Pastor's Blog

In the 25+ years I’ve been following Jesus, I’ve come to realize the Christian experience is a sustained tension between daily duties and deeper desires. I long for a deeper experience of God, more love, more power—what our Christian forefathers called “revival.” But my day-to-day Christian walk is usually rather uneventful and drab, composed of simple duties to be done and deliberate choices...

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” So ends the Bible’s opening chapter. All is well. In God’s own eyes, the new creation is “very good”—i.e., perfectly suited to human flourishing in every way.

The primeval paradise didn’t last long before sin ruined it. But thankfully, God has been working...

Every fall, we open the nomination process for new deacons and prepare to lose a few to sabbatical who have served out their full three-year term. Because deacons are defined and employed in such vastly different ways from one church to another, it seems helpful to reiterate our own understanding of their ministry.

Acts 6:1-7 gives the fullest introduction to the ministry of deacons. In...

This is the eighth (and final!) column in a series I’m writing to describe our goals and values for corporate worship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worship gatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. We also value congregational engagement, cultural sensitivity, creative excellence, personal expressiveness, and musical variety. Our final value is ...

This is the seventh column in a series I’m writing to describe our goals and values for corporate worship. If you’ve not noticed by now, let me point out how these explanations are structured. Each value discussion begins with a series of “we believe” statements, followed by several practical implications. Beliefs first, behaviors second. Makes sense, right? What we believe always gives rise...

This is the sixth in a series of columns I’m writing to describe our goals and values for corporate worship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worship gatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. We also value congregational engagement and cultural sensitivity. Two more this week: creative excellence and expressiveness.

Regarding creative excellence...

I’m writing an extended series of columns describing our goals and values for corporate worship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worship gatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. Last week, I wrote about congregational engagement. Some churches want their predominant sound to be a gritty, cutting-edge musical style. Other churches like a resounding pipe organ....

What are the values that unite us in our corporate worship? For what are we aiming when we gather together on Sunday morning?

For the last several weeks, I’ve been answering these questions, one value at a time. So far, I’ve explained that we want our worship gatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture saturated.

Our fourth value for corporate worship is...

What are the values that unite us in our corporate worship? For what are we aiming when we gather together on Sunday morning?

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been answering these questions, one value at a time. Two weeks ago I described the primary value that unites us—namely, we want everything we do to be God-centered. Last week I discussed our intention to be consistently and...

What are the values that unite us in corporate worship? And what are we aiming for when we gather together on Sunday morning?

Last week I described the primary value that unites us on Sunday and every day—namely, we want our worship gatherings to be deliberately and manifestly God-centered. But there’s much more that unites us and gives direction to what we do on Sunday morning.

In...

Last week’s column was a meditation on the fact that, according to the New Testament, all of life is worship. Yet it remains true that our Sunday gathering is uniquely devoted to activities and attitudes of worship in a corporate sense. So how do we put those meetings together? What qualities characterize our worship services?

First and foremost, we want our Sunday gatherings to be God-...

Worship involves all of life. We worship when we desire or praise or surrender or obey or thank or serve or trust or rejoice or regret or love. Every one of these is an expression of worship because each of these indicates that something has value to us. In this sense, all of life is worship—not potential worship but actual worship of someone or something.

There is no...

God is not surprised to learn you have a brain. The opportunity to broaden your mind, enhance your skills, and increase your learning is a gift from God. Which is to say, school is a gift from God. I hope you’ll approach it that way this year.

Paul wrote, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” That little two-syllable word “whatever” sets the bar for...

Why is it so difficult to experience God as a personal reality in our daily lives?

Noise and distraction. It is utterly impossible to engage with God on the run. For thousands of years, Christians have testified from experience that intimacy with the Almighty requires solitude and silence—experiences that are all too hard to come by in the age of technology. Daily meditation on Scripture...

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before; but she acted as if she had never heard of the incident. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Barton’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

The Apostle Peter assumes the need for such an attitude in the church when he writes: “Above...

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