Church Blog

Church Blog

JANUARY 18, 2023

Dear Friends, It would be an understatement to say that Peter was an impulsive fellow.  He was certainly passionate.  At times, that passion drove him to grab a sword and go for the jugular.  At other times, his passion led to a bold, Spirit filled and Spirit led declaration of the deity of Jesus. I’ve been reviewing the life of Peter this week as I’m preparing to speak this Sunday on his well-documented, humiliating denial of Jesus.  And something that happened earlier…

JANUARY 11, 2023

Dear Friends, “A sower went out to sow some seeds…” With those words, Jesus begins one of his best known, and in some respects, most hotly debated parables.  It’s also one of the few parables where Jesus actually explains who represents what in the parable.  In reading through Matthew 13 this week, I was struck by one element in the Parable of the Sower.  As you likely know, some of the seed which the Sower scatters in this parable lands on the path. …

JANUARY 4, 2023

Dear Friends, By lunchtime on Tuesday, just about everyone had heard the news.  With 5:58 left to play in the first quarter during the Monday night football game, the Cincinnati Bengals were driving, hoping to retake the lead from the Buffalo Bills.  Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had just completed a pass to receiver Tee Higgins who was tackled by Bills safety Damar Hamlin.  It was a clean, hard hit.  Both players got up.  And then Damar wobbled and dropped to the turf. And…

DECEMBER 21, 2022

Dear Friends, It’s possible that one day, we will elect a President of the United States who was born in 2022.  It’s possible that some dramatic advancement in medicine or technology will take place one day because of work done years from now by a child who is today less than a year old.  If Nobel prizes are still being handed out fifty years from now, in may be that a recipient in 2072 will be someone who was born in…

DECEMBER 14, 2022

Dear Friends, We spent a lot of time last Sunday thinking together about Jesus’ prayer for unity among His disciples.  Here’s the rest of what I wanted to say.  A commitment to unity is a commitment to division.  Or to put it another way, when you follow the Philippians 2:2 model for unity (being of the same mind, having the same love and being intent on the same purpose) you will quickly find that there are people with whom you do not share…

DECEMBER 7, 2022

Dear Friends, Some days, what you really need is one simple thought.  One idea to meditate on.  Here are a dozen.  Which one is the one you needed to hear today? Don’t let success go to your head.  Don’t let failure go to your heart.  – Tim Keller “Advent means wrestling with the reality of the darkness that lies near at hand and cannot be wished away. What does it mean to put on the armor of light? At the very least it…

NOVEMBER 30, 2022

Dear Friends, Tomorrow is the first day of December.  Thanksgiving is a distant memory at this point.  It’s Christmas time. And as the calendar fills us and the countdown is on, I thought I’d pass along to you something that I shared many years ago.  Something that was passed on to me almost a decade ago, written by Sharon Jaynes, inspired by 1 Corinthians 13 (HT: Lori Davidson).  Hopefully, it will help you keep your eyes on what really matters in the…

NOVEMBER 23, 2022

Dear Friends, I presume you are spending some time over the next several hours thinking about gratitude and giving thanks.  Gratitude is an impulse we should seek to develop and cultivate.  But it’s just an impulse until we act on it.  It’s not thanksgiving until you actually give thanks to someone for something.  And that’s what we’re called too.  Clearly.  “In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I’ll note here that…

NOVEMBER 16, 2022

Dear Friends, Earlier today, Mary Ann forwarded this to me.  It’s from Shane Pruitt, a pastor, author and speaker who lives in Rockwall, Texas.  Want to change your worship experience at church? Pray before you get there.  Ask God to speak to you. Listen to worship music on the way. Take a Bible with you instead of relying on the screens. Don’t run late. Sing loudly, like you mean it. Take notes. Expect God to move.  I shared with you last week about Greg Atkinson, the man who has made…

NOVEMBER 9, 2022

Dear Friends, Greg Atkinson has an interesting ministry.  He’s a secret shopper for churches.  Your church can hire him, and either he or one of his trained associates will show up on a random Sunday morning as a visitor and provide you with feedback and a report card on how you can up your game with visitors. When asked about where churches need the most help, Greg cites four things.  He says most churches need to do a better job with their…

NOVEMBER 3, 2022

Dear Friends, I read this week a fascinating account of Susie Goodall’s quest to circumnavigate the globe, sailing solo in a 36-foot sailboat as part of the 2018 Golden Globe race around the world.  The quest was referred to as a “voyage for madmen,” and with 18 sailors entering the race, Goodall would be the only woman to participate.  Sailors in the Golden Globe race in 2018 would follow the course charted by Robin Knox-Johnson when he sailed around the world in…

OCTOBER 26, 2022

Dear Friends, Yesterday, our mail included a handful of election related postcards.  This morning, I received a text message asking for money for a candidate in another state who “WITHIN TWO POINTS” in his race for public office.  My email inbox is filled with reminders of the upcoming election.  And of course, if I turn on the radio or cable news, the midterms are the top story. We still have two weeks to go before the votes are cast.  And no telling…

OCTOBER 19, 2022

Dear Friends, This is going to be a little longer than normal, so bear with me. All of us who live in Arkansas will be deciding in less than three weeks whether we think our state will be a better place to live if we legalize the recreational use of marijuana.  The question will appear on the ballot in Arkansas as Issue 4: The Marijuana Legalization Initiative.  If passed, it will make it legal for Arkansans over the age of 21 to possess…

OCTOBER 12,2022

Dear Friends, What are we to think about Abraham’s nephew, Lot? When you read about Lot in Genesis, most of what we read doesn’t put him in a very favorable light.  First, he and his uncle Abraham get sideways about land ownership and grazing rights.  Abraham allows lot to take his portion of the promised land, and Lot quickly snatches up what appears to be the most fertile parcel of real estate, without first seeking the Lord and with no…

October 5, 2022

Dear Friends, Every other year, the folks at Ligonier Ministries team up with LifeWay Research to conduct a State of Theology Survey.  In addition to assessing what Americans in general believe about God, sin, the Bible and salvation, they also look at how people who would affirm core theological beliefs answer the same questions. The results of the 2022 survey were released a few weeks ago.  I don’t imagine many of you will be shocked to know that most of our neighbors aren’t…

SEPTEMBER 21, 2022

Dear Friends, This morning’s Wall Street Journal had an interesting review of Rina Raphael’s new book “The Gospel of Wellness:  Gyms, Gurus and Goop and the False Promise of Self-Care” (the review is here, but it’s behind a paywall).    In the piece, Megan Cox Gurdon, who is a regular Journal contributor, agrees with the book’s author that the $4.4 trillion “Wellness Culture” industry is simply profiting from an observation G.K. Chesterton made years ago when he said that people who choose not…

SEPTEMBER 14, 2022

Dear Friends, Some of you know the name Tim Challies.  For the past 20 years, Tim has been blogging at his website www.challies.com.  After posting a few book reviews and some other articles on his website, Tim came to a point where he realized he either needed to stop altogether or take blogging more seriously.  He set a goal of posting every day for a year.  Before long, his hobby became his vocation.  Today, about a million people visit his blog each…

SEPTEMBER 7, 2022

Dear Friends, Jesus reserved his strongest words, His harshest rebukes, for the self-righteous Pharisees in His day.  At one point, when these legalists asked Jesus why His own disciples did not adhere to their regulations regarding hand washing, Jesus told them that they were the living embodiment of Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 29:13.  “You hypocrites!” Jesus said.  “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in…

AUGUST 31, 2022

Dear Friends, Tonight was a big night for us at Redeemer.  Twenty-seven kids were loved on, poured into and prayed for as we kicked off our very first evening of Awana.  There were fun and games.    There were group times where they learned about the verses they will be memorizing. By the end of the evening, everyone headed hope excited about what God has planned for these precious children this year.  And maybe, Lord willing, more like them in the weeks ahead. I think what…

AUGUST 24, 2022

Dear Friends, Which have you spent more time doing this week:  Grumbling?  Or giving thanks? Let’s be honest.  We are people who easily become accustomed to and take for granted the blessings that we enjoy in life every day.  In fact, it doesn’t take long before a recuring blessing in our lives becomes an expectation, a requirement or a demand. Some of you are too young to know this, but back in the 1960’s, if you needed to open the driver’s side window…