A Pastoral Prayer

Our Father, we are so thankful that you are a God who loves. In fact, you are not just a God who loves, but a God who is love. For you, love is not merely something you do, but it is who you are. To be God is to be love, to be the very source the very fountain of love. For all eternity, you have existed in a relationship of love with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit loving one …

It’s Not Often in Life You Get a Do-Over (So Take the Do-Over!)

Life is like a basement. It’s like a basement in that, despite our best efforts, we just can’t keep it from getting cluttered. Every few months, Aileen and I have to go downstairs and clear out our back room—that room where empty boxes accumulate as we decide if we will keep or ship back the products we’ve ordered, where broken stuff waits until the next bulk garbage day, where unwanted or unused things sit until they are given away or …

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Here Is Christian Encouragement From All Over the World

On Saturday I asked if you would consider sending along some encouragement. Specifically, I asked if you would respond to this: “God promises to work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. This includes even, and perhaps especially, the difficult things. What are some of the surprising ways you have witnessed or experienced God’s goodness in this difficult time?” Hundreds of answers came pouring in from all over the world. …

Please Encourage Me (And Let’s Read An Encouraging Book Together)

There are two things I’d like to communicate in this brief blog post. The first is a request and the second is an invitation. First, the request: Encourage me. I’d love it if you’d consider submitting the answer to a question and I’ll then round up some of the answers and share them next week. So here goes. God promises to work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. This …

A Family Update

God told the Israelites that rather than making a beeline for the Promised Land they would need to spend years wandering in the wilderness. This was not what they wanted and not what they would have chosen, but it was his will. Because it was his will, he would sanction no grumbling about it. His will is never evil, it is never ultimately for the harm of those he loves, so it ought to have been easy for them to …

I Miss the Ordinary the Most

Recent conversations with other Christians have shown that I’m not alone in carrying an unusual level of stress, fear, and anxiety. These are uncertain days and many of us are struggling through them in various ways. Some are feeling this struggle as a heavy emotional weight, some are feeling it as despondency or listlessness, some are feeling it physically as cold sweats or a tightening of the chest. And no wonder! We are quarantined within our homes, we are adapting …

A Pastoral Prayer for Easter in Lockdown

From time to time, probably every month or so, I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer that was prayed at Grace Fellowship Church. The pastoral prayer is a time for one of the pastors or elders to pray on behalf of the congregation and to intercede on their behalf. This particular prayer was prayed by me, for our online Easter service, during the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020. *** Our Father in Heaven, In your Word you’ve told …

Historical Objects that Help Tell the Story of Easter

As Easter weekend begins and this time of being housebound continues, I find myself thinking beyond the confines of my home. I find myself thinking wistfully of some of the places around the world I’ve had the privilege to visit, and some of the Easter-related objects I’ve found there. Here are a couple of objects I discovered in my round-the-world Epic journey that help tell the story of Easter. Pilate Stone Any study of Christian history will show that time …

Why Our Church Is Only Sort Of Streaming Our Services

Like so many other churches across the world, mine had to make a sudden and unexpected decision in the face of a pending lockdown: Do we broadcast our services or do we not? Under normal circumstances we would never even entertain the notion, but with a looming period of isolation that would last no less than weeks and that could well stretch into months, we were suddenly presented with the dilemma. We decided to “sort of” broadcast our services. Let …

New and Notable Christian Books for April 2020

I am in the fortunate position of receiving endless numbers of Christian books. Every month or so I try to sort through them to identify the new books that seem most noteworthy and, therefore, may be of most interest to readers like you. Here is the selection for April 2020, including the publishers’ descriptions. (Note: I’ve skimmed these books, but have not thoroughly read most of them. Also note that Amazon is facing shipping delays as they prioritize household goods, …