Pastor's Blog

Your love, O Lord, is better than life. But my heart fears to say what it only so faintly feels. You know my heart...how fiercely I have to fight to keep my longings inclined toward you instead of the glitz and sparkle of the American Dream. Living in this Disneyland which is America, how quickly I forget that I am a stranger, a sojourner just passing through this foreign land to my real...

Why can't God just overlook our sins? Or why can't He just do kind of like we do with each other and say, "It's OK. I forgive you"? Paul addresses this exact question in Romans 3:5-6:

"But," some say, "our sins serve a good purpose, for people will see God's goodness when he declares us sinners to be innocent. Isn't it unfair, then, for God to punish us?" (That is actually the way some...

Forgiveness is at the heart of Christianity. The Scriptures ring with the joy and blessing of sins forgiven and conscience cleansed. "Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." (Ps 32:11) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 Jn 1:9)

But I wonder if you've ever thought about...

My goal for this "Get Real" miniseries of columns has been pretty straightforward: to foster authenticity and genuine community within our church. Every time I watch a superhero movie, I ponder what superpowers I would like to have. I'll admit, I have a hard time narrowing down the list; but I can promise you one ability that I don't think any one of us needs: invisibility. I certainly hope...

Last week I suggested that one of the best ways to foster community in our church is to fight sin in our own lives. The connection is simple: sin, even private personal sin, destroys community.

Another way to fight for community is to develop a cross-centered approach to our relationships. Put most simply, a cross-centered mindset works like this: "The gospel tells me I'm more wicked...

For a couple weeks now, I've been trying to establish one simple point: authenticity fosters community. Assuming you agree, how do we fight the easy but disappointing tendency to keep to ourselves? How can we fight for community? My answer falls into two parts, a two-directional approach that targets our own heart first (this week's column) and then our approach to relationships second (which...

I think we all realize that we have some sort of sin in our lives. For many of us, the question that we must ask ourselves is this: "Why don't I think my subtle sins are that important? After all, I haven't done any of the really big sins." 

As Evangelicals, we may know we are sinners, but we don't think we really sin, at least not all that much. The reason we may...

Last week I finally came right out and said it: a bald appeal for our whole congregation to respond to God in worship with every part of their being—mind, heart, and body—with an unapologetic emphasis on the body. I’m emphasizing the body notbecause it is more important than the other parts of our being, but because it is sometimes more neglected, especially in our worship meetings. Since the...

I ended last week’s column with this question: Are we willing to let the Bible be the basis for what we do with our bodies on Sunday morning? Most of us respond to God’s worth with our bodies by standing, sitting, singing, listening, eating bread, and drinking grape juice at various times throughout the worship service. But what about the other postures the Bible commands? …things like...

It’s Sunday afternoon, and Zach and Nikki are discussing their visit to Parker Hills that morning. Neither of them knows much about Jesus or the Bible, but they have assumed from the self-description on the PHBF sign—“Bible based, Christ centered”—that they can learn all about Jesus and the Bible if they just watch and listen at one of our worship services. In last week’s column we listened in...

In last week’s column, two unchurched guests named Zach and Nikki dropped in on Parker Hills one random Sunday morning. Mildly curious about the Bible, they were attracted by the inscription on the church sign: “Bible based, Christ centered.” They concluded from this description that an easy way to learn what the Bible says about Jesus would be to watch how people worship Him at PHBF.

...

Out for a casual drive one Friday evening, Zach and Nikki happen upon a church building they’ve never seen before. “Parker Hills Bible Fellowship,” Zach observes from the sign. “Bible based. Christ centered. Hmmm… Sounds like a good start, if you’re gonna be a church.” But Nikki’s not so impressed: “What, are we looking for a church now? I thought we were just driving around.” “Hey, I’m only...

Today marks a major change in the weekly rhythm of meetings at Parker Hills. Our previous schedule included three meetings on Sunday morning; but beginning today, we’re bringing the Lord’s Supper into our worship service and making it a regular part of that weekly gathering. Why?

First, we’re making this change for the sake of our members’ spiritual growth. Similar to the way God uses...

In last week’s column, we noted that preaching and the ordinances (i.e., baptism and the Lord’s Supper) have historically been the two identifying marks of a true church. If you think about it, these two marks are very closely related. Here’s how I would say it: the ordinances make the results of preaching visible. How so?

God always creates and ...

What’s the difference between a church and a gathering of random Christians? Could we call it “church” if we’re gathered with others in a small group? Is the youth group sort of a little church? We could probably discuss these questions endlessly (and some people do!), but for the purpose of this column I want to use church history as my reference point. Christians throughout history have used...

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