The Day I Became a Grunewald

officially a grunewald

In third grade I wrote a paper entitled, “Officially a Grunewald.”  And in the way that only a third grader could write, it recorded the events of a very important day in my life:

Last year on October 17, 1995, I missed a half day of school because I went to court.  When we were at home, my mom gave me a chain with a cross on it.  My brother, Corey, got a chain with a cross in the middle of a heart, and my sister, Molly, got a necklace that had a G in the middle of the heart because we became Grunewalds.

The judge asked my mom and dad a lot of questions.  While we were getting our picture taken, I banged the hammer the judge uses.  I got my picture taken with Corey, Molly and the judge.  Second, we got a picture taken with my mom, my dad, Corey, Molly, the judge and I.  The judge got to hold Molly every single time.

I officially became a Grunewald.  When we left we ate at the Clock. I had scrambled eggs.  Corey had Mickey Mouse pancakes, and Molly had French toast.

My mom brought me back to school after everyone finished eating.  Everyone asked me where I was.  I said, “At court.” The kids in my class asked, “Do you have to go to jail?”  I was proud the day my stepdad adopted me and I officially became a Grunewald.

On October 17, 1995, in a courthouse, not because of anything I had done and not because of anything my brother or sister had done, but solely because of the love of my dad, I was declared a Grunewald.  It had nothing to do with my decisions or behavior, but simply because my dad said before the judge, “I will love these children as my very own children,” everything changed.

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Preaching Law & Gospel: An Interview with Tullian Tchividjian


I recently got the chance to talk to one of my preaching heroes, Pastor Tullian Tchividjian.  Tullian is the Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida, the author of several books, runs a conference and ministry resource known as Liberate, and is the grandson of the famous Billy Graham.

Tullian is one of my preaching heroes because of the way he chooses to communicate the truth of scriptures.  And he does this in both his writing and his preaching.  Pastor Tullian Tchividjian basically always preaches the same message.  Week in and week out he faithfully proclaims the law, which kills, and the Gospel, which gives life.  Tullian doesn’t shy away from important, rich theological distinctions when preaching and writing, yet he does it in a way that is engaging.

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The Vocations in a Family


Everybody has a vocation.  Vocation is a really just a fancy way of saying a “calling.”  Our vocations are the way that God works in the world serving the world through us as we fulfill our vocations.  And we all have these callings.  God serves our schools as teachers teach, principals lead, and as students obey.  God serves in our families as husbands love their wives, as wives love their husbands, and so on.  Our callings extend into our workplaces, our neighborhoods, our churches, and into our homes.

One of the fascinating things about family, however, is that it is the first place that we all experience calling.  Because we are all born into the vocation of a son or daughter.  Families are full of different callings – each of which have different unique characteristics, responsibilities, and value.

Note: This list is really simplified and meant to scratch the surface. We could spend a lot of time on each of these individual vocations, so if you feel like one doesn’t say all that it should… it probably doesn’t.  [Read more...]

How Not to Say Something Stupid


“Doesn’t she look great?”

Every now and then I hear something like this at a funeral and I can’t help but think to myself, “Umm…not really, she’s dead.”  And then immediately I scold myself for being so mean in my head and remind myself that the person was well-meaning.

Whenever somebody I care about is in a season of suffering, I find myself worried about what I am going to say.  I find myself second-guessing every statement in order to avoid saying something stupid in this moment of pain.  When I go into these situations, there are a couple of things that I need to constantly remind myself of, so I don’t overthink how I care for my friends and family in these moments.

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Prodigals, Pharisees, and Sons


Most of us don’t need to be convinced that we should pray.  Even the people who don’t believe in God, when faced with the worst of situations, often finds themselves in prayer to a god they don’t believe in.  The way we approach God matters  There are postures that we can take when we approach God that are appropriate in our relationship with Him.  And there are other postures that seek to make God more like a divine Genie or pair of designer jeans than a loving father.

When you pray, do you pray as a prodigal, a pharisee, or do you pray as a son or daughter?  [Read more...]

Sermon Series Ideas: 001

Sermon series

If you are in ministry and you teach regularly, chances are you are also consistently looking for sermon inspiration or freebies. As a ministry, we are regularly producing great content for our sermon series.  The creative process to developing these is one of the areas that I am most passionate.  I love working with our team as we brainstorm ideas and then helping move ideas forward into a finished product.

Feel free to use these ideas to inspire your own ideas.  The only thing we ask is that you don’t sell our original content as your own.  Also please note, that occasionally some of our series images heavily rely on stock images; in those cases I will let you know since you must purchase the original source image in order to have legal permission to use the image.  [Read more...]

The Heart of Young and Seasoned Church Workers


If there’s one thing that is true for all people called to church work, it’s that they have passion not only for God, but for their church.  If you get a group of young church workers talking, chances are you’ll hear them talk about what they love about their church and what they hope to change.  As a young church worker, these are some insights that I’d suggest would be helpful for both young and seasoned church workers to know about each other in order to be a healthy team.

This post is a guest post written by my brother Corey Grunewald. Corey does Graphic Design & Video Editing at Faith Lutheran Church and can be found on the Twitters.

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Leave it to Beaver vs. Modern Family

Beaver modern family

The world we live in is rapidly changing.  The world my parents grew up with is not the same as the world I have grown up with.  And it scares me to imagine the world that my kids will grow up with.

Leave it to Beaver debuted in 1957, showcasing a young boy and his adventures around the neighborhood.  The television show highlighted the life of the Cleaver family and typically showed Beaver getting into trouble and then facing his parents for reprimand and correction.  What’s fascinating about the show to me is looking at it now 57 years later.  What is shown on TV is simply nothing like what was on at that time.

Did you know the first episode of Leave it to Beaver almost didn’t air?  It was too controversial.

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For All & For You: An Overview of Objective & Subjective Justification

Objective subjective

For All.  For you.

There are two senses in which we can talk about the work of Christ.  First, what Jesus did on the cross he did for all people.  Second, Jesus’ work has saved you by grace through faith.  Both of these are important when we discuss the love of Christ because it reminds us that the love of Jesus is both universal and personal.  The fancy, theological language that describes this is called objective and subjective justification.

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Dating Doesn’t End with “I Do”


Dating doesn’t end with “I do.”

In a marriage, there are many things that are competing for your attention.  Bills, kids, projects, deadlines, school, laundry, dinner, groceries, birthday parties, or even the in-laws.  While these things are necessary and important parts of a marriage, a marriage needs much more than paid bills and kids to thrive.  The goal of our marriage isn’t just to stay married, it’s to have a marriage that is filled with joy.

And a joy-filled marriage comes in the pursuit of one another and in knowing that God is in pursuit of us. [Read more...]