Pastors' Notes

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"I'll pray for you."

"OK, wow, I'll pray for you." Fewer words are more powerful, and are spoken more often so tritely. "I'll pray for you." What do we mean by "for"? I'll pray FOR you? Our default is to think that praying FOR another means praying ALONGSIDE them - essentially repeating what the other person has asked for, longing for, etc. This is not wrong, in and of itself. But the most po...

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Work + Faith Forum Seminar Recap

Today the Work + Faith Forum hosted its first Seminar, to dig deeper into some of the bigger issues of work: We find ourselves compelled towards work, because of the "deep character" of the world, because of how it's been made. We feel within ourselves that work is good. And we see it - it's the means by which we are provided what we need and desire. From our work, we pur...

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Productivity Primer

Productivity is one of those subjects that we are very interested in, but we are not sure that the Bible has much to say about it. So we turn to secular sources for insight. But I would argue the Bible says the most profound truths about true productivity. I list here four: We are freed for productivity by the gospel producing in us humble love. Biblical humility is self-...

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The Role of Cutting Off the Hand

Last week in this space I referred you to Jon Bloom's article, "Cut Off Your Hand". I invite you to read it, if you haven't. Then I have some further comments here: In the context of Matthew 18, it's clear that a) sin is really, really serious, because b) God is really, really worth not missing out on, due to sin. Heaven is at stake, yes, and that's important because heav...

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Unholy Busy

All Christians get "unsettled" from the gospel sometimes. We "unsettle" ourselves from finding our identity, our "OK-ness" in the always-coming grace of God to us in Christ, and shift that faith onto other things. It's not good, but it happens. While we can't see this shift happening, it's useful for us to think about the outward evidences of the shift, in order to take co...

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What To Expect When Suffering

2 Cor. 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. Suffering is suffering, in part, because it is unexpected. We are never completely read f...

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A Key to Productivity

Sometimes the Bible intersects two issues which at first glance have nothing to do with each other. But as we continue to contemplate the Word, we find the reason why we are surprised at the intersection has more to do with us than the Word God is wiser than us. One such intersection occurs in Matthew 24. The chapter contains Jesus' most extensive teaching about what we ...

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Catechizing into the Kingdom?

Galatians 1:11-12 11For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. Let's all agree that parenting is hard. My father once had an old, heavy, early-70's era car with bad shocks. On rural, crowned Illinois r...

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Pondering Ezra's Mass Divorce

Sometimes in this space, in the coming year, I will reflect on a passage from M'Cheyne's Bible Reading plan. Today includes Ezra 10. It's worth reflecting on the goodness of what is recorded here. The people of God, right after their return from exile - which was itself God's discipline for disregarding His law - disregard His law, and marry women from foreign nations. Ez...

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Six Rules for Bible Reading in 2019

Six rules for Bible reading, in 2018: 1. Don't make it a rule. The hinge upon which our lives turn is not whether we have satisfied rituals that please God. Jesus himself became THE ritualistic sacrifice, that satisfied God, in our place. The measure of our Christianity is not whether we've done sufficient devotions, but whether we believe that God is there, and that He i...

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