The first six months

a poem for Advent   The first six months were dark and still. He moved, of course, as babies will, but to his mother gave no sign of insight into things divine. So tightly coiled the prophet lay awaiting the appointed day.   No star shone in that darkened room, no angel glory pierced the … Continue reading The first six months

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An Unlikely Model of Thankfulness

a lesson from the prophet Jonah   Last week, we finished studying the book of Jonah with some friends from church. It's a beautiful little book with a complicated and unusual main character. Jonah is a prophet - someone who relays messages from God to other people - who really doesn't want to bring a … Continue reading An Unlikely Model of Thankfulness

And in This I Rejoice

I spent most of this week with Christians I disagree with. It was great. The annual gathering of our denomination took place over the last few days, and as the new pastor of our church, I got to attend for the first time. I say "got to attend," not "had to attend." Because it really … Continue reading And in This I Rejoice

How Do You Plead?

One of the challenges of old hymns is understanding what the words mean. I don't mean the old-fashioned words that we just don't use anymore, like "thou" or "surety" or "foe." Those we can recognize as not part of our regular vocabulary. So we take a moment to figure out or look up or learn … Continue reading How Do You Plead?

Once and Always

The work of Christ is finished. And it never stops. At it's heart, the message of Christianity is good news. Unlike other religions which claim to instruct us in the best way to save ourselves, the gospel offers us a salvation which we cannot achieve on our own, which comes to us as a gift … Continue reading Once and Always

Not a Prophet, Priest, or King (Part 2)

In my last post, I cautioned against using the biblical titles of Prophet, Priest, and King to describe the role of a pastor. My goal is not to quibble over terminology; I know most pastors who use those terms intend them to express the genuine pastoral tasks of teaching, caring, and leading. But I am … Continue reading Not a Prophet, Priest, or King (Part 2)

Not a Prophet, Priest, or King

There’s a lot of confusion out there about what it means to be a pastor. Pile up two thousand years of church history and add our distinctively American love for religious experimentation, and you will wind up with a vast array of different models, theories, and paradigms for pastoral ministry. Because I’ve only been a … Continue reading Not a Prophet, Priest, or King