The Mavericks’ incredible playoff run came to a brutal close in Boston last night, but it doesn’t take away from what was one of the top three or four seasons in Dallas basketball history. Getting to the NBA Finals as a #5 seed is accomplishment enough. Watching the Mavs breeze through the first three rounds of the playoffs reminded me of the 1987-88 team that came out of nowhere to take the Showtime Lakers of Kareem and Magic to a seventh game in the Western Conference Finals. That’s how much fun this was. The whole thing was delightfully shocking. It ended last night against an historically dominant Celtics team but, while it stings today, it doesn’t diminish what the Mavs did, where they are, and where they’re going.

The Mavericks have the plan and they have most of the pieces. They have arguably the best player on the planet, who is only 25 and determined to do whatever it takes to win a title. Like Dirk before him, Luka’s defense and details will only get better. They have the twin towers of Lively and Gafford flying all over both rims. They have a surprisingly mature Kyrie Irving who, most nights, can create and finish like nobody else and is becoming a legitimate leader in the locker room. They have a true scoring forward in P.J. Washington. They have hustling role players like Jones and Green and Maxi. They need a little more time together and a little more experience. Maybe one more lock-down defensive forward and one more true threat from three. The Mavs will be the favorites to come out of the West again next year, along with Denver and OKC.

You don’t just come out of nowhere and win a championship. What the Texas Rangers did last year almost never happens. The Mavs are in the middle of the journey. And it’s heading in a really fun direction.


“We now see young evangelicals walking away from evangelicalism not because they do not believe what the church teaches, but because they believe the church does not believe what the church teaches.” ~Russell Moore, Why the Church is Losing the Next Generation, 2021

My friend Josh Ross, the Lead Minister at the Sycamore View Church in Memphis, has published a little book on how to navigate an election season without losing our Christian witness. The book is titled Coreology and outlines six core principles to keep followers of our Lord Jesus from blowing our credibility with a watching world. As Josh writes in the introduction, “Much of life is how we react to people, situations, and circumstances; but if one’s faith is only a reactionary faith, maturity and growth can only go so far. A vibrant faith is a faith that prepares through practices, disciplines, intentionality, and strategic action.”

Josh believes it is “extremely difficult, if not impossible, to shine the light of Christ in places we have cancelled, neglected, or view as the enemy.” In other words, as I stated in a recent sermon, “If we hate them, we’ll never save them.” Josh’s motivation for writing Coreology are similar to mine for reading it and sharing it with you here. As he outlines near the end of his introduction:

~ I don’t want us to confuse where our overall allegiance lies
~ I don’t want us to spend valuable energy fighting the wrong fights
~ I don’t want us to create enemies with people who are not enemies of God
~ I don’t want us to lose–or blow–our witness
~ I don’t want our hearts to become hard or our love to grow cold

Josh’s plea is that we “root our motives, intentions, passions, and desires in what it means to be Kingdom people above all things.”

Some of us have swallowed a horrific lie that the salvation of the United States somehow depends on electing the right politicians. We’re following, supporting, and defending government officials and candidates who are telling us the preservation of the Church depends on the platform of a certain party. Many of us are campaigning and picketing, screaming and yelling, insulting and fighting right alongside everyone else for a particular party or candidate, all of which is decidedly un-Christian behavior.

We are a Kingdom people. We have a King, one King, and we don’t divide our loyalties with any other. We have a polis, a community, brought together across all national boundaries and language barriers and culture differences as one Body of Christ. We are guided by the Kingdom’s politics, the rules our King sets forth to govern how we get along with one another, how we treat others, and how we accomplish his will for the world he loves. Those politics are not based on power, control, wealth, division, and violence; they are eternally grounded in love and grace, sacrifice and service, unity and submission and mercy. The kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of our Lord are two completely different things and their politics are totally incompatible.

That brings us back to Josh’s book.

We’re going to use this space over the next several days to explore all six of Josh’s principles:

~ I will daily confess that Jesus is the Lord of my life and nothing else is
~ I will create and honor regular spiritual practices that remind me of my devotion to Jesus
~ I will resist allowing any media outlet to become the primary way I think about culture and the world
~ I will strive to become a peacemaker
~ I will practice hospitality as a way to learn, grow, and invest in other people
~ I will choose to regularly serve others

We’ll carefully summarize Josh’s thoughts as outlined in his book and then share some of our own.

Until then, this quote from the book’s introduction which I, too, have used in several places since it was first written in 2020:

“When Christians–regardless of political leanings–behave like jerks and justify our behavior at all costs because of our ideological convictions, we bear false witness to Jesus Christ.” ~ Eugene Cho, Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk, 2020