s not really the medium that deserves blame, but poor tweeting. Poor tweeting makes you hate Twitter. But…

There are several avenues in which a person can make good use of Twitter.

  • When you share
  • When you interact
  • When you’re in an actual community out of people who share similar interests.
  • When you are consistently engaged
  • When you post useful, thought provoking content
  • When your content blesses others, or offers them something of value

The next thing I’m going to say should occur to most of us…

There are some good reasons why a Christian should consider using Twitter.

  1. Content. You can communicate things that matter.
  2. Context. You can get second-by-second, real-time information from anywhere in the world on current events (before the news channels do!)
  3. Community. You can interact with people who share with you a common interest (for example, underwater basket-weaving), and connect with them over that very ordinary commonality.
Before you know it, you’re tweeting about underwater basket-weaving, connecting with others that share the same interest, exchanging content you discovered that might bless them—you’re engaging a community of real people in the normal rhythms of your life. But it’s going to take a bit of work, time, and commitment. You can’t remain satisfied with tweeting mundane information about a concert you attended or a meal you ate, and hope to connect with real people. However, if you take the time to engage  and follow through with those who have similar interests, you’ll look back at your tweets one day and realize you’ve been on mission the whole time. Many have overlooked the usefulness and capacity behind Twitter. Don”t be that person.

image at

(Article on how not to suck at Twitter coming soon)

Do you hate or love Twitter? Why?

Fear of change?

I recieved a variety of different responses to my last post on e-books, and why I was leaving print behind for electronic reading.

Now, let me be clear, I don’t blame people for wanting to stick with printed books nor have I felt blame from anyone for reading a Kindle. E-book reading is mostly personal, and the various reasons given for abstaining are mostly all understandable.

There is however, one reason that is not understandable, which I’ve noticed is often a reoccurring barrier not just to technology but in how we do anything; fear of change.

When our reluctance only stems from a fear of change, growth and effectiveness seem to stop with us.

Now this isn’t my battle cry for all people everywhere to use an iPad for reading, or tweeting instead of email. In fact, I don’t care how you read, or what you use to commnicate. The issue for me is much broader. I’m simply stating that if our only reason for staying rigid in our particular systems, practices, and methods is a fear of changing, and that fear of change becomes for us habitual, than we’re eventually going to be left behind in the rubbish heap of nostalgia very fast. Grow old in your wisdom, but not in your stubbornness! Here’s what I mean…

Ever hear (or make) these types of statements:

  • I don’t get it. (usually directed towards Twitter)

Well…learn by doing ;-)

  • It’s only a distraction and a time waster! (usually directed towards Facebook)

And you’re right! But so is driving on the highway in traffic, and yet, we do it everyday for a reason, while putting it to good use.

  • You’re always on that thing. (usually directed towards the iPhone)

Well, you’re always reading 1,000 page classic Russian novels. Choose your poison, and prioritize your time.

  • Kids these days!

Hey! Remember when you had to turn on the Television to find out about the natural disaster that happened last week? I don’t. I read about it on Twitter Trends in real time before CNN posted it.

Now, neither generation is better than the other. In fact, we need each other! We can and should learn in community together.

The younger generation should learn from the experience and wisdom of the older generation. But the older generation should learn to stretch their boundaries with the tenacity and risk of the young’ins. We would make a great team if we did this, and I’ll be the first to admit that young people like me usually destroy ourselves and others in our unharnessed zeal, especially when we don’t listen to the wiser generation.

But it’s not meant to be a one-way street, right? Because here’s what happens when the experienced generation begins to fear change: nothing.

Click to see what I mean


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