Prayer for a Political Season

This is a political post.Can’t help it.We live in a highly politicized and polarized society right now and if faith can’t speak into our public angst, what good is it?Before you fold the paper and move on to something else, however, let me assure you that while this is political, it won’t be partisan.
My heart is heavy.Americans are not listening to each other.Our bullhorns are locked bell-to-bell blaring our Left and Right narratives at each other into a sickening cacophony of political poison. Public discourse is virtually dead.And the dysfunction that is on display in media and capitol buildings has spilled over into our local gathering places as well.I’ve had heated exchanges with good friends and family members that leave me deeply troubled.As Victor Davis Hanson asked in a recent article in National Review, “Are we on the verge of civil war?”I certainly hope not.But the basis for my hope is not found in our broken political process. As I have written before in this column, it is…

Saturate Your Life in the Word of God

Words have power.They can destroy or build up.They can stir hope or breed despair.Some time ago, a ministry colleague said something to me that shook my confidence and dogged me for years.On the other hand, the words of assurance that my mother planted in my soul as a child have served to reinforce my calling throughout my adult life.Promises made by people of integrity have always steeled courage and planted hope in people who were facing troubling circumstances..
Jesus told his disciples to remain in his word.Two thousand years later, Christ’s admonition still rings true.If we want to bear fruit – make a positive impact in our world and in the lives of other people – we have to “abide” or remain in Christ.If we saturate our minds with his word, we will, indeed, abide in him and make an eternal impact in the lives of other people.Following the link below, I unpack the power of Jesus’ word and consider practical ways in which we can soak our lives in it.Words have the power to change a…

Connected to Jesus

Sunday, September 16th, marked the beginning of our sermon series on abiding in Christ.I am both excited and humbled to begin this journey with you.I’ve not preached through this topic before though I believe it will be one of the most important and transforming series of messages that I’ve prepared and delivered.Please keep me in your prayers.Before I can preach it, I have to live it…and I am such an imperfect Christian.I think more than anything, I am looking forward to my own personal transformation as I dig in, study, and reflect on what it means to be in Christ and abide in him.
Through the study, our primary text will be John 15:1-8, but we will also consult the writings of the Apostles Paul and Peter who address the same topic.Paul frequently reminds believers that we are “in Christ.”Peter has the boldness to write that we are “partakers of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4).
Along with Scripture, I am also reading two classic books on abiding in Christ:The Practice of the Presenc…

The Power of Music & Memory

Each month, I have the privilege of facilitating two devotional chapels at local senior care centers.I’m not the only one.Several of Galesburg’s local pastors volunteer and minister each month in nursing homes.One of the items in my “ministry toolbox” is a substantial knowledge of hymns and the ability to play the piano.This month, for a change, I read a psalm, prayed, and spent the rest of the time playing favorites from the special hymnal that all of the nursing homes use.It was a good time and the residents were very grateful to sing songs that mean so much to them.
Music has the unique ability to transport our memory back to a strongly impressionable moment.Couples will sometimes identify a particular tune as “our song” because it may have been the number one hit when they fell in love. Perhaps it was the song that was played the first time they danced together.That powerful dynamic of music is called its “associative power.”When we sing the song or hear it sung, it is as if we exp…

How Big is Your God?

The first words that A.W. Tozer wrote in his classic study of the attributes of God, The Knowledge of the Holy, may have been the most profound statement he ever penned: "What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."If your problems are too big, then your God is too small.When you see God as he truly is – as his Word faithfully reveals - then all the concerns of your life will be put in the proper perspective and you will be at peace.And here is the paradox: the God whose glory can never be fully described by human language is seeking men and women with humble hearts to whom he will gladly reveal himself.The indescribable God of the Bible has revealed himself through the man, Jesus Christ, so that he may be known by you.
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The Glory of Work

In my life, I’ve had the opportunity to engage with a few cultures different than my own.I grew up in the Southwest and got an early taste of Mexican-American customs, food, and language.I took a mission trip to Eastern Europe in the 1990’s and on two occasions had the opportunity to minister in Kenya.Each cross-cultural engagement brought challenge, learning, and surprise.But by far, the biggest surprise I experienced was the Labor Day celebration service that I was privileged to attend at a Karen (Burmese refugee) church.Somehow, they didn’t get the memo about long-standing labor and management tensions in America.They had invited their supervisors to the service and were honoring their bosses by giving them lavish gifts!They got it all wrong.But I wasn’t going to tell them.What a delight!
According to the Bible, work is a blessing from our Creator to be embraced rather than an obligation to be shunned.God himself works and the urge in each of our souls to be creative and productive …

The Love of God

There is no greater theme in all the world than love.The church has always celebrated it in song and it will forever be our anthem throughout eternity.Love has the power to change lives – indeed to change the world.We all want to be loved.It’s not just that.We all need to be loved.And no one loves you more or better than God.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 35-39).
Nothing can get between you and God’s limitless love.You are loved!