Pastor's Blog

 

Different people learn different ways. Some are musical, others are visual, still others are logical/sequential. Educational psychology suggests there are around eight basic learning styles, and effective teachers try to utilize all of them in their instruction.

So what about effective churches? For centuries, preaching has been the dominant vehicle for delivering God’s...

Math is so round/As I lay on the ground/Trees call me

Baffled? I was, too, the first time I heard those lines. We were in pre-calculus, sitting in the back row, struggling with some new mathematical concept, when my friend leaned his head back on the chalkboard and spontaneously expressed his bewilderment with that three-line, original poem.

Crazy as it is, this little bit of...

It seems to be a frequent bedtime refrain at our house lately: “I’m scared!” And more often than not, the night ends with our little Julia sleeping somewhere in our room. When we ask her for specifics, she’s nervous about a dragon or the shadows on the wall or the dark place in her corner. It’s anything and everything, really.

Have you ever wondered where these random, childhood fears...

I need help. Always. In everything. I’m kidding myself to think I can move an inch without God's help. God “himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25). And Jesus reminds us: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). So I need His help. I need it for my own weak faith. I need it to inflame the smoldering wick of my spiritual desire. I need Him to give me...

How are Christians supposed to obey the command: “Rejoice in the Lord always”? Let’s admit it: Life is hard. The news is scary. Our world is filled with hardship and disaster. What can we do to sustain real joy in our lives, especially if we keep both eyes open to the horrors and heartaches around us?

Typically, I think Christians have tried to draw a distinction between joy and...

 

Pain, both physical and emotional, offers pastors a rather grim sort of job security. It’s everywhere, and it’s our God-given calling to help. Rarely do I feel less adequate, however, than when I’m asked to explain why. Why did this happen? Why to me? Why is it lasting so long? Why won’t God answer? Even Job questioned God: “Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a...

Why do we endeavor to memorize the Scriptures together, and why do we feature an “SOS verse” in our worship service every week? Here are a few reasons.

The Bible is the most stabilizing, clarifying, life-changing force God has given us. When the Spirit wields the word, it’s a devastating weapon against unbelief, fear, pride, lust, greed, anger, laziness, self-pity, foolishness,...

Last month I read Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society. It’s a near-classic, having remained in print for over 30 years and sold over 200,000 copies. Here’s a sample of why:

"I am quite sure that for a pastor in Western culture at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the aspect of world that makes the work of...

Three years ago, in the fall of 2009, we launched a men’s discipleship ministry called the “Theology Breakfast.” My goal was to train men, not for fulltime ministry, but for godliness. For spiritual leadership in their homes and in our church. For the glory of God and the joy of all peoples.

Before we launched, I was hoping for five guys. Twenty turned out, week after week, at 6 in...

The love of God, as we’ve been noting over the past few weeks, is complex and unique. It takes a humble heart and a careful mind even to begin to grasp its contours and depths. That’s why the life and ministry of Jesus are so helpful: He shows us what God is really like. So it’s helpful to ask, what did Jesus believe about God’s love, God’s judgment, and the danger of hell?

One of the...

One of the most sincere and reflective questions people ask about Christianity is how a loving God can punish people in hell. In last week’s column, we dug down to the deepest foundation of the love of God and zeroed in on His primary focus. God’s love, according to the Bible, burns brightest and strongest… for Himself! In other words, the heart of God burns with white-hot passion for God...

 From time to time, someone will ask me about how a loving God can punish people in hell. Starting with this column and running for the next few weeks, I’ll sketch in my typical answer.

When we talk about the love of God, we have to begin at the very foundation. God’s love, according to the Bible, burns brightest and strongest for Himself, not for His creatures in general or even...

In last week’s sermon, I quoted Paul Miller’s book A Praying Life. Here are a few other choice samples:

"Prayer is meant to be the conversation where your life and your God meet."

"You don't experience God; you get to know him. You submit to him. You enjoy him. He is, after all, a person."

"Learning to pray doesn't offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less...

The narrative of King Saul’s life always frightens me. He seemed to have so much potential: he was humble (1 Sam 9:21), he had God’s Spirit on him (10:9-13), he looked the part (10:23-24), and he inspired others to follow (10:26). But he totally flamed out. He was completely rejected by God, and by the end of his days he resorted to a séance to get anything going spiritually. 

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In 1952, a 32-year-old woman named Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, intending to swim to the shore of mainland California, 26 miles away. She was flanked by small boats that watched for sharks and were prepared to help her if she became injured or grew tired. After about 15 hours a thick fog set in, obscuring her vision...

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