Quotes of Note #12 — To Be Filled With the Holy Spirit

“I believe firmly that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and self-seeking, and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will come and fill every corner of our hearts.  But if we are full of pride and conceit, ambition and self-seeking, pleasure and the world, there … Continue reading

Quotes of Note #5 — Baptism with the Holy Spirit

“I take it that that is abundantly clear — you cannot be a Christian without having the Holy Spirit in you.  But — and here is the point — I am asserting at the same time that you can be a believer, that you can have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and still not … Continue reading

Quotes of Note #3 Cooperating with God

“‘The first thing to do in responding to God’s presence and Word,’ Basil Pennington repeatedly told me, ‘is to notice what God is doing and to keep out of God’s way.  The second is to align ourselves with and participate in God’s transformational actions in the world.’  God is active and present in the world. … Continue reading

Sermon #60 — Power to Change the World, a Pentecost Sermon

Pentecost, a holy day that Presbyterians, my clan, have work hard to trivialize over the centuries, ought to serve as an antidote to the demoralizing conception that the Christian faith is at its heart a set of ideas and a moral code.  Christianity is rather a living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through the … Continue reading

Sermon #59 — The Resurrection Mission

The Resurrection Mission John 20:19-23 A Sermon Preached on April 19, 2015 at Venice Presbyterian Church in Cecil Township, PA There is room for only one priority in the life of a disciple of Jesus: namely, loving Jesus by living our his calling on our lives.  This priority is quite imperialistic.  It will tolerate no … Continue reading

Prayer Note #50 — Wandering

O my Lord and Father, I long for you. Year after year I have wandered after other food for my soul. But it was no food.  It was poison.  I could see that very clearly. I could see how it always diminished me. I withered. Yet, I persisted. But so did you.  You persisted with … Continue reading

Pastor Note #57 — Worship: A Surprising Conversation with God?

We script them out carefully, planning each part of the service diligently and in detail, so that we know who will do each part of the service, when they will do it, what they will say while they are doing it, and how long it will take them to do it.  Then, we commit the … Continue reading

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

Prayer Note #46 — A Channel of Blessing: a Pastor’s Prayer

[Although I have called this a “Pastor’s Prayer,” with a slight adjustment of the language, this prayer might well work as a prayer for any Christian who wants to be a channel of blessing to the people in their lives.  And what Christian wouldn’t want to be a channel of God’s blessing in the lives … Continue reading

Pastor Note #55 — The Joy and Humility of Pastoral Ministry

  Last Fall, I passed my thirtieth anniversary in pastoral ministry.  At one of its meetings around that time, our presbytery recognized those of us who were marking anniversaries in multiples of five –tenth, fifteenth, twentieth, etc.  They started with the smaller anniversaries and worked up.  It took them a little while to get to … Continue reading