Pastor's Blog

Some thoughts on what preaching is, how it operates, and what makes it good (or bad):

“It is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself; and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men into an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may...

“Pastoral work, in large part, deals with the difficulty everyone has in staying alert to the magnificence of salvation.” So says Eugene Peterson (Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work). I believe he’s right.

Do you really know what it means to be “saved”? Read on. Slowly.

It means your life is defined and shaped by an act of the living God, not by political, military,...

A couple weeks ago I ran a column taken mostly from C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity—a bit about the claims and identity of Jesus. Let’s pick it up again and finish the quote:

“We can all understand how a man forgives offenses against himself. You tread on my toes and I forgive you; you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and...

If Christians love God enough, trust the Bible enough, walk in the Spirit enough, and discipline themselves enough, should we assume they won’t need the chemical support of psychoactive drugs (i.e., medications for anxiety, depression, & other mental health issues)?

It’s a question we should approach with a high level of caution. For one thing, the Scriptures do not speak...

You really must read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. I’m sure the public library has a copy. Or, if you’re in a real hurry, you can borrow mine today.

The chapter entitled “The Shocking Alternative” is his summary account of the history of the world in three acts: Creation, Fall, Redemption. Here’s an extended sample to whet your appetite:

“Then comes the real shock...

Why do we celebrate the Lord’s Supper every single Sunday? It’s a question that comes up in almost every membership class, and I’m always happy to answer it!

Historically, our church has roots in the Plymouth Brethren tradition, and one of the distinctives of the Brethren is a weekly observance of Communion. Our continuation of that practice is, in the first place, a humble...

Zechariah 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Five hundred years after Zechariah penned this prophecy of Israel’s coming king, Jesus deliberately and self-consciously...

As a kid, Easter to me meant candy. I knew Jesus died and rose; it just wasn’t something I really cared about. But candy? Now that was something I cared about deeply.

What about you? What does the resurrection mean to you? Perhaps more to the point, what should it mean to you? The biblical writers don’t assume the resurrection is self-interpreting. They give clear...

Who speaks with authority over your golf game? How about your exercise habits? Probably not the local golf club and health club, even if you are a member of one or the other. Those are groups you join voluntarily, for personal benefit, without any expectation of accountability. Even if you are a member of Empty Pockets Country Club, the other club members have no authority to tell you how you...

Who’s in charge here? If you are a member of Parker Hills, you are!

In last week’s column, I argued that the New Testament puts final earthly authority in the hands of the whole church. Ultimately, neither the elders nor a higher governing body is in charge; the members are. Although the elders have responsibility to lead and teach, the hand on the emergency brake belongs to the...

If you are a member of Parker Hills, the answer is YOU!

That’s because the Bible puts final earthly authority in the hands of the whole church regarding spiritual matters. The theological term for it is “congregationalism,” and it means the assembled congregation is responsible to render judgment together on the “who” and the “what” of the gospel—that is, what...

One of my seminary professors used to call baptism “Jesus’ altar call.” In other words, baptism is the immediate response to the gospel Jesus Himself ordained for His followers. Are you a Christian? Show it by being baptized. If you claim to be a Christian and you’ve not been baptized, you need to ask yourself why. Perhaps one of the reasons is that you don’t really...

"Our Lord's kingdom is not of this world; and most of His people may do their country much more essential service by pleading for it in prayer, than by finding fault with things which they have no power to alter."
                           ...

The Role of the Spirit

“Wait a second. What about the Holy Spirit? Aren’t you leaving Him out of this whole discussion?” The challenge came, not once but twice, from friends who read last week’s column where I emphatically argued that God’s call is not a feeling. And if two people said it, I’m sure probably more people thought it. 

It’s a great...

Are You Called? Actually, Yes!

God’s call is not a feeling.

There, I did it. See the blood dripping on the ground there? That’s my fault. Sorry. See, I just knifed a sacred cow, and now it’s bleeding out.

The thing about sacred cows is that they really do need to die; it’s just not pretty when it happens. They are a distraction while they’re alive. They consume resources that...

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