Pastor Note #98: Hearing Our Neighbors’ Cry of Distress: A White Pastor Talks to his White Congregation about Race

A Sermon Preached on June 7, 2020 These are very challenging times for our society.  We all like church to be a place of comfort, peace, and ease.  But sometimes it just can’t be like that.  Sometimes we have to wrestle with hard and uncomfortable things.  And that’s what we’re going to do today. If … Continue reading Pastor Note #98: Hearing Our Neighbors’ Cry of Distress: A White Pastor Talks to his White Congregation about Race

Pastor Note #97: A Christian Rationale for Social Distancing in a Time of Pandemic

Medical experts widely agree that the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 is spread by minute droplets of saliva and mucus that come out of the mouth and nose of someone who is infected by the virus.  Those droplets contain the virus.  The viruses in those droplets find their way into the eyes, nose, or mouth of … Continue reading Pastor Note #97: A Christian Rationale for Social Distancing in a Time of Pandemic

Pastor Note #96: Why I Wear a Mask, My Badge of Love

For me it is quite simple.  I wear a mask because I don’t want to make anyone else sick.  I wear a mask to protect the people around me. The Covid-19 virus, like most other respiratory viruses, is spread mostly by tiny droplets of saliva and mucus that come out of our mouths and noses … Continue reading Pastor Note #96: Why I Wear a Mask, My Badge of Love

Pastor Note #95: A Declaration of Easter

A Declaration of Easter At Christmas we sing a song with these words: No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make his blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found. The resurrection of Jesus is the first expression of the fulfillment … Continue reading Pastor Note #95: A Declaration of Easter

Pastor Note #94: Safety and Love of Neighbor — Risk and Following Jesus

Safety is a high priority for Americans.  And you might well be asking me right now, “What’s wrong with that?”  Well, I would say, “Nothing . . . . And everything.”  It depends on what sort of safety we’re insisting on. The right view of safety aims to avoid needless harm.  The wrong view of … Continue reading Pastor Note #94: Safety and Love of Neighbor — Risk and Following Jesus

Pastor Note #93: Religious Liberty, Privileged Christianity, and the Art of the Deal

Religious liberty, if it is pure and principled, is a beautiful and precious thing.  It can also become a desperately dangerous concept if allowed to become conditional, qualified, or contingent in any way.  And that’s where this gets very tricky right away.  Everybody who wants to live in a humane and civilized society agrees that … Continue reading Pastor Note #93: Religious Liberty, Privileged Christianity, and the Art of the Deal

Pastor Note #92: Living Out Love

There are many factors that help a church to be healthy and effective—biblical and theological faithfulness, creativity and boldness in outreach, members who are diligent and committed to growing in their faith.  But few things can wreck a church faster than bad relational ethics.  Relational ethics in a church are one of the most important … Continue reading Pastor Note #92: Living Out Love

Pastor Note #91: Loving our Enemies and Gospel Faithfulness

The command to love one’s enemies is the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and an attack on that Christian imperative is an attack on the gospel itself.  There can be a tendency common to most Christians to distinguish between doctrine and ethics/morality.  We can tend to think of the doctrines of the gospel … Continue reading Pastor Note #91: Loving our Enemies and Gospel Faithfulness

Pastor Note #90: The Fearless Church

Fear can be a distressingly common feature of church life across America.  The Bible is quite clear on this point.  The only proper source of fear for Christians should be God.  Nothing else in all creation should cause us fear.  Of course, I know what it is to feel fear and anxiety.  As do, I … Continue reading Pastor Note #90: The Fearless Church

Pastor Note #89: God’s Love–Undeserved and Uncomfortable

The love of God is a rich, warm, comforting promise that he assures us of in his word repeatedly.  For example, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)  What makes that promise of his love … Continue reading Pastor Note #89: God’s Love–Undeserved and Uncomfortable