Pastor's Blog

A Google search on Friday morning revealed that Ferguson is still making the news. Here are some of this week’s headlines: “Ferguson Authorities Look to Identify, Prosecute Looters”; “Faith leaders gather to discuss Ferguson going forward”; “Ferguson Police Begin Testing 'Less Lethal' Gun Attachment.” Obviously, the Ferguson story matters, and it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon...

Two months ago in this column, I said I wanted to write something about Ferguson. Typically, I process information pretty quickly, formulate my own response, and let it rip. But this one took me a while, for several reasons.

For one, I’ve been blessed to have close friends on both sides of the story, and I needed some time to listen well. (By the way, I hope you do, too. I sincerely...

        All believers acknowledge that prayer is a central, necessary part of the Christian life. Most pray at least a little bit, some more than others. Yet almost all would admit that their prayer lives are less than what they should be, especially when they think about these examples:

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus...

Martin Luther suggested: “As it is the business of tailors to make clothes and of cobblers to mend shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.” He’s certainly right, judging from texts like: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17) and “Be constant in prayer” (Rom 12:12). Many Christians find, however, that diligent prayer is one of the most difficult and least consistent disciplines in...

In a few weeks, Lord willing, we will install several new individuals to the office of deacon. But people often wonder: what exactly do deacons do? I believe Acts 6:1-7 gives us our fullest introduction to diaconal ministry. In this passage, certain needy widows in the Jerusalem church were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. The church responded by installing qualified men...

WHY PRAY TOGETHER?

The famous Puritan commentator Matthew Henry once said: “Whenever God is preparing to do something great in the earth, He first sets His people a-praying!” God must be preparing to do something great, because we’ve been experiencing a growing desire to pray together at Parker Hills. To stir up that desire even more, here are a few reasons praying...


 

Imagine you’re an astronaut involved in a mission to repair a critical satellite in space.  During your space walk—the time you’re outside the shuttle and totally dependent on the lines to the ship—your connection becomes severed. Yet you continue to apply yourself to the task: after all, this is a very important satellite and besides, your...

In reading through Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth a while back, I noticed what appeared to be an embarrassing mistake he made in applying a verse from Isaiah to Jesus’ birth. Here’s the passage:

As Joseph considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife…. She will bear a son,...

Was Jesus born on December 25? Probably not. The Bible doesn’t specify a date or even a month, but what little evidence we have points to a time for Jesus’ birth sometime in the fall, not the winter.

Nonetheless, Christians have commemorated Jesus’ birth on December 25 for well over 1,000 years. The first recorded “Feast of the Nativity” on December 25 was held in Rome in AD 336....

I want to write something about Ferguson while it’s still pressing itself in on our national awareness, but I’ll just admit—I don’t quite have my own thoughts together yet on it. These are incredibly complex issues, and I don’t want to oversimplify either the issues themselves or the biblical response(s). So stay tuned. For today, I’m reissuing a column I wrote several months ago which...

 

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...

This is the eighth (and final!) column in a series I’m writing to describe our goals and values for corporate worship. So far, I’ve said that we want our worship gatherings to be God-centered, cross-centered, and Scripture-saturated. We also value congregational engagement, cultural sensitivity, creative excellence, personal expressiveness, and musical variety. Our final value is ...

This is the seventh column in a series I’m writing to describe our goals and values for corporate worship. If you’ve not noticed by now, let me point out how these explanations are structured. Each value discussion begins with a series of “we believe” statements, followed by several practical implications. Beliefs first, behaviors second. Makes sense, right? What we believe always gives rise...

Newsflash: The election season is over. Mercifully, the ads have disappeared, the mud has stopped flying, and the pressure on voters has eased, at least for a little while. I don’t know if Tuesday’s results left you pleased, concerned, or somewhere in between. But I do know that the gospel has something important to say about what Christians expect from their government and how they pray about...

I’ll continue the “worship values” series next week. Today, I need to interrupt that theme to report on our search for a Minister for Middle School and High School Students. As most of you know, Tom Benedict served as our Minister for HS Students for almost 6 years; but he recently resigned to join the Air National Guard. (Let me encourage you to be praying for Tom and Crystal while he is in...

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