Pastor's Blog

When the Congregation Speaks

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God….” – 1 Peter 2:9 In about 30 days, we will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. It was the eve of All Saints’ Day, October 31st, 1517, when a German monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed his historic “Ninety-Five Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, protesting many aspects of the Medieval Church. The four watchwords of the Reformation are “Grace alone, Faith alone, Scripture Alone, and Christ Alone.” The Reformers rediscovered the core message of the Christian gospel; that we are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ who alone is Lord and Savior of li

Circles of Sufficiency

Dallas Willard once observed that we all depend on relationships, what he termed “circles of sufficiency” for life: parent/child, extended family, community, world. Genesis 2:18 tells us something we instinctively know is true: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” God has created us to be in life-giving relationship – what we might call “circles of sufficiency” where we feel safe and cared for. Of course, the idea of a “circle of sufficiency” – a network of relationships where we always feel safe and cared for is extremely fragile. We want our circles to be self-sufficient, but we know they are not. When we reassure a child with the words, “Everything is going to be OK” we know

Close Encounters

This month is the 40th anniversary of Spielberg’s classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, a film that conveys an almost spiritual longing for contact with intelligent life in the cosmos. As a fan, I’ll definitely be buying tickets for its return to theaters this month. Having seen the movie a few times, there is a truth in this film we would do well to recognize. That each of us is innately fascinated by and drawn toward both the possibility of life on other worlds, and to the Maker of All Worlds. We are wired, say brain scientists, for transformative and transcendental experience. In other words, “close encounters” are really what each of us longs for most. Just last Sunday two w

A Hurricane of Compassion

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of suffering that is caused when natural disasters like Harvey overtake a major city. As Hurricane Harvey passed over Houston, more than 40 are now reported dead and between 30,000 and 40,000 homes destroyed. When I read about a 3-year-old girl found alive in a rain-swollen canal, clinging to the body of her drowned mother, my heart broke. Even so, I never cease to wonder at the way such events bring out the best in human nature. Here are seven examples…. #7 According to KABC, Dr. Stephen Kimmel guided his canoe through waist-high water for at least a mile to get to a Clear Lake-area hospital to perform surgery on a 16-year-old with a life-threa

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