Quote of Note #95: The Cross-Shaped Life

"Jesus's cross-shaped life and death modeled the cruciform life that is our calling.  Like Him, we do not overcome imperial powers through earthly means.  Instead, we embody His 'revolutionary way of being revolutionary.'  Whether the world receives or rejects us will hold little weight if we are incarnating his way of being and doing, for … Continue reading Quote of Note #95: The Cross-Shaped Life

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

Quote of Note #94: Churches and Pastors

"The biblical fact is that there are no successful churches.  There are, instead, communities of sinners, gathered before God week after week in towns and villages all over the world.  The Holy Spirit gathers them and does his work in them.  In these communities of sinners, one of the sinners is called pastor and given … Continue reading Quote of Note #94: Churches and Pastors

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

Quote of Note #93: Loving with our Words

"Love's virtues are described as patient and kind, and not arrogant, rude, or irritable.  The opposite of loving others is selfishness, or the love of self.  So if you hear words funneling out of your mouth that are unkind, ungracious, and condemning, you can know that those words are not showing love to the person … Continue reading Quote of Note #93: Loving with our Words

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

Quote of Note #92: The Idea of America

"China is a nation in the classic sense.  It is blood and soil.  It's a great wall, a fascinating people, an extraordinarily long-lived culture.  But America is something different.  America is an idea -- it is a creed.  The American idea is a commitment to the universal dignity of persons everywhere.  That's what America is.  … Continue reading Quote of Note #92: The Idea of America

Quote of Note #91: Loving Others the Way Jesus Loves Us

"If God is compassionate, then certainly those who love God should be compassionate as well.  The God whom Jesus announces and in whose name he acts is the God of compassion, the God who offers himself as an example and model for all human behavior. "But there is more.  Becoming like the heavenly Father is … Continue reading Quote of Note #91: Loving Others the Way Jesus Loves Us

Quote of Note #90: Grace for Neighbors. . . and Enemies

"To be people of amazing grace is to see ourselves as recipients of kindness and understanding not owed to us, and if we really believe it's been lavished upon us undeservedly, maybe we can lavish a little upon the people we find ourselves least inclined to view generously.  If we're showering only the people we … Continue reading Quote of Note #90: Grace for Neighbors. . . and Enemies