Pastor's Blog

October 27, 2016

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar.  – Psalm 139: 1-2

I was talking to a fellow last Monday at the gym about his work and mine.  He knows that I’m a pastor, and so when I told him that it was my “day off” he smiled:  “Your day off?  I guess that means you don’t have to save any souls today!”  “Oh, saving souls is not my job,” I said, “being a pastor is my job.  Caring about souls is my calling.”  To be more theologically precise, I should have said, “Saving souls is God’s job” but that seemed too complicated to explain at the moment. 

What made his comment noteworthy was the fact that he had just told me, not more than two minutes before, that he had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer.  He was hopeful because the doctor had said it was manageable; but as he spoke I felt for him, as most anyone would.  He’s a very intelligent man, someone who helps others in his line of work...

October 20, 2016

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).  In Richard Mouw’s insightful book, Uncommon Decency – Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, he discusses the ugly rhetoric that often marks our public and private conversations.  The fiery presidential race we are all living through is simply a reflection of what’s already happening around the water cooler, on social media and, dare I say, even in the church. 

Mouw cites the angry 17th century debates between Puritans and Quakers as evidence that this is nothing new.  Richard Baxter, the great Puritan preacher, lumped Quakers with “drunkards, swearers, whore mongers, and sensual wretches” and “other miserable creatures.”  John Naylor, the Quaker leader felt compelled by “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” to respond by calling his Puritan opponent a “Serpent,” a “Liar,” a “Child of the Devil,” a “Cursed Hypocrite,” and a “Dumb Dog.”[1]  So much for Christian brotherly lov...

October 12, 2016

When I was 17 years old, I traveled to the Dominican Republic on a youth mission trip.  I have to admit that I signed up for that trip with selfish motivations.  I had been attending Crosswinds church and the church’s youth group for almost a year by that point, thanks to an invitation from a good friend of mine, another high school student named Denny.  At that time in my life I would have considered myself a Christian; but my understanding of what that meant was that I believed in a higher power and was supposed to be a decent person.

When I signed up for that trip, I did so because I thought I’d be spending a couple of weeks on the beach with my friends.  I knew some work would have to be done, but considered that a fair price to pay.  What I did not expect out of that trip was to hear from God.  When I left for the Dominican Republic, I thought God was a concept, a guiding moral to help people be nice to one another.  When I returned from the Dominican, I knew Him as a per...

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