Steven Smith

N.T. Wright and The Strange Challenge of Truth

PaulI am happy to post this guest post written by friend and fellow Youth Minister Chris Woodrow. Chris is the Youth Minister at Western Heights Church of Christ in Sherman TX. Chris and I attended the recent N.T. Wright lecture at Oklahoma Christian University. As would be the case, Chris took better notes than I did and has put them together in this short write up. I think you will enjoy some of what Wright and Chris have to say. 

Last week I went to hear NT Wright speak at Oklahoma Christian University. His talk on Monday night was challenging, at times confusing, and very heady.

So, a few days of pondering and discussing later, I think I have a pretty good handle on what he was saying…and more importantly, I think I have a “so what?” to take away from it.

Wright’s lecture was titled “The Strange Challenge of Truth”, and he began with a discussion of three “truth traps” that Christians have fallen into the past few centuries. I’ll discuss them below, with additional material that Wright alluded to but didn’t include in his lecture. Read more

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Life, Hope, and Baby Goats

baby-goatI want a baby goat. Preferably, I would like a goat that is only one week or so old. I’ll take the mother too, but only on the condition that the baby doesn’t grow any older. I want a perpetually one-week-old baby goat. I came to this realization after seeing a two baby goats on TV the other night. These goats were not even 5 minutes old, and they were the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

Well maybe not the cutest I’ve ever seen. I saw some baby pictures of my two daughters the other day. Read more

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A Fate Worse Than Death


“But, when you‟ve sat with a wife who has just found out that her husband has been cheating on her for years, and you realize what it is going to do to their marriage … and you see the concentric rings of pain that are going to emanate from this one man‟s choices – in that moment, Jesus’ warnings don‟t seem over-the-top or drastic; they seem perfectly spot-on.
Gouging out his eyes might have been less painful.”

–Rob Bell

When my wife was pregnant she worked as a car hop at sonic. Late one night as she and her co-workers were closing for the evening one of the cooks went out the backdoor to empty the trash. As soon as he opened the backdoor an armed robber forced his way inside. One of the other car hops was more than just a little spooked and tried to run out the front door and escape. In her frantic state she had a little trouble unlocking the door which gave the gunman time to leverage a little motivation to keep her there. He forced my pregnant wife onto the floor and began to issues threats. He told the car hop that unless she stopped, my wife would die right then and there. Read more

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O Be Careful Little Mouth

Phill-RobertsonMy daughter sings a simple sunday school song titled O Be Careful Little Eyes. The song warns children to be carful what their eyes see, what their ears hear, what their hands do, and where their feet go. It’s beyond adorable to hear my youngest daughter sing, complete with uncoordinated yet adorable hand motions. But don’t let the cuteness fool you, this song brings a stark warning.

Do be careful little eyes. You never know what you might be reading. You click on a webpage, you expand a status, you open a book and you begin reading small sets of letters strung together to form words. It’s a very dangerous thing.

But don’t worry, you are probably safe. The best I can tell it isn’t the reading, or even the hearing of the words that is all that dangerous. It’s the saying, and writing of words that will get you into trouble. Which may be why the final verse of the song utters the strongest warning of them all. It says: Read more

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Enslaved by Sin

chainWhen I was younger, the church I grew up in hosted a Vacation Bible School where we reenacted Old Testament Bible Stories. Around my Junior year in high school we performed the story of Joseph. Over the course of several weeks I studied and learned the story in a way I never had before. It had an impact on my life that I couldn’t even begin to realize at the time. I remember telling my mother, “I want God to use me the way he used Joseph.”

While I enjoyed it thoroughly, it wasn’t enough to simply “play” the part of Joseph. I wanted to be IN the story; I wanted to play a real role in the story of God. I wanted Gods story to include me in a way that went beyond typical Christianity. Read more

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That’s My Story

exitThe other day I was with some friends and began to tell the story of how I proposed to my wife. About a year before I “popped” the question my wife and I took a trip to New Braunfels, TX to “toob” the River with some friends. Late one afternoon, as the sun began to set, my wife and I ditched our friends to wade and play in the shallow rapids of the Guadalupe river. It was an amazing evening. We chased each other around the rocks, playfully splashed each other, skipped rocks across the water, laughing and enjoying each other’s company the whole time. As night fell we began heading back toward the car wadding across some swift current. I held her hand to keep from falling in the cold water. I will never forget the moment, as I held her hand in mine and looked over at her smiling face….I felt something I’d never felt before. I was in love.

Read more

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Youth Internship at Fairmont Park Church of Christ – Summer 2014

highropesI have been a little busy the last couple of weeks and haven’t found much time to blog. Next week I hope to continue talking about the Power of Story. But until then I thought I would try and get some info out about a Youth Internship Opportunity at our church this summer.

Fairmont Park Church of Christ is looking for a male youth intern for the summer of 2014. We have a busy summer planned with a lot of exciting activities. Our summers consist of various camps, mission trips, and activities that will provide the right candidate valuable hands on experience. Our interns can expect to teach class, lead devos, plan and implement activities, and chaperone various trips throughout the summer. We value the opportunity to teach our interns and place a high emphasis on training and equipping. If you are interested in applying please contact me.

Here is a short promo video for our Youth Internship opportunity:


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The Power of Story

Immersed-in-StoryMy youngest daughter loves to play dress up. Over the course of her short life she has obtained several Disney princess costumes that she likes to wear while watching their corresponding movies. The other day I was at Toys R Us shopping for her birthday present. I was looking for a play dress that she might like to add to her collection, but couldn’t find anything she didn’t already have. Instead, I bought her an authentic Brave Bow and Arrow set. Now she has just about everything she needs to be just like Merida. Dress, red frizzy wig, and her very own bow and arrow. Next she will want a horse.

I’m really just a big kid myself, and even though we have two daughters, I couldn’t resist walking through the rest of the store and browsing the legos and other more male targeted toys. I was somewhat surprised to find a section dedicated to dress up for boys. Granted the costumes where much different. Instead of princess dresses there were ninja costumes, soldiers, police officers and the like. Read more

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A Change of Heart

A-Change-of-heart-1When I was young there was a popular children’s cartoon called Tiny Toon Adventures. I don’t remember much about the show, but for some reason (that will be clear in a moment) I vividly remember the character Elmyra Duff. Elmyra was characterized by her obsession with animals. She was always chasing after some poor unfortunate animal saying “I’m gonna love you and hug you and squeeze you all to bits.”

She reminds me of my daughter. Read more

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The Heart of God


“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” (Genesis 6:6-7)

I don’t normally pay attention to the news. Occasionally, a story surfaces that I can’t avoid. Like a video from last Monday of a motorcycle gang harassing a family in an SUV. In the video about 30-40 motorcyclists chase a family for more than 50 blocks through New York City, eventually pulling the husband and father from his SUV and beating him. The video is not graphic, but it is deeply disturbing.

I can’t stop thinking about this video. The reality of its images haunt me. As I watch this family being chased through the streets of New York, my chest grows tense. I think about the family in the SUV, about what they must be thinking and feeling. I think about them trying to escape, about how scared and hopeless they must feel. Read more

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