Pastor's Blog

Books don’t change lives. Paragraphs do. Sometimes single sentences. At least that’s how it works for me. I can remember specific sentences from specific books that lit my heart on fire and profoundly changed the way I thought. Here’s a sample of some of those verbal incendiary bombs from Tim Keller’s book Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering

“While other...

A few years ago, I was flipping through the booklet of a newly released hymns CD, surveying the artists’ reasons for why they chose to rerecord these particular Christian classics. I balked when I read this one: “I have always loved this particular hymn [“Fairest Lord Jesus”], and though written in 1677, its message is still relevant today.” What is it about our Christian culture that assumes...

“Do not be alarmed,” said the angel at the tomb that first Easter morning. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.” (Mk 16:6) And with that one invitation to investigate the empty tomb, God set all our fears and anxieties to flight.

“Do not be alarmed.” In a nutshell, that is the significance of Easter. No more...

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...

What’s the difference between a church and a gathering of random Christians? Could we call it “church” when we gather with others in a small group? Is the youth group sort of a little church? We could probably discuss these questions endlessly, but for the purpose of this column I want to use church history as my reference point. Christians throughout history have used two primary marks to...

What can we do as a church to make a difference in the ongoing struggle over race relations in our country? Last week I wrote that, first of all, we must pray. Second, we have to educate ourselves and think clearly. Oversimplified answers usually make things worse.

Third, we must answer the gospel’s call to sacrifice. To surrender. To move away from comfort and toward need. Most of us...

In prior weeks, I’ve suggested that the way forward in race relations will be found 1) when our country lives up to its own ideals and 2) through the presence and ministry of Christ’s church. We in the church have answers and resources that aren’t available anywhere else—the gospel, the Spirit, and the love of Christ. This is our time!

But what should we actually do to make a...

Since 1776, our country has professed certain truths to be self-evident, namely, “that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These are (some of) our country’s founding presuppositions. This has been our long-standing profession. These are our self-conscious values....

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...

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