Bible Note #35: Compassion for the Weak — Job 29:14-17

Job is a tricky book to use.  The book is a debate among Job and some friends over how to understand suffering and what God is doing in the midst of that suffering.  We should not assume that everything that Job or the others say is correct.  The only one who speaks infallibly in the … Continue reading Bible Note #35: Compassion for the Weak — Job 29:14-17

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Quote of Note #48: Finding Happiness

"Happiness is the great question confronting mankind.  The whole world is longing for happiness and it is tragic to observe the ways in which people are seeking it.  The vast majority, alas, are doing so in a way that is bound to produce misery.  Anything which, by evading the difficulties, merely makes people happy for … Continue reading Quote of Note #48: Finding Happiness

Quote of Note #47: Being Part of What God Is Doing

"'The first thing to do in responding to God's presence and Word,' [Basil Pennington] repeatedly told me, 'is to notice what God is doing and to keep out of God's way.  The second is to align ourselves with and participate in God's transformational actions in the world.'  God is active and present in the world.  … Continue reading Quote of Note #47: Being Part of What God Is Doing

Bible Note #33: The Hairy Arms of Esau and the Embrace of God’s Grace — Genesis 33

This event – the reconciliation of Esau and Jacob – has long captured my imagination.  The rupturing of their relationship was overflowing with emotion.  So, it should be no surprise that the reconciliation here is also full of emotion.  There is also a large measure of raw, burly physicality in the reconciliation of these two … Continue reading Bible Note #33: The Hairy Arms of Esau and the Embrace of God’s Grace — Genesis 33

Quote of Note #43: Being Re-Made by the Spirit of God

"The Spirit which Jesus promised would lead his followers 'into all truth' is very actively at work wherever he is allowed.  Some of his work is painful in the extreme.  There has often to be the breaking-up of old ways of thinking, the expansion of responsibility, and the checking of priorities.  Anyone who opens his … Continue reading Quote of Note #43: Being Re-Made by the Spirit of God

Pastor Note #80: Conversation with an Angry World

A few days ago, I received a message on Facebook from an acquaintance of mine.  He had sent the message to a bunch of people.  In my opinion, it was quite a politically inflammatory message.  Accompanying the statement was the challenge, “If you don’t share this message on Facebook, you aren’t a true America.”  This … Continue reading Pastor Note #80: Conversation with an Angry World

Quote of Note #31: Overcoming Earthly Powers Through Heavenly Means

"Whatever our calling, we know this: We are not serving wicked kings, but the King of kings who fulfills all types and shadows of the Old Covenant Israel.  His coronation did not come by earthly decree, but through his resurrection and ascension.  Therefore, his way of conquering the world's kingdoms is also revolutionary.  He doesn't … Continue reading Quote of Note #31: Overcoming Earthly Powers Through Heavenly Means

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)

Pastor Note #78: Christian Witness in an Age of Offense

In the 1960s it was the Age of Aquarius.  (If you’re much younger than I am, you probably don’t understand that reference.)  We are now in the Age of Offense.  Everybody is offended these days.  Everybody has become touchy.  We all tend to take everything personally.  We have begun to use the things that offend … Continue reading Pastor Note #78: Christian Witness in an Age of Offense

Quote of Note #24: Showing Respect to All

"We should never insult others on account of their faults, for it is our duty to show charity and respect to everyone.  If we pay attention to the honor and reputation of others, whoever they may be, we shall conduct ourselves not only with moderation and good humor, but with politeness and friendship." John Calvin, … Continue reading Quote of Note #24: Showing Respect to All