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

Quote of Note #91: Loving Others the Way Jesus Loves Us

"If God is compassionate, then certainly those who love God should be compassionate as well.  The God whom Jesus announces and in whose name he acts is the God of compassion, the God who offers himself as an example and model for all human behavior. "But there is more.  Becoming like the heavenly Father is … Continue reading Quote of Note #91: Loving Others the Way Jesus Loves Us

Quote of Note #90: Grace for Neighbors. . . and Enemies

"To be people of amazing grace is to see ourselves as recipients of kindness and understanding not owed to us, and if we really believe it's been lavished upon us undeservedly, maybe we can lavish a little upon the people we find ourselves least inclined to view generously.  If we're showering only the people we … Continue reading Quote of Note #90: Grace for Neighbors. . . and Enemies

Pastor Note #89: God’s Love–Undeserved and Uncomfortable

The love of God is a rich, warm, comforting promise that he assures us of in his word repeatedly.  For example, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)  What makes that promise of his love … Continue reading Pastor Note #89: God’s Love–Undeserved and Uncomfortable

Quote of Note #89: Christian Discipleship as Love

"Being a disciple of Jesus is not primarily a matter of getting the right ideas and doctrines and beliefs into our heads in order to guarantee proper behavior; rather, it's a matter of being the kind of person who loves rightly -- who loves God and neighbor and is oriented to the world by the … Continue reading Quote of Note #89: Christian Discipleship as Love

Quote of Note #88: Sin as Self-Destruction

[In reference to sin as a "dangerous, predatory animal" in Genesis 4:7--"If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it." NIV] "God is saying . . . … Continue reading Quote of Note #88: Sin as Self-Destruction

Bible Note #40: Conversation with the Angel–Luke 1:5-25

He was an old man, and his back ached with the day’s work.  Some of the younger priests did the heavy lifting required by the work.  But still, the old priest had spent most of the day on his feet.  And so, there was a sharp, grinding ache in the small of his back, stabbing … Continue reading Bible Note #40: Conversation with the Angel–Luke 1:5-25

Pastor Note #87: Christmas — A Peasant King and the Foolishness of God

Christmas as a holiday in America is in many ways sacrosanct.  I’m not referring to the Christian holiday.  Most American, including Christian Americans, don’t really celebrate Christmas as a biblical holiday.  We love the warm, cozy sweetness of the “traditional” Christmas holiday.  In order to preserve that warm, cozy sweetness, we have to gloss over … Continue reading Pastor Note #87: Christmas — A Peasant King and the Foolishness of God