Posts by Bob Lepine

Posts by Bob Lepine

January 13, 2021

Dear Friends, More than a decade ago, I spent a fascinating two hours talking to a World War II veteran named Ed Harrell.   That was the day I learned about the Japanese submarine that attacked and sank the USS Indianapolis in middle of the Pacific Ocean in July of 1945. More than 800 sailors died as a result of that attack.  Ed was one of the 316 men who survived, after spending four days drifting at sea. The conversation was…

January 6, 2021

Dear Friends, I wish I had a better idea of what to say today.  In this moment. Social media doesn’t help.  People who have been lobbing their 280 characters back and forth at each other for years now are tossing verbal hand grenades with renewed vigor.  Maybe it cathartic for them.  But hand grenades don’t bring healing.  Or hope.  That’s not what they’re designed to do. We are all weary.  Depleted.  No reserves left to absorb another body blow.  Between news of spiking virus…

December 30, 2020

Dear Friends, When His disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus responded with a model prayer that I find myself coming back to again and again in my own prayer life.  I memorized Matthew 6:9-13 long before I was converted.  It was part of the faith tradition in which I was raised.  I’m glad it was.  If you’ve never memorized what we call The Lord’s Prayer, make that your first resolution for 2021.  And if your kids…

December 23, 2020

Dear Friends, You can’t see them smiling under their masks, but you should know you made Christmas a little brighter this year for a lot of happy kids at David O’ Dodd Elementary School.  HAPPY KIDS!  Here’s a thank you to all of you from the kids!  Let me add a “thank you” from me as well.  I am so grateful for your generosity and your willingness to bless these neighborhood kids at Christmas! Speaking of Christmas, here’s how we…

December 16, 2020

Dear Friends, Let me show you what you did today.  You made a lot of kids smile and planted a lot of gospel seeds in young hearts. And together, we made a statement to a lot of moms and dads, a lot of teachers and staff at David O’ Dodd Elementary School. It began this week with a shopping adventure.  When you’re making plans to bless 170+ kids, you have to be strategic about when and where and how you shop. Next came the…

December 9, 2020

Dear Friends, We have a fig tree in our back yard.  It’s huge.  It has taken over the northwest corner of our lot, with a variety of twisty branches that offer essentially no canopy except for the very young person.  Meanwhile, the root structure for the tree protrudes from the ground, extending in all directions from the trunk of the tree. Our fig tree was not always as big as it is now.  I’m afraid it’s my fault the tree has grown…

December 2, 2020

Dear Friends, Do you think the Bible identifies any particular sin as the worst of all possible sins? While you ponder that, a quick review here: When we talk about sin, we’re talking about more than bad habits or moral lapses.  Sin, the Westminster Divines said, is “any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.”  In other words, sin is when we don’t do what God requires of us, or when we do what God forbids.  The Anglican Book…

November 25, 2020

Dear Friends, I know what the Bible says about giving thanks in all things.  But doesn’t it feel like we should get a pass on giving thanks in 2020?  Most of us can more easily come up with a lament list this Thanksgiving than we can a gratitude list.    A few reminders about the familiar command to “give thanks in all things” found in 1 Thessalonians 5. First, you know there was asterisk in the original text.  You know the…

November 18, 2020

Dear Friends, Everyone is looking for shalom.  And we’re looking to be markarios.  The problem is, we’re all ptochos.  And it’s only when we recognize that we’re ptochos that we can begin our journey toward shalom and markarios. I know I’m mixing my languages here (and maybe even butchering a word or two), but hang with me.  Shalom is the Hebrew word that we often translate peace.  But its meaning goes deeper than our English word typically does.  It is derived from a…

November 4, 2020

Dear Friends, If you don’t have election fatigue by know, you have more stamina that I do! You may have heard of author Mitch Albom.  His book Tuesdays With Morrie made him a best selling author.  He has gone on to write more than a half dozen other books, with combined sales of 39 million copies.  Mitch lives in Detroit and continues to write a regular column for the local newspaper, the Detroit Free Press. I’ve decided to turn over the newsletter this week to…

October 28, 2020

Dear Friends, It may be a week from now.  Or it may take a little longer.  But we are about to have a nation full of sad, disappointed, angry, frightened people.  No matter who is eventually declared the winner of next week’s presidential election, many of our family members or neighbors or co-workers or – well, maybe even some of us – are going grieve over the results. Have you thought about that?  Have you prepared yourself for a result that you…

October 21, 2020

Dear Friends, I remember being struck by the lyric the first time I heard the song.  It was at event that featured modern hymn writers Keith and Kristyn Getty, and they were performing a new song they had co-written with Graham Kendrick.  The song began with the clear declaration that “my worth is not in what I own.”  But it was the final verse that captured my attention immediately: Two wonders here that I confessMy worth and my unworthinessMy value fixed –…

October 14, 2020

Dear Friends, There are two words in the book of Ephesians that people often cite as the most important, most significant two words in that letter.  Maybe even in all of scripture. Ephesians 2 begins with a description of our spiritual condition before we come to know Jesus.  It’s not a flattering picture.  “You were dead,” Paul writes. Dead.  Completely unresponsive to God.  “You were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world,…

October 7, 2020

Dear Friends, If you’re a podcast listener, I have a recommendation for you.  Jim Davis, who spoke at our Redeemer men’s retreat a while back has a podcast he’s produced with a fellow pastor in Orlando called As In Heaven.  Season Two is about race and racism.  And the first episode in Season 2 is an interview with someone I respect as a pastor and thinker – Dr. Crawford Loritts.  I found the conversation helpful and clarifying.  You can listen or download…

September 30, 2020

Dear Friends, I’ve had conversations with a number of friends in recent months who are concerned about what they see as an accelerated erosion of the foundational principle of the free expression of religion in our nation.  They have shared with me their fears that the upcoming election may have some impact our ability to serve God and worship Him freely in our nation. My friend and fellow pastor Justin Jackson addressed this issue in a Facebook post recently.  Here’s…

September 16, 2020

Dear Friends, I think I’ve been guilty of using a Bible verse out of context for some time now. For years in marriage conferences, and in a wide variety of other settings, I have referenced Ephesians 4:15 as a biblical admonition that ought to guide our interpersonal communication.  “The Bible tells us,” I have said “to ‘speak the truth in love’ to one another.” Indeed, that’s what Ephesians 4:15 says.  And I’ve used that verse to try to help husbands…

September 9, 2020

Dear Friends, Let me ask you if this statement is true or not.  Ready?  Here’s the statement:  “God will bless the lives of all who love and trust Him.” Where does the Bible teach that?  Let me give you a few passages. Psalm 5:12 says “For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” Psalm 115:12-13 says “The LORD has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel;…

September 2, 2020

Dear Friends, What’s on your Spotify playlist?  Or in your CD player? I’ve been listening to a lot of music this week as I’ve been in Nashville helping out with the Sing! Global Conference sponsored by modern hymnwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty who wrote the hymn In Christ Alone as well as several other hymns we sing at church.  The conference has featured messages from Joni Tada, Alistair Begg, Paul David Tripp, Ligon Duncan, HB Charles and many others.  There have…

August 26, 2020

Dear Friends, JI Packer has famously said “a half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth.”  Today, we find ourselves swimming in a sea of half truths, scratching our heads and thinking “that sounds right – kinda.”  In the end, the Father of Lies is just as happy when we swallow a half truth as he is when we fall for any other kind of deception. Tim Keller, in his book How To Reach The West Again lists a handful…