Pastor's Blog

 

Empty nets lying by the water’s edge tell the rest of the story of when the Lord called Peter. What does it mean to follow Jesus? It means reckless abandon, relinquishing everything you once called yours. Jesus’ promise to make Peter a “fisher of men” encodes the basic purpose of Christianity—to help people.

For Peter, it all began...

Almost a year passed between the time Jesus met Simon Peter (Jn 1:42) and the time He called Peter to be His disciple (Lk 5:1-11). Jesus comes along the shore of Galilee teaching, followed by crowds of people. He asks to use Simon’s boat as a platform for His sermon, and they push out from the shore. While Jesus continues preaching, Simon leans back against the side of the ship, weary from the...

In one of my favorite scenes from the life of Christ, Jesus meets Peter and says: “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter) (Jn 1:42). Don’t overlook the tense of the verbs: “You are Simon. You shall be Cephas.”

Three names: Simon, Cephas, and Peter. “Simon” was one of the most common names...

Last week’s column highlighted the wonderful doctrine of redemption—the marketplace transaction whereby Jesus Christ purchased our freedom from sin with the tiny red coins from His own veins. It’s a great story, and its applications to our lives are many.

First, it reassures us that our sin will never jeopardize our relationship with God. The fear of discovery and the resultant dread of...

 “O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave / O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” You’ll probably hear the familiar, stirring words of America’s national anthem often this weekend, and rightly so. It’s an appropriate tribute to a great nation, and it reminds us of inspiring themes: resolve, sacrifice, bravery, and above all, freedom. It’s what Independence Day is all...

A few years back I read an unusual news story about a fellow named Walter Williams, an elderly man who passed away under hospice care. The county coroner checked his pulse, found nothing, and declared him dead. He completed his paperwork, placed the dead man in a body bag, and transported him to a local funeral home where he helped the mortician place the body on the table for a normal...

One of the most helpful books I’ve read on Christian apologetics (i.e., defending the faith) is Gregory Koukl’s Tactics. The book’s back-cover promise reads: “Tactics teaches you how to maneuver comfortably and graciously as you share your faith with others. Learn how to navigate the mine fields, stop challengers in their tracks, turn the tables and—most importantly—get...

Each summer, the elders supply a selection of recommended books that connect with our sermon series—an implicit encouragement to take advantage of the extra leisure of summer to cultivate our minds and nurture our faith with some good reading. Today, you’ll find a dozen excellent titles for sale on the table in the lobby. Here’s a brief word about why each might be worth considering for your...

Surveys tell us that the tall sweep of McDonalds’ golden arches is the most recognized logo in the world. Another is the smooth curve of Nike’s fattened checkmark, aka, “the swoosh.” Fast rising to the elite level of these two is that alluring silver piece of fruit with a single leaf and a missing bite (hint: not Microsoft). And then there’s the iconic five interlocking rings of the Olympics,...

Reading through 2 Samuel in my personal devotions, I was struck by the comparisons between David and Jesus in 2 Samuel 15. Absalom, David’s beloved son, has betrayed his father’s trust. He has stolen away the hearts of many in Israel, and he is coming to Jerusalem with plans to overthrow David and take the throne for himself. In haste, a brokenhearted David gathers up his household and flees...

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before; but she acted as if she had never heard of the incident. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Barton’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

The Apostle Peter assumes the need for such an attitude in the church when he writes: “Above...

It’s time.

We’ve prayed over it, analyzed it, discussed it, edited it, paid a professional to review it, and edited it some more. Now it’s finally time to vote on it. Several weeks ago, the elders made a motion that the congregation affirm the new Constitution as published on April 24, to go into effect July 1, 2016. This afternoon at the church luncheon, we’ll vote.

As we move...

“Love ceases to be a demon only when it ceases to be a god.” (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, quoting Denis de Rougemont)

Lewis goes on to explain: “Every human love at its height has a tendency to claim for itself a divine authority. Its voice tends to sound as if it were the will of God Himself. It tells us not to count the cost, it demands of us a total commitment, it attempts...

Remember when church buildings had a cemetery right outside? It’s not so common these days, but many churches from a generation or two ago still have an old graveyard out back. When I was in college, I remember visiting an old church in New England one Sunday morning and meeting a wonderful elderly lady after the service. I almost jumped out of my skin a few minutes later when I spotted her...

J. I. Packer will turn 90 in July. (And so, by the way, will our own Ralph Whitlock!) Most who are familiar with Packer know him through his writing ministry, which totals 300+ books, journal articles, book reviews, and other published works spanning six decades. Perhaps his most popular work is the modern-day classic Knowing God, which I strongly encourage you to read ASAP, if you’ve...

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