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 #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 #76: A Contrast Community

"If we hope to experience transformation, we need to develop a culture in the congregation that encourages people to live in the world for the sake of the world, without being of the world.  Gerhard Lohfink, in Jesus and Community, makes a strong case that it has always been God's intention to work through a … Continue reading Quote of Note #76: A Contrast Community

Quote of Note #73: Word AND Spirit

"The secret of effective Christian living is know the power of the Spirit through the Word.  The secret of effective Christian service is using the Word in the power of the Spirit.  Some believers magnify the Spirit but neglect the Word.  This will not do because fanaticism and groundless enthusiasm are the result.  Others seek … Continue reading Quote of Note #73: Word AND Spirit

Quote of Note #57–Need and Blessing

"Being baptized with the Holy Spirit begins with recognizing our need and earnestly desiring whatever our heavenly Father is pleased to give." Brad Long, Paul Stokes, and Cindy Strickler.  Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit: Seven Principles of Dynamic Cooperation.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009, page 67.

Pastor Note #81: The Problem with Hymns

Recently, in an on-line discussion forum for pastors in the Reformed tradition, I read a complaint by one of the participants that he could not comprehend the appeal of what are sometimes called “7-11” songs – praise choruses that, it is claimed, are seven words long and are repeated over and over eleven times.  He … Continue reading Pastor Note #81: The Problem with Hymns

Bible Note #31: Expecting to Be Astonished by Jesus (Mark 6:45-52)

  After the experience of having Jesus walk up to them in the middle of the Sea of Galilee as they were struggling to row their boat across to the other side, Mark says this about the disciples, “They were completely astonished, because they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened” … Continue reading Bible Note #31: Expecting to Be Astonished by Jesus (Mark 6:45-52)

Bible Note #30: Making the World Good Again, through the Redeeming Love of Jesus (Mark 5:1-20)

Jesus has come to redeem us from our oppression under and participation in the evil of a fallen world and to give us the calling of following in his footsteps. I have a friend whom I see from time to time. He’s involved in the life of a church, though I’ve never really talked to … Continue reading Bible Note #30: Making the World Good Again, through the Redeeming Love of Jesus (Mark 5:1-20)