Pastor's Blog

There’s a chapter in one of my books on pastoral ministry entitled “Brothers, Fight for Your Life.” Know what it’s about? Not temptation or spiritual warfare. Nor about personal priorities, spiritual disciplines, or time management. Conflict resolution? Nope. Exercise? No. Joy? Not really. Each of these is important, but none is the focus of this chapter. “Brothers, Fight for Your Life” is a...

Proverbs is a precious book to me. Its teachings are practical, memorable, and accessible. Many people are drawn to this book more than to others in the Old Testament because of its personal focus and its relative disinterest in covenants, rituals, and cultural peculiarities. Of course, I would agree with all that; but actually, none of those is my main reason for loving this book. For me, it’...

As a natural follow up to our recent journey through the book of Luke, today we begin a 2-week mini-series on outreach. Both sermons will come from guest speakers who are experienced practitioners of the truths they will share. We have asked Dan Faulkner, the director of Camp Elim, to address the subject of local outreach, equipping us with ideas for how to be witnesses right here in our own...

If the resurrection is a lie, Christians are pathetic. If this life is all we’ve got, Christianity is worse than false; it’s tragic. “If our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Cor 15:19 NLT). Why would Paul say that? Doesn’t he know that Jesus offers peace, joy, meaning, prosperity, and everything else that makes up your best life now?...

What if Christianity turns out to be a total sham? What if there is no resurrection, and your faith is good only for what it offers you in this life? Would Christianity still be a good life to choose? Considering all the immediate benefits to being a Christian, some might say, “Sure, Christianity is the best way of life, even if there is no life after death. It gives me hope, peace, confidence...

Palm Sunday: the day Christians remember the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday before His death and resurrection. As He rode along, the festive crowd shouted: “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Lk 19:38 NLT) For Jesus, it was the deliberate and self-conscious fulfillment of a five-hundred year old prophecy from Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O...

Over 250 years ago today, John Newton found God. Better said, God found him. Early in the morning hours of March 21, 1748, a violent sea woke Newton from sleep. Fearing that his ship was sinking, he attempted to rush up the ladder onto the deck but was met by the captain commanding him to go back and get a knife. Horrified, Newton watched as the crewman who climbed the ladder in his place was...

Benefit #10 that the Lord brought into my life through the burglary at our house: I’ve developed a much deeper appreciation for how my sin affects God. Here’s what I mean. One afternoon I was complaining to God about how violated I felt by this crime—someone breaking into MY house, taking MY things, creating significant inconvenience for ME. And suddenly I realized how ironic this whole...

Another installment of benefits the Lord has brought my way through the burglary at our house:

8. I’ve developed a new appreciation for God’s providence. Numerous little circumstances demonstrate that He was in complete control the whole time. For example, the weekend the break-in occurred, a friend had borrowed one of my shotguns—the far nicer one, the one that’s been in our...

Continuing the list of benefits the Lord has brought my way through the burglary at our house:

6.   We have noticed a growing sense of commitment developing within the Parker Hills family, and it seems God often uses trials in the community to draw people even closer together. Of course, we are hardly the only family in the church who have faced a trial recently, nor is ours...

Last week I began listing ten of the benefits the Lord has brought into my life as a direct result of the burglary at our house last month. Here’s more:

3.   God dealt with the idol in my heart of false treasure. Jesus expressly warns: “Do not lay up treasures on earth, …where thieves break in and steal” (Mt 6:19); but I’ll be doggoned if I hadn’t gone and done just that! The...

As most all of you know, five weeks ago today one of our vehicles and our house were burglarized. We’re grateful for the encouragement you’ve given and the love you’ve shown to us in our small trial, and we want to thank you for that. But the main reason I’m bringing it up is to share with you TEN specific benefits the Lord has brought into our lives through this incident. (We’ll see how many...

One of my frequent prayer requests for the PHBF family is that we would be a church filled with people who deliberately apply the word. Not just hearers but doers. Changing our lives, not just filling our heads. Jesus’ brother James was also deeply concerned that Christians apply the word, and he suggested three practical tests to see how well we are doing. Read James 1:26-27 and then ask...

Drawing on James 1:22-25, last week’s column reminded us to approach the word expecting to change. But it can feel depressing and burdensome to look at our problems all the time and add stuff to our spiritual “to do” list! Just in case that’s how you feel, notice how James describes the Bible in verse 25: “the perfect law, the law of liberty.” Applying the Bible, rather than being restrictive...

The point of James 1:22-25 is abundantly clear. If you’re not familiar with it, take a sec and look it up. We don’t impress God by how much of the Bible we’ve heard. He’s looking for what we’ve done with it. We’re duped if we think our knowledge of the Bible—or our daily reading of the Bible—proves much of anything. (But do keep reading every day!!)

James uses a mirror analogy to make...

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