Church Blog (Page 3)

Church Blog (Page 3)

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…

September 26, 2019

Dear Friends, I’ve never forgotten a question a young woman asked me in the first few months after we had begun our church.  She couldn’t understand why, when there are churches all over town, some of which are more than half empty on a Sunday morning, we were starting something new.  She looked and me and said “do you really think Little Rock needs another church?” Honestly, her question prompted a bit of soul searching.  What exactly was it I was looking…

September 12, 2019

Dear Friends, We’ve just been through a pretty big transition as a church.  Many of you helped make the transition possible.  You helped move stuff.  You were one of the people who made sure we had sound and lights and video and technology working.  You invited friends and neighbors to visit us.  You were part of getting our new home looking good.  You helped plan our celebration.  You’ve stepped in to help minister to children on Sundays or to serve as…

September 5, 2019

Dear Friends, So, I don’t know what you thought as you left church last Sunday, but I left thinking “that was a pretty special morning.”   We still have a few things to figure out and to get right as we move forward, but for a first Sunday in a new space, it felt like home – apart from trying to figure out where each of us wants our new worship center seats to be! As we get ready for week #2 and…

August 29, 2019

Dear Friends, One of you asked me this week about where we are heading in our study of scripture, now that our series in 1 John is complete.  Over the next two Sundays, I’m planning to mark our first services in our new building with a high level look at the historical connection between the presence of God among His people and the places on earth that God has said to have inhabited at one point or another.  My hope is that…

August 22, 2019

Dear Friends, This Sunday is the end of a chapter for our church.  And as excited as I am about what God has for us in the days ahead as we move into a new church home, I’m also a bit nostalgic about all that has happened in our almost 11 years above the revenue office. In fact, I want to take some time this Sunday for some reflection and some sharing during our morning worship service.  I’d love for you to…

August 15, 2019

Dear Friends, Let’s start here this week.  A Bible Literacy quiz courtesy of Jen Wilkin.  See how you do.  Name the First 3 Israelite Kings Where did Jesus grow up? Who moved from Ur to a country he did not know? What were the occupations of Cain and Abel? Who prophesied, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given”? How many books are in the Bible? In the Old Testament? In the New Testament? How many years…

August 8, 2019

Dear Friends, I remember waking up in October of 2017 to the news of the horrible mass shooting in Las Vegas.  I remember how the news felt like a punch in the gut.  I didn’t know the victims.  I haven’t been to Nevada in decades.  But the thought that so a single deranged gunman had taken the lives of so many people who had been out for an evening concert left me feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Then came the church in…

July 25, 2019

Dear Friends, Monday night, we spent time in our final Everyone’s A Theologian class talking about eschatology – what the Bible tells us about “last things.”  We talked about death.  About judgment.  Heaven and hell.  About the nature and timing of what the Bible refers to as “the millennium.”  And about the new heavens and the new earth. One of the passages from scripture that talks about what happens after we die is a passage from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians:…

July 18, 2019

Dear Friends, You know who Dr. Bruce Banner is, right?  According to legend, Bruce Banner was irradiated by deadly gamma energy while he was supervising the trial of an experimental gamma bomb that he designed for the U.S. Defense Department at a nuclear research facility in New Mexico.  While the countdown for a test of the bomb was underway, a teenager wandered onto the testing field.  Dr. Banner selflessly rushed to his rescue. After shoving the teenager to safety in a…

July 11, 2019

Dear Friends, Tim Keller remembers clearly a comment made by a teenager back many years ago when Tim and his wife Kathy were leading the youth group at their church in West Virginia.  “I know God loves me,” the young woman said.  “But what good is that if you can’t get any dates?” “I’ve never forgotten that,” Keller remembers.  “She said, ‘I know God loves me, I know Jesus died for me, I know I’m a daughter of the King, I know I’m…