Quote of Note #137: Bearing the Cross

photo by GAC "Honesty impels me to admit that transformed nonconformity, which is always costly and never altogether comfortable, may mean walking through the valley of the shadow of suffering, losing a job, or having a six-year-old daughter ask, 'Daddy, why do you have to go to jail so much?' But we are gravely mistaken … Continue reading Quote of Note #137: Bearing the Cross

Bible Note #52: James 2:5-7 & the Problem of Wealth

Photo by GAC I think I can safely say that James has a very low opinion of money and the accumulation of wealth.  Along with Paul, James gets his ideas about money and wealth from Jesus.  Jesus and all the New Testament writers are concerned about money and the accumulation of wealth because they believed … Continue reading Bible Note #52: James 2:5-7 & the Problem of Wealth

Bible Note #51: James 2:1-4 & Valuing What Jesus Values

I enjoy fishing.  I’m not very good at it, but I do enjoy going out to the water and trying to catch fish.  As I share this with you, we are a day away from the opening of trout season in Pennsylvania.  Opening day can be a pretty crowded time on the water around here.  … Continue reading Bible Note #51: James 2:1-4 & Valuing What Jesus Values

Pastor Note #121: Praying for Justice without Praying for Revenge

On the morning that I learned of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine, I was incensed.  My sense of justice was offended.  It was so simply and plainly and extravagantly wrong that I felt outraged.  And so, I found myself hoping that bad things would happen to Vladimir Putin and all his forces attacking the … Continue reading Pastor Note #121: Praying for Justice without Praying for Revenge

Bible Note #49: James 1:27 & Tolerating Stains

My wife and I currently have a four-year-old, ninety-pound golden retriever, Teddy.  We’ve had dogs, often more than one, for nearly twenty years.  Somewhere along the way, it occurred to us that vinyl flooring with a random pattern of brown dog paw prints on it would be a wonderful thing.  Anyone who has ever owned … Continue reading Bible Note #49: James 1:27 & Tolerating Stains

Pastor Note #116: Advent Reflection #2

[Note: This post is the script for a video reflection that I posted to my YouTube channel. To view this particular video click here.] I first began making my “Pastor Gary’s Video Notebook” videos in March 2020 when the coronavirus shutdown came to my community and my church.  I had a number of goals for … Continue reading Pastor Note #116: Advent Reflection #2

Pastor Note #115: Advent Reflections #1

I just did a quick online search for Advent calendars and discovered that you can buy Advent calendars at Target, Walmart, and on the Etsy site.  They’re everywhere.  I also noticed that almost all of them are incorrect.  All of the Advent calendars I looked at start on December 1, and five out of every … Continue reading Pastor Note #115: Advent Reflections #1

Bible Note #48: Justice for the Weak–Ezekiel 34:11-22

Here God proclaims his love.  God proclaims the bias of his heart.  God proclaims the direction of movement of his heart. photo by GAC Above all, he is for the weak.  Above all, he is for the vulnerable, the wounded, the broken, the lost.  (Does this sound familiar?  “For the Son of Man came to … Continue reading Bible Note #48: Justice for the Weak–Ezekiel 34:11-22