In The Room Ep.49: Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer

This week I’m in the room with Kevin Vanhoozer. Dr. Vanhoozer is the Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity and co-author of the new book, “The Pastor As Public Theologian”. 

In my conversation with Dr. Vanhoozer, we discuss the liabilities of being a Biblical scholar, re-discovering the biblical identity of the pastoral office, and what a day in the life of a theologian looks like.

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

In The Room Ep.48: Bob Kauflin

This week I’m in the room with Bob Kauflin. Bob is a pastor, songwriter, and the director of Sovereign Grace Music. He’s also written a new book entitled: “True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters To God”.

In my conversation with Bob, we discuss how to best steward the relationship between pastors and worship leaders, what it means to worship in spirit and truth, and why it’s so critical that we prioritize gathering for corporate worship.

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

Buy “True Worshipers” on

Connect with Bob on his blog.

Follow Bob on Twitter.

Books mentioned in this episode:

“Music Through the Eyes of Faith” by Harold Best.

Desiring God” by John Piper.

The Valley of Vision” by Arthur Bennett.

The Cross Centered Life” by C.J. Mahaney.

Engaging With God” by David Peterson.

Music & Songwriters Mentioned:

Matt Boswell

Matt Redman

Dustin Kensrue

Keith and Kristyn Getty

Lauren Daigle

Vertical Church Band

In The Room Ep.47: Josh Reich

This week I’m in the room with Josh Reich, lead pastor of Revolution Church in Tucson, Arizona and author of the new book “Breathing Room: Stressing Less and Living More.”

In my conversation with Josh, we discuss common factors that squeeze out our breathing room, the importance of holistic health, and learning from the strengths of others. 

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

Buy “Breathing Room” on

Connect with Josh on his blog.

Follow Josh on twitter.

Books mentioned in this episode:

“21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell.

Letting God Speak Resources

Last Sunday we finished up a four-part series called Letting "God Speak: God's Thoughts On Three Timely Subjects." We covered sexuality, abortion and racism. It was hard, but it was fruitful. Throughout the series I was asked for resources on each of the topics, so I decided to put them all in one place, as well as all four sermons. Hope it's helpful.

Part 1. A Biblical Framework For Sexuality

Part 2. Three Dangerous Sexuality Misconceptions

In The Room Ep.46: Crawford Loritts

This week I’m in the room with Crawford Loritts, pastor and author of the new book, "Unshaken: Real Faith in Our Faithful God".

In my conversation with Crawford, we discuss how faith differs from mere optimism, why it comes easier for some rather than others, and how we can grow in faith. 

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

Buy “Unshaken: Real Faith in Our Faithful God”:

Follow Crawford on twitter:

Books mentioned in this episode:

“The Pursuit Of God” by A.W. Tozer:

“The Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer:

“Knowing God” by J.I. Packer:

“Dangerous Calling” by Paul David Tripp:

“Prayer” by Timothy Keller:

In The Room Ep.45: Douglas Wilson

This week I’m in the room with Douglas Wilson, pastor and author of a new book, "Writers to Read: Nine Names That Belong on Your Bookshelf".

In my conversation with Doug, we discuss the ins and outs of reading well, how he orders his week for maximum productivity and why he so often finds himself at the center of controversy.  

Want In The Room to come to you? SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES and have each episode downloaded directly to your device.

Check out Doug's blog.

Follow Doug on Twitter.

Buy “Writers to Read."

Books Recommended by Douglas: 

The Chronicles of Narnia.

In The Room Ep.44: Vince Antonucci

This week I’m in the room with Vince Antonucci. Vince planted and pastors a church called Verve in Las Vegas, Nevada for people living and working on the Las Vegas strip. He’s recently written a new book called “God For The Rest Of Us: Experience unbelievable love, unlimited hope, and uncommon grace”.

In my conversation with Vince we discuss growing up with a dad on the run from the law, the challenges of pastoring on the strip, how stand-up comedy compares to preaching and why so many feel beyond the love of God. 

If you enjoy this episode, don't forget you can have it downloaded directly to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. 

Lift You Higher

Prior to planting Redemption I was a worship pastor.

In 2004 we were auditioning guitar players for our student ministries worship band when in walked a 16-year-old with an ugly Ibanez guitar and a few pedals he’d picked up from a friend. Despite the fact that his guitar was ugly, his pedals didn’t really work, and he was nervous enough to puke, I loved him immediately.

Since that awkward audition 11 years ago, I’ve had the great privilege of leading God’s people into God’s presence with my friend, Scott Holthaus. He’s not that nervous kid anymore. He’s a man of God, selfless husband, tender father and gifted worship pastor at Redemption. 

This week he has released his first E.P. called “Lift You Higher.” These are five songs (four original and one hymn) we love and I believe will expand your affection for Jesus and give you fresh words with which to worship Him. 

Lift You Higher is available everywhere digital music is sold and it would mean a lot to me if you took a few minutes and checked it out. If it blesses you, would you consider sharing it with a friend, or helping us spread the word via social media? 

I’m praying Lift You Higher will bless you the way it’s blessed me and our entire church.

Get it:

In The Room Ep. 43: Levi Lusko

his week I’m in the room with Levi Lusko, pastor of Fresh Life Church in Montana and the author of a powerful new book called “Through The Eyes Of A Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power”.

In my conversation with Levi, we discuss everything from cultivating leadership culture and creative communication, to how he and his family have endured the unexpected death of their young daughter.

Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review! 

Buy “Through The Eyes Of A Lion” on 

Follow Levi on Twitter:

Books recommended in the episode:

A Tale of Three Kings:

In The Room Ep.42: Alex Early

This week, I’m in the room with Alex Early. Alex is a reluctant pastor, accidental church planter, and the author of a beautiful new book entitled, The Reckless Love of God.  

In my conversation with Alex, we discuss why so many of us struggle to believe God truly loves us, some things that make our hearts grow cold to God’s love, and how a tragic season of trial lead Alex to a deeper understanding of God’s love for him. 

To have new episodes downloaded directly to your device, subscribe to In The Room on iTunes. 

Connect with Alex on Twitter.

Buy “The Reckless Love of God” on

In The Room Ep.41: Bob Pritchett

This week, I’m in the room with Bob Pritchett. Bob is probably best known for co-founding Logos Research Systems, a Bible Study software that I and many others use on a weekly basis. Bob currently serves as the CEO of the Faithlife Corporation and has authored two books: Fire Someone Today and Start Next Now. 

In my conversation with Bob, we discuss the story of Logos, how leaders shape the culture of the organizations they lead, and how he stays interested in what he’s leading after all these years. 

As always, you can have new episodes of In The Room delivered directly to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd be honored if you shared with someone else and left us a review.

Here are links to all the resources mentioned in Ep 41:

Buy “Fire Someone Today”:

Find more information on FaithLife:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Innovators Dilemma:

The Innovators Solution:

Becoming Steve Jobs:

Creativity, Inc:

Legacies of Great Economists:

Encountering Jesus Part 1: The Fruit of Forgiveness

Have you encountered the forgiveness of Jesus?

If so, it will bear specific fruit in your life. Where there is no fruit, there's been no forgiveness. In this weeks sermon, we explore the fruit the forgiveness of Jesus produces in us and most importantly, HOW we receive it. 

Learning To Love Monday

Most people hate Mondays. 

Pastors and ministry leaders in particular, experience a unique let down on this “day after THE day." We pour blood, sweat, and prayers into our Sunday worship services and wake up Monday with little in the tank. It’s so bad, in fact, that Barna reports 15% of pastors contemplate leaving ministry every Monday morning.  

I’m certainly not impervious to it. I’ve woken up wanting a different job on more than a few Mondays.


I think two of the reasons we hate Mondays so much are that we know we’re supposed to (pastors love to commiserate about how hard Mondays are) and because we’re not intentional about how we spend this critical first day of the week. Personally, I’m tired of hating Monday, so I’m currently experimenting with better rhythms that are having a huge impact on how I start the week. Here are four practices that are helping me learn to love Monday:

Soak in God's Word.

We all know we should be in the Word daily - not just for the next sermon, but for the good of our own souls. Yet, even with this conviction, I still miss days, don’t you? Regardless, I’m working hard to NEVER miss Monday. I need to be refreshed by God’s Word, renewed by God’s Spirit, and re-energized by God’s Son and the reality of all He is and has done for me. I take my time. I read slowly. I reflect deeply. Don’t start Monday without soaking in God’s Word.

Sweat in the sun.

Most Monday mornings I feel like drinking coffee and eating scones on the couch until nap time. What I rarely feel like is exercise (unless you count the reps of bringing my coffee and scones to my face). As is often the case, what I feel like and what is good for me are two very different things. A good workout that gets my heart rate up has a way of washing away the post-weekend funk. Furthermore, I try to ensure I get outside in the sun for this. The combination of exercise and fresh air resets my body and refocuses my mind. So, take a walk, go for a run, find a nice place to hike - just get in the sun and work up a sweat. 

Schedule carefully.

We all have parts of our ministry responsibilities that fill our tanks and parts that drain them. On Mondays I schedule the things that fill my tank. For me that means I don’t take many (if any meetings). I’m an outgoing introvert (which means I’m introverted but I’m not shy). I love spending time with people, but I also find that it takes more out of me than it puts in. You may be the opposite. My advice, schedule what fills your tank and avoid what doesn’t. 

Start on next Sunday.

One of the mistakes people make with fitness is avoiding exercise when they're sore. Unfortunately, it’s exercise that makes your blood pump and your muscles loosen up. Ministry is the same. Many of us start Monday spiritually, emotionally, and mentally sore. One thing that helps me is jumping right back in and getting back to work. For me, that means starting my next sermon. Inevitably I’m impacted by the text and by the end of the day, I’m excited about another opportunity to tell people about Jesus yet again.

Sometimes Monday sucks. Sometimes just getting through it is success. Even though that’s going to happen, it doesn’t have to be normative. Let’s bring more intentionally to this important day, find what fills our tanks and learn to love Mondays together.

How To Stay Friends In Ministry

I have 30 years of friendship between Scott (middle) and Tyler (left). 

I have 30 years of friendship between Scott (middle) and Tyler (left). 

I once heard a prominent ministry leader parrot something from the platform that bothered me:

"You can’t plant a church with your friends." 

He had a long list of reasons, many of which were rich with wisdom and right on point. Despite that fact, the sentence bothered me.

It bothered me then, because I was doing just that. Tami and I planted Redemption with our closest friends. It bothers me now because I think he was wrong. Not only CAN you plant a church with your friends, I believe more people SHOULD.

As someone who is seven years into church planting with two of my best friends (both of which are now on our paid staff), I think there is a better way to state the intended warning, while not throwing out the baby with the proverbial bath water. What I would say is:

Ministry has marred many friendships.

I don’t believe that means friends should not partner in gospel-ministry together, but I do believe we need to be sober-minded and labor to stay friends at the outset. Here are five things that have been key (albeit painful, at times) to seeing our friendships thrive on our staff...

1. Pray with and for one another.

Prayer with and for someone has a curious way of uniting your heart with theirs. It’s hard to be too put off with someone you’re praying with and for. When something that someone has said, or done is bothering you, pray for them. You may just find that God changes you more than them. 

2. Speak candidly when something is bothering you. 

Sin happens. Friends will sin against you and you will sin against your friends. This is when you need candid conversation. In my experience, it’s the words we leave unspoken that do more damage than the ones we do. Don’t be a jerk, but don’t be a coward either. After careful thought and prayer, say what’s on your mind.

3. Forgive when you inevitably sin against one another. 

It’s not enough to talk about sin, there needs to be regular repentance and forgiveness. When you harbor hurt, it degenerates into bitterness, and bitterness dishonors God and destroys the carrier. There is no longterm friendship without an immense amount of forgiveness. What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go of and forgive?

4. Be friends first and then co-laborers.

I’ve made the mistake of putting the friendship on the back burner in the name of ministry. Sometimes ministry has to take priority, but do this for too long, and it’s only a matter of time before there’s no friendship to protect. The health of the friendship directly informs the health of the ministry. Have fun. Hang out. Eat food. Play. Laugh. Live all of life together, not just ministry.

5. Accept them for who they are, not who you hope they’ll become.

We labor in ministry to see lives changed and eternities altered. One liability I’ve noticed in my own heart, however, is that I can love people more for who they’re becoming than who they are. That’s not how Jesus loves us and not how we should love others. We all need to grow and change, but if friendship is contingent on a set of behavior conditions, it’s really not friendship shaped by the gospel.

If you do the work of ministry with friends it will be hard, but it will also be more fulfilling, more rich and more meaningful. Should God allow, I highly recommend you jump into ministry with your friends.

I know I'm not the only one doing the work of ministry with friends. If you are, or have done it too, what are some best practices you've learned? Share your thoughts here.

In The Room Ep. 40: Kelly O’Dell Stanley

On this final episode of the summer, I’m in the room with artist and author Kelly O’Dell Stanley, who’s written a new book on prayer entitled “Praying Upside Down”.

In my conversation with Kelly, we discuss the pros and cons of growing up in various denominations within the church, the roll of creativity in prayer, and what it means to pray upside down.

Subscribe to In The Room on iTunes and get weekly episodes downloaded directly to your device! 

Buy “Praying Upside Down” on

Read Kelly’s Blog

Follow Kelly on Twitter

The book recommended by Kelly during the episode: "Found" by Micha Boyett 

In The Room Ep. 39: Elyse Fitzpatrick

On this episode I’m in the room with Elyse Fitzpatrick. Elyse is a counselor, speaker and the head of Counsel from the Cross Ministries. She’s written twenty books, including “Found In Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ”.

In my conversation with Elyse, we discuss what type of ministry women need most, how to grow in our affection for theology, and how the doctrines of incarnation and union with Christ impact us day to day.  

Subscribe to In The Room on iTunes and get weekly episodes downloaded directly to your device!

Buy “Found In Him” on

Read Elyse’s Blog

Follow Elyse on Twitter

In The Room Ep. 38: Edward Welch

On this episode, I’m in the room with Edward Welch. Ed is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He’s been counseling for over 35 years and has written a number of excellent books, including his most recent, “Side by Side: Walking with Others in Wisdom and Love”.

In my conversation with Ed, we discuss some of the reasons behind the rise in the number of people seeking counseling, what to look for in a good counselor, and some keys to living in interdependent community with others.   

Subscribe to In The Room on iTunes and get weekly episodes downloaded directly to your device!

Buy “Side By Side” on

Visit CCEF’s website

Follow CCEF on Twitter

Check out CCEF’s Facebook page

In The Room Ep. 37: Nancy Ortberg

On this episode, I’m in the room with Nancy Ortberg. Nancy currently serves as the Director of Leadership Development at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Northern California. She’s a leading voice on the topic of leadership and has written a number of books. Her most recent is  “Seeing in the Dark: Finding God's Light in the Most Unexpected Places” and that’s what we’re discussing today.  

In my conversation with Nancy, we cover why God allows us to walk through dark seasons, how God means them to produce joy in our lives, and why it’s so crucial that we fight for faith in community.

Buy “Seeing In The Dark” on

Follow Nancy on Twitter

Books Nancy recommended in the episode:

Lament for a Son

A Grace Disguised

My Bright Abyss 

Subscribe to In The Room on iTunes and get weekly episodes downloaded directly to your device!

In The Room Ep. 36: Carl Trueman

On this episode, I’m in the room with Carl Trueman. Carl is the Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary. He co-hosts the “Mortification of Spin” podcast and is the author of numerous books, including his most recent entitled “Luther on the Christian Life.”  

In my conversation with Carl, we discuss why church history matters, why we should all read biography, and what we have to learn as modern day Christians from the amazing life of Martin Luther. 

Buy “Luther on the Christian Life”

Listen to the “Mortification of Spin” podcast

Subscribe to In The Room on iTunes and get weekly episodes downloaded directly to your device!