Is Church Membership Biblical?

For too many people the church is simply a social club, just another place for them to win friends, grow their network, and find their support group. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things, the church is so much more these fringe elements.

Membership Pic (Club)

The church is the vehicle by which Jesus is completing his mission to save and redeem those people God has called and to see them grow and mature into the very image of Christ. Sadly, many churches today are struggling to survive. Could this be because we have moved away from biblical membership and instead created a membership understanding and process that looks more like a gym or a Costco membership where people pay their dues and then set for themselves the standard for which they must now be served? 

To Be A Disciplined Disciple

Yesterday, I had the privilege of continuing our “To Be The Church” sermon series at Harbor Church with a message on “Discipline.” All Christians want to grow to be more like Jesus, but few want to do the work (or understand how to do the work) of discipline in order for the Spirit of God to do the work of transformation.


Throughout Scripture we see the call to grow in maturation and sanctification hearing the words of Paul to the church in Philippi that, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6) as well as his words to Timothy to “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). So how do we become disciplined disciples? 

Book Recommendations for Discipleship

This past Sunday, I preached a sermon at Harbor Church titled, “To Be A Disciple.” In it we worked through a number of Scripture passages where Jesus interacts with various people regarding a “call to discipleship.” I also used a number of quotes and ideas from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of my favorite authors and pastors of recent history.


Below, you’ll find some book recommendations that made a significant impact in my own discipleship and I pray they might be of help to you as well as you walk in daily discipleship with Jesus Christ. 

Book Recommendations: Knowing the Bible

This past Sunday I continued our sermons series, “To Be the Church” at Harbor Church with a message on the bible titled, “To Treasure God’s Word.” The big idea is that the bible is a book to be treasured but also to be used. Too often we either treat it like all of the other books we use for information, drawing out what makes us feel good while discarding the things that don’t, or we treat it like a family treasure yet fail to wipe off the dust and actually use it for the betterment of our lives. During the sermon I recommended a few books that I want to make sure you are able to add to your personal libraries at home. 

The Danger of a Sunday School Theology

Did you call it the flannel graph or the flannel board? You remember, the thing they used in Sunday school at your church growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. I remember calling it the flannel graph, and oh, was it cool.

Flannel Graph Jesus

Flannel cutouts of Adam and Eve with appropriate fig leave coverings. Abraham and Isaac with a bonfire and a ram in a thicket. Moses with his glorious staff and the flaming tree. David with his slingshot and the giant, Goliath, with his sword and shield. I couldn’t wait to show up on Sunday and hear another story about how some awesome man or woman did something amazing for God.

Gospel Centered Discipleship

Gospel Centered Discipleship (Crossway, 2012)

At Harbor Church we have been walking through chapter 15 of the Gospel of John the past few weeks and looking at what it means to have an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. Last week, I read through Jonathan Dodson’s book on discipleship and thought there was some great insight into where our abiding relationships can go sideways. The first and last part of the book were so-so but the middle section is a gold mine.

In the middle section Jonathan talks about the ways we distort discipleship by trying to mature on our own away from Christ instead of resting in him and growing in a deeper understanding of his life, death, and resurrection – the heart of the Gospel message.

This book helped me take a look at my own discipleship and allowed me to see some areas that I can get off track in my relationship with Jesus and how to course correct and come back to a relationship of abiding love and grace instead of one where I attempt to prove my love and gratitude toward him.

If you feel stuck in a rut in your maturation and sanctification I would encourage you to check out this short and easy read for yourself.

How to Avoid Snot and Manure

It’s a cold, dark morning on the Winterhalter ranch. Every breath is visibly seen before me in a cloud of mist as I make my way to the barn shivering more violently every step I take away from the warm comfort of our house. My dad is away, high up on a mountain range hunting an animal that in my dreams I believe is a wild beast he will battle and bring home so that I might enjoy it as pepperoni sticks and jerky.

Hay hooks

Because he is away I have been entrusted with the duties of making sure our livestock are fed before I leave for school. 

3 Ways to be More Confident Right Now

I have always been a pretty confident person, probably due in large part to all of my experience performing for people on stage as a musician and actor from an early age. But I will never forget the day I called one of my best friends from New York telling him I was going to drop out of my masters degree program.

Conducting Text

My confidence was at an all time low. In fact, I had hit the no-confidence rock bottom. I had no idea why I had even come to New York in the first place and I felt exposed as a fraud and someone with no talent whatsoever.

The Key to Unlocking Bitterness & Frustration

Have you ever done something nice for someone and it went unnoticed?

Have you ever had the opportunity to do something special for someone and when you did there was no reward, not even a thank you?

old keys

This is the story of my wife, Rachel. As some of you know, we have three children ages four, two, and six months. Rachel is a busy stay-at-home mom. Not only is there the busyness of keeping all three children on a daily schedule of meals, naps, education, play time, etc, there is also the work of staying on top of managing our crazy household with things like cleaning, laundry, and a long list of things that make my remaining hair fallout or turn grey.

The 8 Building Blocks of Your Daily Schedule

Take a quick moment to think about how today went. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Did you finish the items on your to-do list? Or was your day a bit scatter brained? Maybe your tired, even exhausted after another day with not much to show for? Today, I want to share with you something that I’m doing to help maximize my daily schedule.


There are many different ways to schedule out your day, but one thing remains consistent between all schedules, we all have a 24 hours to fill.