Pastor's Blog

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...

If there is one key to getting more out of your Bible reading, it’s asking the right questions of the passage you're reading. This practice gets our minds working, pondering, thinking. If we don’t ask questions, we have the tendency to see only what we expect to see in the Bible. But if we read more slowly and look hard at what we find, questions will start to form in our mind. For example, is...

Do you have a goal when you read your Bible? Is there something in particular that you are looking for—some additional duty, an intriguing factoid, an inspiring verse? Or do you just read to get your reading done? Here’s a suggestion from George Mueller, the great man of prayer and faith:

The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my...

I don't know about you, but I love New Year's Eve. Part of it is the host of special memories I associate with December 31: Harlem Globetrotters’ games, my first adolescent crush, my first sermon in Aundrea’s church… But backward-looking memories aren’t my main attraction to New Year’s Eve. Forward-looking aspirations are.

One of the best things about New Year's Eve is the promise of a...

Last week I wrote about the many details of Christmas that show up again at Easter: exceptional humiliation, special announcements, fulfilled prophecies, and odd details about how He was clothed and where He was laid. Is there a point to these little similarities? I think so. It seems to me that these details are hints that we ought to see the birth of Christ in light of the death of Christ....

          Have you ever noticed the many parallel details between Jesus’ birth and His death? Both are marked by stunning humiliation. The humiliations of His birth—namely, the social status of His family, the tedious journey to Bethlehem, the rejection at the inn, the manger-bed—these details seem warm and wonderful to us now, all wrapped up in the...

       “Reading matters”—my two-word summary of the last couple Pastor’s Heart columns. That’s why we have the internet, right? With just a point and a click, you can fill your computer screen with all sorts of stuff to read: news, how-to’s, celebrity gossip, blogs, scholarly essays, and other wiki-info. In fact, some people are so wired, they rarely hold an...

          In last week’s column, I challenged us to consider the ramifications of the fact that God revealed Himself to us in a book rather than via pictures, feelings, video, or other means. I derive from this that reading is of central importance in the lives of Christians (or at least it ought to be). I brought it up in connection with the fact...

          A package for me arrived in the mail on Tuesday. It was a slightly worn copy of the Norton Anthology of American Literature Third Edition Shorter. It was the text we used for a literature class in college, and I ordered it online last week. “Why?” is the obvious question you’re asking, right? (…I mean, besides the obvious attraction of the...

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