Bible Note #50: James 2:1 and “Us vs. Them” Thinking

There is no question that our Christian faith can become corrupted.  And, of course, one of the ways that our faith can become corrupted is when we adopt bad or wrong doctrines.  That’s why it’s important for us to learn our theology carefully and well. The base of an abandoned steel-making blast furnace; photo by … Continue reading Bible Note #50: James 2:1 and “Us vs. Them” Thinking

Quote of Note #130: Hungering for the Living God

photo by GAC "I often ask myself the question of when and why we pastors began to believe that our primary calling was to build the church. How did we come to believe that the people we encounter are primarily in the market for a church? How did we forget that they are probably more … Continue reading Quote of Note #130: Hungering for the Living God

Pastor Note #111: All Types of Pastor

Sedona, AZ; photo by GAC Pastoral ministry involves a dizzying variety of tasks and activities.  Some days I go from counseling someone in a difficult personal crisis to untangling some issue in the church’s financial management and bookkeeping, from researching the best interpretation of the Greek of some passage in the New Testament to meeting … Continue reading Pastor Note #111: All Types of Pastor

Pastor Note #110: Nothing But Love–A Sermon for the Installation of a Pastor, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

        I suppose you all may be wondering if I had to get a special dispensation from the Commissariat of Public Bible Reading in order to be allowed to read 1 Corinthians 13 at an event that is NOT a wedding.  The answer to that question is, “No, I did not.”  I’m one of those … Continue reading Pastor Note #110: Nothing But Love–A Sermon for the Installation of a Pastor, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Pastor Note #108: Busyness, Rights, Responsibilities, & Church Life in 2020

Over the past two millennia, the Church of Jesus has survived brutal persecutions, the chaos of invasions and wars, plagues, famines, revolutions, and, perhaps the most dangerous of all social conditions, the church has even survived economic prosperity.  Nothing that has happened in America or the world in 2020 will prove to be a deadly … Continue reading Pastor Note #108: Busyness, Rights, Responsibilities, & Church Life in 2020

Quote of Note #102: Living by Faith and Not by Sight

"This kind of living ["living by faith rather than by sight"] invites opposition.  It will come first in the form of those who insist on living within the budget, thereby restricting the ability of God to reach the community.  The easiest answer to a leap of faith is 'No!'  The church that I now pastor … Continue reading Quote of Note #102: Living by Faith and Not by Sight

Quote of Note #78: Training for a New Kingdom

"Yes, I believe that the kingdoms of this world, American, Venezuelan, and Chinese, will become the kingdom of our God and Christ, and I believe this new kingdom is already among us.  That is why I'm a pastor, to introduce people to the real world and train them to live in it.  I learned early … Continue reading Quote of Note #78: Training for a New Kingdom

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

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