Pastors' Notes

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Real Life Turning on Hope

All of life turns on what we think of God, in fleeting moments. Whether we are conscious of it or not, our actions start with a subtle two-step of trust and hope. A common example: A husband (OK, you got me - me) is feeling mildly resentful about something his wife said or did (which for the life of me I cannot remember now exactly what it was). Their normal practice is t...

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Changing Abortion: Outside the Clinic, or In the Coffeeshop?

Recently a conversation turned to the subject of abortion, and the question was asked, what did I think about going to a clinic, and talking to women as they walked in? Without giving specific guidance, some questions come to mind that I hope give you clarity about how you might engage in a particular issue like abortion: First, we should think about problems both systemi...

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Free Indeed, to Spread the Gospel

". . . We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded [their] eyes . . ." (Paul, 2 Cor. 4:2b-3) I want you to see from these verses...

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Contagious Impurity

"How can I be faithful in this season of life?" I suppose we ask it in every season of life; my wife and I ask it now. Volleyball . . . homework . . . potty training . . . playing catch . . . reading a book . . . running . . . so much to do. Yes - if the Lord gives years, I know I will wish for these times again. Even still - how to be faithful? How to be faithful, in mov...

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Discipleship at EFree

A word or two about Discipleship Groups. Their purpose is to "attend to one another's souls". We are essentially asking "How goes it with you with Jesus?" Then we help each other apply the Bible to life. For instance, you mention that you have a big meeting coming up this week at work. You want to trust God in that. That's your answer to "how it goes with you . . . with t...

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Simple Church

Our church, described in a nutshell, from the top down: we aspire to really be about God and his gospel, in everything we do. We grow into Jesus, through his gospel, by means of community. Therefore we pursue simple church, not in service of simplicity, but in the service of keeping God and his gospel at the center. Our simple church has three parts: Sunday Worship Celebr...

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"This I Know"

Our little Lucy requests that I sing "This I Know" to her at bedtime. She means the song "Jesus Loves Me", but the line "This I Know" stands out to her. She knows more than she realizes; we preach the gospel to ourselves that we would know what we know; that His voice of love would quiet us, encourage and give us rest - "He gives to his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2). The ba...

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His Sovereignty - Our Thankful Dependence

Sometimes the topic of the sovereignty of God can trip people up. Sometimes we take offense at the notion that God is sovereign over everything, even my free choices. So I'm a robot? one might ask. Offense or confusion can easily lead to arguments and division. It ought not be; we preach the sovereignty of God to Christians for encouragement that goes to the very base of ...

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Out of the Slavery of Productivity

These days you may be beginning a Bible reading plan, praying more, eating better, organizing your stuff better, etc. There's something about the turn of the calendar that hastens an impulse within us, to depart from ourselves and be a better self. For me, it's in January that iPhone apps for productivity suddenly become attractive. One is called "Nirvana" - presumably th...

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Finding Your Version of the Mission

Where do we find our mission? Our goal is to find one that is for the sake of others, "so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God" (2 Cor. 4:16). Paul had his version of this mission; how do we discover ours? Ezra points the way: "For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia [on a risky tri...

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