Church Blog (Page 2)

Church Blog (Page 2)

February 19, 2020

Dear Friends, I’ll never forget the question I heard John Piper pose at the first Together For The Gospel gathering in Louisville in 2006.  “If you could have heaven,” he asked, “perfect health, all the friends you’ve ever wanted, all the physical pleasures, purified, that you’ve ever wanted…  and God’s not there… would that be okay?” (You can watch the video here).  That question was a gut check moment for me.  Was the longing of my own heart for the blessings promised us…

February 13, 2020

Dear Friends, Over the last 25+ years, I’ve been challenging husbands and wives, moms and dads to make their marriage and family relationships a priority.  I have agreed with former Secretary of Education Dr. Bill Bennett who said “There are few matters of a more profound public consequence than the condition of marriage and families.  Most of our social pathologies – crime, imprisonment rates, welfare, educational underachievement, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, depression, sexually transmitted diseases – are manifestations, direct and…

February 6, 2020

Dear Friends, There are places in the Bible where God’s word is compared to food.  In the Old Testament, the Psalmist says that God’s word is sweeter than honey from the honeycomb.  The prophet Ezekiel agrees.  When God says to him “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it,” Ezekiel says “I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.”  The prophet Jeremiah says to God…

January 30, 2020

Dear Friends, I think a lot of people in our day are confused about humility.  They think that if arrogance is having an inflated opinion of yourself, then humility must be the opposite – having a low opinion of yourself.  Humble people, they assume, are people who dismiss praise and downplay any acclaim.  People who don’t believe their own press.  But humility is not having a low self-assessment.  It’s having an accurate self-assessment.  Truly humble people understand their gifts and abilities.  And…

January 23, 2020

Dear Friends, Mary Ann and I have a friend named Jennifer.  On most Sunday mornings over the past seven years, you would have found her in a Sunday school classroom in her local church, surrounded by about 15 three-year-olds.  Jennifer believes these kids are capable of grasping a whole lot of truth.  She’s convinced that in many of these young hearts, she is planting seeds that are already beginning to take root and bear fruit.  She can tell you plenty of…

January 16, 2020

Dear Friends, Our current sermon series is focused on what we, as followers of Jesus, are told to add to our faith.  As we said as this series began, we are made right with God by grace alone through faith alone.  But the faith that saves us makes us new people with new priorities and new affections.  There is born in each new child of God a longing to be remade in His likeness – “conformed into the image of His…

January 9, 2020

Dear Friends,  2020 is here.  It looks like it could be a bumpy ride.  Fasten your seatbelts. You may have read this week that the United Methodist Church is about to become the Divided Methodist Church.  Here is how the news was reported last week: (Reuters) – The United Methodist Church plans to split into two later this year, church officials said on Friday, a schism that follows years of contention over whether the church should end its ban on same-sex marriage…

December 25, 2019

Dear Friends, Merry Christmas.  How grateful I am for God’s ongoing work in our midst, and for each one of you as we serve and worship together.  I pray you have experienced God’s blessing and peace on this day of celebration.   And thanks to all who helped make our Christmas Eve service a very special time. This is the last e-newsletter of 2019.  And there won’t be a newsletter next week on New Year’s Day.  Check your inbox on January…

December 19, 2019

Dear Friends, I remember the year I spoiled Christmas.  For me, anyway. I don’t remember exactly how old I was.  All I know is I was old enough to be able to think like a grown-up and figure out the likely hiding places for presents.  I don’t know if I just couldn’t wait or if I was trying to prove to myself how clever I was.  In either case, I looked under my mom and dad’s bed a few days before Christmas…

December 12, 2019

Dear Friends, This is the season of the year when we find ourselves singing about the “thrill of hope.”  Imagine for a minute what it was like to be a faithful Jew, clinging to a belief in Yahweh and His promise of a coming Messiah when more than 400 years had passed since there had been a prophet in Israel.  Living in the midst of Roman oppression, Jews had to find themselves wondering if their God had abandoned them.  Or if Yahweh…

December 5, 2019

Dear Friends, I am generally not an impatient person.  But there are some things… Like when I’m behind another car in the right turn on Rodney Parham at Cantrell.  If you don’t know that intersection, the right turn lane leads to a protected merge lane.  If you keep going straight, you will proceed onto southbound I-430.  Or you can merge left and continue on Cantrell.  As often as not, I will find myself behind a driver who doesn’t seem to realize that the…

November 27, 2019

Dear Friends, This time of year, there is no shortage of articles and blog posts online that provide suggestions and guidance on how to navigate what can be uncomfortable conversations around the Thanksgiving table.  It’s a pretty safe bet that not everyone in your extended family pulled the same levers in the voting booth three years ago.  And it’s the rare Thanksgiving table where family members all agree on spiritual matters.   Add to the mix past hurts or other kinds of…

November 21, 2019

Dear Friends, You undoubtedly know people who aren’t interested in Christianity because they see it (or religion in general for that matter) as a bunch of rules.  A list of dos and don’ts.  And most people I know aren’t interested in signing up for some seemingly arbitrary list of dos and don’ts over which they have no say. At the end of the day, most people want to be free to follow their passions or desires.  They want to be the ultimate…

November 15, 2019

Dear Friends, This week’s e-newsletter is a little late.  I’m at the airport this morning, headed to Seattle to speak to a group of pastors.  My flight was supposed to take off at 8:00 and get me to Seattle at 1:00.  But as happens, this flight is delayed, and I’ve been rebooked to fly to Atlanta and then on to Seattle (this makes perfect airline sense).  I should arrive just before 5:00.  It makes for a tight connection since I’m supposed…

November 7, 2019

Dear Friends, This week, I have a quick two-question survey I’d like you to take.  But let me set the context for it first. I recently read a helpful article online written by a pastor from Tallahassee, Florida.   His name is Dean Inserra, and his article was titled “How To Get Unbelievers To Come To Church.”  He talked about some of the cosmetic adjustments churches sometimes make to try to be more welcoming to unbelievers – things like changing the style of…

October 31, 2019

Dear Friends, So, Kanye is having a moment. I presume you’ve heard what’s going on with the artist who started his career as a producer for Jay-Z, Ludacris and Alicia Keys before he released his first solo album 15 years ago.  Since then, Kanye has earned 21 Grammy awards and sold 140 million albums.  Wikipedia reports that Kanye is one of the most critically acclaimed artists of the 21st Century.   Kanye apparently agrees.  In an interview this week, he said he is…

October 24, 2019

Dear Friends, I think probably the first time I heard the word “holy” was in 1964.  That’s the year the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series.  I was eight years old that year, and growing up in a St. Louis suburb, I was a Cardinal fan.  I had dressed for Halloween the year before as Stan Musial.  So I loved when Bob Gibson pitched game seven of the series on two days rest and went the distance, ending…

October 17, 2019

Dear Friends, At the core of any society or culture is a set of shared beliefs about values, ethics and morality. This is why, in spite of efforts to erect a wall between matters of church and state, there will always be an overlap. Every religion in history has addressed issues of right and wrong. In the same way, civil governments establish laws that reflect some set of values. It may be the values of a monarch or of a…

October 10, 2019

Dear Friends, If you knew death was near for you, and you had one final opportunity to make a spiritual deposit in someone’s life, what wisdom would you offer that person? That’s a question I found myself thinking about several years ago as I read through the Apostle Paul’s final letter to his young protégé Timothy.  This letter that we refer to today as 2 Timothy is a plea from the Apostle who is facing death that Timothy would continue to keep…

October 3, 2019

Dear Friends, Are you a nice person? Is that something a Christian should be? Mary Ann and I had a chance to preview a movie that is being released in theaters just before Thanksgiving this year. It’s a new Tom Hanks film called It’s A Beautiful Day. And it tells the story of the impact Fred Rogers (that’s the man most of us know as Mr. Rogers) had on a journalist who wrote a profile on his life in Esquire…