Pastor's Blog

I love Luke 2:10. It’s a quote from the angel to the shepherds on that first Christmas night: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy!” Just moments ago, the shepherds were utterly terrified. But now, great fear is replaced with great joy. How? Because of good news. What makes the angel’s statement particularly interesting is that he uses the verb often used for preaching the...

How did the angel say it that night? “Unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” In that one sentence, we have the heart and soul of Christianity. It’s volumes of doctrine in one line. It’s the gospel in miniature.

If He is “the Lord,” this child was somehow supreme over all, their King, their Sovereign. Not Caesar, not Herod, but Jesus. The meaning of Christmas...

One of our yearly traditions at Parker Hills is to observe Advent for the four Sundays leading to Christmas. Short readings, candle lightings, and a Christmas-themed sermon series are the central features of our tradition. It’s a special time, but we don’t do it just because it’s nice. There are bigger reasons.

First, it provides us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate our unity with...

What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

I love the pairing of this answer with this question. The psalmist asks: “What can I give God in return for the favor He has shown to me?” Potential answers tumble into my mind by the...

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,...

I was surprised when a homeless man offered me an “opportunity” to “invest” in his gambling system.   He said it worked equally well on gambling or investing.  That second sentence I believed, but I‘d have said “equally poorly”.  This was an unexpected opportunity to point someone away from money and toward God, but unfortunately my response was more self-based than...

Why do we celebrate the Lord’s Supper every single Sunday? It’s a question that comes up in almost every membership class, and I’m always happy to answer it!

Historically, our church has roots in the Plymouth Brethren tradition, and one of the distinctives of the Brethren is a weekly observance of Communion. Our continuation of that practice is, in the first place, a humble...

As I mentioned last Sunday, I’m away this week, preaching at a missions conference. I’ll be perfectly honest with you—my favorite place to preach is right here, Sunday after Sunday, to our church. But there is always one benefit I experience from preaching elsewhere from time to time. Outside preaching engagements force me to reflect again on what a preacher’s true calling is.

A...

Define “ball.” Then use it in a sentence. Share your sentence with the person sitting next to you. Did you both define it the same way?

It’s a bit of a childish exercise, I know, but I’m trying to make a point. Maybe you thought of “ball” as “a spherical piece of game equipment” and made up a sentence something like “The girl kicked the ball.” But that’s not the only definition of “ball...

There’s a discussion underway in the Christian world which is forcing churches to make a choice. Will we accept the authority of the word of God, or will we proceed under some other authority like personal experience, psychological interpretation, or subjective feelings?

The subject under discussion is same sex marriage, and the choice is ours. For my part, I am going to bank everything...

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 truth to God’s...

Don’t.

Seriously. Just put your pencil down and listen with all your heart. Why? Because taking scrupulous notes doesn’t actually correspond with what a biblical sermon is. Note-taking isn’t really appropriate. Let me explain…

A sermon is emphatically not a lecture; thus, we shouldn’t listen to the two the same way. During a lecture, it’s normal to listen for new or important...

Anytime I need to refresh my prayer life, I review Paul Miller’s outstanding book A Praying Life. I’ve quoted it extensively in the past, but I hope you won’t mind a refresher here:

"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."

...

I’m thrilled to report that last week we wired $41,700 to Shanirak Church of Astana. That’s $25,000 from our church savings and $16,700 in designated gifts from families and individuals in our congregation. The total will go toward the October 1 installment of $70,000 that Shanirak Church owes for the purchase of their own building.

Speaking for all the elders, I am so deeply blessed by...

Dear Student,

 

God is not surprised to learn you have a brain. Which is simply to say, the opportunity to broaden your mind, enhance your skills, and increase your learning is a gift from God. Which itself is simply to say, school is a gift from God. I hope you’ll approach it that way this year.

Paul wrote, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the...

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