Pastor Note #69: Death and the Victory of Christ

DEATH AND THE VICTORY OF CHRIST: Living and Dying Well You are going to die.  So am I.  This is a fundamental and unavoidable truth for all human beings, and how we deal with that great truth can have a profound impact on how well we live and on how well we die.  Sadly, many … Continue reading

Sermon #61 — Healing and the Mission of God: The Healing Purpose of God

Our natural and unashamed expectation should be that where the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, healing — miraculous, supernatural healing — should be present.  Although it is the case that miraculous healings can and do serve as confirmation of the truthfulness of the preaching, that isn’t the more important reason why gospel preaching and … Continue reading

Pastor Note #58 — One Pastor’s Annual Report to his Congregation in Pursuit of God’s Presence

WHO ARE WE? As I mentioned in a recent sermon, I have been listening to a recording of a series of lectures given by one of my former seminary professors, Dr. Gordon Fee, who has written a great number of wonderfully helpful and insightful books and articles, especially on the New Testament.  In one of … 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

Pastor Note #52 — Ministry Q. & A. — 3/18/2013

As with most organizations, the church tends to follow the 80/20 rule.  How should a pastor encourage others to get involved in church activities?  Accept leadership positions?  Participate in Sunday Worship?  Is this even a pastor’s responsibility? Bluntly put, there is nothing that a pastor, as a human being, can do to accomplish what is … Continue reading

Pastor Note #44 — Coffee Mugs and Robust Coffee, Churches and the Powerful Presence of Jesus

There are several steady coffee mugs in my life.  In our kitchen cabinets at home, we have quite a stable of coffee mugs.  Coffee mugs seem to just accumulate over time.  Recently, we cleared some of them out because we were running out of room on the shelves.  I’m willing to drink coffee out of … 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 #42–A Boy on the Streets, Part 2

When he realized that I was having trouble making out what he had written, he began to  be distressed.  I tried to give the impression that I understood everything he had written on the sheet in my hands, but it must have been obvious that I didn’t. Jordan had appeared at the church door again, … Continue reading