The Pulpit is Clarifying for Me

The pulpit is a clarifying moment for me. The week is full of schedules, conflicts, personalities, requests, expectations, successes, failures, budgets, attendance records, politics…you get the idea. Preparing for standing behind the pulpit is a regular exercise of focusing everything through the lens of God’s Word and truth. But don’t get me wrong – I... Continue Reading →

Pastors, Reading, and John Welsey

I worry sometimes about the lack of intellectual and moral leadership from behind the pulpit. I’m not necessarily pining for days of former glory when sermons were published in the local newspaper; I worry for the present and our near future. The people in our pews live in a high-speed hyper-information age where ideas come... Continue Reading →

Some Thoughts on Selling Chicken

Chick-Fil-A made headlines recently for their decision to reevaluate their charitable giving, and to stop giving to groups that include the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Their sin? According to CNN, “Both organizations have taken controversial stands on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.” In fact, CNN’s headline is a glimpse into a predetermined... Continue Reading →

Local Churches and a Bad Rap

If you spend a fair amount of time reading books and articles on the state of the local, evangelical church, you might come away with some pretty negative perceptions. Pastors who read a lot of this kind of stuff can also come away with the sense that if they are not trying to accomplish a... Continue Reading →

Approaching the Throne of Grace

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 When it comes down to it, this is a stunning reality. The fact that we have direct access to the presence and power of God is nearly... Continue Reading →

The Word of God is Living and Active

Hebrews 4:12-13 contains some of the best-known language regarding the beauty and power of the Word of God. It is also some of the most evocative: it is a sword sharp enough to dissect the human soul, discerning the thoughts and intents of our hearts. These are things we rarely even know about ourselves! It... Continue Reading →

The Gospel is Good News

The gospel is not good advice, it is good news.[i]   This simple sentence helps us understand the core of the good news of Jesus Christ. In Hebrews, we find this promise,   “for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his” (Hebrews 4:10).   It is... Continue Reading →

The Necessary Local Church

Karl Vaters has written a wonderful, almost poetic, reflection on the resilient power of small churches.   I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about the importance of what are called “mediating institutions” in our culture, and what he says rings true.   A mediating institution is a social organization that stands between... Continue Reading →

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