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

Pastor Note #87: Christmas — A Peasant King and the Foolishness of God

Christmas as a holiday in America is in many ways sacrosanct.  I’m not referring to the Christian holiday.  Most American, including Christian Americans, don’t really celebrate Christmas as a biblical holiday.  We love the warm, cozy sweetness of the “traditional” Christmas holiday.  In order to preserve that warm, cozy sweetness, we have to gloss over … Continue reading Pastor Note #87: Christmas — A Peasant King and the Foolishness of God

Pastor Note #86: Consumers or Disciples?

In the past few years, I’ve had some interesting conversations with folks who are involved with volunteer fire departments in various communities around where I live.  All of those local departments are struggling.  Funding is a challenge, to be sure.  But the really difficult problem is getting enough volunteers to fill their ranks. People are … Continue reading Pastor Note #86: Consumers or Disciples?

Pastor Note #85 — The Demonic Heresy of Christian White Nationalism

There is heresy finding foothold in America and in some other parts of the world.  It is not new.  The devil is not remarkably inventive.  He recycles old poison wherever he thinks it will work.  In America this heresy is arising under labels such as “Christian white nationalism” and “Christian Identity.” As a pastor and … Continue reading Pastor Note #85 — The Demonic Heresy of Christian White Nationalism

Pastor Note #84 — Surrender to an “Interfering God”

In his spiritual memoir, Surprised by Joy, the great Christian writer, C. S. Lewis, admits that from the days of his youth one of the things he disliked most in adults was their tendency to interfere with his life.  “No word in my vocabulary expressed deeper hatred than the word Interference.”  He notes that it … Continue reading Pastor Note #84 — Surrender to an “Interfering God”