Pastors' Notes

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The Power of Gentleness

Martin Luther: "Before God be glad at all times, but before men be lenient." Jonathan Edwards once said that the fruit of the Spirit grows from within us like the branches of a tree - in a balanced fashion, left and right. We don't just grow love - the Spirit grows love AND, at the same time, say, faithfulness. God is interested in all that He Himself is, not just the fru...

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Reflecting on Grace

My wife reminded me that it was about this time nine years ago that we first landed on Utah soil. The women-folk took Annie up to Silver Lake (which, according to Lucy, is not really silver), and I interviewed with the search team. Since those first interactions, I've learned a lot. But perhaps the most important lesson God has taught me simply reaffirms what I already kne...

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Why We Do Groups

This Sunday is the first of three consecutive Gospel Community Sunday's, where we invite you to join a Community and a Discipleship Group. Here are some details: We want everyone to be involved in both a Community Group and a Discipleship Group. Community Groups are larger, geographically-based groups where we commit to: #1 CONNECT: We connect with other people, across ...

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Be Ready

The landscape of evangelism, it seems, changes by the month. As the culture lurches ever further from a Judeo-Christian worldview, our ability to communicate the concepts of the gospel becomes harder, because our hearers have jettisoned the Bible's framework of thought. Thus we sense the need to lay more and more groundwork before "giving the message". We want to establis...

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The News and the Imperishability of God

Recently, web-browsing Christians have been fed a diet of bad news about famous pastors. Just search for "James MacDonald" or "Joshua Harris", and you'll get a taste. My purpose here is not to adjudicate in ignorance and from afar on those particular cases, but to work through a few important truths that Christians must hold to, in the face of such news: God is imperishab...

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Lessons from the Xi’an Stela

In the 1600's AD, Roman Catholic missionaries forged their way to China, seeking to reach this massive "unreached" people with the gospel. To their great surprise, they learned that they were about 700-800 years late. The Xi'an Stela (a stela is a stone monument, often with an inscription), erected in 781 AD, records the positive reception of the gospel by the Chinese empe...

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The Complexity of Dependence on Threats

Two moments in my past week speak to one important issue. The first was a conversation over the Bible with our intern Josh Hix. He simply read a famous passage in context, and as he read, a new, path-cutting connection was made for me. The second happened at Home Depot⁠1. I was on the verge of giving up and paying for an expensive sprinkler repair, when another custom...

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Sweet Dissolution

The sign of an old book that's great is that we forget how old it is as we read it. I've experienced that repeatedly as I've finally read Augustine's "Confessions"⁠1, written around 1600 years ago. One such section comes in Book 3, chapter 16, as Augustine processes through his own past, youthful rebellion. His thoughts still apply today, because he so closely tracks wit...

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Led by a King, Living Like Kings

In the past few weeks we've heard from the pulpit the characteristics and roles of leaders in the church (1 Tim. 3:1-7; 5:17-25). These ancient words map back on to yet still-more ancient words. For instance, Deuteronomy 17:14-20. When Israel anoints a king, he needs to do one thing negatively (put in three parts), and one thing positively. The negative: he is to keep him...

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Privileging the Living

The disease of our age: to think that we are morally superior to every other generation that's ever lived. "I would never have allowed _________ if I had lived then." To paraphrase Chesterton, we are open-minded to everything and everyone except those who happen to be dead. But is there anything in our culture, or worse yet, among Christians, that we might be ashamed to ow...

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