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About Nick Lannon

Nick is a 2000 graduate of the University of Arizona and a 2007 graduate of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, having studied Communications and Religious Studies while at Arizona and Systematic Theology and Ethics at Trinity. An avid movie-watcher, NBA fan and all-around couch potato (when he's not playing basketball or softball), Nick is fascinated by the intersection of the Gospel and everyday life. Ordained in 2007, Nick has pastored Episcopal churches in Jersey City (NJ), Denville (NJ), and Louisville (KY). He has served as Editor-in-chief and Director of Content, Research, and Writing at LIBERATE, the former resource ministry of Tullian Tchividjian, with whom he co-authored "It is Finished: 365 Days of Good News." Nick currently serves as Associate Rector of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Nick grew up in northern Virginia and lived there until going to Arizona in 1996, harboring naïve fantasies about playing on the basketball team. He currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky with his wife Aya and three children, Hazel, Patrick, and Charlie.


Author Archive

    No, Actually, I Don’t Work Out: Good News for Unwilling Hearts (A DC Conference Preview)

    I don’t have any acquired tastes. I don’t drink coffee, or smoke a pipe, or do anything else that I didn’t like the first time. And no, actually, I don’t work out, either. I used to think that I was just weak…but now I’ve realized that while I am weak, I’m not just weak. I am also human.

    Thomas Cranmer, the English Reformer and first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, knew a lot about this connection between weakness and humanity. When he was formulating the theological expressions of the post-Reformational church in England, he realized that the old way—which, of course, remains the predominant way—of thinking about the human person was completely backward and insufficient to explain the struggles of real life.

    So, as a good reformer might, he reformed it.

    I’m so looking forward to Mockingbird’s Washington DC conference at the end of this month (Oct 27-28), celebrating 500 years of grace, the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. My talk is entitled “No Actually, I Don’t Work Out: Good News for Unwilling Hearts” and in it, I’ll attempt to translate the Reformation insight about the human person—that we are way more bound and twisted than we ever thought we were—into Good News for sinful people 500 years later. To do it, I’ll talk about a couple of episodes from the life of the Apostle Peter, discuss the (very real) Crotchety Associate Rector Syndrome, lament the fact that gyms have mirrored walls, fix WWJD bracelets, and confess weakness in the face of Oreos and General Tso’s Chicken. Through all that—and the Reformational lens—a portrait will appear: a savior God who came to Earth, not waiting for the weak to become strong or for the sinners to become saints…a Christ who came to set the captives free.

    Click here to register for our Fall Conference in DC on October 27-28—you won’t want to miss it!

    The Celebration Department

    The Celebration Department

    I want to be clear about something from the very start: I adore my cell phone. From the very first time I found myself in the grocery store, not knowing if my wife wanted tuna fish packed in water or in oil and I was actually able to call and find out, I was in love. I like social media, being able to keep up with my friends…GPS maps…weather prediction…google at my fingertips…it’s all incredible. I do admit, though, to a certain disturbing compulsion with the phone. Whenever there’s a moment in which nothing else is going on, I feel…

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    Happy Independence Day: You're Not Free

    Happy Independence Day: You’re Not Free

    When, in the course of human events, it become necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with one another…wait, that sounds familiar. Has someone said that before?

    Those, of course, are the first words of the Declaration of Independence, the document that led to the American freedom from Great Britain that we’re celebrating this weekend. That freedom—and really, every freedom—is how we’ve come to define ourselves. We call ourselves “the land of the free,” don’t we? And we’re not alone. Every people longs to be free. From the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church…

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    Be Prepared to Be Unprepared

    Be Prepared to Be Unprepared

    I was a Boy Scout for a while…until I realized that none of the cool kids were Boy Scouts. As soon as I figured out that it wasn’t “cool” to be in the Boy Scouts, I quit to try to jump start my social life. It turned out, of course, that my social problems weren’t the Boy Scouts’ fault. It had more to do with the glasses and the braces and the paralyzing fear of talking to…well, pretty much anyone. Despite my de-connection with the Boy Scouts, the motto pops into my head all the time: “Be prepared.” Recently, I…

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    You Are God's Favorite

    You Are God’s Favorite

    The Bible says that “every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of Lights” (James 1:17). This is a beautiful sentiment. The truth on the ground, though, if you just open your eyes and look around the world, is slightly different. It’s more like “every good and perfect gift comes with a warning.” Every toy my kids get for Christmas has large warnings on the packaging about how this toy—or the plastic bag it comes in—might kill them. Every movie I see warns me about the questionable content it contains. The roller coasters I ride are “not…

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    After God’s Own Heart: Life, Death, and the Gospel in the Story of King David – A Conference Breakout Preview

    It’s one of the most famous lives in the Bible. Chosen by God from seeming obscurity, faced immediately with an obstacle of gigantic proportions (wink wink), and—in the final analysis—a hero and sinner beyond compare, David’s story is a story that can sometimes be hard to relate to. It’s cinematic in its drama and packed with twists and turns…it would be easy to think that David’s life was one-of-a-kind. But it’s not. The stages (if not the gritty details) are lived out again and again by every person who has ever lived. In a powerful way, one of the most famous men in the history of the world is an everyman. David’s story is your story. It’s our story. It’s a story of God’s sovereignty, power, judgment, mercy, and grace.

    At 2:30pm on Friday, April 28th at the 10th annual Mockingbird Conference, I’ll tell this story again. We’ll revisit David’s incredible life (focusing specifically on four watershed moments: his selection as future king, his duel with Goliath, his soap opera with Bathsheba and Uriah, and his final Song of Deliverance) and discuss how God’s interactions with David can help us understand his interactions with us. How does God make choices? How does he stand up for his people when they are in trouble? How does he deal with broken sinners? These questions and more find their answers in the life and rule of King David.

    David was called something that we’d all like to be called: “a man after God’s own heart.” His story gives us better news: God is after us. Come hear the story in a fresh way later this month. I’m looking forward to being with you all in New York City!

    Register for the 10th annual Mockingbird conference here!

    Gideon in the Dojo: Grace with a Karate Chop

    Gideon in the Dojo: Grace with a Karate Chop

    The other day, a dear friend posted a photo on Instagram that piqued my interest immediately. It showed her son, wearing a gi, proudly holding up a broken board. Her caption said “Joel the white belt.” Now, as proud as I am about my dear friend’s kid’s achievements, this wasn’t what drew my attention. The thing I noticed immediately was the the board, though split down the middle, had “Good job!” written on it. It also had Joel’s name, the date, and the name of the Grand Master who, I assume, oversaw the accomplishment. Here’s the fascinating thing, though: the…

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    Why All Christian Music Sounds the Same (Even When it Doesn't)

    Why All Christian Music Sounds the Same (Even When it Doesn’t)

    The other day, my sister (who was visiting from out of town) walked into our kitchen during the chaos that is breakfast prep. Over the usual din (“What cereal do you want? Oh, all three kinds? No, it’s too late for eggs”) she heard the song that we were listening to (it happened to be “Wake Up Sleeper” by Zac Hicks and Coral Ridge Worship) and, after probably three seconds, said, “Is this Christian music?”

    I’ve had this conversation many times during my life–why is it that you can always identify “Christian music” within seconds of hearing it?–but I’ve never been…

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    All is Lost and Yet, All is Not Lost

    All is Lost and Yet, All is Not Lost

    I finally caught up with the nearly dialogue-free Robert Redford film All is Lost (written and directed by J.C. Chandor, writer/director of Margin Call). Redford stars as “Our Man”, an aging-but-capable mariner who finds himself lost at sea. Apart from a bit of opening narration (Redford reading what amounts to a giving-up-on-life note, telling loved ones that he tried, and that he’s sorry) and a screamed expletive when he realizes that all might indeed be lost, the only lines in the film are Redford calling out to a couple of passing ships for help.

    The ships don’t stop. All is lost.


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    Impossible is Nothing… And Everything: A Conference Breakout Preview


    I think it was three or four slogans ago that had the Army asking us to be all we can be. I wonder, actually, if that was happening during the same time the first Mission: Impossible movie was coming out. Seems like forever ago. In light of Ethan Hunt hanging on to the outside of an airplane as it’s taking off, “be all you can be” seems refreshingly possible. You know you’re in kind of a sticky spot when you find yourself wistfully remembering a time when things seemed possible, right?

    So much seems impossible now.

    It’s impossible to graduate from college and get a job in your chosen field, much less one that will begin to make a dent in your student loans. It’s impossible to date in the world of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, not to mention that world of Tinder and Grindr. It’s impossible to be the kind of provider for your family that will allow you an undisturbed sleep at night. Impossible is everywhere. Impossible is everything.

    And Jesus doesn’t seem to be helping.

    With his commands to turn the other cheek, to love and pray for your enemies, to give even more ground to those who persecute you, and to give everything you have away, Jesus only ratchets up the bar of impossibility. Impossible doesn’t just live in the world. If it did, we could boo and hiss at it and think ourselves safe and immune, ensconced in our pews. But impossible lives at church, too. “Therefore you must be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Thanks a lot, Jesus.

    During the morning break-out sessions on Friday (10:30am, April 15) of the up-coming Mockingbird Conference, I’ll be hosting a discussion of the impossible. It’s called “Impossible is Nothing…and Everything.” We’ll talk about some of the impossible things God asks of us in the pages of Scripture, and some of the impossible things life asks of us every day. As we see, more and more, that impossible is everything (or, more accurately, that everything is impossible), we’ll get a clearer and clearer picture of the Good News: that because of God’s accomplishments in Jesus Christ, impossible is nothing. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to see you there.

    Pre-register here!


    Jesus as the Ultimate Mr. Clean: A Conference Breakout Preview

    Jesus as the Ultimate Mr. Clean: A Conference Breakout Preview

    Life’s a mess. This is incontrovertibly true, no matter who you are. Some of us are better at hiding it (hedge fund managers, Dalai Lamas, me) than others (Kardashians, hacky-sack players, you), but we’re all a mess. We all want to be able to put our mess behind us; to start over. We all want a clean slate; to be washed. That’s why we’re coming to New York (a place that is truly a mess…I’m looking at you, trash night…er, rat night)…David Zahl (a mess) has promised us a conference that will tell us about this mythical creature: the cleaned…

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    But Wait, Doesn't the Law Work?

    But Wait, Doesn’t the Law Work?

    On the January 13th episode of his “The B.S. Report” podcast, Bill Simmons interviewed essayist Chuck Klosterman on a number of subjects, from popular films to college football to the love life of Leonardo DiCaprio. One of the things they talked about was, in a roundabout way, something that ministers of the gospel talk about (and are asked about) all the time: “Can the law work?” Actually, the way we ministers usually hear it is, “Wait, but the law actually seems to work!” Now, Simmons and Klosterman didn’t talk about “the law” as such, or in those terms, but make…

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