Pastors' Notes

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Toxic Masculinity

I'm told the Oxford Dictionary named "toxic" its "word of the year". For good reason - it describes well our political discourse, our relationships, Utah's air this time of year . . . but especially men. We've heard so many stories where men have misused others, especially women - where "toxic masculinity" is an understandable description. Therefore I would like to speak ...

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You, God's Mask

No matter what work you have been called to today, Martin Luther has a word for you: "God could easily give you grain and fruit without your plowing and planting. But He does not want to do so. . . . What else is all our work to Godwhether in the fields, in the garden, in the city, in the house, in war, or in governmentbut just such a child's performance, by which He want...

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Kids in Church: Thoughts for the Team

In our church we want to make space for children to be in church with their parents, almost regardless of age. The purpose is not to fawn over children, or to make our worship kid-centric instead of God-centered. It is instead to raise up young adults who are authentic worshipers of God. Reflecting on this endeavor, and without repeating what was shared in last week's semi...

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How Firm a Foundation

Our modern, technological age speeds us up. In many respects, this is good: we get more good things done in less time. But one downfall is that we forget ourselves, and we forget God. In this sense, it's true: speed kills. Actually, that's not quite right. To quote an old comedian, it's not the speed that kills you - it's the sudden stop. We don't realize how fast we're g...

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Post-Election Reflection

We have just spent the last few months or days sorting through claims and counterclaims, of the worth of this or that candidate or referendum. We're tried to be wise and discerning, to make the right voting decisions for our country. It would seem then that we can rest, but today the real important work begins for us, as Christians. The last chapter of Hosea points the way...

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Designed to Need Your Gifts

I recently had a conversation with Josh Hix about the gifts that God gives each one of us, from 1 Corinthians 12. All references below come from that chapter. I appreciated and was encouraged by his thoughts, and asked him to write them for a Pastor's Note. Here they are: It is the Spirit of God who "apportions [spiritual gifts] to each one individually as he wills" (v11)...

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Always Reforming: Divorce and Halloween

Two events in the life of our church passed by this week, that are deeply connected, though not at all on the surface: the introduction of a "white paper" by our elders, on our changed understanding of the Bible's teaching on divorce and remarriage, and Halloween. Divorce and Halloween? Yes, when we consider what Christians were experiencing on October 31st, 500 years ago...

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Schaeffer on the Spirit

Francis Schaefer on Life in the Spirit: "Teaching about the Holy Spirit and His indwelling must never be solely a theological concept. Having the proper conceptthat we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit when we are savedwe must press on, so that the Spirit's indwelling can bring forth results in our lives. If we want tongues of fire, our first step is not only to stand by, co...

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Humbled for Good

King Nebuchadnezzar - a fascinating figure in Scripture. Conqueror of the Jews, God utilizes him unwittingly as their caretaker. Perhaps for this reason, God takes a special interest in him. This is no more vivid than in Daniel 4. Others have made hay of Nebuchadnezzar's psyche: he is what we would call today a narcissist. Absorbed with himself, this self-consumption only...

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Ambitious Rest

Someone in our church recently said she observered an increased attention paid at EVFree to outreach. This concerned her; she felt that behind this increased attention is a pressure to grow in numbers. Fair enough - that tendency and temptation is always there in churches: to want to grow, either in response to other churches' growth (bad), or for our joy in the glory of G...

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