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Treating God’s Glory as a By-Product

April 27, 2016

One of the most educational days I ever spent was in Bakersfield, California, with a man named Bill Bolthouse. A deeply committed Christian originally from Michigan, Bill developed and refined the harvesting of raw carrots into those beautiful little rounded carrots you frequently see on a vegetable tray with cauliflower, broccoli, and some ranch-dressing dip. By the time I met Bill, his company, Bolthouse Farms, was in grocery stores everywhere, and he was one of the largest producers of carrot products in America.

As we toured their massive production facility, we went first to the place where the carrots were washed, peeled, and cut into sections by the truckload. While the scale and efficiency of the operation blew my mind, what really impacted me were the patented processes they had developed for the by-products of those little carrots. They made various items from the shavings, the peel, the end that was too small to use—nothing was allowed to go to waste. Juices, yogurts, breads, and many other foods all from the by-product of making those little carrots you pop in your mouth at a party.

I think the church of Jesus Christ in most locations is confused about what is primary and what is by-product. Getting product/by-product reversed puts Vertical Church and all it means upside down in the ditch, so please allow me to clarify. Read More

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The Tension in the Truth

March 31, 2016

During the time allotted for sermon prep, pastors frequently feel a growing dissonance about a tension created by the biblical text from which they are working.

To illustrate, if I were planning to speak on abortion, I might begin to feel a growing tension as I prepare. I would sense the need to express grace to those who have had an abortion and assure them of God’s forgiveness. Does that assurance then minimize the impact of the strong warnings? Does the equivocation weaken the strong prohibition against abortion? Read More

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Days of Preparation

March 21, 2016


Different style of music—same message. Different vocalists—same message.

Watch Eddie and Ben take an operatic form and stoke the fires of our worship all the more in this memorable presentation from last year’s Good Friday service. Read More

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