Prayer Note #48 — A Preachers Prayer to Be Used Rightly by the Word of God

[Yes, that’s what I meant to say: “to be used rightly by the word of God.”] Your word, Lord, is alive and powerful in the ears of faith. Grant me believing ears, so that I will hear your word clearly and welcome your word warmly into my mind, my heart, and my life. My calling … Continue reading

Pastor Note #51 — Here’s How I Do It: The Devotional Life of One Christian

Every so often people ask me about my devotional practices.  I don’t think I’ve ever written about that before, but it strikes me a something that some folks might find helpful.  I don’t share what follows as if to say that everyone should pattern their devotions after me.  In fact, my own pattern of devotional … Continue reading

Pastor Note #46 — Living in Time, Living with God, Part 2: The Past Tense of Faith

            Time flies.  Or, time drags.  But the unalterable reality of human life is time.  We live in time as fish live in water.  I have a past.  I am in the present.  And in some form I will have a future.  This time-orientedness is the fundamental framework of our lives.  Everything we do, everything … Continue reading

Sermon #28 — Getting Rooted and Grounded in “Forever”– 1 John 2:12-17

How we interact with the “world” is a theme that is regularly addressed in the Bible.  The apostle John digs into that matter here in this passage of his first letter.  I explore a little bit of how the term “world” is used in the Bible.  It is presented in both a positive and a … Continue reading

Sermon #25–Light and Life–1 John 1:5-10

From start to finish, the Scriptures leave no doubt that human beings are fatally broken by sin and evil.  Genesis 6:5 lays out the state of affairs in stark and thorough fashion — “every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  Jesus doesn’t depart from that assessment.  “And this is the … Continue reading

Sermon #24 — The God Who Makes Himself Known: 1 John 1:1-4

If “religion” is humanity’s effort to know God, then Christianity is not a “religion.”  The heart of the Christian faith is not our endeavor to know God, but rather God’s determination to make himself known to us.  Here in 1 John 1, the apostle points us to the God who “reveals” himself, the God who … Continue reading

Pastor Note #43 — Blood on the Pew (A day in March 2000)

It was Tuesday noontime.  I had gone into the big, dark Romanesque sanctuary of my church in downtown Columbus, Ohio for a weekly prayer meeting with a handful or so of people, mostly not members of my congregation but rather folks who worked downtown and constituted part of my weekday ancillary congregation. As I sat … Continue reading

Pastor Note #39: A Statement of Faith

            God is not an idea or a concept but is rather a Personal Being of infinite power, beauty, and goodness.  He is a Being who desires to be known and reveals himself to us.  He makes himself known to us through the works of his creation and through direct experience of his Holy Spirit.  … Continue reading

Bible Note #15 — Exodus 34:29-35

Exodus 34:29-35 There is, in this passage, an interesting small but important detail that I have never really noticed before.  It lies behind the widely recognized, though certainly bizarre, fact that Moses’ face acquired an intense radiance as a result of close time spent in the physical presence of God.  The people were quite terrified … Continue reading

Bible Note #14 — Luke 1:13: Of Prayer, Patience, and a Sovereign God

Luke 1:11-13 The archangel Gabriel says something strange to Zechariah here — something I’ve never really recognized as strange until I just read this passage again for the two-hundred-eighty-third time.  Gabriel tells Zechariah that his prayer has been heard and, as a result, Elizabeth is going to have a child.  I say this is strange, … Continue reading