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 #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 #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?

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 #58–Vibrancy of Spiritual Life in the Church

"Look at the New Testament Christian, look at the New Testament church, and you see it vibrant with a spiritual life, and, of course, it is always life that tends to lead to excesses.  There is no problem of discipline in a graveyard; there is no problem very much in a formal church." Martyn Lloyd-Jones, … Continue reading Quote of Note #58–Vibrancy of Spiritual Life in the Church

Pastor Note #83 — God’s Toolbox

I love hand tools – old hand tools.  My workbench and toolboxes are stocked with a wide variety of old hammers of all sorts, wood plains of several different types, chisels, and draw knives, and hand saws.  I have a few very interesting old pipe wrenches, which I honestly hope I never have to use, … Continue reading Pastor Note #83 — God’s Toolbox

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

Pastor Note #73: No “Us” and “Them”: Race, Ethnicity, and the Mandate of Love

No “Us” and “Them”:  Race, Ethnicity, and the Mandate of Love A Sermon Preached at Venice Presbyterian Church on August 20, 2017 Pastor Gary A. Chorpenning Venice Presbyterian Church Cecil Township, PA http://www.venice-church.org Acts 15:1-21 Since you can’t help but notice it, let me acknowledge that I’m going to do something here this morning that … Continue reading Pastor Note #73: No “Us” and “Them”: Race, Ethnicity, and the Mandate of Love