Pastor's Blog

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...

 

One of my seminary professors used to call baptism “Jesus’ altar call.” In other words, baptism was Jesus’ ordained response to the gospel. Are you a Christian? Forget raising your hand or walking down the aisle of the church. Show it by being baptized. If you claim to be a Christian and you’ve not been baptized, you need to ask yourself why...

 Can you imagine trying to raise $400,000 (= big money) in 18 months (= little time) with middle-class (= limited discretionary income) Christians (= not typically the wise, powerful, noble of society) as your primary funding source? Me either. But that’s exactly what Shanirak Church of Astana is trying to do.

As some of you know, Astana is the capital of...

Last week I wrote that Christians can see beneath the surface of the apparent victory recently achieved by the Sexual Revolution. The SCOTUS’s decision requiring all states to allow gay marriage appears, at least to some, to have finally and fully banished repressive religious sexual ethics to the Dark Ages from whence they came. Once and for all, thanks to the progressive-minded majority on...

It certainly looks like the Sexual Revolution has fully and finally won. With the Supreme Court’s decision on June 26 to require all states to allow gay marriage, our country has officially severed sex and marriage from that most basic relational reality: gender. It’s the climax of a revolt that began 50 years ago by publically and unapologetically severing sex from marriage and instead...


We’ve heard that kind of question many times.  How do we answer?  What have you done?

Walk by cynically – “Anyone can get a job at McDonald’s.”  This turns out not to be true.  Also, it’s often hard for the poor to make it from where they spend the night to where they work.  It might take 2-4 hours each way,...

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